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Clay Shaw story


Gary Buell
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From Joseph Cannon's blog Cannonfire:

A while back, I promised to tell an odd story about Gore Vidal. Now the time has come.

I don't know how much of what follows is true. I give it to you as it was given unto me by two independent sources, neither of whom I can name. The rules of blogland allow one to offer an account such as this one with the proviso that the reader should not accept without verification. Indeed, the reason why I tell this tale in public is to encourage someone to look into it.

As some of you may recall, Gore Vidal had an odd reaction to Oliver Stone's 1991 film "JFK." Vidal denounced the work as anti-gay, and he switched his theory of the assassination from "the CIA did it" to "the mob did it." (He may claim that he never made this switch, but ink and oxide testify otherwise.) Yet he seemed fascinated by the movie -- perhaps because it contains a screen depiction of Clay Shaw, the man charged by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison.

Vidal knew Shaw. Both men were well-educated "same sexers" (to use Vidal's preferred term) with literary leanings, although Shaw had but one completed play to his resume, while Vidal is perhaps the finest American novelist of his generation, and certainly the greatest political essayist since Orwell.

(To read the rest, click "Permalink" below)

In a public lecture which I used to have on tape, Vidal claimed that Shaw resembled his aunt, which may or may not be unfair. I would like to draw your attention to another lady who resembled Clay Shaw. If you watch the film "JFK" again, take careful note of the scene in which everyone files into the courtroom. Tommy Lee Jones, playing Shaw, briefly kisses the cheek of a silver-haired lady who looks for all the world like the real Shaw. Stone never explains her presence.

According to the information I received from two sources, she appeared on screen as an inside joke. That woman was the real-life niece of Clay Shaw, whom Stone had encountered in the course of his research.

During her time on the set, she told inquisitors something quite odd: She said that Clay Shaw did not die of lung cancer in 1974 at the age of 61, in his home in New Orleans, as the press reported.

Of course, others have alleged that the death was mysterious. He did not receive an autopsy, and the death certificate was signed by his personal physician, who told the police that Shaw had developed lesions in the brain. A neighbor contacted police after seeing a body taken out of the residence, covered with a sheet. (According to one rather wild tale, the same neighbor saw a body being taken into the home an hour before. I've never seen that yarn in print and thus do not believe it.) The coroner was so concerned about the speed of the man's burial that he proposed an exhumation -- an idea which was soon nixed.

Previously, I had always dismissed allegations that the death of Clay Shaw (who smoked heavily) was in any way mysterious. Still, it should be noted that his death came just a short while after Victor Marchetti had revealed to the world that Shaw had -- contrary to his sworn testimony -- been involved with the CIA.

Which brings me back to the niece -- or rather, to the woman my sources claim is the niece.

When she announced that the death was staged, her listeners naturally asked what became of Clay Shaw.

She answered that he went off to stay with a friend who maintained a villa in Italy. Presumably, Shaw there spent his few remaining days in peace.

Is this story true? Again, I don't know. That is why I encourage others to double-check.

Anyone attempting to do so should first ask: "Who among Shaw's friends had a villa in Italy?"

http://cannonfire.blogspot.com/2007/12/gor...ay-shaw_09.html

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Speculative no doubt but most interesting, Gary. Is there any way to follow up on the story, as you suggest, other than through an exhumation of Shaw's body, or talking to the sources that you cannot identify?

Is there any public evidence (i.e. apart from unnamed sources) that Vidal was acquianted with Shaw? I hesitate to use the term "knew" considering the potential connotations of that term.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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Speculative no doubt but most interesting, Gary. Is there any way to follow up on the story, as you suggest, other than through an exhumation of Shaw's body, or talking to the sources that you cannot identify?

Is there any public evidence (i.e. apart from unnamed sources) that Vidal was acquianted with Shaw? I hesitate to use the term "knew" considering the potential connotations of that term.

So that it's clear, Tim, this story was written by Joseph Cannon in his blog, to which I provide the url.

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Interesting find!

Shaw was a spooky guy. I am not so sure about the evidence that he actually conspired to kill JFK, but you never know. Every once in awhile in my Ferrie research, I run across someone who "heard from a good source" that Shaw knew Ferrie, or Oswald, but getting confirmation is like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall. I hope someday somebody devotes a lot of time and energy to getting some new information, maybe the real poop on Shaw. It wasn't that long ago, people are still alive.

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