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The Three Tramps

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I have a theory on the tramps situation that I have pondered about for quite a long time. Just wondered what others' take on it is. Again I am ill prepared, but it's just an idea.

Each of the three tramps seems to have been identified by many with at least two or more possibilities. Players or suspected players in the assassination plot.

I have wondered that these three individuals, whoever their actual identity was were actually chosen and set up in that railroad car deliberately, just to be rounded up and herded down to the police station with an assured photo-op. Just to create controversy and chaos.

We have those insisting that Hunt was involved and in Dallas that day. I believe it was 'High Treason' (have not had an opportunity to review that book since the 90's) that showed a photo of someone in Dealey that day which looked like Sturgis (perhaps taken from the Z or other film – just don't recall exactly). Sturgis may very well have been there in Dealey, and involved. Then perhaps they chose a Charles Rogers (or other) look-alike for the lead tramp, and so forth.

Perhaps one of the tramps really was Chuck Harrelson, his role being only that of a ringer and a dodge! These chosen tramps may have known little about the operation other than what it was desired for them to do. Be discovered and herded to PD – and photographed. Or at minimum, just be assembled and then of course they were later discovered and herded in.

This creates chaos and cover for their look-alikes that may really have been involved in the operation.

Perhaps the three tramps really were who the official story revealed. They just looked like some key ops just to provide the opportunity to say “no – it certainly wasn't so and so – it was just so and so!”

Chauncey Holt could very well have been one of them, planted to be displayed – a look-alike, his only real role in this thing.

If this were so, perhaps the ego trips later on prompted those like Harrelson and Holt to submit some enhanced comments about their roles. Each could have been manipulated in some way and perhaps false reasons given for their assembly in that railroad car that day.

Any thoughts?

- Jerry Ellis

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I'm sure somebody will correct me if I'm wrong here, but weren't the three tramps finally identified in the '90s? They really were just tramps, right?

James Di Eugenio argues (on the Alex Jones thread) that the identity of the three suspicious - looking characters known colloquially as the Three Tramps has been authoritatively established as Doyle, Gedney & Abrams.

The most complete account of this theory is in Vincent Bugliosi's book Reclaiming History.

Bugliosi writes:

Even before the JFK Act, in October of 1992, ordered the release of all records relate d

to the assassination of any "local law enforcement office " that assisted in the investigation

of the assassination, the Dallas Police Department released thousands of pages o f

arrest and investigation reports on January 27, 1992 . On February 3, 1992, at the Dallas

Municipal Archives and Records Center journalist Mary La Fontaine, after finding nothing

of any real value among these recently declassified and released documents, discovered

among a different batch of documents voluntarily released by the department bac k

in 1989, the arrest records (which, as indicated, were previously thought to have neve r

existed, or to have been destroyed) of the "three tramps ."Their names were Harold Doyle,

John F. Gedney, and Gus W. Abrams ."

According to their November 22, 1963, arrest reports, filed by Dallas police officer W.

E. Chambers, the three tramps, Doyle (age thirty-three, home address Red Jacket, Wes t

Virginia), Gedney (thirty-eight, home address "None "), and Abrams (fifty-three, home

address "None") were arrested as " investigative prisoners " for vagrancy and robbery. The

sparse report says they were "taken off a boxcar in the railroad yards right after Presiden t

Kennedy was shot." The reports said the men "are all passing through [town] . They have

no jobs, etc." The three were kept in custody until 9:25 on the morning of November 2 6

and released .

A front-page article on Mary La Fontaine's discovery written by her and her husband ,

Ray, in the Houston Post on February 9, 1992, prompted an immediate search for the

tramps by the FBI and many others . But it was the La Fontaines themselves who tracked

down Harold Doyle in 1992 in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and who ended up producing a

February 25, 1992, segment on A Current Affair on their search for and interview of Doyle

which received the highest rating, a 14 share, in Current Affair history. In the interview,

Doyle said that although he had heard of the tramp controversy throughout the years, h e

never came forward because to do so might implicate him in the assassination, and "th e

tramps had nothing to do with it ." As for the notoriety of identifying himself, he said, " I

am a plain guy, a simple country boy, and that's the way I want to stay . I wouldn ' t be a

celebrity for $10 million .

On February 29, 1992, four days later, the Portland office o f

the FBI interviewed Doyle, who advised the agents that around the time of the assassination,

he, Gus Abrams, and John Gedney had been riding the rails in Texas. The three

arrived in Dallas during the early morning hours of November 22, 1963, and spent th e

night at the Irving Street Mission in Dallas, where they "showered, cleaned up," and were

fed . After a noon meal, they headed to the railroad yards intending to hop a freight t o

Fort Worth . While inside a "coal car" they were confronted by several police officers ,

who told them not to move or they'd be shot. They were arrested, he said, interrogated

about the assassination at the Dallas Police Department, and released a few days later.'

On February 26, 1992, the Tampa FBI office caught up with John Gedney in Mel -

bourne, Florida, where he was working as a code enforcement officer for the city. Back

in 1976, Gedney had obtained a bachelor of science degree from Northeastern University

in Boston. His relation of the events was the same as Doyle's, though he describes

the railroadcar they were arrested in as a "flatbed car with large sheets of steel" insid e

it . After he, Doyle, and Abrams were released, they rode the rails to Fort Worth, then to


Arizona, where they picked lettuce, then into Mexico and back to the states to Los Ange -

les, where the three of them split up, never seeing each other after that time . 89''

The following year, 1993, assassination researcher Kenneth Formet located the siste r

of the third tramp, Gus Abrams, and she identified him from the Dealey Plaza photos ,

saying he had died in Ohio in 1987 . She recalled that in the years around the assassination,

her brother "was always on the go, hopping trains and drinking wine, " and speculated

he didn't even know who the president of the United States was at the time . 90

From all appearances, and to the satisfaction of the FBI, the tramps turned out to b e

exactly what people had called them through the years, the conspiracy theorists comin g

up empty-handed once again .

There is no question in my mind that the search by conspiracy theorists for an assassin

or assassins other than Oswald will continue down through the ages .

FOOTNOTE: In a 2001 book, The Making of a Bum, Gedney said that for years up to and including the day of the assassination,

he was "a bona fide bum, tramp, hobo, rounder, and all-around drunken scoundrel . . . A scum-bag

[who] lived in doorways and cardboard boxes, begged for money to buy a meal but used it for cigarettes or

wine . . . My only allegiance was to the bottle" (Gedney, Making of a Bum, Preface, p.116) .

John McAdams site has a similar "take" on the issue, and includes a link to the text of the La Fontaine article in the Houston Chronicle.


My own take on the La Fontaines is here


This subject has come up on the forum and, while it is not disputed that Doyle & Co. were arrested that day, it seems there are not too many takers on this forum for the Doyle/Gedney/Abrams identification.

James Richards:

I don't buy the official Doyle, Gedney and Abrams identifications

Jack White:

All Frenchy tramp candidates must pass the vertical wrinkle test. All photos of him

show a deep VERTICAL "squint" wrinkle of the supra - orbital ridge between the

eyebrows. I notice such wrinkles because I have one, caused by "squinting" in

bright sunlight.

Ron Ecker:

Harold Doyle appears to have lost his vertical wrinkle over the years.


And then there are a great many people, Including Howard Hunt's eldest son St. John Hunt, who believe they can identify Howard Hunt is the oldman tramp, disguised to look older. I cannot locate my copy of Compulsive Spy by Tad Sculc, but I seem to recall that Hunt wore a disguise when he was "investigating" Ted Kennedy's involvement in the drowning at Chappaquidick.

My own assessment of the La Fontaines has never been a secret. When it comes to the JFK assassination, the La Fontaines can usually be counted upon to be FLAT WRONG!

Ditto for John McAdams and Vincent Bugliosi.

Bugliosi ALMOST gets one right when he says:

There is no question in my mind that the search by conspiracy theorists for an assassin

or assassins other than Oswald will continue down through the ages .

The truth is that the search will continue ONLY until doubts are put to rest:


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The tramps are a single thread in the fabric of evidence.

They should not be discarded for lack of importance, since we do not know their significance.

If the thread ever becomes unraveled, it may add to our understanding of the assassination, and may not.

But PLEASE...do not dismiss them as insignificant. Their significance is still unknown.


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Well, how about Harold Weisberg? He always thought this issue was nonsense--and a time waster.

I knew Harold Weisberg, and had great admiration for the man. But, as I have already stated on this forum, poor Harold did not have the FOGGIEST idea about who killed JFK.

And now Saint John is using it for his own purposes.

I have no doubt that St. John Hunt loved his father, as is only natural, though perhaps not as unequivocally as I loved my own father. I submit that the LAST THING any normal man would ever want to do is accuse his own father of involvement in a murder.

Keep it up. What did that former Black Panther infiltrator title his book: Spitting in the Wind.

You lost me on that one, old sport, but I do feel a great deal of sympathy for your position.

I would HATE to find myself -- as you do now -- in the same TINY corner as Vincent Bugliosi, John McAdams and Ray & Mary la Fontaine

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Guest Robert Morrow

My GUESS is the three tramps were folks who had no involvement in the JFK assassination.

However, I do think the identification of Edward Lansdale by Col. Fletcher Prouty and Gen. Victor Krulak is extremely important. Skim down and read the letter by Gen. Krulak identifying Ed Lansdale as on the sidewalk just 5 feet west of the Texas School Book Depository.

Major General Edward Lansdale was probably in operational charge of the assassination in Dallas. JFK did not make him ambassador to Vietnam in 1961, which Lansdale coveted. JFK did make Lansdale the Head of Operation Mongoose which was filled to the brim with CIA and anti-Castro Cubans who hated JFK as much as they hated Fidel Castro. Here is a photo of Lansdale taken on the sidewalk in front of and just a few feet west of the Texas School Book Depository: ! http://www.apfn.net/dcia/tramps1.jpg Fletcher Prouty gives his insights: http://www.prouty.org/letter.html

Here is a Lansdale bio: http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/COLDlansdale.htm

Also, Wikipedia on Lansdale: : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Lansdale

Forget the 3 tramps, the identification of Lansdale by Fletcher Prouty and General Krulak is the jewel in that photo! Edward Lansdale had a rectangular head: http://www.google.com/images?um=1&hl=en&rls=com.microsoft%3Aen-us%3AIE-SearchBox&tbs=isch%3A1&sa=1&q=gen+edward+lansdale&btnG=Search&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

Here is a 3/14/85 letter by Gen. Victor H. Krulak also identifying Edward Lansdale at the TSBD on 11/22/63: http://www.ratical.com/ratville/JFK/USO/appD.html Edward Lansdale, the CIA’s assassinations expert, - his presence in Dallas indicts the CIA.

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Welcome to the Forum, Robert. (I hope our apparent diametrically opposed politics would not interfere with any exchange we may at some time have, I make my position clear (socialist (trotskyist thread, 4th international) with a libertarian theology bent) and I admire you making yours clear in your bio).

re Tramps, I haven't spent much time on them because I really don't think they have much to do with the assassibation per se but have become a sticking point in the aftermath. Many were arrested on that day. There are only so many transport vehicles available and it was a short walk after all.

Having been a tramp on a number of occasions I can also say that it is also unlikely that if I was a copper I wouldn't want to stink my squad car up. Hygiene can be a problem.

It seems to me that two shotgun armed cops leading three hobos as they did would draw attention and snap happy photographers would se it as an opportunity and the rest is history (imo).

afa the rest I'll over time (I hope) learn more about your take on things.

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Yeah, me the guy who did nine installments taking apart Reclaiming History.

And I applaud you for it.

But I for one am not content to settle for the superficial Bugliosi/Fontaine whitewash of the 3 assassins

masquerading as tramps.

I recommend Canfield & Weberman's book Coup D'Etat in America as the STARTING POINT.


And I challenge you, Mr. Di Eugenio (or anyone else) to post a photograph of Doyle, Gedney or Abrams which even remotely resembles anyone in the so-called "tramp" photos.

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Thank you Duncan.

I HAD NOTTIN' TO DO WITH IT, says Harold Doyle, and I do not doubt the good man for one second.

Nearly everyone in the developed world (which SURELY includes the United States), even poor and obscure NOBODYS like Lee Oswald, have photos of themselves at different stages of life.

Does anyone have photos of Doyle, Gedney or Abrams as they looked circa 1963?

Edited by J. Raymond Carroll
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THe point being that the 3 tramps are them.

If the three tramps where those harmless men mentioned above, why then the strange behavior of Jonny Carson when Jim Garrison was trying to show this pic on his show back in the sixties? Carson was trying to deter Garrison showing that pic and said something to the effect that the TV-viewers could not see the pic (technically)...Garrison said: I am sure they can, trying to show the pic again only to found out that the TV Camera in front of him was off--the TV audience was shown a distance-shot instead...


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Ray: if you say something like "I have not seen a shred of evidence to support that Gedney etc, are the tramps." You sound as unbalanced and biased as Bugliosi writing "There is not a scintilla of evidence to support the idea of an FBI cover up in the JFK case."

Now hold on a cotton- picken' minute, Jim.

All I ask is for SOMEONE to post photos of of Gedney Doyle or Abrams circa 1963.

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How are they necessary to any assassination scenario?

That remains to be determined, like so much in this case.

On this page from Weberman's site, about 3/4ths of the way down


this caption appears: "A sketch of the assassin of Martin Luther King and the CHRIST tramp." (BTW I am not persuaded that Christ is Frenchy)

I am unable to post the images, but I think anyone who checks it out will be struck by the resemblance between "Frenchy" and the guy in the King sketch. So these "tramp" photos may be important not only in the JFK case, but also in solving the King assassination. And I have no doubt that the guy in the King sketch is NOT Harold Doyle.

But the man of the moment is Howard Hunt. I am 99.9% certain that Hunt is the oldman tramp, and Hunt's eldest son is similarly convinced. To my aging eyes, the La Fontaine candidate for oldman tramp has big cauliflower ears, unlike the ears on the oldman tramp and unlike the ears of Howard Hunt.

Jim Di Eugenio suggests that researchers risk being ridiculed if we pursue this issue. Jim is undoubtedly correct if he is referring to outfits like the New York Times, but his concern appears to be unwarranted if we are talking about Rolling Stone Magazine.

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