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3) Does Pat Speer believe the skull defect was only on the top right and did not extend into the back of the head?

I have no idea what Mr. Speer thinks. All I can go on is what is presented on his web site and the conclusions that I personally draw from that. I am really excited by Mr. Speer’s excellent analysis of the mystery photo. If one agrees with his analysis of that photo and also believes the photo to be authentic (two big assumptions), then the mystery photo resolves lots of the conflicting witness testimony. My interpretation of the photo is that it clearly shows a small inshoot hole in the skull near the EOP, and shows a very large loss of skull extending from the occipital to the parietal and temporal regions. The autopsy report and witnesses state that in addition to the 17x10 cm “defect” there were loose skull fragments under the scalp, and the large skull defect apparent in the mystery photo seems consistent with removal of those fragments, so that the skull defect as we see it is larger than 17x10 cm. With respect to whether there was an occipital “blow out”, the mystery photo clearly shows an opening extending into the occipital area. I think Michael Walton’s Animated GIF of Back of Head Wound on page 2 of this thread does a great job of visualizing the extent of the defect. I would encourage people to take the time to study chapter 14 of PatSpeer.com. If there could be agreement on this small part of the medical evidence, I think we could all make progress in understanding some of the other issues.

Edited by Ollie Curme
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4) To what degree did the scalp wound and defect mirror the skull wound and defect?

Ms. Cranor, to my mind, puts undue emphasis on a section in the autopsy report: “MISSILE WOUNDS: 1. There is a large irregular defect of the scalp and skull on the right involving chiefly the parietal bone but extending somewhat into the temporal and occipital regions. In this region there is an actual absence of scalp and bone producing a defect which measures approximately 13 cm. in greatest diameter.” From these two sentences, she concludes: “So the actual damage in the back was even worse than tears in scalp! A place where scalp (and bone) are non-existent. A hole, in other words, that extended into occipital bone in the back of the head."

My interpretation of her statement is that she places a 1:1 correspondence between absence of skull and absence of scalp, a conclusion which I feel is unwarranted. Given the scalp tears mentioned above, there could well be an absence of occipital bone with an intact but torn scalp covering the wound. This raises the issue then of the authenticity of the back of head photos. If you believe in Mr. Speer’s interpretation of the mystery photo, could you believe the back of head photos are authentic? My interpretation of Mr. Speer’s web site is that the back of head photos are authentic, supported by his observation of a scalp hole in the back of head photo which is close to the EOP hole seen in the skull in the mystery photo. But I think people can equally well argue that the back of head photos were faked by overlaying an intact photo of scalp over an authentic photo of the back of JFK’s head, as Robert Groden does in his most recent book and by all the back of head blowout witnesses. I find it hard to resolve whether there was missing occipital scalp or not. In FBI agent O’Neill’s ARRB testimony he said of the back of head photo, “This looks like it’s been doctored in some way. Let me rephrase that, when I say “doctored”. Like the stuff has been pushed back in, and it looks like more towards the end than at the beginning. All you have to do was put the flap back over here, and the rest of the stuff is all covered on up.” Does this mean the photo was doctored, or there was a scalp flap which could cover up a hole in the skull? I think reasonable people can disagree.

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5) What is the significance of the autopsy finding of fracture lines radiating from the vertex?

In Ms. Cranor’s Pat Speer: Fact Check article we find the following:

SPECIMEN 2:

“The autopsy protocol signed by Boswell, moreover, explains: ‘Upon reflecting the scalp multiple complete fracture lines are seen to radiate from both the large defect at the vertex and the smaller wound at the occiput. These vary greatly in length and direction, the longest measuring approximately 19 centimeters. These result in the production of numerous fragments which vary in size from a few millimeters to 10 centimeters in greatest diameter.’

“Note that the large defect is at the vertex–the top of the head…” — Pat Speer

Ms. Cranor replies: “But the autopsy report does not say the defect was only at the vertex! It said fracture lines radiate from the defect at the vertex [as opposed to radiating from the lower edge of the wound], the part that was in occipital bone.”

I agree with Ms. Cranor’s statement: the autopsy report paragraph cited above does not say the defect was only at the vertex, and another autopsy report section says the defect extended into the occiput. However the section above is interesting in that it says that fracture lines radiate from the large defect at the vertex as well as from the smaller wound at the occiput. My admittedly layperson point of view is that that supports Mr. Speer’s argument that there were two headshots: one, presumably of entrance by the EOP, and the other which could be entrance or exit near the vertex. And this is strongly reinforced by Mr. Speer’s interpretation of the mystery photo which shows a beveled hole in the skull near the vertex. Mr. Speer argues that this beveled hole in the skull was a tangential wound (for the gory detail, see his chapter 16b). I side more with Ms. Cranor on this issue; as she articulated in her excellent paper: The Third Wound, it could be a tangential wound of entrance or exit; I don’t see sufficient evidence to make the distinction.

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6) Was the 17x10 cm defect measurement pre or post addition of limo skull fragments?

Ms. Cranor objects to Mr. Speer’s statement: “The 17 by 10 measurement is therefore most assuredly the measurement of the large head wound after the scalp was reflected, and numerous bone fragments stripped from the skull. The inability of so many to grasp something so obvious is a bit maddening, to say the least."

I have to agree with Ms. Cranor on this one; I don’t see any counter evidence, and the mystery photo itself would appear to show a much larger defect than 17 x 10 cm.

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7) How can the witness testimony be reconciled with the autopsy report, photos and X-rays?

I think the research community is primarily divided into two camps: the back of head blowout group which relies heavily on witness testimony and believes the Zapruder film and autopsy photos and X-rays are faked, and the group which believes the head wound damage was primarily above and in front of JFK’s right ear. The latter group discounts conflicting witness testimony and emphasizes the visual evidence in the autopsy photos and the Zapruder film. With respect to the Z-film, see the extreme headshot closeup GIF (thank you Gerda Dunkel!!) two thirds of the way down this page: http://www.patspeer.com/chapter16b%3Adigginginthedirt It’s surprising how similar these frames are to the autopsy photos and if the Z film was doctored, the animation talent was superb.

I’m intrigued by the degree of divergence and wonder how to reconcile these conflicts. I think there are many intriguing opportunities for a middle path. For example, there could have been missing occipital bone following the head shot which was partially covered by a scalp flap but which allowed the Parkland doctors to view damage to the occipital lobes. Or perhaps the cerebellum tissue that was seen was a small amount which fell from the small EOP in-shoot hole. Or maybe there was substantial skull damage in front and above the ear as can be seen in the Z film and autopsy photos but there was also a parietal and occipital blowout with absence of skull and scalp which can be seen in an authentic mystery photo but the back of head photos are photographic fakes. It could well be that many but not all of the autopsy photos are authentic but the X-rays are faked and the brain exam was of someone else’s brain. There’s lots of opportunity for a synthesis explanation which reconciles much of the two opposing camps. I’m surprised more people aren’t trying to do this.

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8) What were the number of shots and trajectories which caused JFK’s head wounds?

This is a hard one, because you probably need to come to some position what the head wounds were like before you can figure out shots and trajectories. Probably the biggest issue here is explaining JFK’s back and to the left movement. It’s intuitively obvious that that strongly suggests a shot from the front of the limo. However, I haven’t seen anyone with a good trajectory analysis that demonstrates such a shot clears the windshield and all the occupants in the car. Maybe it’s in Sherry Fiester’s book, Enemy of the Truth; I have to read that one.

On the other hand, I know it’s heresy, but I find Mr. Speer’s argument plausible that the back and to the left movement was due to elastic rebound of JFK’s neck muscles after a shot from the rear hitting the top right of JFK’s head forced his head down and bounced off his chest. Again, look at Gerda Dunkel’s extreme close up head shot sequence on this page: http://www.patspeer.com/chapter16b%3Adigginginthedirt

On this thread Greg Burnham said, “Accepting the notion that all shots originated from behind Kennedy is but the very first and most important step in concluding that Oswald could have possibly acted alone. Without that fundamental premise there is no "Oswald was the lone gunman" argument."

I completely agree with that, however that doesn’t mean that we should reject scenarios where all the shots actually did come from the back. There is a lot of evidence that there were multiple shooters from the back. It is possible that the shot from the grassy knoll or storm drain was a loud, smoky diversionary shot, to attract attention to the grassy knoll and allow shooters in the TSBD and/or Daltex building to get away. I think it helps to keep an open mind on these issues.

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The conclusion that I draw is that Dr. Clark’s statements can be interpreted in a variety of different ways and are inconclusive ....

I emphatically disagree. Dr. Gary Aguilar has noted the following statements and testimony given by Dr. Clark:

  • ....in an undated note apparently written contemporaneously at Parkland [Dr. Clark] described the President's skull wound as, "...in the occipital region of the skull... Through the head wound, blood and brain were extruding... There was a large wound in the right occipitoparietal region, from which profuse bleeding was occurring... There was considerable loss of scalp and bone tissue. Both cerebral and cerebellar tissue were extruding from the wound." (WC--CE#392)

  • In a hand written note dated 11-22-63, Dr. Clark wrote, "a large 3 x 3 cm remnant of cerebral tissue present....there was a smaller amount of cerebellar tissue present also....There was a large wound beginning in the right occiput extending into the parietal region....Much of the skull appeared gone at the brief examination...." (Exhibit #392: WC V17:9-10)

  • In a typed summary submitted to Rear Admiral Burkley on 11-23-63, Clark described the head wound as, "a large wound in the right occipito-parietal region... Both cerebral and cerebellar tissue were extruding from the wound. (Warren Report, p.518, Warren Commission Exhibit #392, Lifton, D. Best Evidence, p. 322)

  • Under oath and to the Warren Commission's Arlen Specter, Clark described his findings upon arrival to the emergency room, "I then examined the wound in the back of the President's head. This was a large, gaping wound in the right posterior part, with cerebral and cerebellar tissue being damaged and exposed." (WC--V6:20) Specter, either inattentive to Dr. Clark's skull wound description or wishing to move the wound more anterior than the eyewitness, neurosurgery professor placed it, later asked Clark, "Now, you described the massive wound at the top of the of the President's head, with brain protruding..." (WC:6:25) Dr. Clark later located the skull wound to Mr. Specter again, "...in the right occipital region of the President's skull, from which considerable blood loss had occurred which stained the back of his head, neck and upper shoulders." (WC--V6:29)

  • In answer to a question from Specter about the survivability of Kennedy's head wounding, Clark said: "...the loss of cerebellar (sic) tissue wound probably have been of minimal consequence in the performance of his duties. The loss of the right occipital and probably part of the right parietal lobes wound have been of specific importance..." (WC6:26) That Clark, a neurosurgeon, specified that the occipital lobe of the brain was missing cannot suggest anything but a very posterior defect.
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I find it hard to resolve whether there was missing occipital scalp or not.

Well of course there was missing occipital scalp. How else could the following Parkland doctors have seen the cerebellar and occipital lobe tissue that they reported seeing?

  • Clark
  • McClelland
  • Jenkins
  • Carrico
  • Perry
  • Peters
  • Crenshaw
  • Baxter

Does Pat mention these observations on his website?

Source: http://www.assassinationweb.com/ag6.htm

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Sandy, I agree with you that Dr. Clark gave evidence that strongly suggests there was a large wound in the occipital parietal region. But to say that his statements cannot be interpreted in other ways you are cherry picking the evidence. Dr. Clark agreed with Specter's hypothetical scenario of a straight bullet path from the EOP to the center of his head. That would not cause a blow out wound just above the EOP. We also have Lattimer's hearsay evidence that Dr. Clark's observations were consistent with the autopsy photographs and the back of head photo certainly shows no occipital defect other than the small entry hole. If you wish to discount Dr. Clark's response to Specter or Lattimer's hearsay testimony, that might be reasonable, but in doing so you're cherry picking.

Also, Dr. Clark talked about a tangential wound but to my knowledge he never said exactly where he thought the bullet struck. He never to my knowledge gave exact measurements and positions of the defect as he saw it; he referred to occipital and parietal but we don't know exactly where he observed absence of skull or absence of scalp or whether he was observing brain tissue through deflected scalp or skull. We really don't have an exact description of the head wounds from Dr. Clark, so it stands to reason that his statements are inconclusive as to the exact nature of JFK's head wounds. I do agree with you that he seemed to make strong statements regarding some kind of damage to the cerebellum, occipital lobes and parietal lobes.

Edited by Ollie Curme
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I find it hard to resolve whether there was missing occipital scalp or not.

Well of course there was missing occipital scalp. How else could the following Parkland doctors have seen the cerebellar and occipital lobe tissue that they reported seeing?

  • Clark
  • McClelland
  • Jenkins
  • Carrico
  • Perry
  • Peters
  • Crenshaw
  • Baxter

Does Pat mention these observations on his website?

Source: http://www.assassinationweb.com/ag6.htm

If a portion of the skull over the occipital lobe were gone but there was a scalp flap, then why wouldn't they be able to see the brain despite a retracted scalp flap? Or, if the parietal bone were all gone but the occipital bone was intact, you can see directly down onto the occiput.

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6) Was the 17x10 cm defect measurement pre or post addition of limo skull fragments?

Ms. Cranor objects to Mr. Speer’s statement: “The 17 by 10 measurement is therefore most assuredly the measurement of the large head wound after the scalp was reflected, and numerous bone fragments stripped from the skull. The inability of so many to grasp something so obvious is a bit maddening, to say the least."

I have to agree with Ms. Cranor on this one; I don’t see any counter evidence, and the mystery photo itself would appear to show a much larger defect than 17 x 10 cm.

I agree with Pat on this one. Though I didn't know that a lot of people have a hard time grasping it.

Ollie, would elaborate on what you believe? I'd like to understand it.

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I think the research community is primarily divided into two camps: the back of head blowout group which relies heavily on witness testimony and believes the Zapruder film and autopsy photos and X-rays are faked, and the group which believes the head wound damage was primarily above and in front of JFK’s right ear.

The only people I know of in the latter camp are LNers and Pat Speer. (Also some who claim to be CTers but who probably really aren't IMO.)

With respect to the Z-film, see the extreme headshot closeup GIF (thank you Gerda Dunkel!!) two thirds of the way down this page: http://www.patspeer.com/chapter16b%3Adigginginthedirt It’s surprising how similar these frames are to the autopsy photos and if the Z film was doctored, the animation talent was superb.

What I see in the closeup GIF is some inexplicable whitish blob hanging down from Kennedy's chin. And that thing above it that looks like it's supposed to be the gaping top-of-head wound, but isn't very convincing.

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Well, with respect to this issue:

6) Was the 17x10 cm defect measurement pre or post addition of limo skull fragments?

Ms. Cranor objects to Mr. Speer’s statement: “The 17 by 10 measurement is therefore most assuredly the measurement of the large head wound after the scalp was reflected, and numerous bone fragments stripped from the skull. The inability of so many to grasp something so obvious is a bit maddening, to say the least."

I have to agree with Ms. Cranor on this one; I don’t see any counter evidence, and the mystery photo itself would appear to show a much larger defect than 17 x 10 cm.

I agree with Pat on this one. Though I didn't know that a lot of people have a hard time grasping it.

Ollie, would elaborate on what you believe? I'd like to understand it.

The issue is the skull defect had two sizes at Bethesda: upon arrival, and after scalp retraction. According to autopsy report and witness reports, the skull bone was severely fragmented so when the scalp was retracted, many pieces fell off or were attached to scalp. The autopsy report noted a 17x10cm (6.7 x 4 inch) defect, so did that refer to the smaller upon arrival size or larger, after broken bits removed? Millicent Cranor argues the former, Pat Speer the latter. I tend to agree with Ms. Cranor, based on the apparent size of the opening in the mystery photo, and it would seem to make more sense to measure the wound initially, when they were measuring things like scalp tears, and also because the brain was removed without substantially enlarging the opening after the broken bits fell away, and I don't see how even half a brain could be easily removed from a 7 x 4" hole.

Edited by Ollie Curme
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8) What were the number of shots and trajectories which caused JFK’s head wounds?

This is a hard one, because you probably need to come to some position what the head wounds were like before you can figure out shots and trajectories. Probably the biggest issue here is explaining JFK’s back and to the left movement. It’s intuitively obvious that that strongly suggests a shot from the front of the limo. However, I haven’t seen anyone with a good trajectory analysis that demonstrates such a shot clears the windshield and all the occupants in the car.

I thought this was settled long ago. A shot from behind that grassy knoll fence is what caused Kennedy's back-and-to-the-left movement, and also the back-of-head blowout.

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Pat Speer,

MY RESPONSE: Well, who decides who's qualified? This smells of cherry-picking. One of the main reasons I ended up siding with the authenticity of the autopsy photos was my reluctant discovery that the witnesses to the shooting itself (The Newmans, Zapruder, Hudson, etc.) overwhelmingly described the head wound as being by the temple, the ear, or right top of the head--where it s depicted in the autopsy photos and x-rays

Not the wound, Pat. The witnesses you quote, all (except Zapruder) describe the shot not the wound.

Bill Newman (Clay Shaw trial)

I caught a glimpse of his eyes, just looked like a cold stare, he just looked through me, and then when the car was directly in front of me, well, that is when the third shot was fired and it hit him in the side of the head right above the ear and his ear come off. Now, it is my opinion at the time --

(Affidavit.)

By this time he was directly in front of us and I was looking directly at him when he was hit in the side of the head.

Gayle Newman (Clay Shaw trial)

A: Yes, sir, that shot when it happened, the President's car was directly in front of us and it was about a lane's width between us, it wasn't in the lane next to the curb it was in the middle lane, and at that time he was shot in the head right at his ear or right above his ear.

(Affidavit)

Just about the time President Kennedy was right in front of us, I heard another shot ring out, and the President put his hands up to his head. I saw blood all over the side of his head.

Emmett Hudson (Warren Commission)

Mr. LIEBELER - You say that it was the second shot that hit him in the head; is that right?

Mr. HUDSON - Yes; I do believe that - I know it was.

Mr. LIEBELER - You saw him hit in the head, there wasn't any question in your mind about that, was there?

Mr. HUDSON - No, sir.

Zapruder describes the wound but not the position.

Zapruder (Clay Shaw Trial)

A: I saw the head practically open up and blood and many more things, whatever it was, brains, just came out of his head.

(Warren Commisssion)

I heard a second shot and then I saw his head opened up and the blood and everything came out and I started--I can hardly talk about it [ the witness crying].

As stated, I go through the Dealey Plaza witnesses in chapter 18c, and show how they overwhelmingly placed the wound on the right side of the head, by the temple or ear. They were not describing a small entrance wound which could be hidden by the hair that some presume existed. They were describing a big splash of blood and brain, which erupted from the location it erupts from in the Zapruder film.

Not to toot my own horn, because in this case (at least) I'm not, but it shouldn't have taken 20 years or so for someone (like me) to come along and list the statements of these witnesses, and note that they were much more consistent than the so-called Parkland witnesses. This should have been part of the discussion from the beginning.

But no, people had books to sell, and theories to push, and listing the statements of these witnesses would have created a problem. A big one, in my opinion.

corrobaratorsorcollaborators.jpg

Bill Newman.

In the photo you show he is actually pointing to his left temple- the photo you show is reversed.. He actually said on the video the second shot "hit the President on the side of the temple."

Malcolm Kilduff.

In the video of Malcolm Kilduff he said "a simple matter of a bullet right through the head." pointing to his right temple.

Zapruder on tape said he saw the " Presidents head erupt" and pointed to the side of his head.

Re Humes. I wouldn't believe what that guy said on his death bed.

Why the spin?

Newman had a child in his right arm, so he pointed out the location with his left arm. Since that day, he has described and pointed out the location dozens if not hundreds of times. He saw a large wound by the right ear. I've talked to him myself. He saw a large wound by the right ear. The sudden appearance of this large wound on the side of Kennedy's head, along with a loud noise, convinced Newman, moreover, that someone had shot Kennedy from the top of the grassy knoll. Which was directly behind Newman. Not from the picket fence. Which was to his right.

And then there's Kilduff. At the time Kilduff pointed to his temple, no one knew there was a small entrance wound anywhere on Kennedy's head. His statement that it was a matter of a bullet through Kennedy's head, without specifying an entrance or exit location, then, suggests that the only head wound noticed in Dallas was by the temple. And no, Kilduff wasn't just flailing based on a misunderstanding of what Burkley had told him. Kilduff had been riding in the first press car, which followed the limousine to Parkland. He would later insist he saw the wound upon his arrival, and that when he pointed to his temple he was pointing out the location of the big hole.

Edited by Pat Speer
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