Jump to content
The Education Forum

Photo or layout of `Bethesda autopsy room

Recommended Posts

Is there a photo or layout drawing of the bethesda autopsy room circa 1963 available anywhere?

I tried to do the best I could in Best Evidence--from memory.

FYI: As you may know, I actually got in there on a Sunday morning (as described in B.E.) and stayed in there for a good 10 minutes. Of course, I am very sorry that I did not think to bring a camera with me. Those pictures would have been definitive.

Essentially, there were two autopsy tables, and, along one wall, a very steep set of ascending rows of seats, like bleachers. Perhaps five rows of seats in those bleachers.


4/22/13; 9:30 AM PDT

Los Angeles, California

Edited by David Lifton
Link to comment
Share on other sites

B.A. - you'd think, right? Can we say the background to the Fox photos IS the morgue at Bethesda?

I`m pretty dog gone sure that David knows about this information,but I would like to post it for others to see & form their own opinion.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ray i also found this, fyi...if..of interest....b

The FBI’s “Sibert and O’Neill Report”

DL 100-10461/cv


On 11/22/63 at Bethesda, Maryland
File #89-30
Date dictated 11/26/63

At approximately 3 p.m. on November 22, 1963, following the President’s announced assassination, it was ascertained that Air Force One, the President’s jet, was returning from Love Field, Dallas, Texas, flying the body back to Andrews Air Force Base, Camp Springs, Maryland. SAs FRANCIS X. O’NEILL, JR. and JAMES W. SIBERT proceeded to Andrews Air Force Base to handle any matters which would fall within the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, inasmuch as it was anticipated that a large group of both military and civilian personnel assigned to the Base would congregate at Base Operations to witness the landing of this flight.
Lt. Col. Robert T. best, Director of Law Enforcement and Security, advised the President’s plane would arrive at 5:25 p.m. Subsequently, Col. BEST advised that the plane would arrive at 6:05 p.m.
At approximately 5:55 p.m., agents were advised through the Hyattsville Resident Agency that the Bureau had instructed that the agents accompany the body to the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, to stay with the body and to obtain bullets reportedly in the President’s body.
Immediately agents contacted Mr. JAMES ROWLEY, the Director of the U. S. Secret Service, identified themselves and made Mr. Rowley aware of our aforementioned instruction. Immediately following the plane’s landing, Mr. ROWLEY arranged seating for Bureau agents in the third car of the White House motorcade which followed the ambulance containing the President’s body to the Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland.
On arrival at the Medical Center, the ambulance stopped in front of the main entrance, at which time Mrs. JACQUELINE KENNEDY and Attorney General ROBERT KENNEDY embarked from the ambulance and entered the building. The ambulance was thereafter driven around to the rear entrance where the President’s body was removed and taken into an autopsy room. Bureau agents assisted in the moving of the casket to the autopsy room. A tight security was immediately placed around the autopsy room by the Naval facility and the U. S. Secret Service. Bureau agents made contact with Mr. ROY KELLERMAN, the Assistant Secret Service Agent in Charge of the White House Detail, and advised him of the Bureau’s interest in this matter. He advised that he had already received instructions from Director ROWLEY as to the presence of Bureau agents. It will be noted that the aforementioned Bureau agents, Mr. ROY KELLERMAN, Mr. WILLIAM GREER and Mr. WILLIAM O’LEARY, Secret Service agents, were the only personnel other than medical personnel present during the autopsy.
The following individuals attended the autopsy:

Adm. C. B. HOLLOWAY, U. S. Navy, Commanding Officer of the U. S. Naval Medical Center, Bethesda;

Adm. BERKLEY, U. S. Navy, the President’s personal physician;

Commander JAMES J. HUMES, Chief Pathologist, Bethesda Naval Hospital, who conducted autopsy;

Capt. JAMES H. STONER, JR., Commanding Officer, U. S. Naval Medical School, Bethesda;

Mr. JOHN T. STRINGER, JR., Medical photographer;










During the course of the autopsy, Lt. Col. P. FINCK, U. S. Army Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, arrived to assist Commander HUMES in the autopsy. In addition, Lt. Cmdr. GREGG CROSS and Captain DAVID OSBORNE, Chief of Surgery, entered the autopsy room.
Major General WEHLE, Commanding Officer of U. S. Military District, Washington, D.C., entered the autopsy room to ascertain from the Secret Service arrangements concerning the transportation of the President’s body back to the White House. AMC CHESTER H. BOYERS, U. S. Navy, visited the autopsy room during the final stages of such to type receipts given by FBI and Secret Service for items obtained.
At the termination of the autopsy, the following personnel from Gawler’s Funeral Home entered the autopsy room to prepare the President’s body for burial:





Brigidier General GODFREY McHUGH, Air Force Military Aide to the President, was also present, as was Dr. GEORGE BAKEMAN, U. S. Navy.
Arrangements were made for the performance of the autopsy by the U. S. Navy and Secret Service.
The President’s body was removed from the casket in which it had been transported and was placed on the autopsy table, at which time the complete body was wrapped in a sheet and the head area contained an additional wrapping which was saturated with blood. Following the removal of the wrapping, it was ascertained that the President’s clothing had been removed and it was also apparent that a tracheotomy had been performed, as well as surgery of the head area, namely, in the top of the skull. [Emphasis added. This is the infamous phrase that set David Lifton on his odyssey toward body snatching, wound altering, and trajectory reversing in Best Evidence.] All personnel with the exception of medical officers needed in the taking of photographs and X-Rays were requested to leave the autopsy room and remain in an adjacent room.
Upon completion of X-Rays and photographs, the first incision was made at 8:15 p.m. X-Rays of the brain area which were developed and returned to the autopsy room disclosed a path of a missile which appeared to enter the back of the skull and the path of disintegrated fragments could be observed along the right side of the skull. The largest section of this missile as portrayed by X-Ray appeared to be behind the right frontal sinus. The next largest fragment appeared to be at the rear of the skull at the juncture of the skull bone.
The Chief Pathologist advised approximately 40 particles of disintegrated bullet and smudges indicated that the projectile had fragmentized while passing through the skull region.
During the autopsy inspection of the area of the brain, two fragments of metal were removed by Dr. HUMES, namely, one fragment measuring 7 x 2 millimeters, which was removed from the right side of the brain. An additional fragment of metal measuring 1 x 3 millimeters was also removed from this area, both of which were placed in a glass jar containing a black metal top which were thereafter marked for identification and following the signing of a proper receipt were transported by Bureau agents to the FBI Laboratory.
During the latter stages of this autopsy, Dr. HUMES located an opening which appeared to be a bullet hole which was below the shoulders and two inches to the right of the middle line of the spinal column.
This opening was probed by Dr. HUMES with the finger, at which time it was determined that the trajectory of the missile entering at this point had entered at a downward position of 45 to 60 degrees. Further probing determined that the distance traveled by this missile was a short distance inasmuch as the end of the opening could be felt with the finger.
Inasmuch as no complete bullet of any size could be located in the brain area and likewise no bullet could be located in the back or any other area of the body as determined by total body X-Rays and inspection revealing there was no point of exit, the individuals performing the autopsy were at a loss to explain why they could find no bullets.
A call was made by Bureau agents to the Firearms Section of the FBI Laboratory, at which time SA CHARLES L. KILLION advised that the Laboratory had received through Secret Service Agent RICHARD JOHNSON a bullet which had reportedly been found on a stretcher in the emergency room of Parkland Hospital, Dallas, Texas. This stretcher had also contained a stethoscope and pair of rubber gloves. Agent JOHNSON had advised the Laboratory that it had not been ascertained whether or not this was the stretcher which had been used to transport the body of President KENNEDY. Agent KILLION further described this bullet as pertaining to a 6.5 millimeter rifle which would be approximately a 25 caliber rifle and that this bullet consisted of a copper alloy full jacket.
Immediately following receipt of this information, this was made available to Dr. HUMES who advised that in his opinion this accounted for no bullet being located which had entered the back region and that since external cardiac massage had been performed at Parkland Hospital, it was entirely possible that through such movement the bullet had worked its way back out of the point of entry and had fallen on the stretcher.
Also during the latter stages of the autopsy, a piece of the skull measuring 10 x 6.5 centimeters was brought to Dr. HUMES who was instructed that this had been removed from the President’s skull. Immediately this section of skull was X-Rayed, at which time it was determined by Dr. HUMES that one corner of this section revealed minute metal particles and inspection of this same area disclosed a chipping of the top portion of this piece, both of which indicated that this had been the point of exit of the bullet entering the skull region.
On the basis of the latter two developments, Dr. HUMES stated that the pattern was clear that the one bullet had entered the President’s back and had worked its way out of the body during external cardiac massage and that a second high velocity bullet had entered the rear of the skull and had fragmentized prior to exit through the top of the skull. He further pointed out that X-Rays had disclosed numerous fractures in the cranial area which he attributed to the force generated by the impact of the bullet in its passage through the brain area. He attributed the death of the President to a gunshot wound in the head.
The following is a complete listing of photographs and X-Rays taken by the medical authorities of the President’s body. They were turned over to Mr. Roy KELLERMAN of the Secret Service. X-Rays were developed by the hospital, however, the photographs were delivered to Secret Service undeveloped:

11 X-Rays

22 4 x 5 color photographs

18 4 x 5 black and white photographs

1 roll of 120 film containing five exposures

Mr. KELLERMAN stated these items could be made available to the FBI upon request. The portion of the skull measuring 10 x 6.5 centimeters was maintained in the custody of Dr. HUMES who stated that it also could be made available for further examination. The two metal frgments removed from the brain area were hand carried by SAs SIBERT and O’NEILL to the FBI Laboratory immediately following the autopsy and were turned over to SA KURT FRAZIER.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 years later...

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...