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Joe Bauer


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I know Paul O'Conner was only 21 or 22 on November 22,1963 while performing his duties at Bethesda that evening.

But, from his recollection of his work experience removing brains, don't you think that he would have noticed any saw cutting work on JFK's upper skull when he lifted JFK's body out of his casket and then a body bag "by the shoulders" to then lift JFK onto the autopsy table and had a good look directly at this area?

The following essay suggest that Dr. Humes had done this cutting earlier ( to get to JFK's brain and then cut it out ) in the morge after he had dismissed Jenkins and O'Conner from there for 85 minutes.


The James Curtis Jenkins Revelations at JFK Lancer Confirm a Massive Medical Cover-up in 1963


November 26th, 2013

by Douglas P. Horne, author of Inside the Assassination Records Review Board
(former Chief Analyst for Military Records, Assassination Records Review Board)

[Please scroll down to begin article]



On Thursday, November 21, 2013 I noticed a tall, reserved, dignified and almost shy man standing in the lobby of the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, where the JFK Lancer conference was being held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. He was well over six feet tall, wore glasses, had white hair, and sported a well-trimmed short white beard; was impeccably groomed, and had an air of quiet and seriousness that made me hesitant to approach him. I immediately knew it was James Curtis Jenkins, one of the two Navy corpsmen who served as “autopsy technicians” and assisted the Navy pathologists, Drs. Humes and Boswell, at President Kennedy’s autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital on the evening of November 22, 1963. It was now 50 years later, and I was pleased to see Mr. Jenkins alive, and looking so good---and yet surprised to see him attending a JFK research conference. I introduced myself, and found that he was attending the conference with William Law, one of the very few people in the JFK research community he trusts. William Law interviewed many of the autopsy witnesses and published his oral history of their interviews, In the Eye of History, in 2003.


James Jenkins had a reputation for being reticent to discuss the JFK autopsy, and with good reason. He did not have a good experience when interviewed by two hostile and disbelieving HSCA staff members, and so didn’t trust any Federal authorities, particularly since---because of what he himself witnessed at President Kennedy’s autopsy---he did not concur with the Warren Commission’s conclusions about a lone gunman firing from behind, and no shots hitting JFK from the right front. After the HSCA published its own report in 1979, confirming the Warren Commission’s conclusions that Lee Harvey Oswald had done all the wounding of the limousine’s occupants with shots from above and behind, he was even less well disposed toward the organs of authority in this country. Over the years, since the HSCA’s report was issued in 1979, Jim had agreed to appear on video before three different researcher-organized panels consisting largely of Navy autopsy witnesses, but none of this footage has yet been aired in the format of a completed documentary. I had seen some of the raw footage from one of these interviews (in which Jim was interviewed along with Paul O’Connor and some of the Parkland treatment staff, including Dr. Robert McClelland), and I knew, therefore, that Mr. Jenkins had significant things to say about what transpired at Bethesda Naval Hospital on 11/22/63. In the interview footage I had seen of him along with some members of Parkland treatment staff, he seemed sober, responsible, and most credible. When we spoke on the 21st, Jim stated that he was not seeking any notoriety at all, and that his sole wish was to sit quietly in the back of the room at selected presentations and just take it all in, and observe. I told him I would honor his request and would not reveal that he was present during any of the presentations he decided to attend.


On the afternoon of November 22nd, William Law moderated a “breakout” event called: “Special Guest: Jim Jenkins.” I was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict. As it turned out, James Jenkins began to open up at this session and had quite a lot to say about his recollections of the autopsy; and the audience was so interested in what he had to say, that a special session (unbeknownst to me) was organized for later that night, in which Mr. Jenkins continued to discuss his recollections of JFK’s autopsy. Fortunately for me, and for history, Dr. David W. Mantik, M.D., PhD., attended both sessions at which Jenkins spoke, and took copious notes, something he has been doing for decades now whenever an autopsy participant takes the floor. All of my information in this article about what James Jenkins said at the Adolphus Hotel on 11/22/2013 is derived from Dr. Mantik’s notes, which I trust explicitly and without reservation to represent what Jenkins had to say, without any embellishment or changes of any kind.


I will be discussing a few key areas of Jim Jenkins’ 50th anniversary recollections in this essay, and will then explain why they are so significant to our understanding of what happened at Bethesda Naval Hospital on 11/22/63.


THE CONDITION OF PRESIDENT KENNEDY’S BRAIN: Jenkins stated that the standard incisions in the cranium required to remove the brain---a “skull cap” (his term for a craniotomy)---were not done, because they were not necessary. He thought this might be explained by prior incisions, meaning that some surgery had been done prior to the autopsy. He recalled that the damage to the top of the cranium was much more extensive than the damage to the brain itself, which he found unusual. Jenkins recalled Dr. Boswell asking if there had been surgery at Parkland Hospital. He recalled Dr. Humes saying: “The brain fell out in my hands,” as he removed the brain from the body.


Jenkins recalled that at the time Dr. Humes removed the brain, it was not necessary for Humes to resect the spinal cord in order to remove the brain. Jenkins stated that the spinal cord had already been completely severed [not torn] by incisions on each side, in different planes. Jenkins recalled that the total brain volume seemed too small, i.e., smaller than the skull cavity. He recalled that the right anterior brain was damaged, and some brain tissue was missing there, but recalled no damage to the left brain. He said about two thirds of the brain was present (which of course means that about one third of its mass was missing). He recalled that a large amount of posterior tissue---cerebral tissue---was also missing.


Jenkins stated that after Dr. Boswell put the brain upside down in a sling in a formalin bucket, he noticed both carotid arteries (at the Circle of Willis) leading into the brain were retracted, which made it very difficult to insert needles for infusion. Jenkins interpreted this retraction as meaning that the carotids had been cut some time before the autopsy.  


When asked how he interpreted all of this data about the condition of the brain, Jenkins said he had concluded that the brain had already been removed before the autopsy began. In response to a question as to why this might have occurred, he stated quite clearly that the purpose would have been to remove bullet fragments.


Jenkins also stated that he never saw any bullet or bullet fragment fall from JFK’s body during the autopsy, as others had recalled.



Analysis: James Curtis Jenkins, in these discussions on the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, has confirmed my hypothesis of clandestine, post-mortem surgery on JFK’s cranium at Bethesda Naval Hospital to remove evidence of frontal shots before the “official autopsy” began at 8:00 PM.   Here is why I say this:


(1) It was normally Jenkins’ job (and also Paul K. O’Connor’s job) to remove the brain at Navy autopsies, by performing the post-mortem surgery called a craniotomy, or “skull cap.” Neither Paul O’Connor (who gave many interviews prior to his death) nor James Jenkins, either performed---or witnessed---a craniotomy.   HOWEVER, we know that a craniotomy was indeed performed, because both Tom Robinson of Gawler’s Funeral Home, and Navy x-ray technician Ed Reed, confirmed that they witnessed a pathologist sawing into President Kennedy’s cranium to “get the brain out” (in the words of Tom Robinson). In a 1996 interview with the ARRB staff, Tom Robinson recalled that “the doctors” did extensive sawing on the rear of the skull to get to the brain; and under oath at his 1997 ARRB deposition, Ed Reed specifically recalled seeing Dr. Humes (by name) make a long incision with a scalpel in the frontal bone above the forehead, just behind the hairline, and follow-up with a bone saw in that same region. At this point Reed and his colleague, fellow x-ray technician Jerrol Custer, were summarily dismissed from the morgue. Fifteen minutes after being dismissed, they were recalled and began taking the skull x-rays.

(2) The above evidence provided by Robinson and Reed proves that Dr. Humes perjured himself before both the Warren Commission and the ARRB, by claiming that he did not have to perform a craniotomy to remove JFK’s brain. Furthermore, the observations of Robinson and Reed indicate that autopsy technicians O’Connor and Jenkins were simply not in the morgue when that post-mortem surgery was performed by Humes. Since JFK’s body arrived at Bethesda in a shipping casket and body bag at 6:35 PM (per the Boyajian report of November 26, 1963, and the combined observations of Dennis David and Paul O’Connor), and then re-entered the morgue at 8:00 PM in the ceremonial bronze Dallas casket (per numerous witnesses, and the Joint Casket Team Report), I have concluded that it was during this 85-minute interregnum---a period of almost an hour and a half---that the clandestine surgery took place. O’Connor and Jenkins were clearly excluded from the morgue at the time, otherwise they would also remember the modified “skull cap” performed by Humes, just as Robinson and Reed did.

(3) The modified craniotomy performed by Dr. Humes was necessary to gain access to the brain for one obvious purpose---to remove bullet fragments and entry wounds, evidence of shots from the front, prior to the formal start of the autopsy. We know it was necessary to perform a craniotomy of sorts, to get the brain out, because the wound descriptions of the avulsed posterior head wound (the blowout) provided by Dr. Carrico at Parkland (5 x 7 cm), and by Tom Robinson (see his ARRB sketch) and Navy Captain R. O. Canada at Bethesda (per Kurtz, 2006), all indicate that the avulsed wound in JFK’s right posterior skull was the same at Bethesda upon arrival as it had been when observed at Parkland, and was therefore too small to permit removal of the brain without performing surgery to remove significant portions of the cranium.

(4) It is clear that the first round of skull x-rays and the majority of the autopsy photos in the official collection today were taken immediately following this post-mortem surgery that so dramatically opened up the skull. The damage seen today in the surviving skull x-rays, and in all of the autopsy photos showing the top and right side of JFK’s head, with the head resting in a metal brace, were taken immediately after this post-mortem surgery. The surgery was done in a hurried manner, and once completed, President Kennedy’s head wound (the posterior blowout) had been expanded to almost five times its original size.(Simply compare the Carrico wound dimensions, from Dallas, of 5 x7 centimeters, with the Boswell dimensions of missing bone in the cranium (in his autopsy sketch) from Bethesda, of 10 x 17 centimeters; the ratios are 35 sq. cm vs. 170 sq. cm.)

(5) Furthermore, the bright red incision high in JFK’s forehead, seen in various autopsy photographs above the right eye in the frontal bone, just beneath the hairline, is additional evidence of post-mortem surgery, for that striking wound was not seen by anyone at Parkland Hospital.

(6) The proof of this cover-up is the fact that Humes and Boswell lied about the nature of these photographs to the ARRB during their depositions, saying that the photos were taken before any incisions, and represented the condition of the body immediately after it arrived at Bethesda. We know from the Parkland observations, and from the statements of Robinson and Reed, that this was perjury.

(7) Additionally, the removal of bullet fragments from the brain (and the body)---which never made it into the official record---by autopsy doctors at Bethesda is damning proof that clandestine surgery to alter the crime scene (the body of JFK) took place prior to the start of the official autopsy, which ran from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM. Tom Robinson told the ARRB staff in 1996 that he was shown a vial or test tube containing about 10 small metallic fragments; Dennis David has consistently stated ever since 1979 that he held in his hand, and typed a receipt for, 4 bullet fragments that night, which constituted more mass than one bullet, but less total mass than two bullets; and the infamous Belmont FBI memo from 11/22/63 stated that there was a bullet lodged behind JFK’s ear, which the FBI was going to obtain. Furthermore, it is crucial to understanding the true sequence of events at Bethesda to understand the implications of Jenkins’ statement at Lancer that he did not see any bullet falling from the body---whereas x-ray technician Jerrol Custer did see a bullet fragment fall from the thorax onto the examining table. In corroboration of Custer’s claim, Paul O’Connor told the HSCA staff that after he returned to the morgue after some period of time, after being ordered to leave, he was informed by one of his Navy colleagues that an intercostal bullet (i.e., a bullet taken from the tissue between two ribs) had been found and removed. This all indicates that some Navy personnel were banned from the morgue during certain procedures performed early that night: namely, post-mortem surgery to sanitize the crime scene. That the crime scene---the President’s body---was sanitized, we can be sure of, for the only two pieces of metal removed from JFK’s body, according to the official record, were two tiny fragments, 1 x 3, and 2x 7 mm in size, taken from the cranium and handed over to the 2 FBI agents, Sibert and O’Neill.

(8) The two FBI agents---like Paul O’Connor and James Jenkins---were likewise barred from the morgue after carrying the (empty) bronze Dallas casket into the morgue anteroom, at about 7:17 PM---with the help of two Secret Service agents, Kellerman and Greer. AFTER they were finally allowed into the morgue about 8:00 PM, they recorded in their notes that the chief pathologist, Dr. Humes, made the following statement: “…it was also apparent that a tracheotomy had been performed, as well as surgery of the head area, namely in the top of the skull.” The two FBI agents confirmed in the mid 1960s to their superiors that this statement in their report (dated November 26, 1963) was a direct quotation of Dr. Humes. James Sibert (one of the two FBI agents at the autopsy) confirmed that Humes made this statement at his own (Sibert’s) ARRB deposition in 1997. When asked under oath at his ARRB deposition whether he had seen any evidence of surgery on JFK’s body, Humes committed perjury and said, “No.” Humes’ denial was significant, because it indicates he was hiding something. In 1980 David Lifton interpreted Humes’ remark as meaning he had discovered surgery performed by someone else, before the body got to Bethesda. I respectfully disagree, because my rigorous timeline analysis (see my July 2013 essay on this blogsite) has revealed that there was barely enough time to get JFK’s body from Andrews AFB to Bethesda by helicopter, and for it to arrive at the Bethesda morgue loading dock at 6:35 PM---and therefore, I conclude that the surgery could not have happened anywhere else but at Bethesda. Remember, Canada and Robinson confirmed that the head wound, when first seen at Bethesda, was the same as it looked in Dallas. [Significantly, this eliminates any possibility that the post-mortem surgery occurred anywhere in Dallas, Texas.] My own, differing psychological interpretation of Humes’ remarks about surgery, in view of the severe timeline restrictions on the body’s transportation, are that Dr. Humes performed the post-mortem surgery himself at Bethesda, and then panicked before a large, disbelieving audience inside the morgue shortly after 8:00 PM, and made his intentionally deflective oral utterance about “surgery of the head area” (mimicked by Bowell in the form of a rhetorical question, according to James Jenkins). I view Dr. Humes’ excited oral utterance as a defensive reaction to the overwhelming skepticism of his audience, as recalled by Paul O’Connor in many interviews, when that audience was confronted with the enormous amount of missing bone in the cranium shortly after 8:00 PM; psychologists call this defensive reaction dissociation. The implication of Humes’ statement, as I see it, was that he was attempting to create an escape route for himself, attempting to distance himself from what he had just done, to wit: “I see the surgery just like all of you do, but I didn’t do it---someone else did.” If there had been a benign explanation for the “surgery of the head area” statement made by Humes, or for the post-mortem surgery itself, then both Humes and Boswell would have provided that explanation at their ARRB depositions. Instead, they stonewalled and denied (unconvincingly) that they had even seen any evidence of surgery.

(9) It is no wonder, then, that once he was allowed back into the morgue to witness and assist with the “sham” autopsy---nothing more than a charade enacted before the 2 FBI agents and about 35 witnesses in the morgue gallery---that James Jenkins noticed that Kennedy’s brain stem had already been cut by two incisions (one on each side), and had the opinion that the brain had previously been removed from the cranium. It had been, about 75 to 90 minutes previously. Jeremy Gunn, General Counsel at the ARRB, during a discussion with me about the medical evidence, sharply interrupted me once when I used the word “autopsy,” saying: “President Kennedy never had an autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital---that was not an autopsy.” He was correct. It is vital to understand that the illicit, clandestine surgery performed at Bethesda prior to the autopsy---obviously done to remove bullet fragments and evidence of frontal shots from the body prior to the “official procedure” performed before witnesses---invalidates the official autopsy report and all subsequent testimony about JFK’s wounds by the autopsy pathologists. As a result, the recollections of the Parkland treatment staff then inevitably become the “best evidence” of how President Kennedy was killed; and their two universal observations were of an entrance wound in the throat (made by a shot from the front), and an exit wound in the right posterior skull (necessarily implying a shot from the front).

(10)               Dr. Pierre Finck, who had been called by the defense team in the New Orleans trial of Clay Shaw (the Garrison trial) in 1969, told the defense team (per William J. Wegman’s interview notes) that President Kennedy’s brain had been severed from his spinal cord, and that this had been described in the autopsy report. This is consistent with James Jenkins’ account of what he witnessed (surely after 8:00 PM) when Humes removed the brain (for the second time) before a large morgue audience: namely, that the brain stem had previously been severed by incisions on both sides, in different planes. [Incidentally, Finck’s statement to the Clay Shaw defense team is a further proof that the extant autopsy report is not the original---the subject of chapter 11 in my book---since the autopsy report in the Archives today does not mention the brain stem being severed.]   Now, Finck did not arrive at the morgue until 8:30 PM, after the brain, heart, and lungs had been removed. Therefore, Dr. Humes must have informed Finck about the severance of the spinal cord. Humes really had no choice, since according to Jenkins, the brain had literally fallen out in his hands before a large audience, and there had to be an explanation provided for that bizarre occurrence. Similarly, I believe the reason Humes took a tissue section from the area where the spinal cord had been transected, at the subsequent brain exam on 11/25/63, was to “cover his ass.” It was all theater. For him not to have taken a section from the line of transection, after announcing “surgery of the head area,” and after the brain falling out in his hands without his large audience witnessing any cutting to dislodge it from the cranium at its attachment points, would have been most suspicious. By taking a tissue section from this area, I believe Humes was cleverly attempting to distance himself from “whoever did the surgery,” should it become an issue later on. In 1996, Dr. Humes stated under oath to Jeremy Gunn of the ARRB that the brain stem was damaged before he removed the brain, but told Gunn that he had transected it himself. Humes denied that it was disconnected or transected when the body was received. No doubt this was true; what Humes did not tell the ARRB at his deposition was that he had done so while James Jenkins and Paul O’Connor were not in the morgue, before 8:00 PM, when he was removing evidence of frontal shots from the body of the slain Commander-in-Chief.

(11)               Jenkins’ observation that the damage to the cranium was much larger than the damage to the underlying brain seems consistent with the surgery hypothesis, and not with damage caused by a bullet.


Edited by Joe Bauer

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Davey,  this is really below even you.

On page 485, Bugliosi spends five paragraphs, and part of some excerpted dialogue from the CBS special explaining the head tilted forward that TInk Thompson talked about way back in 1967.  

Right after those five paragraphs--in fact in the next paragraph-- he says he drove to see Kirk in Arizona.  IN THAT SAME PARAGRAPH HE TALKS ABOUT HIS SHOCK WHEN HE SAW THE PHOTO ON KIRK"S DINING ROOM TABLE! 

Do I have to quote the reaction:  "Five or so minutes into my necessarily indiscriminate perusal of the photographs, one photograph suddenly stood out, startlingly so."

And that is the pic he is talking about, the high contrast 313.  He puts both in his photo section, the regular z film plus the high contrast.  And he says that this proves the fatal impact came from the rear. Because of the reasons I stated above. And its completely false since cavitation is non directional.  Davey I know this book better than you do.  I wrote a 400 page critique of it and I took over 75 pages of notes while doing so.  

Now, let me add, TInk Thompson, who is given credit for this discovery--although Ray Marcus found it earlier-- does not believe it anymore. Based on the work of Daryl Weatherly, he thinks today that this is part of a smear on the film.  And he argued this at the Duquesne seminar in 2013.  This will be a big part of his new book, One Second in Dallas. As will be the idea that Z 312-313 was not the final shot.

Let me add:  if Tink is right about this, then its pretty much all over. (For people like me it was over a long time ago, but this will be more dirt on the casket.)  

And Bugliosi looks even more like a court jester than i described in my book.  Which is kind of sad, since I liked Vince. Until I read the door stop.



Edited by James DiEugenio

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I guess I'll just have to get accustomed to Jim DiEugenio meaning "PUSHED FORWARD" whenever he says "TILTED FORWARD" when referring to what Vincent Bugliosi was actually talking about on pages 485 and 486 of "Reclaiming History". ~shrug~

And, quite naturally, as he should have done in his book and at the 1986 mock trial with Cecil Kirk on the witness stand, Vince Bugliosi did, indeed, utilize the very important fact that JFK's head was "PUSHED FORWARD" at the instant of the head shot at Z313.

Because only a fool would argue that the FORWARD MOVEMENT of President Kennedy's head at the moment of impact somehow is indicative of that bullet entering JFK's skull FROM THE FRONT. That type of crazy argument is almost as ludicrous as Jim DiEugenio's laughable comments concerning the position of JFK's head that Jim made on Len Osanic's radio show on November 27, 2008 (45 minutes into the interview), which is when Jimmy actually claims that JFK's head remained in the exact same place between Z312 and Z313.

I guess Jim has just decided to totally ignore this Z-Film clip below, or Jim will just pretend that the obvious forward movement of JFK's head in this clip is merely the result of a "blur" or a "smear". (In case anyone needs the definition of such behavior, it's called Denying The Obvious.)....


And why on Earth DiEugenio seems to want to merge and meld the TWO separate things that Vince Bugliosi talks about on pages 485 and 486 of his book is beyond me.

That is, DiEugenio seems to be saying that Vincent's argument about JFK's head being "PUSHED FORWARD" (or, as Jim D. wants to put it, "TILTED FORWARD") and Bugliosi's separate argument about all of the blood and brain tissue being ejected to the FRONT of Kennedy's head just after the fatal shot are somehow tied together and inseparable.

When, in fact, one argument really has nothing to do with the other. Vince treats each of those things as separate (yet corroborative) arguments. He's not saying that the blood spray has anything to do (physically) with the forward head movement. They are independent of one another, with each separate argument being highly indicative that the head shot came from the rear. (Plus the added facts presented by Bugliosi in his book concerning all of the bullet fragments and skull fragments being found to the FRONT of the President in the car, which apparently are facts that CTers like Jim DiEugenio would rather not discuss at all.)

And it's THAT kind of from-the-rear head shot CORROBORATION that Vince Bugliosi was pleased to present to the jury in London in 1986 and to the readers of his book in 2007.

I'd like to also add the following video clip from Part 2 of the four-part 1967 CBS-TV "Warren Report" special, to help combat DiEugenio's "cavitation is non directional" argument. Quite obviously, not everybody agrees with James DiEugenio or Vincent DiMaio on this topic:


Edited by David Von Pein

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On 3/10/2017 at 7:02 AM, David Von Pein said:


The weight of JFK's brain is shown in the very first sentence on Page 1 of the Supplementary Report....

"Following formalin fixation the brain weighs 1500 gms."


And that's why the brain weighed so much --- because it was only weighed "FOLLOWING formalin fixation", not BEFORE.


The material being ejected from JFK's head at Z313 isn't MOSTLY his brains. It's mostly blood and other ejecta from the cranium.

And I discount Paul O'Connor mainly because I know he can't be correct about his "No Brain" observation. And the reason I know he can't be correct is contained in the page of the WCR I linked above.


The brain weight of 1500 g was too large relative to the damage sustained. Exposing a brain to formalin for three weeks increases the brain weight due to swelling by 8-9%. Thus, 1500 g would correspond to an intact brain. However, I am sure you would agree that a large part of Kennedy's right brain hemisphere was missing. The figure "1500 g" appears to be made up. I wrote an essay on this topic a while ago (thejfktruthmatters.wordpress.com), however, I am posting it here too:


From: thejfktruthmatters.worpress.com (March 26, 2016).

1500 g. This was the weight of President Kennedy’s brain during the pathological examination made at the Bethesda Naval Hospital on December 6, 1963 [1]. The brain weight figure allows to infer on the weight of President’s brain at the time of autopsy. Unfortunately, the Bethesda pathologists did not weigh President’s brain during the autopsy in spite of this procedure being a routine part of every autopsy [2].

A three week formalin fixation has been shown to increase the brain weight by 50 g on average [3]. More recent data suggest a variable percent increases in brain weights due to the formalin fixation with an average weight increase of 8.8% over the period of few weeks [4]. If we apply the swelling factor of 8.8%, the estimated weight of President Kennedy’s brain at the time of autopsy was 1373 g.

This figure appears to be too large relative to the amount of damage to the President Kennedy’s brain. The damage to the right hemisphere and the associated loss of brain tissue has been estimated by Mr. David Lifton to be as much as 70% in the right hemisphere [5]. If a normal brain would suffer such loss of tissue, it could not weigh 1373 g. To provide some approximation of the weight of intact and injured Kennedy’s brain, normative data obtained in large cohorts of people can be used. The study by Debakan et al. (1978) [6] analysed the post-mortem brain weights in 2773 males and 1963 females in 23 age categories. The mean weight of a male brain in the age range of 40-50 years was 1430 g (standard deviation 20 g). As President Kennedy was tall (72.5 inches, 184 cm), and since brain weight correlates with body height and weight [6], it is reasonable to estimate that the weight of Kennedy’s brain would be in the upper range of the normal distribution of brain weights in his age category. The upper weight value corresponding to the top 5% brain weights for males aged 40-50 years, estimated using the Z-scores method, would be 1496.2 g (rounded to 1496 g). If Kennedy’s brain sustained a loss of 70% of brain tissue in one hemisphere [5], his brain at the time of autopsy weighed only 972 g. However, even if we accept a smaller than 70% loss of brain tissue of 50% in one hemisphere, the brain weight at the time of autopsy would be only 1122 g. After correcting these brain weight estimates for swelling due to immersing the brain into a formalin solution, Kennedy’s brain during the pathological examination on December 6 was expected to weigh 1058 g or 1221 g for a 70% and 50% loss of tissue in one hemisphere, respectively.

These calculations suggest that the brain examined on December 6, 1963 was different from the brain removed from President Kennedy’s skull during the autopsy on November 22, 1963. Further, this finding sheds a new light on the omission to weigh the brain during the autopsy [2]. The following two explanations need to be considered:

  1. The pathologists were stressed out and confused during the autopsy itself and forgot to measure the brain weight. This would be an unlikely but honest error.
  1. The pathologists intentionally skipped weighing the brain during the autopsy either to conceal the real loss of brain tissue, and/or to be able to use a different brain in further examinations. The correct brain weight data at the time of autopsy might have prevented the use of a different brain as the other brain would have been weighed during the follow-up pathological examination of the fixated brain, and the discrepancy in the autopsy and post-autopsy weights would be evident. If this explanation is correct, it is also conceivable that the generals and some unknown civilians present in the autopsy room [5] couched or ordered Dr. Humes and Dr. Boswell not to weigh the brain.

As my calculations suggest that other than President Kennedy’s brain was examined on December 6, I am inclined to accept the latter explanation. The calculations and the conclusion accord a previous note by Mr. Doug Horne (2006) that the weight of 1500 g would be too large for the brain showing extensive tissue loss [7].


[1] Appendix IX. Commission Exhibit 391. Supplementary report of autopsy number A63-272. https://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/warren-commission-report/appendix-09.pdf

[2] During his deposition for the ARRB, the interviewers asked Dr. Humes about the lack of the weight figure in the autopsy form. Dr. Humes had a difficult time to explain (ARRB deposition 1996, pp. 74-75):

  1. I’d like to draw your attention to a few items on the first page of this document. Right next to the marking for brain, there’s no entry of a weight there. Do you see that on the document?
    A. Yes, I see that it’s blank, yeah.
    Q. Why is there no weight for the brain there?
    A. I don’t know. I don’t really–can’t really recall why.
    Q. Was the fresh brain weighed?
    A. I don’t recall. I don’t recall. It’s as simple as that.
    Q. Would it be standard practice for a gunshot wound in the head to have the brain weighed?
    A. Yeah, we weigh it with gunshot wound or no. Normally we weigh the brain when we remove it. I can’t recall why–I don’t know, one, whether it was weighed or not, or, two, why it doesn’t show here. I have no explanation for that

[3] Frýdl V, Koch R, Závodská H. The effect of formalin fixation on several properties of the brain. Zentralbl. Allg. Pathol. 135:649-55 (1989)

[4] Itabashi, H.H., Andrews, J.M., Tomiyasu, U., Erlich, S.S., Sathyavagiswaran, L. Forensic Pathology: A Practical Review of the Fundamentals. Academic Press & Elsevier, 2007, p. 22.

[5] Lifton, D. Best Evidence. Disguise and Deception in the Assassination of John F. Kennedy. Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., New York, Fourth Edition, 1989, pp. 470-472.

[6] Debakan, A.S., Sadowsky, D. Changes of brain weights during the span of human life: relation of brain weights to body heights and body heights. Ann. Neurol., 4: 345-356, 1978.

[7] Spartacus Educational Forum, thread: Cover-up of medical evidence. Post by Doug Horne, dated May 16, 2006, No. 3. http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=6849&hl=



Edited by Andrej Stancak

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Davey, your post above is good evidence for why I said you missed your calling as a stand up comic.  

Vince says on p. 485 that JFK's head was pushed forward and downward.  (See fourth full paragraph.)

In the real world, this means it is tilted forward. For some reason you don't like that word, but forward and downward means tilted.

For anyone to say that the page Vince spends on this--actually its a page and half, beginning on 484--is not directly related to the Cecil Kirk interview and the high contrast photo that follows right after, where Vince says he has a eureka moment, well that is what makes Davey, Davey.  Vince clearly thinks they are related and together they negate the head snap in the Z film.  

That is because he does not know anything about cavitation, and neither does Kirk.  And neither apparently did Spence.  One more reason why that whole London exercise was a farce.

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BTW, I said that I would return to Cecil Kirk.  Let me do that now.

After working for the FBI, Kirk went to work for the Warren Commission.  When Sprague and Tanenbaum left the HSCA and Blakey reorganized the committee, he is one of the guys Blakey used to, let us say, redirect that body.  (Larry Sturdivan, also from the WC, was another whom Blakey used.)

Since Kirk was part of the original Warren Commission fraud, he did all he could to try and rearrange things to stymie the acoustics evidence.  Therefore, he was intent on placing the first shot quite early.  And he did this at the phony London trial.  (See Reclaiming Parkland, p. 59) As Pat Speer has shown, this "early shot" evidence is really so weak that it does not even merit discussion. But Kirk was a zealot, through and through. 

Therefore, he was the one who came up with the Marilyn Willis story, which was then utilized by Gerald Posner.  But the point that we should all take from this is that Posner, and Kirk, did one heck of a cherry pick on this.  As Don Roberdeau has noted, when we take Marilyn Willis' testimony as a whole, in full context, she is not good for the other side, but for our side.  Which is why Posner did what he did.

John Butler, in his Separate Realities thread excerpts what she said much more fully than Posner or Kirk.  As you can see, and as I wrote in Reclaiming Parkland, she is a witness for a six shot ambush in Dealey Plaza, with shots coming from as many as three directions, over a period of what has to be more than six seconds.

Further, she is staring behind her in the direction of the TSBD not at 160, but before that, in the 140's.  She then slows down her trot at about 190. She then ends up staring in the vicinity of the grassy knoll. To the HSCA she said she saw a figure behind the stockade fence who disappeared instantly. (Reclaiming Parkland, p.60)

Cecil Kirk is  the kind of person Posner, and then Bugliosi use as "experts".  They are experts in the same sense that Guinn and the lying Luis Alvarez was an "expert."  Whenever the government needed some junk science to save the day, they were first in line to volunteer.  And Bugliosi lapped them up.

Edited by James DiEugenio

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James DiEugenio   

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Larry is exactly right about Spence.

But he understates it.  In my book, Reclaiming Parkland, I spend a full chapter--21 pages-- on the London phony trial and fully critique Spence's performance.

Spence's big mistake was first participating in the thing, since as I show, it clearly favored the prosecution. The producer, Mark Redhead, favored Bugliosi. I mean, Sylvia Odio is not there?  Give me a break.  Bugliosi was allowed to use the NAA?  I mean even back then there had been questions about it.  The prosecution called twice as many witnesses as the defense.  Plus Bugliosi was allowed to drag in the Tippit shooting?  I mean, then why not have Spence bring in the murder of Oswald and how his client was murdered with the cooperation of the Dallas police?

When VB was on his book tour, he mentioned how Spence  had studied the case for six months with help from a couple of assitants in his law office. :o

What a joke.  That is about as bad as Posner's two years.  This case is not  able to be even partly digested in five years.  And no one can master it in even ten years.  It is simply beyond the reach of any one person since it demands expertise in too many disciplines.

Spence thought he could get by with his country demeanor and eloquence.  But he didn't fully understand the circumstances.   

With what we have today, after the ARRB, there is no way any prepared attorney could lose this case.  

I agree with Mr. DiEugenio.  Spence's script would not and did not allow him to win.  He could have been talking about quick draws in a Wyoming court and it would not have mattered to the outcome.  The outcome was preordained.

Edited by John Butler

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BTW, if the London extravaganza had not been such a farce, would it not have been fun to have called Marilyn Willis to impeach Kirk?

I would have loved to have seen Bugliosi's face as his photographic witness evaporated in front of him.

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7 hours ago, James DiEugenio said:

Vince says on p. 485 that JFK's head was pushed forward and downward.  (See fourth full paragraph.)

In the real world, this means it is tilted forward. For some reason you don't like that word, but forward and downward means tilted.

Yes, I can agree with you on the fact that "forward and downward means tilted". But "tilted" does NOT necessarily imply MOVEMENT of the head FORWARD. That was my point. And that is the HUGE point Bugliosi was making in his book when he talks about the positions of JFK's head in Z312 as compared to Z313.

If Vince were to have just used the word "tilted", he would not have conveyed the important point he needed to convey to his readers -- i.e., that JFK's head physically moved forward between frames 312 and 313, which is something I know you, James, do not believe (see, again, the 11/27/08 Black Op broadcast for confirmation of Jim's denial of the forward head movement*), but even so, the point Mr. Bugliosi wanted to convey was that Kennedy's head MOVED forward by about 2 inches at the moment of the head shot. And, IMO, the word you keep using ("tilted") does not convey the motion of the head that was absolutely essential for Vince to convey to his readers when he discussed this topic in his book "Reclaiming History".

* BTW, Jim didn't use the word "tilted" when he discussed this topic in his radio interview with Len Osanic in November 2008. Instead, he used the words "leaning forward" to describe the positioning of JFK's head at Zapruder Frame #313, which are words that most certainly do not convey the sense of MOTION or MOVEMENT between Z312 and Z313 that Vincent Bugliosi was attempting to convey in his book (and which Vince did, of course, successfully convey to his readers via the language that he used in "Reclaiming History"). And that critical forward motion of JFK's head is something that Jim DiEugenio doesn't even bring up at all in that 2008 radio broadcast. Not once! In fact, as I said, Jim then goes on to DENY that there was any forward movement of JFK's head at all! The way Jim discussed the whole matter on that radio show was extremely misleading and completely misrepresents the things Bugliosi wrote in "Reclaiming History", with the FORWARD MOTION of Kennedy's head being completely ignored--as if Vince never even argued that point in his book. Shameful, Jim.

Edited by David Von Pein

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Harold Norman is being led by Bugliosi, it simply boggles the mind.

While playing this video below, my g/f just happened to hang the laundry and then started glancing over my shoulder and she said 3x the prosecutor is leading him.

When the defence asks Norman questions and things become too tricky for Harold Norman his eyes revert to where Bugliosi is sitting.

A farce indeed.


Edited by Bart Kamp

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Bart Kamp, yes, this Oswald trial segment showing Harold Norman was just cringing to watch, as were almost all the other ones.

Before I share my take on this particular segment let me first give Harold Norman some sympathetic slack regards his appearance.

I too would be highly nervous, anxious and probably uncomfortable in that setting. In a far away city in a court room filled with suit and tie types ( when you are not ) and cameras rolling and knowing you were going to be confronted by the likes of Gerry Spence.

And give Norman his due in the fashion department. He was flashier dressed than anyone in the whole courtroom with his white suit, tie and red dress shirt. 

I also couldn't help thinking of the King Of Soul James Brown ( who I liked as a kid ) when hearing Norman's almost identical raspy voice. Norman even looked like Brown except for his unkempt hair and uneven beard.  In these ways Norman seemed more working class, down to Earth and unpretentious real to me versus most of the other witnesses.

Now, regards the questioning.

Bugliosi was shameless in his leading the witness.

And when it got so ridiculous that Spence had to finally state an objection that good ole boy Judge just shut that down with an "over ruled" 

If I were in the audience I think I might have impulsively jumped up and shouted "WHAT A FARCE" myself!

Harold Norman seemed flummoxed at best with most of Spence's questions. He just couldn't admit his ignorance in the areas Spence brought up.

Spence walked away from his questioning of Norman after just a few minutes ( maybe he simply figured Norman was a waste of his time ) but whatever Spence's reason, you were forced to wonder about the appalling lack of integrity of it all.

But I also could never figure Norman and his 5th floor buddies Jr. Jarman and Bonnie Ray Williams actions of remaining where they were ( for what 10 to 15 or more minutes? ) after hearing and seeing what they described and the incredible implications of the scene above and below them.

Wouldn't even a half-way rational reaction to what they described be to run down to the lower floors and immediately report the  booming shots, bolt action and cartridge casing dropping sounds they heard just above them? They even reported plaster dust falling on them from directly above their heads!

Sitting put for so long on that 5th floor of the TSBD building after hearing all those ominous sounds just above them, seems almost crazy under the high energy chaos circumstances unfolding just below them.

These guys Norman, Jarman and Williams weren't involved, but their testimonies are so weak in the area of implication Oswald as the shooter above them simply because they could not at all see who was doing this shooting.




Edited by Joe Bauer

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Recall, Norman did not mention this on the 26th.

But apparently, Spence did not know that.

Spence objected to Bugliosi leading the witness more than once.  But the judge was a stiff.

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Judge Bunton at the '86 mock trial cut the lawyers a lot of slack as far as "leading questions" were concerned. And I think it's fairly obvious WHY that slack was given -- it was because of the severe time constraints that existed during the "TV trial" they were filming.

Edited by David Von Pein

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Toward the end, Spence actually exploded in court about VB doing this.  And he noted that he would keep objecting even if overruled since he thought it was simply outrageous. 

As I recall, that was the one time that the judge upheld the objection on that ground.  (BTW, I do not recall VB doing that to Spence.)

Can't have it both ways.  VB insists in his door stop that this was a facsimile of a real and actual trial.  And that was the reason he went through with it. He spends paragraph after paragraph trying to convince the reader such was the case. In my book, i show that this impression he tries to make is actually not accurate.  Not even close. (Reclaiming Parkland, revised edition pgs 49-54) 

Incredibly, there is even a part of the book where VB argues that it was better for forensic purposes that Oswald was killed.

Edited by James DiEugenio

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