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Musings on the Selective Power Outage - TSBD

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The JFK assassination, pt. 6: The TSBD’s electricity Posted: 2011/12/20 | Author: rfmcelroyiii | Filed under: JFK Assassination |4 Comments


According to the official version of the assassination of John Kennedy, Lee Oswald shot from the “sniper’s nest” in the southeast corner of the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, wiped his fingerprints off the gun and then hid it among stacks of boxes (although he left three shell casings in the “sniper’s nest”), then left the sixth floor by the stairs in the northwest corner down to the second floor. Nobody saw him going down the stairs. He was then encountered by Officer Marion Baker and TSBD Supervisor Roy Truly in the lunch room on the second floor. Baker was the first policeman into the building after the assassination, and Truly went with him to show him around the building. Because the elevator was not working, they took the stairs. In the lunch room, Truly identified Oswald as an employee to Baker, who then went on, leaving Oswald temporarily free from suspicion and allowing him to leave the TSBD. Truly and Baker recount this here.

I emphasized that Oswald took the stairs rather than the elevator. We have no way of knowing if he tried to take the elevator or if he purposely wanted to take the stairs (assuming the official version is correct that he was the shooter on the sixth floor). But it’s worth thinking about the elevator for a moment. Four witnesses, two policemen and two employees of the TSBD, said that the elevator was not working. Another employee says that it was not moving, which is different from saying that it was not working but at least does not contradict this idea.

Geneva Hine was an employee at the TSBD, and her testimony to the Warren Commission can be found here (quote on page 395).

Miss HINE. Yes, sir: I was alone until the lights all went out and the phones became dead because the motorcade was coming near us and no one was calling so I got up and thought I could see it from the east window in our office.

Elsewhere in her testimony she says that she was covering the phone for some of the other employees so that they could go outside and see the president, so she’s believable when she says that the phone wasn’t working. She also says “the lights all went out”. All. Nowhere is it given that this is standard procedure when a presidential motorcade drives by. She later said that when she returned to the building there were telephone calls beginning to come in again.

Luke Mooney was a deputy sheriff, one of the early responders to the building. He first ran from approximately the intersection of Main and Houston towards the grassy knoll, believing the shots to have come from there, and once he was up at the railyard he was ordered to the TSBD. His testimony to the WC can be found here (quote from page 284).

Mr. MOONEY. It was a push button affair the best I can remember. I got hold of the controls and it worked. We started up and got to the second. I was going to let them off and go on up. And when we got there, the power undoubtedly cut off, because we had no more power on the elevator. So I looked around their office there, just a short second or two, and then I went up the staircase myself.

This is slightly different. Assuming everybody remembered correctly and told the truth to the WC, the power came back on and then went back off. He doesn’t say anything about the lights, however, which he surely would have noticed.

Victoria Adams was another employee at the TSBD. She observed the assassination from the fourth floor with three other women, and then she and one of them went down the stairs. Her testimony can be found here (quote from page 389).

Mr. BELIN. Let me ask you this. As you got to the stairs on the fourth floor, did you notice whether or not the elevator was running?

Miss ADAMS. The elevator was not moving.

Mr. BELIN. How do you know it was not moving on some other floor?

Miss ADAMS. Because the cables move when the elevator is moved, and this is evidenced because of a wooden grate.

Mr. BELIN. By that you mean a wooden door with slats in it that you have to lift up to get on the elevator?

Miss ADAMS. Yes.

Mr. BELIN. Did you look to see if the elevator was moving?

Miss ADAMS. It was not; no, sir.

Mr. BELIN. It was not moving?

Miss ADAMS. No.

She remarks she did not see anybody while they were going down the stairs. She also says she did not hear anybody on the stairs either. Certainly somebody fleeing a crime scene would make some kind of noise. She makes no mention of any power outage, but notes that the elevator was not moving.

This excerpt of the Alyea film shows the elevator in motion at 0:36. This video shows a light on in the entrance to the TSBD at the 2:03 mark. This same light is not on a few minutes prior in the Altgens photo, taken during the assassination. This is consistent with Geneva Hine’s testimony.

What does this all add up to? It’s mighty strange that the power wasn’t working when somebody on the sixth floor was busy assassinating the president. This could be a lucky coincidence for the shooter (or team, or however it played out), making it even less likely that somebody would come upstairs in time to witness the act. It becomes more eerie when one learns that the building was owned by D.H. Byrd, an associate of Lyndon Johnson’s, although this by itself is not necessarily significant.

If it’s unlikely that Oswald would have had time to shoot, clean, and hide the gun, and run downstairs quickly enough to be calmly drinking (or purchasing) a Coke when Officer Baker found him in the second floor, it’s even less likely that he would have had time to do all that and get away unnoticed by the police when he also had to throw the power off and on. Perhaps the TSBD just had a bad electrical system, although the implication of Hine’s testimony is that this was not a common occurrence.

Since it’s clear that there was at least some minimal kind of conspiracy, as I noted in a previous post, I could see this fitting in. Maybe not. I wouldn’t make too big a fuss about it, but it’s strange and worth taking note of. The shooter, whether Oswald or someone else, had a little extra insurance during the act and then afterwards. The odds of that happening without somebody making it happen are pretty slim.

1. Electrical Power Events: Geneva Hine's phone system lights go off, just before12:30. Was this a power outage or just no calls at that time?; Truly and Baker are unable to get an elevator down from the 5th floor less than a minute after the shots. Sandra Styles said she and Vicky Adams tried thepassenger elevator in front, but when it did not work, they went to the backstairs. The West elevator has power when Mooney gets on the 1st floor,then loses power on the 2nd floor, 12:33-12:36. Who cut power to elevator at that precise moment? Select Elevator circuits and possiblyt he phone system circuit were reported off, but I have seen no report of all power to the TSBD being off, which would have happened if the Main Circuit breaker was thrown. The 3 elevators would have been on their own dedicated circuits, as would the phone system. The evidence supports the possibility that selected circuits may have been turned on/off at various times just before and after 12:30. This rules out random fuse failure (or circuit breakers being tripped) and supports the notion of manipulation of the power circuits. Was the Fuse/Breaker box located in the basement of the TSBD?
2. Why is there no exchange of information with Mooney when he is passing the men he believes might be DPD officers on the stairs? They would have been the very first respondents on the scene. If you were Mooney, wouldn't you at least ask them a few questions … like Had they seen a man with a rifle roaming around on an upper floor? And why were they were leaving the scene so soon?
3. There are three general descriptions of unknown men seen on the upper floors, in some cases with rifles, just before and at the time of the shooting:
First man: a younger white man who was slender.
Second man: another white man who may have been older, heavier, and wearing a tan jacket or coat and possibly glasses.
Third man: a dark complected man who may have been Latin/Mexican/Negro.
4. Secret Service men were reported on the back entrance dock and at the front entrance within minutes of the shots, and well before Forrest Sorrels was the first actual SS agent to return to Dealey Plaza/ TSBD.
5. Unidentified men who were thought to be police officers:
A. "Some" plain clothes officers seen by Officer Mooney as he ascends the NW stairs from the 2nd floor
B. Weatherford searches the 1st floor with an unknown DPD detective
6. Unidentified Civilians:
A. Man seen in front elevator by Sawyer
B. Two men seen by rear elevator seen by Baker (may be Lovelady and Shelley)
7. Individuals seen leaving the scene:
A. Man seen by Worrel
B. Man seen by Carr
C. Man seen by Craig
D. Woman in car arrested by Craig.
(edited for spacing and syntax)
Posted by

Bill Kelly at

12:46 PM


For additional information TSBD SEE
Spider's Web thread



Edited by Steven Gaal
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Hi Steve

I have read Geneva Hines' testimony several times and was left with the distinct impression that when she said the lights went out, she was referring to the lights on her telephone indicating incoming calls. She explained the lack of these calls to the imminent arrival of the motorcade.

Roy Truly clearly states in his WC testimony that the elevators would not come down from the 5th floor simply because this would require someone on the 5th floor to send them down. He did not testify that he had reason to believe the elevators were not working, possibly from a power outage.

Also, when Sandra Styles said the elevator was not working, we must remember there were two freight elevators, back to back, and she determined whether or not the elevator was working by the fact she could not see the cables moving through the grated door. The question is, is there a wall between the twin elevator shafts, or is it open? If it were open, she would be able to see the cables of both elevators. However, I find it odd that she repeatedly referred to a singular "elevator", although this may just be local parlance.

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After looking at Hines remarks for some time I came to the same conclusion as Robert. The fact that the lights on the phone went off indicates that those extensions went

back on hook - most likely the people that were on the extensions cut their calls short to be ready for the motorcade.

-- Larry

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