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A Few Thoughts on the Zapruder Film


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A Few Thoughts on the Zapruder Film

Think for a moment of what our knowledge of November 22nd would be without the Zapruder film.

Sure we’d have the other films shot in Dealey Plaza and the Moorman photo and the Altgens photo. From the other films and witness reports we’d have some fragmentary sense that JFK might have been bowled over backwards by the shot that killed him. But we’d have nothing firm, nothing that was indisputable. And the single-bullet theory would have nothing concrete to show the impacts on the two men were off in timing. There would be a general fog over the event complicated by contradictory witness reports and physical evidence that made things even less clear. Whatever happened that day would remain forever a mystery.

No one could have expected we would have an 8 mm film taken from the position a Hollywood film crew would have picked to film the assassination. From back in the spring of 1964 when John and Mrs. Connally and several Parkland doctors were confronted with the film, it became clear that this completely unexpected gift to knowledge of the shooting was causing insuperable difficulties for the official story. Point after point raised by critics since that time have depended upon details available to inspection only via the film.

The film could have been seized as evidence. Forrest Sorrels could have watched the film after its development at the Kodak plant in Dallas and said to Abraham Zapruder, “I’m sorry, Mr. Zapruder, I’m seizing your film as evidence in this crime.” At any time that weekend, the film could have been seized. It would have disappeared into government hands never to reappear or only to reappear in whatever guise was decided. What saved this film from that fate is still to me unclear. If there was a giant conspiracy to make the shooting look like the work of an isolated lone nut and if the film was central piece in the puzzle why not just seize it? No one then would have objected and the conspirators would have covered any angles with respect to the film that they needed to cover.

Some have asked why I have so vehemently defended the authenticity of the Zapruder film.

Professor Fetzer, always ready to impugn the motives of anyone he disagrees with, has claimed that I defend the authenticity of the Zapruder film because Six Seconds was built on it. That, of course, is untrue. Six Seconds was built on the concept that no one had tried to reconstruct what happened in Dealey Plaza from the available evidence. We knew the Warren Report was woefully defective but that didn’t mean that we knew what happened that November noon. Six Seconds was an attempt to answer that question. In answering the question, it drew on every piece of evidence available at that time. To this day, the Zapruder film remains a central and indispensable piece of evidence. Hence, I relied on it as everyone else did and does. In spite of what Fetzer says, Six Seconds was not built on the Zapruder film and I have never claimed to be an expert on it.

I believe the Zapruder film to be authentic because no significant case has ever been made to show its inauthenticity. It is elementary that photos and films of the same event taken from different vantage points have to match. If one doesn’t, it stands out like a sore thumb. In spite of persistent and long-lasting efforts that stretch now over several decades, no one has yet been able to show any discrepancy in the photo record of Dealey Plaza. The photo record from Dealey Plaza forms a self-authenticating whole Given this fact, the exponents of Zapruder film tampering have had to expand the circle of faked-up films to encompass virtually the whole inventory of films and photos of the assassination.

The long-lasting argument over Mary Moorman’s position in the Zapruder film illustrates this point. Jack White mismeasured a line-of-sight present in the Moorman photo that would establish the height of her camera above the ground. When the mistake was pointed out and the line-of-sight correctly measured, it coincided with the position of Moorman’s camera in the Zapruder film. This sort of exact correspondence between different photos and films establishes the basis for the film’s authenticity.

Recently, it has become apparent that another, distinctly different kind of evidence confirms the authenticity of the film. I have in mind here the acoustic evidence. With the revelations brought forward by Don Thomas in the last decade, it is now possible to see that shot events on the Dallas police channel can be correlated exactly with visual events in the Zapruder film. Both the impact of shots on the occupants of the limousine and the involuntary startle response of Zapruder to these shots can be shown to match up exactly with the shots on the Dallas police channel.

Putting these two elements together provide us for the first time with an armature on which to both hang and evaluate other evidence. What does that armature look like? Five shots from three directions. The fourth at Z 313 from the stockade fence. One or two from a location at the north end of Elm Street. Two or three from the TSBD 6th floor window. Additional work needs to be done, but, for the first time, I can see a consensus solution to the puzzle. From the very beginning, the Zapruder film has been the bugaboo of the Warren Commission and the most indisputable evidence of a shot from the right front. With the advances of the last decade, this consensus solution will form a basis for future historians when they get around to writing a history of the event.

At certain times, it has come to seem that any questioning of Zapruder film tampering was a reactionary move... a protective move on the part of “the old guard” to protect its turf and reputations. In reality, nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, it is the proven authenticity of the Zapruder film that vouches safe a scientifically confirmed reconstruction of the event. This fact is becoming ever more clear as wrangling over the film continues even more heatedly.

An example of this wrangling has occupied us over the last week. Back in 2003, David Lifton claimed that Doug Horne had found in Zavada’s experiments significant evidence that the Zapruder film was a fake. The evidence? Using cameras of the same make and model as Zapruder’s, Zavada had been unable to achieve “full flush left image penetration.” “In not one instance – not a single one – could Rollie Zavada get the image to go full flush left,” wrote Lifton in Fetzer’s book, TGZFH. “It couldn’t be done because the camera just isn’t designed that way.”

Lifton and Fetzer even published photos from Zavada’s studies to demonstrate their claim. Zavada, however, was having none of it. He pointed out two photos from his studies showed precisely the effect Lifton said he could not achieve. One of these was actually used by Fetzer and Lifton in a blurry, black and white version. When the photo was scanned from Zavada’s study and it exhibited “full flush left image penetration” Fetzer and Lifton agreed that it falsified Lifton’s claim. Why had it been published with text that said the opposite? Fetzer said it was Lifton’s fault. Although Lifton had produced the blurry, black and white version, he said he had never seen the clear color original in Zavada’s Study #3.

Lifton and Doug Horne have been working on this issue since at least 2003. Again and again we have heard the complaint that Rollie Zavada did not run test shots though the Zapruder camera. They have proposed that even now test shots be made by filming Dealey Plaza with the Zapruder camera. As Duncan MacRae brilliantly pointed out yesterday, precisely such a film was made in the spring of 1964 and sits in NARA. Zapruder’s camera as well as other cameras were used in 1964 to take test shots during the reconstruction. If this film in NARA shows what we have every expectation it will show, then this little theory.... like “the seven foot woman,” like “Moorman-in-the-Street,” like all the silly-ass little sketches made for tabloids that I can’t remember... will end up like all the others in the dust pile.

And so it goes. The exponents of alteration will continue finding ever more arcane reasons for believing the film has been altered by shadowy conspirators. The argument over this will proceed into its second decade and maybe its third. Meanwhile, the path of fruitful inquiry will continue to lie elsewhere. As for me, I’m sure many others will pursue this question and be able to mount the appropriate counter-arguments to each new iteration of the alteration claim. I hope you will all understand if I say that after a decade of arguing against this claim, I have better things to do. Why, for example, should I even care to learn what “full frame left image penetration” is when it finally leads nowhere and when its exponents could have resolved the question years ago?

Josiah Thompson

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Josiah,

With regard to the matter of full flush left (and, even more importantly, the fact that--as I have pointed out--there are numerous frames where the image goes "beyond" full flush left), I note your enthusiastic response to a suggestion made by Duncan Macrae:

QUOTE:

They (no, not the assassins, but Fetzer and myself) have proposed that even now test shots be made by filming Dealey Plaza with the Zapruder camera. As Duncan MacRae brilliantly pointed out yesterday, precisely such a film was made in the spring of 1964 and sits in NARA. Zapruder’s camera as well as other cameras were used in 1964 to take test shots during the reconstruction. UNQUOTE

Yes, it is a wonderful suggestion, but I'm not so sure it will pan out. I looked up Shaneyfelt's testimony about the May, 1964 reconstruction, eagerly hopeful that I would find confirmation on the existence of such a test film, one that currently "sits in NARA" as you said. According to Shaneyfelt, he indeed took pictures from the Zapruder pedestal, frame by frame, as he photographed the re-enactment. Unfortunately, he did not--I repeat, did NOT--use Zapruder's camera. And, after all, why should he have? Think about it: the hypothesis being tested was whether Oswald had a clear line of sight from the window; and NOT whether the Zapruder camera was the source of the Z frames that are in evidence.

Quoting now from Shaneyfelt's testimony, at page 148 of Volume 5 of the Warren Commission: "The picture in the upper right is a photograph that I made with a speed graphic camera from Zapruder's position of the car reestablished in that position."

If there was indeed motion picture footage from Zapruder's position, exposed with Zapruder's camera--and to me, that is the important variable here, "with Zapruder's camera"--in any reconstruction at all, and at any time, I would certainly like to know about it. Further, I would like to then examine the left margin and do a careful comparison between what those frames show and the frames from the so-called "camera original" Zapruder film.

Meanwhile, unless we learn otherwise, it would appear, based on Shaneyfelt's testimony, that an ordinary speed graphic camera was used at Zapruder's position, and certainly not Zapruder's Bell and Howell camera.

It was a nice suggestion--and I wish it were true.

So. . to Duncan, I say, "Close, but no cigar".

And to Tink, it would appear that you have earned a small demerit for having counted some chickens before they hatched.

Happy New Year.

DSL

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..... As Duncan MacRae brilliantly pointed out yesterday, precisely such a film was made in the spring of 1964 and sits in NARA. Zapruder’s camera as well as other cameras were used in 1964 to take test shots during the reconstruction.
The May 1964 FBI/Secret Service re-enactment in Dallas included a test film shot with the Zapruder camera. The film is at the National Archives waiting for someone to have it transfered to video. Perhaps if the alterationists investigated this further, they could find out information Re: the sprocket hole controversy and other debatable issues. It puzzles me why they have never tried to gain access to this avenue of research to prove their points, or have they?

Test films shot with the Nix and Muchmore cameras are also at the National Archives. This information was provided by Gary Mack.

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I believe the Zapruder film to be authentic because no significant case has ever been made to show its inauthenticity.

I agree. Zapruder authenticated the film under oath on two separate occasions and the alterationists have not met the burden of proving that he was either lying or mistaken.

Recently, it has become apparent that another, distinctly different kind of evidence confirms the authenticity of the film. I have in mind here the acoustic evidence. ... Putting these two elements together provide us for the first time with an armature on which to both hang and evaluate other evidence. What does that armature look like? Five shots from three directions.

Profound disagreement here. The acoustics have led the research community on a wild goose chase, and continue to do so. Josiah THompson was the first (or one of the first) Warren critics to argue that CE399 was planted. If it was planted, it was planted in an effort to PROVE that the SN rifle was the murder weapon. The acoustics evidence was introduced by Blakey to shore up CE399, the magic bullet theory, and to disprove claims by critics that the Sniper's Nest evidence was planted. If CE399 was planted, then so were the limo fragments found in Washington.

FOr the HSCA the acoustics, the Jet Effect/Neuro theory, and GUinn's bullet lead theory formed a three-legged stool PROVING that the autopsy was correct and that JFK was killed by shots from the TSBD. All three legs of that stool have collapsed under scrutiny, including the acoustics.

I suggest that Josiah keep that in mind as he dons his goggles to plunge into Doug Horne's study of the medical evidence.

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I agree. Zapruder authenticated the film under oath on two separate occasions and the alterationists have not met the burden of proving that he was either lying or mistaken.

http://www.jfk-info.com/wfaa-tv.htm

This transcript is from video tape of the live broadcast seen nationwide on the ABC network at about 2:10pm CST, November 22, 1963. The interviewer, seated on the left, is WFAA-TV program director Jay Watson. On the right, with his hat on the desk, is Abraham Zapruder.

WATSON: A gentleman just walked in our studio that I am meeting for the first time as well as you, this is WFAA-TV in Dallas, Texas. May I have your name please, sir?

ZAPRUDER: My name is Abraham Zapruder.

WATSON: Mr. Zapruda?

ZAPRUDER: Zapruder, yes sir.

WATSON: Zapruda. And would you tell us your story please, sir?

ZAPRUDER: I got out in, uh, about a half-hour earlier to get a good spot to shoot some pictures. And I found a spot, one of these concrete blocks they have down near that park, near the underpass. And I got on top there, there was another girl from my office, she was right behind me. And as I was shooting, as the President was coming down from Houston Street making his turn, it was about a half-way down there, I heard a shot, and he slumped to the side, like this. Then I heard another shot or two, I couldn't say it was one or two, and I saw his head practically open up, all blood and everything, and I kept on shooting. That's about all, I'm just sick, I can't…

Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. VII

Mr. Zapruder: Well, as the car came in line almost--I believe it was almost in line. I was standing up here and I was shooting through a telephoto lens, which is a zoom lens and as it reached about--I imagine it was around here--I heard the first shot and I saw the President lean over and grab himself like this (holding his left chest area)...

Mr. Zapruder: Yes; this is before--this shouldn't be there the--shot wasn't fired, was it? You can't tell from here?... I believe it was closer down here where it happened...Well, as the car came in line almost--I believe it was almost in line. I was standing up here and I was shooting through a telephoto lens, which is a zoom lens and as it reached about--I imagine it was around here--I heard the first shot and I saw the President lean over and grab himself like this (holding his left chest area).

Another ringing endorsement from Zapruder of his film’s authenticity

Zapruder, the prosecution’s twenty-third witness at the Shaw trial, was reported as follows after his appearance:

Zapruder said afterward he couldn’t tell whether the film was complete. Eighteen frames had been defective, he said, and might have been removed without his knowing it.

UPI, “Garrison shows Zapruder Movie,” Press-Telegram, (Long Beach, California), Friday, 14 February 1969, p.10

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Please see the thread "For the Alterationists" for later information on this subject. DSL

Quite frankly why should we continue to read anything you have to say on the subject of full flush left.

You don't understand what it is you see.

A. You tell us the Zapruder camera could not, should not allow exposure to full flush left.

B. You tell us the red truck frames show a hard mechanical stop the prevents the image from extending to full flush left.

Of course neither is true.

The Zapruder camera has an aperture plate cut to allow the film to be exposed to "full flush left" as nomimal measurements show.

In the red truck frames the image does not stop because of some "hard mechanical stop" but rather a common case of the film being light struck...edge fog... a term which baffled you, destroys any image penetration that might have occured past the sporcket edges.

It's very clear you did not know what you were talking about, and had you actually admitted your errors then perhaps you could have maintained some of your intellectual honesty.

But it's been days since this has been pointed out to you, and more than enough time for you correct your error. I've yet to see that correction anywhere on this forum. Can you point it out to me?

If you can't your intellectual honesty will have taken a huge hit.

Full flush left is a major stinker of an arguement, a major straw grasp and as forwarded my both you and Horne one major handwave.

Again why should anyone listen to anything to have to say when it concerns full flush left?

Edited by Craig Lamson
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Guest James H. Fetzer

What complete and total rubbish from Josiah Thompson! We not only know that the film is a fabrication--a reconstruction, actually, where the frames had to be reshot to preserve the consistency of the "ghost panels" that are an artifact that links successive frames--but we know that the appeal to the chain of custody has been shattered by Doug Horne's work, which reinforces the reports from Homer McMahon that were already published in MURDER IN DEALEY PLAZA (2000). Horne has now enlisted the expert judgments of Hollywood restoration experts, who have been appalled by the extremely amateurish quality of the alterations, where the massive defect to the back of the head was painted over in black and the "blob" and the blood spray were painted in.

Josiah Thompson has now denied that he is an expert on the medical evidence or even--astonishingly!--on the film. But it doesn't take a Yale Ph.D. to notice the blatant inconsistency between the McClelland diagram and the testimony of Officer Hargis to realize that something is drastically wrong: the film shows a blow-out to the right front, while the diagram and the officer prove it was to the left-rear. This very modest form of medical evidence has received massive substantiation over the years, including the chapter by Gary Aguilar in MURDER, which Josiah has praised. But if McClelland, Hargis, and Aguilar are right, the the film is a fake. Now Josiah continues his elaborate charade by once again defending its authenticity? This is a complete and total obscenity.

OpEdNews

Original Content at http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_ji..._of_jfk_fil.htm

February 5, 2008

New Proof of JFK Film Fakery: "Conclusive Evidence," Experts Claim

By Jim Fetzer

Madison, WI (OpEdNews) February 5, 2008 — The editor of Assassination Research, James H. Fetzer, Ph.D., has announced the discovery of new proof that the home movies of the assassination of JFK known as the Zapruder film and a second known as the Nix film are fakes. (The Nix film was taken from the opposite side looking toward “the grassy knoll.”) Both were subject to extensive alteration to fabricate evidence of the crime and keep the truth about the sequence of events in Dealey Plaza from the American people. Fetzer, McKnight Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota, observed that the films are authentic only if the visible events they record correspond to the actual sequence of events at the time. “This proof is based upon the convergent testimony of motorcycle patrolmen, members of the Secret Service, and the Dallas Chief of Police. That it contradicts the official account of the assassination recorded in the films qualifies as a major breakthrough.”

The evidence emerged as an unexpected outcome of the collation of eyewitness reports in Dealey Plaza conducted by John P. Costella, Ph.D., who co-edits assassinationresearch.com with Fetzer. Costella earned his Ph.D. in physics with a specialty in electromagnetism, including the physics of light and of moving objects. What he discovered were multiple, consistent and reinforcing reports that James Chaney, a motorcycle patrolman who was to the right rear of the presidential limousine, rode forward to tell Jesse Curry, Dallas Chief of Police—who was in the lead car with the head of the Secret Service in Dallas, Agent Forrest Sorrels, and a second Secret Service Agent, Winston Lawson—that the President had been shot. This led Chief Curry to issue instructions for the limousine to be escorted to Parkland Hospital, where the President would be pronounced dead 30 minutes later. Bobby Hargis, a motorcycle patrolman riding on the left rear, confirmed Chaney’s report. But this sequence is in neither the Zapruder film nor the Nix film.

During the past dozen years, substantial evidence of the Zapruder film’s alteration has accumulated in a research effort that became serious in 1996 during a symposium at the JFK Lancer Conference in November. Fetzer brought together numerous experts on the film, including Jack White, David W. Mantik, and Noel Twyman, the author of Bloody Treason (1997), which includes scientific studies of the film’s authenticity. Twyman, a retired engineer, had noticed that the driver of the President’s limousine, SSA William Greer, had turned to look at JFK and then turned back with preternatural speed. He hired a professional tennis player to study how fast human head turns could be made and determined that Greer’s head turns were approximately twice as fast as humanly possible. That might not sound like much initially, but it would be like converting a 4 minute mile into a 2 minute mile. Based upon this research, Twyman had discovered objective evidence of the removal of frames from the film.

Studies published in The Great Zapruder Film Hoax (2003), provide overwhelming additional proof of alteration, including technical studies by Costella. For example, Frame 232, which had previously been published in LIFE magazine, turned out to have optically impossible features. He also discovered that, in recreating the film, which had to have its frames re-shot using sophisticated techniques of optical printing and special effects—in order to avoid disclosing the deception via “ghost images” in the sprocket area, which cannot be reproduced—the conspirators had made mistakes during their reinsertion of images of the Stemmons Freeway sign and of a lamppost. Moreover, Erwin Schwartz, an associate of Abraham Zapruder, reported seeing JFK’s brains blown outward to the left and to the rear, while several agents of the Secret Service had reported being nauseated by the blood and the brains splattered across the trunk of the car. Neither is visible today in “the Zapruder film”. A visual seminar of Costella’s research is archived at assasssinationscience.com.

Part of the power of Costella’s new findings is that they can be appraised by anyone with access to the film, which is archived at the same site, and his collation of reports at Assassination Research 5/1 (2007), http://assassinationresearch/v5n1/v5n1costella.pdf . As illustrations of what he has uncovered, here are some of the reports from the officials who were involved:

* James Chaney (motorcycle patrolman on right rear of the Presidential limousine): “I went ahead of the President’s car to inform Chief Curry that the President had been hit. And then he instructed us over the air to take him to Parkland Hospital and that Parkland was standing by.”

* Bobby Hargis (motorcycle patrolman on left rear of the Presidential limousine): “The motorcycle officer on the right side of the car was Jim Chaney. He immediately went forward and announced to the Chief that the President had been shot.”

* Winston Lawson (Secret Service Agent in the lead car in front of the Presidential limousine): “A motorcycle escort officer pulled along side our Lead Car and said the President had been shot. Chief Curry gave a signal over the radio for police to converge on the area of the incident.”

* Forrest Sorrels (Secret Service Agent in the lead car in front of the Presidential limousine): “A motorcycle patrolman pulled up alongside of the car and Chief Curry yelled, ‘Is anybody hurt?’, to which the officer responded in the affirmative.”

* Chief Jesse Curry (in the lead car in front of the Presidential limousine): “. . . about this time a motorcycle officer, I believe it was Officer Chaney, rode up beside us and I asked if something happened back there and he said, ‘Yes,’ and I said ‘Has somebody been shot?” And he said, ‘I think so.’”

There are multiple sources for their testimony, which is corroborated by that of others, including, for example, Marrion Baker, a Dallas Police Officer, who immediately thereafter entered the Book Depository and confronted Lee Oswald in the 2nd floor lunchroom. Costella’s study provides additional citations.

This stunning new proof of the fabrication of the two most important films of the assassination focuses attention on the agency in immediate control of the most important evidence in the assassination, which was the Secret Service. Indeed, there are more than 15 indications of Secret Service complicity in setting up JFK for the hit, including leaving two Secret Service agents at Love Field; ordering the vehicles in the wrong sequence, with the President’s first instead of in the middle of the motorcade; not welding manhole covers; not covering the open windows; allowing the crowd to spill out into the street; ordering the 112th Military Intelligence unit to “stand down”; directing the accompanying motorcycle officers to not ride forward beyond the rear wheels; taking an improper motorcade route; not responding when shots began to be fired; pulling the limo to the left and to a halt to insure he would be killed; using a bucket of water and sponge to clean blood and brains from the back seat at Parkland Hospital; sending the limo back to Ford Motor Company to be dismantled and rebuilt; and removing autopsy photos and X-rays from Bethesda, making them unavailable during preparation of the autopsy report. The fabrication and distortion of the photographic record is the final missing piece of the complex puzzle of the cover-up in the assassination.

These are not the only indications of Secret Service complicity, Fetzer said. In the wake of the enormous resurgence of interest in the assassination following the release of Oliver Stone’s “JFK”, Congress passed a JFK Records Act creating a five-member civilian board entrusted with the responsibility of declassifying documents and records held by the CIA, the FBI, the Secret Service, and other government organizations, where the panel’s decisions could only be overridden by the President himself, who was then Bill Clinton. Although Clinton never intervened to stop the release of evidence, when the Secret Service learned that the panel wanted copies of Presidential Protection Records for other motorcades involving President Kennedy, instead of releasing them it destroyed them. “I can’t imagine a more telling indication of consciousness of guilt,” said Fetzer, who has edited three books and chaired or co-chaired four conferences on the death of JFK.

Among the most important proofs of film alteration have been those provided by Doug Horne, who became Senior Analyst for Military Affairs for the civilian board (technically, the Assassination Records Review Board or the “ARRB”), and by Rich DellaRosa, who reports having viewed the unaltered film on three occasions. Horne interviewed Homer McMahon, who was then in charge of the color photo section of the National Photo Interpretation Center, who told him that an agent identifying himself as “William Smith” brought him a copy of the film the night of the assassination, asking him to prepare a briefing board for an unidentified official. He said he had viewed the film at least ten times and determined that there had been six to eight impacts from at least three different directions. Horne’s report appears in Murder in Dealey Plaza (2000) along with studies of the medical evidence demonstrating that JFK was hit four times: once in the throat (from in front), once in the back (from behind), and twice in the head (from behind and from in front). So if Connally was hit as many as three times (from the side), there were as many as seven impacts from three directions.

Another fascinating source of information has come from Rich DellaRosa, who today moderates a research site at JFKresearch.com. He reports having seen what appears to be the original film on three occasions. He observed the limo driver steer to the left. The stop was so sudden that it jostled the occupants. This observation is confirmed by close study of the Zapruder film itself, where frames show passengers being thrown forward immediately after the head shot at Frame 313. This indicates that the sequence of events has been reversed. There were actually two head shots before the vehicle resumed its forward movement. DellaRosa’s report can be found as Appendix E of The Great Zapruder Film Hoax (2003), which includes a color photo section that reveals the massive blow-out to the President’s head, which is visible in Frame 374. It corresponds closely to diagrams from physicians and Mantik’s study of the alteration of the cranial X-rays. These fabrications were used to discount witness reports (at least 40, including at Parkland and at Bethsda) of such a blowout.

That Greer pulled the limo to the left and stopped was such powerful proof of Secret Service complicity that it had to be taken out. Jack White, a legendary photo-analyst, has detected dozens and dozens of anomalies in the photos and films from the assassination and has been the most consistent critic of the presumption of authenticity of the film in the history of its study. “The Zapruder film was a necessary part of the plot so the conspirators could control the official story,” White observed. “The motorcade stopping and anything associated with that sequence had to be removed. The lead car pulled to the curb, along with the other cars, and Chaney rode forward to advise Curry. Any actual film of the motorcade at that moment would show chaos—conflicting with the needs of the official story. It had to be massively edited to keep control.”

Earlier studies of the film’s authenticity have included disagreements between eyewitnesses and the film; disagreements between early viewers of the film in November 1963 versus what is currently available; disagreements between the film and other photographs and movies; disagreements between the film and the first two reenactments; and internal inconsistencies in the film. In Assassination Science (1998), David W. Mantik, Ph.D., M.D., laid out a summary of the evidence then available of Zapruder alteration. He observed that Milicent Cranor, an independent investigator, had noticed reports that Chaney had traveled to the lead car, which is not present in the Nix film in PROBE (November-December 1997). Costella's independent research thus substantiates and corroborates earlier studies by Mantik and Cranor, which were not fully appreciated at the time.

In The Great Zapruder Film Hoax (2003), Mantik, who earned a Ph.D. in physics from Wisconsin and an M.D. from Michigan, demonstrated that an early study by Luis Alvarez, a Nobel Prize winner in physics, often cited in support of the film’s authenticity, involved the selective use of evidence, and that an analysis of the Muchmore film­—another of perhaps a half-dozen most important films covering various parts of the assassination—showed that it, too, had been subjected to alteration and could not be taken to be authentic. Those who attempt to defend the authenticity of the Zapruder film by contending that its alteration would have required alterations to these other films have lost their presumption that the other films have not been altered. Costella’s proof not only demonstrates the alteration of the Zapruder film in a fashion that even non-experts can see with their own eyes, but also adds the Nix film to the list of those whose authenticity has been impeached.

“The official account presented in The Warren Report (1964) and in Gerald Posner’s Case Closed (1992),” Fetzer said, “is predicated upon the ‘magic bullet’ theory and the authenticity of the films and photographs." The "magic bullet" theory, however, is not only provably false but not even anatomically possible as his study, “Reasoning about Assassinations” (2005), http://assassinationscience.com/ReasoningA...assinations.pdf , explains. "I have been stunned by the lengths to which some have gone in their attempts to defend the Zapruder film from criticism. Josiah Thompson, author of Six Seconds in Dallas (1967), an analysis based on the film, recently appeared in ‘Oswald’s Ghost,’ an obvious work of disinformation, and asserted, ‘The Zapruder film is the basic evidence in this case’! That is not only an abuse of language—since, as David Lifton, author of Best Evidence (1980), has emphasized, the body is the best evidence—but we have conclusive evidence that the film has been faked.”

Fetzer also expressed disillusionment with Noam Chomsky, who has dismissed the very idea that JFK was taken out by a conspiracy. “Major policy issues were involved here, including withdrawing our advisors from Vietnam, reforming or abolishing the Fed, cracking down on organized crime, and cutting the oil depletion allowance. LBJ wanted to be ‘President of all the people’ and his chance was slipping through his fingers. Even Nixon was quoted in the Dallas paper that morning speculating that he would not be on the ticket in 1964. Discoveries like these indicate high-level complicity by elements of various agencies, including the Secret Service and the FBI. I hope that skeptics like Chomsky and zealots like Thompson finally come to their senses. Not only is the Zapruder film a fake but other films and photographs, such as the Nix and Muchmore, have been altered to conform to it.”

Author's Website: www.d.umn.edu/~jfetzer/

Author's Bio: McKnight Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota, Duluth; Founder, Scholars for 9/11 Truth; Editor, Assassination Research.

A Few Thoughts on the Zapruder Film

Think for a moment of what our knowledge of November 22nd would be without the Zapruder film.

Sure we’d have the other films shot in Dealey Plaza and the Moorman photo and the Altgens photo. From the other films and witness reports we’d have some fragmentary sense that JFK might have been bowled over backwards by the shot that killed him. But we’d have nothing firm, nothing that was indisputable. And the single-bullet theory would have nothing concrete to show the impacts on the two men were off in timing. There would be a general fog over the event complicated by contradictory witness reports and physical evidence that made things even less clear. Whatever happened that day would remain forever a mystery.

No one could have expected we would have an 8 mm film taken from the position a Hollywood film crew would have picked to film the assassination. From back in the spring of 1964 when John and Mrs. Connally and several Parkland doctors were confronted with the film, it became clear that this completely unexpected gift to knowledge of the shooting was causing insuperable difficulties for the official story. Point after point raised by critics since that time have depended upon details available to inspection only via the film.

The film could have been seized as evidence. Forrest Sorrels could have watched the film after its development at the Kodak plant in Dallas and said to Abraham Zapruder, “I’m sorry, Mr. Zapruder, I’m seizing your film as evidence in this crime.” At any time that weekend, the film could have been seized. It would have disappeared into government hands never to reappear or only to reappear in whatever guise was decided. What saved this film from that fate is still to me unclear. If there was a giant conspiracy to make the shooting look like the work of an isolated lone nut and if the film was central piece in the puzzle why not just seize it? No one then would have objected and the conspirators would have covered any angles with respect to the film that they needed to cover.

Some have asked why I have so vehemently defended the authenticity of the Zapruder film.

Professor Fetzer, always ready to impugn the motives of anyone he disagrees with, has claimed that I defend the authenticity of the Zapruder film because Six Seconds was built on it. That, of course, is untrue. Six Seconds was built on the concept that no one had tried to reconstruct what happened in Dealey Plaza from the available evidence. We knew the Warren Report was woefully defective but that didn’t mean that we knew what happened that November noon. Six Seconds was an attempt to answer that question. In answering the question, it drew on every piece of evidence available at that time. To this day, the Zapruder film remains a central and indispensable piece of evidence. Hence, I relied on it as everyone else did and does. In spite of what Fetzer says, Six Seconds was not built on the Zapruder film and I have never claimed to be an expert on it.

I believe the Zapruder film to be authentic because no significant case has ever been made to show its inauthenticity. It is elementary that photos and films of the same event taken from different vantage points have to match. If one doesn’t, it stands out like a sore thumb. In spite of persistent and long-lasting efforts that stretch now over several decades, no one has yet been able to show any discrepancy in the photo record of Dealey Plaza. The photo record from Dealey Plaza forms a self-authenticating whole Given this fact, the exponents of Zapruder film tampering have had to expand the circle of faked-up films to encompass virtually the whole inventory of films and photos of the assassination.

The long-lasting argument over Mary Moorman’s position in the Zapruder film illustrates this point. Jack White mismeasured a line-of-sight present in the Moorman photo that would establish the height of her camera above the ground. When the mistake was pointed out and the line-of-sight correctly measured, it coincided with the position of Moorman’s camera in the Zapruder film. This sort of exact correspondence between different photos and films establishes the basis for the film’s authenticity.

Recently, it has become apparent that another, distinctly different kind of evidence confirms the authenticity of the film. I have in mind here the acoustic evidence. With the revelations brought forward by Don Thomas in the last decade, it is now possible to see that shot events on the Dallas police channel can be correlated exactly with visual events in the Zapruder film. Both the impact of shots on the occupants of the limousine and the involuntary startle response of Zapruder to these shots can be shown to match up exactly with the shots on the Dallas police channel.

Putting these two elements together provide us for the first time with an armature on which to both hang and evaluate other evidence. What does that armature look like? Five shots from three directions. The fourth at Z 313 from the stockade fence. One or two from a location at the north end of Elm Street. Two or three from the TSBD 6th floor window. Additional work needs to be done, but, for the first time, I can see a consensus solution to the puzzle. From the very beginning, the Zapruder film has been the bugaboo of the Warren Commission and the most indisputable evidence of a shot from the right front. With the advances of the last decade, this consensus solution will form a basis for future historians when they get around to writing a history of the event.

At certain times, it has come to seem that any questioning of Zapruder film tampering was a reactionary move... a protective move on the part of “the old guard” to protect its turf and reputations. In reality, nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, it is the proven authenticity of the Zapruder film that vouches safe a scientifically confirmed reconstruction of the event. This fact is becoming ever more clear as wrangling over the film continues even more heatedly.

An example of this wrangling has occupied us over the last week. Back in 2003, David Lifton claimed that Doug Horne had found in Zavada’s experiments significant evidence that the Zapruder film was a fake. The evidence? Using cameras of the same make and model as Zapruder’s, Zavada had been unable to achieve “full flush left image penetration.” “In not one instance – not a single one – could Rollie Zavada get the image to go full flush left,” wrote Lifton in Fetzer’s book, TGZFH. “It couldn’t be done because the camera just isn’t designed that way.”

Lifton and Fetzer even published photos from Zavada’s studies to demonstrate their claim. Zavada, however, was having none of it. He pointed out two photos from his studies showed precisely the effect Lifton said he could not achieve. One of these was actually used by Fetzer and Lifton in a blurry, black and white version. When the photo was scanned from Zavada’s study and it exhibited “full flush left image penetration” Fetzer and Lifton agreed that it falsified Lifton’s claim. Why had it been published with text that said the opposite? Fetzer said it was Lifton’s fault. Although Lifton had produced the blurry, black and white version, he said he had never seen the clear color original in Zavada’s Study #3.

Lifton and Doug Horne have been working on this issue since at least 2003. Again and again we have heard the complaint that Rollie Zavada did not run test shots though the Zapruder camera. They have proposed that even now test shots be made by filming Dealey Plaza with the Zapruder camera. As Duncan MacRae brilliantly pointed out yesterday, precisely such a film was made in the spring of 1964 and sits in NARA. Zapruder’s camera as well as other cameras were used in 1964 to take test shots during the reconstruction. If this film in NARA shows what we have every expectation it will show, then this little theory.... like “the seven foot woman,” like “Moorman-in-the-Street,” like all the silly-ass little sketches made for tabloids that I can’t remember... will end up like all the others in the dust pile.

And so it goes. The exponents of alteration will continue finding ever more arcane reasons for believing the film has been altered by shadowy conspirators. The argument over this will proceed into its second decade and maybe its third. Meanwhile, the path of fruitful inquiry will continue to lie elsewhere. As for me, I’m sure many others will pursue this question and be able to mount the appropriate counter-arguments to each new iteration of the alteration claim. I hope you will all understand if I say that after a decade of arguing against this claim, I have better things to do. Why, for example, should I even care to learn what “full frame left image penetration” is when it finally leads nowhere and when its exponents could have resolved the question years ago?

Josiah Thompson

Edited by James H. Fetzer
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If you can't your intellectual honesty will have taken a huge hit.

Only in your fantasy world Craig

The rest of us hold Lifton in a much higher regard then you and your motley crew of anti-alterationists

Edited by Dean Hagerman
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If you can't your intellectual honesty will have taken a huge hit.

Only in your fantasy world Craig

The rest of us hold Lifton in a much higher regard then you and your motley crew of anti-alterationists

Can you dispute the data I have put forth and that Lifton can't or won't deal with directly?

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I'd be interested to find out why you think the acoustics evidence is invalid, Ray.

I was present in the room when on September 17, 1977 Mary Ferrell told Blakey that a "radio guy" had given her a copy of the Dallas radio channel where shots occur. It didn't start with Blakey. It started with Mary Ferrell and the Blakey's conference with critics in Washington on September 17, 1977. Then the old homicide inspector from Baltimore, Moriarty, was sent to Dallas and befriended various DPD officers. When he came back with the dictabelt recording, Blakey had it sent off to Cambridge for review. Barger reviewed it and out of his review came both the reconstruction firing test and further review by Weiss and Ashkenazy. This record surely looks like Blakey is simply following up on a piece of evidence handed to him and not a ploy by Blakey "to shore up 399.. etc."

It is beginning to look like what was studied was a copy and not the original... although this certainly has not been decided. Right now there is one item of cross-talk that places the shot impulses right where they should be if they are indeed shots. There is one other item of cross-talk that places the shot impulses about 30 seconds off. If what was studied was a copy not an original, it becomes easier to understand how this cross-talk problem came to be.

I agree with you that the jet effect/neuro theory and Guinn's NAA tests have been shown to be silly science. However, I think the acoustics are something quite different. Please let me know why you reject the acoustics evidence.

Josiah Thompson

I believe the Zapruder film to be authentic because no significant case has ever been made to show its inauthenticity.

I agree. Zapruder authenticated the film under oath on two separate occasions and the alterationists have not met the burden of proving that he was either lying or mistaken.

Recently, it has become apparent that another, distinctly different kind of evidence confirms the authenticity of the film. I have in mind here the acoustic evidence. ... Putting these two elements together provide us for the first time with an armature on which to both hang and evaluate other evidence. What does that armature look like? Five shots from three directions.

Profound disagreement here. The acoustics have led the research community on a wild goose chase, and continue to do so. Josiah THompson was the first (or one of the first) Warren critics to argue that CE399 was planted. If it was planted, it was planted in an effort to PROVE that the SN rifle was the murder weapon. The acoustics evidence was introduced by Blakey to shore up CE399, the magic bullet theory, and to disprove claims by critics that the Sniper's Nest evidence was planted. If CE399 was planted, then so were the limo fragments found in Washington.

FOr the HSCA the acoustics, the Jet Effect/Neuro theory, and GUinn's bullet lead theory formed a three-legged stool PROVING that the autopsy was correct and that JFK was killed by shots from the TSBD. All three legs of that stool have collapsed under scrutiny, including the acoustics.

I suggest that Josiah keep that in mind as he dons his goggles to plunge into Doug Horne's study of the medical evidence.

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It is beginning to look like what was studied was a copy and not the original... although this certainly has not been decided. Right now there is one item of cross-talk that places the shot impulses right where they should be if they are indeed shots. There is one other item of cross-talk that places the shot impulses about 30 seconds off. If what was studied was a copy not an original, it becomes easier to understand how this cross-talk problem came to be.

Well Josiah you probably taught your philosophy students back in the day that MIGHT BE's do not warrant anyone's BELIEF.

I agree with you that the jet effect/neuro theory and Guinn's NAA tests have been shown to be silly science.

And so far the acoustics have fared no better. I submit that, when it came to finding novel scientific theories, Blakey was infallible. He was ALWAYS wrong.

However, I think the acoustics are something quite different. Please let me know why you reject the acoustics evidence.

I am not going to hang my hat on a MAYBE - maybe the acoustics will prove 3 shots from the TSBD. I have serious doubts that 3 shots (or any shots) were fired from the TSBD, and the present precarious position of the Acoustics -- dangling on the fringes of the scientific community, with all due respect to Don Thomas -- gives me no good reason to BELIEVE.

I would turn the question around, Josiah, and ask you WHY YOU BELIEVE, apart from your personal admiration for Don THomas.

I am assuming that THomas's version of the acoustics claims 3 shots from the TSBD. If so, do you think there are OTHER good reasons --besides the opinion of Don THomas -- to believe in 3 shots from the TSBD?

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Right now we have to assume that the original dictabelt is the one that has been studied although certain features of it suggest it may be a copy. Even if we assume it is an original the acousitics evidence stands up scientifically. So I'm not basing my opinion on a "maybe."

Right now all Don Thomas or anyone else can say is that one shot came from the stockade fence and four from the north end of Elm Street. Timing of the shots from the north end of Elm Street suggests all those shots could not have come from the rifle found in the Depository. Much more than that would just be guesswork right now.

Josiah Thompson

It is beginning to look like what was studied was a copy and not the original... although this certainly has not been decided. Right now there is one item of cross-talk that places the shot impulses right where they should be if they are indeed shots. There is one other item of cross-talk that places the shot impulses about 30 seconds off. If what was studied was a copy not an original, it becomes easier to understand how this cross-talk problem came to be.

Well Josiah you probably taught your philosophy students back in the day that MIGHT BE's do not warrant anyone's BELIEF.

I agree with you that the jet effect/neuro theory and Guinn's NAA tests have been shown to be silly science.

And so far the acoustics have fared no better. I submit that, when it came to finding novel scientific theories, Blakey was infallible. He was ALWAYS wrong.

However, I think the acoustics are something quite different. Please let me know why you reject the acoustics evidence.

I am not going to hang my hat on a MAYBE - maybe the acoustics will prove 3 shots from the TSBD. I have serious doubts that 3 shots (or any shots) were fired from the TSBD, and the present precarious position of the Acoustics -- dangling on the fringes of the scientific community, with all due respect to Don Thomas -- gives me no good reason to BELIEVE.

I would turn the question around, Josiah, and ask you WHY YOU BELIEVE, apart from your personal admiration for Don THomas.

I am assuming that THomas's version of the acoustics claims 3 shots from the TSBD. If so, do you think there are OTHER good reasons --besides the opinion of Don THomas -- to believe in 3 shots from the TSBD?

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I'd be interested to find out why you think the acoustics evidence is invalid, Ray.

I was present in the room when on September 17, 1977 Mary Ferrell told Blakey that a "radio guy" had given her a copy of the Dallas radio channel where shots occur. It didn't start with Blakey. It started with Mary Ferrell and the Blakey's conference with critics in Washington on September 17, 1977. Then the old homicide inspector from Baltimore, Moriarty, was sent to Dallas and befriended various DPD officers. When he came back with the dictabelt recording, Blakey had it sent off to Cambridge for review. Barger reviewed it and out of his review came both the reconstruction firing test and further review by Weiss and Ashkenazy. This record surely looks like Blakey is simply following up on a piece of evidence handed to him and not a ploy by Blakey "to shore up 399.. etc."

It is beginning to look like what was studied was a copy and not the original... although this certainly has not been decided. Right now there is one item of cross-talk that places the shot impulses right where they should be if they are indeed shots. There is one other item of cross-talk that places the shot impulses about 30 seconds off. If what was studied was a copy not an original, it becomes easier to understand how this cross-talk problem came to be.

I agree with you that the jet effect/neuro theory and Guinn's NAA tests have been shown to be silly science. However, I think the acoustics are something quite different. Please let me know why you reject the acoustics evidence.

Josiah Thompson

Josiah, while I remain open to the possibility the bleeps on the dictabelt represent shots, there is a real problem with the acoustics evidence as presented by the HSCA's experts and Don Thomas. McClain wasn't where they said he was when they said he was. His mike was almost certainly not the one stuck open. I met McClain at a Lancer conference. He says he suspects Kennedy was killed by a conspiracy. But he also insists his mike was NOT stuck open on 11-22-63.

I discuss this briefly in chapter 6 at patspeer.com.

The slide below demonstrates that McClain was near Houston and Main at frame 160 of the Z-film. So how could he be near Houston and Elm at frame 190, less than 2 seconds later? He was traveling at most 12 mph. Even if possible, why would he have sped up to 80 mph for a few seconds PRIOR to the sound of the first shot?

momotorcade2.jpg

There are other problems as well. From chapter 6 at patspeer.com:

"As officer Courson said he passed a downed motorcycle and saw an officer crawling up the grass, and as this officer could only be Officer Haygood, Courson clearly turned onto Elm after Officer Haygood. As Malcolm Couch was in camera car #3, and as he began filming from the intersection of Houston and Elm, and as he then panned back to the street as Officer Haygood cut around the car, and as this revealed another officer just ahead of Haygood by camera car #1, we can conclude then that the officer ahead of Haygood was not Officer Courson but Officer McClain, the only officer in the area not behind Haygood. McClain’s presence in this image creates a huge problem for supporters of the dictabelt evidence. If the microphone purported to be McClain's was by the Cabell car, two cars ahead of camera car # 1, when the shots rang out, and then traveled at a constant speed through the plaza, as purported by those defending the dictabelt evidence, why was McClain riding by camera car #1, which had slowed down to a near-stop when the shots rang out, 20 or 30 seconds later?"

Edited by Pat Speer
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Right now we have to assume that the original dictabelt is the one that has been studied although certain features of it suggest it may be a copy. Even if we assume it is an original the acousitics evidence stands up scientifically. So I'm not basing my opinion on a "maybe."

When you say STANDS UP SCIENTIFICALLY you are completely discounting the National ACADEMY OF SCIENCE.

Based on the NAS findings, it is fair to say that the theory that the assassination was recorded on the Dallas Police dictabelt is NOT GENERALLY RECOGNIZED in the relevant scientific community.

If the best scientists assembled by the NAS unanimously say the original acoustics evidence is wrong, then who am I to disagree, especially since I can see no other good reasons to believe the theory that 3 or 4 shots were fired from the North side of Elm?

Right now all Don Thomas or anyone else can say is that one shot came from the stockade fence and four from the north end of Elm Street.

We have good reasons to believe that the throat wound was an entry wound, and we have good reasons to believe that the shot at Z313 came from the from the front also, so Thomas's theory doesn't jibe with other evidence.

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