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Who discovered the "wink"?


Pat Speer
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I've been doing a lot of reading and writing lately on the events on the plane after the assassination, and have been unable to answer a simple question: WHO first discovered the "wink photo" later published in Lifton's Best Evidence. I'm currently of the belief it was first published in the December 1976 issue of Esquire, in an article entitled Live from Mars: New Light on the Kennedy Case. Does anyone have access to that article?

I suppose I'm mostly curious as to how it bubbled to the surface. From what I can tell, the negative disappeared during the Johnson Administration, sometime prior to February 1967.. The photos later made available, then, were copies from a print obtained prior to 1967. And yet it went unpublished for almost a decade.

Well, who had this original print? And did Cecil Stoughton have anything to do with its making its way into print?

Edited by Pat Speer
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Guest Robert Morrow

That print, with the negative missing now, ended up at the LBJ Library. In handwriting on the back of the photo was "Not to be released by anyone ever" with a White House stamp on it.

I have a source who literally saw this and told me this recently (2013).

As for when this photo was released, I have no idea.

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The photo wasn't released, Robert. I'm almost certain it made its way into the public domain through a source, and not from someone stumbling onto it at the Library. In 1967--to counteract Manchester's mistaken claim none of Kennedy's aides attended the swearing-in--Time Magazine published what it claimed was the entire "existing" photographic record of the swearing-in. It seems likely these photos were handed over to Time by the Johnson Administration. The "wink" photo was not among them,. This suggests to me that Time's source thought the photo no longer existed.

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P.S. I found a copy of the December 1976 Esquire article, and it was a spoof in which E. Howard Hunt was added into the swearing-in photo in place of Albert Thomas.

So...unless anyone knows otherwise...it appears that David Lifton was indeed the first researcher to come across the photo, around 1980. It was in the LBJ Archives, and the negative had been destroyed. He, as Trask a decade later, spoke to the presidential photographer Cecil Stoughton about it. Stoughton confirmed it as legit.

Edited by Pat Speer
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