Jump to content
The Education Forum

Gary Mack Explains

Recommended Posts

Some time ago, I told Gary that he ought to write an account of how he changed, over the years.

This was just published in the Dallas News.

I'm sure it will provoke a lot of discussion.


3/2/13; 9:20 PM PST

Los Angeles, California

P.S. I've hardly had much time to examine this article very carefully, but what appears to be one blatant error--either on the part of the reporter (or possibly of Gary himself)-- seems to jump of the page. At the tail end of the article appears this statement, referring to Oswald:

“When he woke up the next morning, he left behind on the dresser bureau

almost every dollar he had, and he left his wedding ring and written

instructions on what to do if he was arrested,” Mack said. “When a man

does that, he’s made a major life-changing decision. He’s decided to do

something drastic and dramatic.

“He may have been surprised as hell that he succeeded.”

Now just a minute. . . :

". . . written instructions on what to do if he was arrested. . . " ???

Surely Gary knows--or at least should know--that Oswald left no such note with "instructions on what to do if he was arrested" the night before November 22, 1963. So apparently Gary (or the reporter) has confused the Walker note (which Oswald wrote prior to the events on the night of April 10, 1963) and transposed it to something Oswald supposedly wrote on the night of November 21,1963--which is false.

But if this was simply an innocent error, then how in the world is Gary quoted as then saying: "When a man does that, he's made a major life-changing decision. . ." and "He may have been surprised as hell that he succeeded."

Please, Gary. . . say it ain't so. Have you really been under the impression, all these years, that Oswald wrote such a note, on the night before President Kennedy's assassination??


Gary Mack and the evolution of a JFK conspiracy theorist



Staff Writer

Published: 02 March 2013 09:33 PM

A noted brawler in the rough-and-tumble arena of assassination

conspiracy in the 1970s and ’80s, Sixth Floor Museum curator Gary Mack

now stands as a thoughtful voice of reason in the endless debate over

what really happened at Dealey Plaza on Nov. 22, 1963.

Almost 50 years after President John F. Kennedy’s murder, the cacophony

continues among conspiracy researchers, their numbers soaring thanks to

the enormous accumulation of fact and fiction on the Internet.

Mack understands the fever to prove a theory true, to fit a piece of

information into the mosaic. He burned with it.

And then, in the early 1990s, he had a revelation.

It centered on the story of Ricky Don White, “who thought, based on

everything he heard from his mother, that his father, Roscoe White, was

the grassy knoll gunman,” Mack said.

But much of the story didn’t add up, said Mack, now 66. So he and Dave

Perry, a former claims investigator who applied the techniques of that

job in his research, went looking for answers. None of them seemed to

back White’s story about his late father, a one-time Dallas police

officer, said Mack, who was working for Channel 5 at the time.

“I tipped off our people at the station that this wasn’t going to end

well,” he said. “A couple of weeks later, Ricky visited a class at

UT-Arlington, and Dave and I went out to hear him. And afterward, we

told Ricky, ‘We’ve been checking out your story and your dad didn’t do

it. Aren’t you glad?’

“And he said, ‘Well, we think he did.’

“That was my epiphany, so to speak,” Mack said.

In 1969, Mack had earned his degree in journalism. He was Lawrence Alan

Dunkel then, and after graduation, he went into broadcasting. During his

time as a disc jockey, he changed his name to Gary Mack at the request

of his boss, who thought it would be catchier.

Two decades later, and 15 years after his immersion in conspiracy

research, he realized he’d abandoned his journalistic training along the


“I had learned the basics — step back and look at all sides. But I’d

read all the pro-conspiracy books and was convinced they were probably

right,” he said. “When I decided to step back, I realized they weren’t

telling me the whole story, just one side of it.”

Discovery, defeat

By that point, Mack was a name in conspiracy circles.

Like many of his generation, he remembers spending that weekend in 1963

watching for every development on the news. But the spark that changed

his life came in 1975 with the first public broadcast of Abraham

Zapruder’s home movie. Silent but in full color and taken from a

concrete pedestal in Dealey Plaza, the film — with one short gap —

captured the presidential motorcade from the moment it turned onto Elm

Street to the final seconds of Kennedy’s life.

“There was a huge outcry from the public over that,” Mack said. “And we

saw the re-release of all the classic conspiracy books from the ’60s,

and revelations of government secrecy about destroyed evidence, U.S.

efforts to have [Cuban leader Fidel] Castro assassinated or removed from

power and other government misdeeds.”

Mack was obsessed with the whiff of conspiracy.

It was Mack, working with Jack White, a friend and skilled darkroom

technician, who discovered “Badge Man” in an enlargement of a Polaroid

photo of the grassy knoll taken by Mary Ann Moorman as the presidential

motorcade rolled past the Texas School Book Depository. “Badge Man,”

Mack maintained, appeared to be a second gunman.

In the darkroom, White changed the exposure a half step at a time and

finally “we could make out a person in the classic shooting position,

and he had a highlight on his chest that looked like a badge and an

insignia on his shoulder,” Mack said.

White studied the photo further and noticed “a light area,” Mack said,

“and he printed it in such a way to bring out the details, and it turned

out it looked like a person. It looked like Gordon Arnold.”

Arnold, a soldier at the time, said he was on the grassy knoll with a

movie camera, looking toward the approaching motorcade when he heard two

shots fired from behind him. He dived to the ground and stayed there

until the shooting stopped.

But no other photo of the grassy knoll appeared to include “Badge Man.”

“The bottom line for that picture, when you see the actual photograph,

it is very, very convincing,” Mack said. “Jack White and I restaged the

photo, and when you put a guy in that [shooting] position, it matches

perfectly. But it only exists in [Moorman’s] picture. It’s either some

sort of anomaly or they really are people.”

Mack was also at the center of a second piece of evidence that for a

time seemed to offer scientific proof of a second gunman.

Shortly after Mack arrived in Dallas, he was introduced to Penn Jones,

the retired owner of a newspaper in Midlothian, a fan of JFK “and a very

vocal pro-conspiracy guy,” Mack said.

During Kennedy’s motorcade through downtown Dallas, Mack said, a police

officer had “‘keyed open’ the microphone on his radio,” allowing a

Dictabelt recorder at the police station to capture the ambient sound.

Jones owned a taped copy of the recording.

“My background experience was radio, and I asked where that microphone

had been located. If it was Dealey Plaza, then the shots had to be on

the recording, too,” Mack said. “To me, that was a very simple and

obvious question.”

Mack wrote an article saying the assassination might have been recorded,

“and I sent it off to the assassination people and they eventually found

an original tape, not from the police, but from a retired police officer.”

“They hired the best acoustic people in the country, and they found

blips on there that might be shots, but said there was no way to know

for sure. They said they’d have to fire test shots to see if they

matched,” Mack said.

Investigators gathered on a Sunday morning, set up microphones around

the assassination site and fired shots into sand bags. Then they took

everything back to the lab “and basically reported that there were at

least four shots on this recording and of the four, the third didn’t

come from the Book Depository,” Mack said. “It came from the fence up on

the grassy knoll.

“The FBI was astonished,” he said.

The evidence seemed to indicate a second gunman, and thus a conspiracy

to kill the president. Eventually, though, the tape yielded a different


“Steve Barber, a rock drummer in Ohio, heard something [on the tape]

that no one else had heard,” Mack said. “He heard a comment by the

Dallas sheriff ordering his men up into the [nearby] railroad yard to

see what was happening. His comment occurs as the echoes of the last

shot disappear.”

Barber figured out that the tape had captured “crosstalk” from two

different police channels and the sounds that Mack thought could be

gunshots were actually electronic noise.

When Gallery, an adult magazine, included the open microphone recording

on a “flexi-disc” in its July 1979 issue, Barber bought a copy and

listened to it repeatedly. And he heard the sheriff ordering his

deputies to “hold everything secure” at the point when the gunfire was

supposed to have occurred. Actually, Barber said, it was about a minute

after the shots had been fired.

Mack sharply contested the findings, Barber said.

“The thing is, the police tape was Gary’s baby, and I can completely

understand him having a hard time with someone coming in and blowing the

whole thing away,” Barber said. “Things got really heated for a while —

we butted heads a few times.

“But I guess he’s kind of mellowed since.”

‘Tremendous moderation’

In the whirlwind surrounding the death of a president, perhaps no one

witnessed more than Hugh Aynesworth. A reporter for The Dallas Morning

News, Aynesworth saw the assassination, was with police when they

arrested Lee Harvey Oswald at the Texas Theatre, and was stationed

nearby when Oswald was mortally wounded by Jack Ruby.

And he remembers Mack in his younger days.

“He started out as a pretty vicious conspiracy theorist when he was with

Channel 5,” said Aynesworth, who never bought into the conspiracy idea.

“Gary made some pretty ridiculous claims.”

But over the years, Aynesworth said, he’s seen “a tremendous moderation”

in Mack’s thinking — the theorist has grown into an authority.

“I have to tell you, I think he’s done a fabulous job there at the Sixth

Floor,” he said. “The things he didn’t know and wasn’t involved with,

he’s studied and learned. I’m impressed. If you ask him something about

this deal, he knows the answer.”

Perry says much the same.

“Gary is the ideal person for that job,” he said.

Some in the conspiracy crowd saw a conspiracy in that, too.

Mack left Channel 5 at roughly the time Perry transferred to Dallas from

upstate New York. They got to know each other and began working

together, debunking various claims. Then Mack was offered the curator’s

job at the Sixth Floor Museum.

“And then a whole bunch of people who knew Gary when he was a rabid

conspiracy guy started saying that I was a CIA agent and it was my job

to turn him,” Perry said. “And his reward for that was the job at the

Sixth Floor Museum.”

American tragedy

America has seen other great tragedies, but none had the immediacy and

impact of the Kennedy assassination, Mack said.

“You know what the difference was? The difference was pictures,” he

said. “You have a very handsome president and a beautiful wife and we

can see it over and over again.”

It was perhaps the first great story of the mass media age.

Television cameras followed every public aspect of the Kennedy visit.

Photographers, both professionals and amateurs, aimed their lenses at

the passing president as the motorcade wove through Dallas, past a crowd

estimated at 150,000.

“We see so many shocking things these days because there’s so much

available,” Mack said. “But it wasn’t that way in 1963. The Kennedy

assassination was the first real shared experience the country had.”

Mack was a senior in high school then, and in the days following JFK’s

death, he barely left the television. He was up late that Saturday night

and was still sleeping on Sunday morning, Nov. 24, when his mother ran

into his room, shouting, “They just shot him.”

He rushed downstairs to the TV and saw Ruby step from a crowd of

reporters and shoot Oswald as police led him toward a car that was to

take him to the Dallas County Jail.

“NBC had [the shooting] live and CBS just missed it by a second,” Mack

recalled, “and they both did ‘instant replays.’”

That videotape technology was very new, he said — used for the first

time only a couple of weeks before at the Army-Navy football game.

Fact and fiction

As curator and archivist at the Sixth Floor Museum, Mack has rounded up

roughly 250 hours of news coverage of the assassination. And various

events prompt people to pull out the old photos and home movies and

bring them to the museum.

There are some occasional surprises.

Jay Skaggs took photos of the motorcade from the corner of Main and

Houston streets.

“He didn’t catch the shooting, but he followed the cops around afterward

and got a color photo of the rifle being carried out of the building by

a police officer,” Mack said.

Mack and others at the museum are still hopeful that “someone will walk

in with something that will solve the crime of the century.”

Over the years, many of the theories have been discredited, including a

couple of Mack’s.

“My responsibility now is to figure out what’s fact and what’s fiction

and what’s guesswork in between,” he said.

And that brings him to Oswald, a minimum-wage employee with no

prospects. He was separated from his wife and the father of two

children. An attempt to reconcile with her the night before Kennedy was

killed went nowhere.

“When he woke up the next morning, he left behind on the dresser bureau

almost every dollar he had, and he left his wedding ring and written

instructions on what to do if he was arrested,” Mack said. “When a man

does that, he’s made a major life-changing decision. He’s decided to do

something drastic and dramatic.

“He may have been surprised as hell that he succeeded.”


The old Gary Mack might be disappointed to hear himself lay out the

facts that say Oswald killed the president. But he doesn’t completely

back away from the possibility of a conspiracy.

“I’m personally convinced there’s more than just Oswald involved,” Mack

said, “but I can’t prove it and neither can anyone else.”

The answer, he suspects, is hidden in Oswald’s past, when he defected to

the Soviet Union, married a Russian girl, tried to renounce his U.S.

citizenship, but eventually came home.

Hugh Aynesworth shares that belief, saying, “I think there’s something

more there, too.”

Still, it all comes back to Oswald and Ruby, Aynesworth said, and that’s

an unacceptable conclusion to some.

“It’s much more fun to believe in a conspiracy,” he said.

“Who wants to believe that two nobodies changed the course of history?”

Edited by David Lifton
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 136
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Larry Dunkel maybe was an interesting DJ: as Gary Mack he is playing the same old tune all day long: the lone nut hillbilly. For whom?



I don't think Gary's name change is pertinent to the discussion. Many people change their name for a variety of reasons--there are many famous movie stars who have done so, and of course immigrants from countries often change their names--sometimes because of problems with spelling or pronounciation.

Gary's name change was done for professional reasons, and doesn't pass my "so what?" test.

I think the more relevant issue is why he changed his views.

Today, he "connects the dots" in a completely different way than he used to (as I know from personal experience, and as anyone can ascertain from just looking at back copies of his news letter, which contained many important articles).

FWIW: I never saw the badge man image the way Gary did (and perhaps still does?) and I never took Ricki White seriously.

The serious issues in this case revolve around fraud in the evidence, and the place to start is the Kennedy autopsy.

Now that's my opinion (and that of Doug Horne, of the ARRB) but I don't have time to continually debate those matters anymore.

To me, the most serious problem with the Dallas News article is that, at this late date, in the year 2013, that newspaper could report that Lee Oswald, the night before the Kennedy assassination, left "written instructions on what to do if he was arrested."

Doesn't anyone on the Dallas News do any reasonable fact checking before publishing?

I do look forward to that newspaper publishing a correction, as soon as possible--and I also hope that Gary Mack will dissociate himself from the remarks he made, connected with that false information, and I quote:

“When a man does that, he’s made a major life-changing decision. He’s decided to do

something drastic and dramatic. . . . He may have been surprised as hell that he succeeded.”

Did Gary really make these statements? Or did the reporter screw up--and big time.

I look forward to a clarification.


3/3/13; 3:15 AM PST

Los Angeles, California

Edited by David Lifton
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now hold on a minute! How can we be so cocksure that Dunkel - like the Scarlet Pimpernel or Zorro - is not secretly Gerda Dunckel, an avenger on film?

Perhaps he learned this masquerade from his cinematic master, Jack White, like Antonio Banderas learned from Anthony Hopkins in the last Zorro remake...

(I apologize in advance for going to satiric extremes. I truly do admire the late Jack White and Gerda Dunckel.)

Edited by David Andrews
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Larry Dunkel maybe was an interesting DJ: as Gary Mack he is playing the same old tune all day long: the lone nut hillbilly. For whom?


Ditto. I would be more interested in hearing why he is involved with trying to keep us out of DP in November. And if Lancer is still involved in this effort, as was also reported in the local paper sometime back.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

John Simpkin: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Upton Sinclair

Exactly my thoughts when I read this article. The "we may never know" crowd has to be rubbing their hands with glee.

I think the "Sixth Floor Museum" is a disinfo OP. It's perfect. What better way to try to cement the notion that "Oswald did it" than to enshrine his perch in a glass box (ensuring that people won't be able to stand at that spot and form their own opinions as to the plausibility). Meanwhile, scarf up every piece of evidence and control when, where and how they are disseminated to the public.

I wrote Gary concerning Charles A. Briggs and his involvement with the designers of the exhibits of the museum. His reply, verbatim: "I don't know what he did, nor does that matter".

Mr. Briggs was Acting Inspector General of the CIA. Briggs' name is all over the "family Jewels", the HSCA and he wrote the memo that sent Wilson "up the river". Not that that matters... according to Gary.

“Almost all people are hypnotics. The proper authority saw to it that the proper belief should be induced, and the people believed properly.” - Charles Fort

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I particularly enjoyed the part of the above article which says that Gary Mack changed his name from Larry Dunkel to Gary Mack (probably way back in the 1970s sometime).

Unless I'm mistaken, that name-changing declaration will probably come as a big surprise to some conspiracy theorists, who I think have asserted in the past that Mr. Mack had simply MADE UP the name Larry Dunkel in order to pose as a different person when discussing the JFK case.

The CTers will still say that by using the name Dunkel, instead of Mack, it still served to "hide" his true identity. But I just think it's kind of funny to find out that Dunkel is Gary's REAL name--and Gary Mack is, in essence, a FAKE name. Interesting irony there, isn't it? :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites


From the the museum's own site:


I don't have the actual "Oral History" but I'm sure Briggs was well versed in "trade craft" and revealed nothing juicy. Involving the person who was (at one time) the #3 guy in the CIA in the research and design of the exhibits speaks for itself.

Edited by Chris Newton
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If Gary Macks Boss is (was) Briggs, (#3 of CIA in the 80ties),things become clearer...it would explain the strange behavior of the former DJ. The 6th floor "architects" Briggs/Mack therefore are rather History-designers, than historians...(How to "design" a document to save the CIA and sent a guy into prison: Briggs knows...) and their hero is not Kennedy, or Carl Sandburg, or Hugh Trevor Roper, but...Walt Disney.
Disney-world ---6th floor museum: is there any big difference?
With the 50. anniversary coming, the 6th floor lone-nut entertainment machinery will gain speed.

Isn't it funny: there is always a CIA man behind those independent, and objective researchers: Johannides behind Blakey, Briggs behind Mack...

Edited by Karl Kinaski
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"We do not know the truth about Oswald " Gary Mack.

It's the WE bit I do not get!.

Edited by Ian Kingsbury
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now

  • Create New...