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The Trach Incision -


Tony Frank
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My two cents.

The autopsy doctors were never told about the Harper fragment until years after the assassination. I'm pretty sure I know why. The large fragment brought to the autopsy and x-rayed by Ebersole was found in the limousine on the flight back from Dallas. His description of this as occipital bone is of no value, as he was not a neuroanatomist or forensic anthropologist, and would be no more qualified to judge occipital bone from parietal bone than a dental hygienist.. It should be noted, moreover, that Ebersole was never interviewed in the days and months after the assassination, and his fifteen-years-on recollections are filled with inconsistencies. His use of the word "ecumonic" however, was not a mistake or some kind of joke. By "ecumonic" he almost certainly meant "ecchymotic" as in bruised or discolored by blood.

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I wonder, Pat, if the large fragment of bone found in the limo, and x-rayed by Ebersole, might not have been the back of JFK's head, seen lying on the back seat of the limo by Secret Service Agent Clint Hill? Coincidentally, isn't the occipital bone in the lower back of the skull?

" Mr. SPECTER. What did you observe as to President Kennedy's condition on arrival at the hospital? 
Mr. HILL. The right rear portion of his head was missing. It was lying in the rear seat of the car. His brain was exposed. There was blood and bits of brain all over the entire rear portion of the car. Mrs. Kennedy was completely covered with blood. There was so much blood you could not tell if there had been any other wound or not, except for the one large gaping wound in the right rear portion of the head. "

Oh wait, what am I saying, a Secret Service agent would not be qualified medically to be able to observe a large hole in the back of someone's head. I guess you'd have to be a neurosurgeon in order to make that kind of observation, just like Ebersole could not possibly be knowledgeable enough to identify a piece of occipital bone. And there's just no way that Ebersole might have been told to x-ray a fragment of occipital bone that had already been identified as occipitl bone by someone at the autopsy (or in Dallas) more than qualified to identify a fragment of occipital bone.

*sarcasm off*

Edited by Robert Prudhomme
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So, if we assume a "small irregular ecumonic area above the super ecolobular ridge" is some unenlightened transcriber's interpretation of a "small irregular ecchymotic area above the supraorbital ridge", is Ebersole saying the only thing they noticed about JFK, when they removed him from the coffin, was a small bruised or bloody area above his eyebrow ridge? As well as the surgical opening in his throat? Seriously? Was Ebersole blind? What about the front right half and the top of JFK's head being blown off, as the conspirators would have us believe? What about that great pink flap of God knows what we can see hanging down beside JFK's right cheek in the Zapruder film? You know, the one the useless doctors at Parkland missed, too.

Oh wait, I forgot. Jackie stuffed all of that back into his skull and precisely relocated all the parts of his scalp, making the big wound in the frontal bone invisible.

*sarcasm off, again*

Edited by Robert Prudhomme
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I'm not sure if I read your sarcasm correctly, Robert, but it sounds like you're leaning toward the proposition the large head wound was on the back of the head, ONLY, and that there was no large wound on the top of the head. If so, I hope you know, your beef is not just with me, but with Horne, Mantik, etc, who claim there was a huge hole on the top of the head that was sealed up by Jackie on the way over to Parkland, and went unnoticed by those attending the President at Parkland.

I , of course, think this is ludicrous. It makes a heckuva lot more sense to me that medical personnel would recall a large wound in an incorrect location than that they would miss one altogether. A large wound was observed at Parkland. A large wound was observed at Bethesda. The description of these wounds was similar, but the recollections for the location of this wound were inconsistent. It seems obvious to me, then, that those claiming the wound was somewhere other than where it is shown in the Zapruder film and autopsy photos were incorrect.

I've been through this a million times, and it's quite tedious, but I go through the head wound witnesses one by one in chapters 18c and 18d, and they are far more inconsistent than is presented in the conspiracy literature, and actually suggest a wound much higher on the skull than as proposed by most of those who've written on this topic. There's also this, which you've probably never seen before.

 

Re-reading Loftus

Since those rejecting the possibility the Parkland doctors could be mistaken about the location of Kennedy's head wound cite Professor Elizabeth Loftus in support of their position, a short discussion of Professor Loftus' research is in order.

First of all, here's their argument... On Table 3.1 of Loftus' 1979 book Eyewitness Testimony she presents a chart demonstrating memory accuracy in relation to saliency or importance. This shows that when it came to salient details, (what was determined after the event to be most frequently discussed or noticed) the recollections of the eyewitnesses to the event used as a test were 98% accurate, while the recollections of the details that were less widely noticed were only 61% accurate.

Well, this suggests (at least to those citing this chart, e.g. Dr. Gary Aguilar) that it would be extremely unlikely for so many witnesses to be mistaken as to the location of Kennedy's head wound.

But there are a number of problems with this conclusion. To begin with, this chart was based upon a 1971 study by Marshall et al (that was published in the Harvard Review) in which the "witnesses" were shown a short film, and then interviewed immediately thereafter. The interviewers had previously shown the film to another group of witnesses, who had listed what they had noticed in the film. And this list helped the interviewers determine what was "salient." The interviewers then asked the new group of witnesses a series of multiple choice questions, and from this they determined that the new group of witnesses was 98% accurate on the salient points.

The problem, of course, is that this study bears no resemblance to what happened with the Parkland witnesses.

1. The Parkland witnesses were not bystanders observing everything as closely as possible in anticipation they would be tested on it, but participants in a fast-moving and traumatic event.

2. The Parkland witnesses' first recollections as to the wound location were not given immediately after leaving Trauma Room One, but an hour or more afterwards, on up to 30 years or more afterwards.

3. There is no reason whatsoever to assume the precise wound location was a "salient" detail. The salient details in the study cited by Loftus, after all, were determined by pre-screening the film and noting what details were most often listed. There is no reason whatsoever to assume the precise location of the head wound would have been one of the details most listed by those watching a film of the President in Trauma Room One.

Now that might sound a bit silly. One should consider, however, that no one at Parkland Hospital had a clue where the shots came from, or what the position of the limousine was on Elm Street when the shots were fired. As a result, there is no reason to believe the exact location of the President’s head wound was of interest to them, and should be considered a salient detail. So...what was a salient detail, then, if not the exact wound location? Well, one such detail was whether or not the wound was a survivable wound. The witnesses, after all, were 100% consistent on that point. They all said "no."

And that's not the only point on which they were consistent. While recollections of the exact location of the President’s head wound varied from being on the top of his head to being at the very back of his head, all the witnesses remembered clearly and correctly that the wound was not on his face. It seems likely then that the main focus of everyone’s attention was the President’s face.

Now, this realization--that the witnesses were focused on Kennedy's face--helps support what we've already discussed regarding rotation and perception. The witnesses were mentally rotating Kennedy's face while looking at his wounds and this led to some confusion as to the exact location of the head wound beyond that it was in his hair in back of his face.

Or not. We will almost certainly never know exactly why so many doctors got it wrong. But it's enough to know that mistakes of this nature are actually quite common, and of no surprise whatsoever to the cognitive psychologists tasked with studying such mistakes.

Don't believe me? Well, then, let's go back to Loftus. Yep, when I finally got around to reading Elizabeth Loftus' book Eyewitness Testimony for myself--as opposed to reading summaries of her work by those claiming it supported the accuracy of the Parkland witnesses--I realized just how WRONG it was for anyone to claim her work supports the accuracy of the Parkland witnesses.

Sure, there's a chart citing a 1971 study in which witness recollections were 98% accurate on salient points when taken immediately following the viewing of a film, but what about the rest of the book? What about Loftus' own studies?

Well, on page 54 she cites the negative effect of time on memory. She then proceeds to cite a number of studies in which certain kinds of behavior add to this decay. On page 55, she cites a 1927 incident in which a newspaper reporter misreported the substance of a college lecture, where the teacher then tested his students on the lecture, and found that those who'd read the incorrect article made many more mistakes than those who'd relied solely upon their attendance at the lecture. The teacher had discovered, to his dismay, that reading something that isn't true about something someone had witnessed for oneself could negatively impact one's memory of that event.

And that's just the beginning. Loftus then proceeds to cite a 1975 study of her own in which subjects were shown a film of a car running a stop sign and causing an accident. Half the subjects were then asked the approximate speed of the car when it ran the stop sign, with the other half being asked the approximate speed of the car when it made a right turn. All the students were then asked if they'd seen the stop sign. 53% of those reminded of the stop sign in a preceding question claimed they'd seen the sign, while only 35% of those not reminded of the sign in a preceding question claimed they'd seen the sign. Well, this shows how the questioning of a witness can inadvertently "enhance" their memory.

And not just for the better. For another 1975 study she showed forty subjects a short videotape of a student demonstration. At the end of the tape, she handed out some questionnaires in which she asked half the students the sex of the leader of "the four demonstrators", and the other half the sex of the leader of "the twelve demonstrators." A week later the subjects returned to answer additional questions. At this time, they were asked the number of demonstrators they'd observed. The correct answer was eight. Even so, those who'd been asked the "four" question recalled seeing an average of 6.4 demonstrators (an apparent compromise between the four they'd been asked about and the eight they'd actually observed), and those who'd been asked the "twelve" question recalled seeing an average of 8.9 (an apparent compromise between the twelve they'd been asked about and the eight they'd actually observed).

This tendency to compromise was further studied in 1977. In this study, the subjects were shown a series of slides depicting a car accident. They were then asked a series of questions about the slides. One of the questions dealt with the color of a car passing the accident. This car was actually green. Half the subjects were asked about the blue car driving past the accident, with the other half being asked the same question, but without being told the car was blue. The subjects then engaged in another activity. When they returned to the study, twenty minutes later, the subjects were shown a color wheel containing thirty color strips and asked to match these to ten objects they'd observed on the slides. Those who'd been asked about a blue car "tended to pick a blue or bluish-green as the color that they remembered for the car that passed the accident. Those not given any color information tended to choose a color near the true green. Thus, the introduction of the false color information significantly affected the ability of subjects to correctly identify a color that they had seen before."

On page 58 she cites another of her studies in which subjects were shown a series of slides depicting a car accident. (I think we can presume these were the same slides used in her earlier study...) Half were then asked if another car passed as the car stopped at a stop sign, with the other half being asked if another car passed as the car stopped at a yield sign. (There were, in fact, two different sets of slides, one showing it stop at a stop sign, and one showing it stop at a yield sign.) In any event, when shown slides a bit later in which the car was by one of the signs and asked if they'd seen this slide before, 75% of those who had been asked--but 20 minutes earlier--about the sign which they'd been shown answered affirmatively. Now, that's no surprise. But, here's the shocker: 59% of those who had been asked--but 20 minutes earlier--about a sign they had not been shown also answered affirmatively when shown a slide of that sign. This, to be clear, was a sign they had not been shown, but they claimed to recognize anyway, twenty minutes after being asked a question in which the identity of the sign was misrepresented. Now, this study suggests that 25% of those shown an image of a sign they'd been shown failed to recognize it. And this in turn suggests that 25% of those claiming to have seen a sign they'd not been shown would have claimed they'd seen it even if they'd never been asked a misleading question. But this still suggests that 34% of the subjects were led to recall seeing something they'd never seen... from being asked a question that suggested they'd seen it.

Loftus then cites a similar study, this one involving her students. She showed them a film of a car racing down a country road. Some of them were then asked about a barn on the side of the road. A week later, all of the students were asked if they recalled seeing a barn in the film. 17% of those asked about the barn the week before recalled seeing a barn, while only 3% of those not asked about the barn the week before recalled seeing a barn. No barn was shown in the film. It follows, then, that 14% of the students were fooled into thinking they saw a barn just by being asked about it.

She then cites another less scientific study involving her students. In this one, her students staged a fake theft, in which a woman left her bag unattended in a crowded place and a man pretended to steal something out of her bag. The woman then returned to her bag and cried out that a tape recorder had been stolen. She and a friend then took the phone numbers of a number of witnesses. A student posing as an insurance agent called a week later. Well, more than half the witnesses claimed they saw the supposedly stolen (but actually non-existent) tape recorder, with some of them describing it in great detail.

She then cites another study involving saliency, to which those citing her book should have referred. This one is from 1977, by Dritsas and Hamilton. For this study subjects were shown films of industrial accidents, and then asked a series of questions--some deliberately misleading--about the films. Well, to no one's surprise, they found that salient or central items or events were recalled more accurately--and were less likely to be altered by misleading information--than peripheral items. But look at these numbers. The subjects were but 47% accurate on peripheral items. Even worse, their recollections of peripheral items could be altered via misleading information 69% of the time. Now let's see how they fared on central items. The recollections of the subjects on central items were but 81% accurate. (That's a far cry from the 98% suggested by the study depicted in Loftus' Figure 3.1). More telling, though, is this. 47% of those correctly recalling a central item or event recalled it incorrectly after receiving misleading information.

This all leads up to the largest study cited by Loftus, this one involving 600 subjects. For this study, she once again showed the subjects a series of slides involving a stop sign or yield sign, and once again asked some of the subjects a subsequent question in which they were given misleading information about the sign they'd been shown. But for this one, she asked some of the subjects what they saw immediately after viewing the slides, and asked some of them the same question one day, two days, or even a week later.

The results were staggering. While those questioned immediately after viewing the slides--and not asked any misleading questions regarding the sign shown in the slides--correctly selected the slide they'd been shown 80% of the time, those questioned a week later--and asked a misleading question about the sign shown in the slides--correctly selected the slide they'd been shown but 20% of the time.

Our memories are fragile. They are subject to change within moments of their creation, based upon subsequently received information. They also erode with time, and grow more subject to change as time goes by. The reception of misleading information can not only compromise our memories, where we remember things partly as they were and partly as we've been told they were, but lead us to recall seeing things we never saw, and remember things that never happened.

But who am I to blather on? Here is Loftus' own summary of her findings, as published in her memoir, Witness for the Defense (1991): "As new bits and pieces of information are added into long-term memory, the old memories are removed, replaced, crumpled up, or shoved into corners. Memories don't just fade...they also grow. What fades is the initial perception, the actual experience of the events. But every time we recall an event, we must reconstruct the memory, and with each recollection the memory may be changed--colored by succeeding events, other people's recollections or suggestions...Truth and reality, when seen through the filter of our memories, are not objective facts but subjective, interpretive realities."

As a result, I'm forced to reject the primacy of the Parkland witnesses. Their statements have been erratic from the get-go, and have only grown more erratic over time. Those holding them up as a "smoking gun" in the JFK case both misrepresent the location of the wound described by the bulk of these witnesses, and the consistency of these witnesses as a whole. There's just no "there" there.

Edited by Pat Speer
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Pat, do you think the wounds were probed as extensively as some other autopsy witnesses describe? Humes, Boswell, and Finck only said the back wound was probed, but it seems like the throat and eop wounds were probed. According to Lipsey and Robinson, a probe went from low in the back of the head (EOP?) and came out of the throat. Initially, I was wondering if the throat alteration theory could be explained by probing, but now it looks like that has no real evidence behind it. I think it still happened, just not that early.

Edited by Micah Mileto
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2 hours ago, Micah Mileto said:

Pat, do you think the wounds were probed as extensively as some other autopsy witnesses describe? Humes, Boswell, and Finck only said the back wound was probed, but it seems like the throat and eop wounds were probed. According to Lipsey and Robinson, a probe went from low in the back of the head (EOP?) and came out of the throat. Initially, I was wondering if the throat alteration theory could be explained by probing, but now it looks like that has no real evidence behind it. I think it still happened, just not that early.

I studied the case full-time from 2004-2006 or so. After a couple of years, I came to believe a bullet entering near the EOP descended within the neck, and exited the throat while traveling at a greatly reduced velocity. It was then and only then that I came to realize there was an actual autopsy witness claiming they'd heard this discussed during the autopsy, and not just one witness, but two. Well, this helped sell me on the idea. I've been offering up this theory on my website for the past decade or so. But have been reluctant to "push it" in the manner most people push their theories. I firmly believe that the "pushing" of theories has done the research community more harm than good. My proudest contributions have been when I've introduced a little-appreciated fact to those studying the case.

Speaking of which... While much has been made of the large size of the trach incision, from studying old textbooks I came to realize that there was nothing that surprising about the size of the trach incision. (An Atlas of Head and Neck Surgery, by Dr. John M. Lore, Jr., a medical text from 1962, for example, instructs: "About one or two centimeters below the cricoid cartilage a horizontal incision is made from 4 to 6 cm in length.") In the background of this discussion is a simple fact. The incision performed by Perry was not an incision performed to insert a tube. It was an incision inserted to insert a tube AND perform exploratory surgery--to note the amount of damage within the neck and, if deemed necessary, stop the bleeding. Perry was, of course, surprised to find little bleeding. This in itself is significant in that it pretty much rules out that the wound was made by a high-velocity missile. (This last point is discussed in detail in the section of chapter 11 entitled "The Speed Trap".)

Edited by Pat Speer
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On 12/5/2016 at 7:32 PM, Robert Prudhomme said:

Finck said the Harper fragment arrived the night of the autopsy?!?! Holy crap, Sandy, you have to tell me where I can find that statement from him.

It supposedly was not even discovered until the next day, and would not have left Dallas until almost the next evening; almost 24 hours after the autopsy. Could the "large fragment of the occipital bone" that Ebersole x-rayed have actually have been the Harper fragment?

Robert,

Regarding what I wrote:

"There were reportedly three non-occipital skull fragments that arrived the night of the autopsy. Dr. Fink said that the Harper fragment also arrived. "

First, I meant to say that it was Dr. Ebersole who said the Harper fragment arrived the night of the autopsy, not Dr. Finck. I have corrected that in my post.

Second, it is I who identified the occipital fragment that Ebersole x-rayed as being the Harper fragment. I should have written my statement this way:

"There were reportedly three non-occipital skull fragments that arrived the night of the autopsy. Dr. Ebersole said that the occipital fragment also arrived."

I disagree with Pat regarding this. Ebersole would not have looked at the fragment and casually thought that it looked like occipital bone. Instead, he would have observed that -- in putting the fragments back in place -- the autopsists had found that the fragment fit in the occipital area. I mean, how else would a doctor at the autopsy have come to that conclusion?

In that respect Dr. Ebersole's statement is a bit of a smoking gun IMO.

Having clarified that, I DO believe that the occipital fragment that Ebersole x-rayed is the same as the Harper fragment. The reason I believe that is because Dr. Ebersole's fragment was apparently big enough that its unique location on the skull could be identified. The Harper fragment was also a pretty big piece, and it had been identified in Dallas as occipital bone. If these represent two different fragments, it seems to me that the two together would be too large to fit the right-rear blowout. Therefore I believe them to be the same fragment.

Based upon everything I know, here is what I believe happened regarding this fragment:

The fragment was found on the rear seat of the limo and sent to Washington. The autopsists discovered that the fragment was from the occipital area of the skull. This didn't fit the narrative of all the shots coming from behind. The fragment was flown back to Dallas and was dropped on the grass ahead of where the limo was at the time of the shots. So that its location would support the narrative. The fragment was found by Mr. Harper. He had it examined and it was identified as likely occipital bone. Harper gave the fragment to the FBI, who conveniently lost it.

As I said in a prior post, I had read this possible scenario before. Now that I have read Dr. Ebersole's testimony, I can see how it came about.

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We have x-rays from the night of the autopsy on the large fragment. We have photos of the Harper fragment from Texas, and photos and x-rays of the Harper fragment taken by the FBI. They are not the same fragment. They are of an entirely different shape. Or are you claiming someone cut up the large fragment to create the Harper fragment?

P.S. The former location for the large fragment was determined so that the doctors could estimate the location on the skull of the beveled exit apparent on the fragment. They said it was on the top of the head. Ebersole played no role in this.

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2 hours ago, Pat Speer said:

We have x-rays from the night of the autopsy on the large fragment. We have photos of the Harper fragment from Texas, and photos and x-rays of the Harper fragment taken by the FBI. They are not the same fragment. They are of an entirely different shape. Or are you claiming someone cut up the large fragment to create the Harper fragment?

P.S. The former location for the large fragment was determined so that the doctors could estimate the location on the skull of the beveled exit apparent on the fragment. They said it was on the top of the head. Ebersole played no role in this.

I have added a sentence (in bold) to my hypothesis to account for Pat's comment about the x-rayed fragment (in red, above).

The occipital fragment was found on the rear seat of the limo and sent to Washington. The autopsists discovered that the fragment was from the occipital area of the skull. This didn't fit the narrative of all the shots coming from behind. So the x-ray image of the occipital fragment was destroyed and the fragment was flown back to Dallas. It was dropped on the grass ahead of where the limo was at the time of the shots so that its location would support the narrative. The fragment was shortly thereafter found by Mr. Harper. He had it examined and it was identified as likely being occipital bone. Harper gave the fragment to the FBI, which conveniently lost it.

The large fragment Pat speaks of came from the top of the head. The large fragment I speak of came from the back (occipital). And so, of course, he is correct in saying the two fragments are not the same.

Edited by Sandy Larsen
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6 hours ago, Pat Speer said:

I studied the case full-time from 2004-2006 or so. After a couple of years, I came to believe a bullet entering near the EOP descended within the neck, and exited the throat while traveling at a greatly reduced velocity. It was then and only then that I came to realize there was an actual autopsy witness claiming they'd heard this discussed during the autopsy, and not just one witness, but two. Well, this helped sell me on the idea. I've been offering up this theory on my website for the past decade or so. But have been reluctant to "push it" in the manner most people push their theories. I firmly believe that the "pushing" of theories has done the research community more harm than good. My proudest contributions have been when I've introduced a little-appreciated fact to those studying the case.

Speaking of which... While much has been made of the large size of the trach incision, from studying old textbooks I came to realize that there was nothing that surprising about the size of the trach incision. (An Atlas of Head and Neck Surgery, by Dr. John M. Lore, Jr., a medical text from 1962, for example, instructs: "About one or two centimeters below the cricoid cartilage a horizontal incision is made from 4 to 6 cm in length.") In the background of this discussion is a simple fact. The incision performed by Perry was not an incision performed to insert a tube. It was an incision inserted to insert a tube AND perform exploratory surgery--to note the amount of damage within the neck and, if deemed necessary, stop the bleeding. Perry was, of course, surprised to find little bleeding. This in itself is significant in that it pretty much rules out that the wound was made by a high-velocity missile. (This last point is discussed in detail in the section of chapter 11 entitled "The Speed Trap".)

I have not visited the London Forum in quite some time, and I see --Pat Speer--that not much has changed.  This post is a good example.

"I studied the case full-time from 2004 - 2006 or so. . "  you inform us; well, that says something, or should.  Then you state:  "While much has been made of the large size of the trach incision, from studying old textbooks I came to realize that there was nothing that surprising about the size of the trach incision."

"Nothing that surprising"? 

Really! How selective we are, when the need arises.  Buried in all the erudition that you cite is what you fail to mention. So. . for those who wish to be informed, here are the basic facts. (All of this is "elementary" but I'll state it here, from memory).

1. I interviewed Dr. Malcolm Perry on October 27, 1966.  I was a student in Prof. Liebeler's UCLA Law class on the Warren Commission, and told him exactly that--that the course title was "Legal Problems in Areas of National Security."  I said I was assigned a paper, the purpose of which was to get the flavor of what "fact finding" was all about, and my topic was the length of the tracheotomy incision.  Perry was perfectly polite, and answered without hesitation.  The incision he made, he said, was "2- 3 cm."  Of course, I knew, before I made this phone call, that the Bethesda autopsy reported the incision as being 6.5 cm; and that when Commander Humes, the autopsy surgeon, testified, he said it was "7 - 8 cm." That's in his testimony.  Look it up.

2. So, upon hearing Perry respond "2-3 cm" I raised the ante a bit, and asked Perry is it might be 4 cm.  As I write this, I don't recall his exact response, but he doubted it.  Then, whatever Perry's answer was, I then raised the ante again, asking if it perhaps was 5 cm. With each increase, Perry grew more uncomfortable, and concerned, explaining that it wasn't necessary to make an incision that large etc.

3. It was obvious to me that the incision that Dr. Perry recalled making was considerably smaller than the one reported in the autopsy, and certainly much smaller, by at least 50%, than the one to which Humes testified.

The story of my Perry phone call is laid out in detail, in Chapter 11 of Best Evidence, titled: "The Tracheotomy Incision: Dallas vs. Bethesda."

4. Immediately after the call, I realized it had historical significance, and that the only record I had was my own memory and notes. I promptly went out and purchased a reel-to-reel tape recorder, resolving that henceforth, I would always tape such calls.

5. Over the following weeks, I studied the record closely, and began calling the other doctors.  One of the more important phone calls was with Dr James Carrico, the first to treat Kennedy upon his arrival at ER-1, and the physician who inserted the endotracheal tube.  So he saw the wound, before any cutting had been done, and before any tube --with its flange--had been inserted. Without hesitation, and without any prompting from me, Carrico provided a response that was identical to what Perry had said: "2 - 3 cm."

6. Sometime during the course of these interviews, I became aware of another important medico-legal indicia: the edges of the incision. The Bethesda autopsy reported that defect as having "widely gaping irregular edges."   Once I was aware of that, I added that question to my repertoire, and one doctor after another responded by saying the edges were "smooth" (and one said "Smooth,  of course").

7.  Another indicia of alteration concerns the question of whether the original bullet hole was visible, along the edges of the so-called "trach incision" at the time of autopsy.  Renowned medico-legal expert Dr. Milton Helpern said, in his  book Where Death Delights, that it ought to have been.  But Dr. Finck testified at the Shaw trial in New Orleans that it was not: "I examined this surgical wound. . and I did not see the small wound described by the Dalas surgeons along that surgial incisio., I did not see it."  And: "I don't know why it is not there." (Best Evidence, p. 278, original hardcover or Carrol & Graf edition).

All of this is discussed at length, and in detail, in Chapter 11 of Best Evidence--which was published in January 1981, was republished by three more publishers, and was in print for 17 years. (And yes, I'm planning another edition. Details not yet finalized).

But . . lo and behold. . along comes Pat Speer, in December 2016, over fifty years after I made these calls, and purports to define for us what is (supposedly) important. He informs us that he has looked up a bunch of books about tracheotomy incisions, and finds some contrary data.  But . . so what?  The issue is not what Pat Speer can dig up in some book: the issue is whether the tracheotomy incision changed between Dallas (at Parkland) and Bethesda (at the morgue). That's the important issue. And, of course, had a photograph been taken of Dr. Perry's incision (and one was not of course taken), then the difference between Dallas and Bethesda would be immediately apparent, there would be no debate; it would be a fact, and the issue would be: What happened to the body?

Of course, if Speer was around to deal with such an eventuality, he would probably come up with some excuse to explain that, as well.

Based on the head wound "before" and "after" data (See Chapter 13 of Best Evidence; the neck wound data (Chapter 11) and the words spoken at the time of autopsy (Chapter 12), by Humes (that it was "apparent" that there had been "surgery of the head area, namely, in the top of the skull"), plus the clear evidence of covert interception of the body (i.e., the body arriving at Bethesda in a shipping casket, a good 20 minutes before the Dallas coffin arrived with Mrs. Kennedy and Bobby), it seems clear that the body was covertly intercepted and altered.

Medical facts were changed. The story of how Kennedy died was changed.

Some of the details can be debated, but that basic fact cannot. Its stlll there, i the legal and historical record, that the body looked one way in Dallas; and another in Bethesda.

That's what Best Evidence was (and still is) all about.

What must be done to persuade you of this data, Pat Speer?

Must I send flowers?

DSL

Los Angeles, California

12/7/16 - 3:17 a.m. PST

 

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David

The words "trach incision" seem to mean different things here. On one hand, these words are used to describe the incision made in the skin and subcutaneous tissue of the throat in order to expose the trachea. OTOH, these words are used to describe the actual incision in the trachea itself, through which the tracheostomy tube is passed. When you spoke with Perry, did you ask him to clarify which of these two incisions he was referring to when he told you the incision was 2-3 cm. in length?

I hope you are able to see the problem I have here in understanding how Perry only made an incision 2-3 cm. long in the skin and subcutaneous tissue of the throat. As I stated before, the inside diameter of the average adult male is 2.5 cm., and the type of metal trach tube used on JFK was approximately 2 cm. in diameter PLUS it had, according to medical testimony, an inflatable cuff on it. Perry's own testimony must also be considered, as he stated that, with the obvious wounding on the right side of the trachea, he made his initial throat incision long enough to be able to observe the tissues and blood vessels to the right of the trachea and assess any damage to them.

However, what I believe everyone has missed is the observation by Perry that JFK's trachea was deviated to JFK's left; a sign of the growing tension pneumothorax in JFK's right lung. When Perry made his initial incision in the skin of JFK's throat, was he aware the trachea was deviated to the left? I don't believe so. I believe this only became apparent as he was parting the thyroid gland and anterior strap muscles. Once apparent that the trachea was not where it was supposed to be, Perry would be obligated to extend the throat skin incision to JFK's left, in order to expose the deviated trachea beneath.

IMO, the greatest coverup that took place here, after the coverup to conceal a large exit wound in the right rear of JFK's skull, was the coverup to conceal the fact a disintegrating bullet entered the top of JFK's right lung; bringing on the tension pneumothorax that caused JFK's trachea to be deviated to the left. 

If Perry appeared uncomfortable when you asked him about the length of the incision, and if was actually referring to the incision in the skin, I believe he had good reason to be. First, with an outer diameter of the trachea at roughly 3 cm., his 2-3 cm. incision completely contradicts his testimony of exploring the area to the right of the trachea. Second, I believe Perry's description of a slight deviation to the left of the trachea was a watered down description of where the trachea actually was. A slightly deviated trachea would not require severing of the left strap muscle, in order to access it, and this "slight" deviation was either the result of intimidation of Perry or WC editing of Perry's testimony. If Perry was threatened, he would, of course, be reluctant to give the true length of the throat incision, as this could give away just how much the incision was extended to the left to uncover the deviated trachea. Once the true nature and extent of the deviation was known, anyone with any medical knowledge would immediately suspect a pneumothorax, and the SBT would be in danger of being exposed for the fraud it was.

Edited by Robert Prudhomme
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7 hours ago, Sandy Larsen said:

I have added a sentence (in bold) to my hypothesis to account for Pat's comment about the x-rayed fragment (in red, above).

The occipital fragment was found on the rear seat of the limo and sent to Washington. The autopsists discovered that the fragment was from the occipital area of the skull. This didn't fit the narrative of all the shots coming from behind. So the x-ray image of the occipital fragment was destroyed and the fragment was flown back to Dallas. It was dropped on the grass ahead of where the limo was at the time of the shots so that its location would support the narrative. The fragment was shortly thereafter found by Mr. Harper. He had it examined and it was identified as likely being occipital bone. Harper gave the fragment to the FBI, which conveniently lost it.

The large fragment Pat speaks of came from the top of the head. The large fragment I speak of came from the back (occipital). And so, of course, he is correct in saying the two fragments are not the same.

I'm confused. Are you saying Ebersole x-rayed TWO large fragments on the night of the shooting? Because there's an x-ray of a large fragment (presumed to have been parietal bone or frontal bone) in the record. Are you saying this x-ray is a hoax? Or are you acknowledging there was a hole on the top of the head?

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13 hours ago, Pat Speer said:

I came to believe a bullet entering near the EOP descended within the neck, and exited the throat while traveling at a greatly reduced velocity.

Pat,

Presumably, you still believe this...if so, please respond to the following:

  • Is EOP skull bone strong enough to deflect a highspeed bullet from a 20 or so degree angle to the approx 70 degrees required to reach the trachea at the correct location?
  • According to Perry et al the trajectory from throat wound to tracheal wound was horizontal. What caused the almost vertical trajectory to become horizontal?
  • The "bullet" tore 1/4 to 1/3 of the circumference of the tough tracheal cartilage. At what point along its path did the bullet slow to "a greatly reduced velocity?"
  • According to all FBI memos and Fraziers testimony, no metal was present on the shirt slits. How did the bullet exit without leaving "wipe" behind?
  • The only cloth missing from the tie is the site where a test piece of cloth was removed. According to Fraziers testimony (which is contrary to FBI memos which in turn contradict each other) there was no metal on the necktie knot. According to Tom Purvis, the FBI lab notes state that no metal was present on the tie or the shirt slits. How did the bullet exit without damaging the necktie or depositing metal?
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According to Sam Kinney he found what he described as 'the back of his head' in the limo during the C-130 flight back to DC. It was on the back seat as described by Clint Hill. Kinney say he turned this bone over to his 'very good friend' Adm. Burkley. Kinney has no idea what happened to the bone after that.

The bones brought to the autopsy were too small to have been this occipital bone as described by Hill and Kinney.

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21 minutes ago, Tom Neal said:

Pat,

Presumably, you still believe this...if so, please respond to the following:

  • Is EOP skull bone strong enough to deflect a highspeed bullet from a 20 or so degree angle to the approx 70 degrees required to reach the trachea at the correct location?
  • According to Perry et al the trajectory from throat wound to tracheal wound was horizontal. What caused the almost vertical trajectory to become horizontal?
  • The "bullet" tore 1/4 to 1/3 of the circumference of the tough tracheal cartilage. At what point along its path did the bullet slow to "a greatly reduced velocity?"
  • According to all FBI memos and Fraziers testimony, no metal was present on the shirt slits. How did the bullet exit without leaving "wipe" behind?
  • The only cloth missing from the tie is the site where a test piece of cloth was removed. According to Fraziers testimony (which is contrary to FBI memos which in turn contradict each other) there was no metal on the necktie knot. According to Tom Purvis, the FBI lab notes state that no metal was present on the tie or the shirt slits. How did the bullet exit without damaging the necktie or depositing metal?

I suspect the bullet heading down the neck was not a high-velocity bullet. The angle to the throat was not 70 degrees, but 45 degrees. One of the many curious circumstances I've discovered is that Humes put on the record that he thought the bullet exiting the neck had descended 45 degrees within the body. Are we to assume he was just bad at math?

45degr.jpg

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