The Education Forum

# Curtain rods revisited

## Recommended Posts

Curtain rods became a mantra in JFK assassination research. Mr Frazier claimed he had witnessed Lee Oswald bringing a paper bag 27-28 inches tall and 5-6 inches wide and made from a brown paper, allegedly a grocery type of bag (were those bags only 5-6 inches wide?). Let us examine the details.

If Lee planned to bring curtain rods for his rooming house, they needed to be of particular length and number. The pictures below show that Lee Oswald's room had three windows of equal widths. There would be three curtain rods, each for one window, and a very long rod spanning the whole length of the room. Lee Oswald supposedly brought only the short curtain rods, and there would then be three of them. Curtain rods are made of light materials (although there can be vintage, old-fashion rods made from solid metal, e.g., bronze). Three rods, this is what Lee needed to bring.

Let us examine the length of the rods. Of course, a curtain rod needs to be long enough to cover the whole width of a window. Curtain rods are of the same length as the window width or an inch or two longer. Using the photographs of Lee Oswald's room and the bed as a meter, it is possible to estimate the window width without measuring it directly. Two windows and one vertical frame panel and one edge were of the same length as the bed in Lee Oswald's room. A standard length of a bed in the USA is 75 inches (190 cm). After subtracting 20 cm (vertical frame panel) and 10 cm (wooden edge) would give the width of two windows of 160 cm and one window 80 cm = 31.5 inches. Thus, if Lee needed curtain rods, the rods would need to be about 32 inches long to fit his windows.

A curtain rod has a diameter of about 2 cm (4/5 of an inch) and Lee needed only 3 curtain rods. It is not clear why would Lee use a bag which would be shorter that the curtain rods, from which the curtain rods would stick out and which would be too wide for three curtain rods. Lee would have to wrap the paper bag around the three rods but then the bag would not be 5-6 inches wide, it would be less that 3 inches wide, and it would be a light package.

How credible is the curtain rod story in the light of this simple analysis?

##### Share on other sites

Nice approach to the problem.

##### Share on other sites

Kinda like why the rifle had to be "broken down" - it would have been too long to fit into the bag!!!

Seems like the wrong bag was used whichever way you look at it!!😕

##### Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Ian Lloyd said:

Kinda like why the rifle had to be "broken down" - it would have been too long to fit into the bag!!!

Seems like the wrong bag was used whichever way you look at it!!😕

As Frazier is the sole witness to the curtain rod story, (and didn't Buell once work in a store that supplied curtain rods? Some Kawinkidink?), it would seem to me that Frazier's story is like a Swiss Cheese.

##### Share on other sites

A picture is worth more than a thousand words. Here is a model of a grocery bag sized 27.5'' x 5.5'' x 4'' holding three curtain rods 32'' each.  Clearly, the bag needed to be wrapped around the three rods, however, the curtain rods would still be visible. If there were curtain rods for Lee's room in the bag, Mr Frazier had to see about 4 inches of them. The paper back would be tightly wrapped around the three rods, and the size would be about 2'' x 2'' x 32'' (with 27-28'' covering the rods).

Edited by Andrej Stancak
##### Share on other sites

So, what is the curtain rod story about? Obviously, Mr Frazier knew how curtain rods looked like. He worked in a department store before coming to Irving and this may be his source of the curtain rod story. Only, he did not know how wide was the window in Lee Oswald's room and he therefore reported the width which may apply to most windows, and that width of 27-28'' was about 4'' shorter than required if curtain rods should fit Lee Oswald's windows.

There are multiple scenarios regarding Mr Frazier's curtain rod story:

1. Lee Oswald carried three curtain rods 32'' long and they were wrapped in a grocery bag. This is not likely given how insistent Mr Frazier was about the length of the package. He would have to see the rods extending from the bag and he did not.

2. Lee Oswald carried a rifle and a lunch bag. To distance himself from the rifle, Mr Frazier extended the grocery bag with lunch which Lee Oswald had on his lap from about 1 foot or less to 27-28''. He would then deny the lunch bag, and the extended 2 feet+ bag replaced the rifle. The bag was short enough to claim he believed the curtain rods were in the bag without being asked why did he not recognise the rifle. The Warren Commission did not question the silly curtain rod story as it should. The commissioners should have implement the window width measurements and ask Mr Frazier why he did not see a part of curtain rods  sticking out of the bag.

This explanation makes both Mr Frazier and Lee Oswald vulnerable as to their complicity in the assassination of President Kennedy. If there was no rifle in Mr Frazier car that morning, there was no reason for inventing the curtain rod story.

3. Lee Oswald did not carry any rifle to work that morning, only his lunch. Mr Frazier and his sister needed to associate a long package with Lee Oswald else some other possibility of their involvement in the framing of Lee Oswald might have perspired, for instance, that Mr Frazier on a different day had the rifle in his car and was asked to bring it to the Depository.

However, I am not too inclined to believe in this option. It does not look that Mr Frazier would be capable of such crime but also: Lee Oswald had a guilty knowledge which he would not have should there not be his rifle in the building. His early departure from a site where all action was happening only to go to the cinema and taking a gun to the movies (why?) is unusually suspicious. Lee Oswald was fleeing and fleeing fast. What else than the rifle could be the reason for him to leave fast?

Edited by Andrej Stancak
##### Share on other sites

The mannequin shown below is James2, a Poser 11.2. human avatar, morphed to match the body proportions of Lee Harvey Oswald. This was done using Lee Oswald's mug shot photograph taken by the New Orleans police department in July 1963 (not shown).

The mannequin with body proportions of Lee Harvey Oswald holds a paper back with three curtain rods. The brown bag is 27.5'' long and the three rods are 32''. The mannequin has his left hand in a cup posture, the one which Mr Frazier allegedly saw when Lee Oswald was carrying his bag to the Depository on that fateful Friday. The bottom of the bag was placed into the armpit and the bag with curtain rods is parallel with extended left arm and should end in the cupped hand.

The curtain rods of 32'' would be helplessly too long for an arm of a man 5'9'' shaped to match Lee Oswald. Worse than this, even the bag 27.5'' (70 cm) would be about 4 inches too long.

Lee Oswald could not hold the elongated package containing curtain rods fitting the windows in his room at 1026 North Beckley, and he even could not hold a bag 27-28'' long in  a way described by Mr Frazier.  Why, then, does Mr Frazier insist on seeing Lee Oswald carrying a package in this specific way?

Edited by Andrej Stancak
##### Share on other sites

If the curtain rod story is real, then why wrap them in paper? Why not bring them to work then borrow some tape to hold them together.  I do not believe that, if there was a package, it had anything to do with curtain rods!

##### Share on other sites

Mrs Linnie Mae Randle gave away quite a lot. She was the first to bring Police's attention to a long package which Lee Oswald allegedly had carried to work on Friday morning. If I remember correctly Jim Bishop's book "The Day When Kennedy Was Shot", this happened about on Friday, 22nd of November, around at 3 PM. Mrs Randle went to Paine's house and met the police detectives who came to search Paine's house; she volunteered information about the package without being even asked. Clearly, the package was something she needed to unburden herself from. I do not have access to Bishop's book at the moment, however, I remember that Mrs Randle spoke first about a package 3 feet long which would be closer to the length of a rifle than her subsequent 27-28.5''.

Here is how Mrs Randle described the weight of the package:

Mr. BALL. I have one question, Mr. Chief Justice.
You used an expression there, that the bag appeared heavy.
Mrs. RANDLE. Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL. You meant that there was some weight appeared to--
Mrs. RANDLE. To the bottom.
Mr. BALL. To the bottom?
Mrs. RANDLE. Yes. It tapered like this as he hugged it in his hand. It was more bulky toward the bottom than it was this way.
Mr. BELIN. Toward the top? More bulky toward the bottom than toward the top?
Mrs. RANDLE. That is right.
Mr. BALL. I have no further questions.

So, the package was more bulky toward the bottom (like a riffle butt?) but this would not be consistent with  the package containing just three thin curtain rods - curtain rods do not have any bulky part at their bottoms, they are of homogeneous mass and diameter all their lengths through.

Mrs. Randle wanted to say that Lee Oswald has carried a rifle and she also wanted to clear her brother from being associated with that rifle by claiming the package was only 27-28'' long, not long enough to carry a rifle. She wanted the Police to learn this version of the story right away so she made sure she spoke to Police as soon as possible.

The question is why were Mrs Randle and Mr Frazier so keen to invent the curtain rod story? Were they afraid that the Police would not believe that they did not know about Lee Oswald's sinister intentions when they saw him carrying the rifle?

Edited by Andrej Stancak
##### Share on other sites

This is what Mrs Randle told the Warren Commission about how Lee had carried the package.

Mr. BALL. Was he carrying any package?
Mrs. RANDLE. Yes; he was.
Mr. BALL. What was he carrying?
Mrs. RANDLE. He was carrying a package in a sort of a heavy brown bag, heavier than a grocery bag it looked to me. It was about, if I might measure, about this long, I suppose, and he carried it in his right hand, had the top sort of folded down and had a grip like this, and the bottom, he carried it this way, you know, and it almost touched the ground as he carried it.
Mr. BALL. Let me see. He carried it in his right hand, did he?
Mrs. RANDLE. That is right.
Mr. BALL. And where was his hand gripping the middle of the package?
Mrs. RANDLE. No, sir; the top with just a little bit sticking up. You know just like you grab something like that.
Mr. BALL. And he was grabbing it with his right hand at the top of the package and the package almost touched the ground?
Mrs. RANDLE. Yes, sir.

And this is how would Lee look like with a package 27.5'' long. The package would never be close to the ground, it would be above the knee level or slightly lower depending on where exactly was the grasp.

Edited by Andrej Stancak
##### Share on other sites

Mrs Randle's memories would be spot on if Lee Oswald had carried a rifle instead of a package 28'' long. The picture below shows a mannequin James2 morphed to have the same body proportions as Lee Oswald. The mannequin holds the Mannlicher-Carcano of 40.1'' modelled according to the Warren Commission photographs. The butt of the rifle is indeed close to the ground and it could have been maybe even closer at some parts of the walking cycle.

Edited by Andrej Stancak
##### Share on other sites

Mr Frazier demonstrated how Lee Oswald  has carried the package in an interview with Tom Meros. Mr Meros and Mr Frazier prepared a package which was exactly 2 feet long (this is less than 27-28'' which he and Mrs Randle told the Warren Commission). Even if a package was only 24'', shorter than the one they (Frazier and Randle) reported, and even if Mr Frazier had longer arms than Lee Oswald due to being 3 inches taller, and even when the paper bag folded slightly under Mr Frazier's arm during his demonstration, Mr Frazier could not hold it in the cupped hand. He carried it with the two distal phalanges of his extended fingers. A paper bag, if carried it as demonstrated by Mr Frazier, would need to be very thin as the base was not the cupped at his hand but only two phalanges.

Edited by Andrej Stancak
##### Share on other sites

In my limited experience with curtain rods, my early married life consisted of low-rent apartments and TELESCOPING curtain rods. Say, if the window was 32 inches wide, the telescoping curtain rods would be around 18"-20" long when not extended, depending on the type of ends on the curtain rods. My mom's 1928-vintage farmhouse has 1940s/50s vintage telescoping curtain rods at every window.

So a 22'-24" long bag would make sense for curtain rods for 32" windows.

##### Share on other sites

Is it possible to arrive at some conclusion regarding the curtain rod story?

Some facts first:

1. Both Buell Wesley Frazier and his sister claimed that Lee Oswald has carried a long brown paper back on Friday morning. Lee Oswald denied carrying any such bag except of a lunch bag of unknown size.  Mr Frazier did not confirm that Lee Oswald would carry a smaller paper bag on his lap during the morning ride.

2. Mr Frazier claims that Lee Oswald told him the bag contained curtain rods. Lee told Wesley Frazier about his intention to bring curtain rods for his rented room on Thursday afternoon, and Mr Frazier told his sister about the curtain rods also on Thursday.

3. Both Mr Frazier and Mrs Randle testified for the Warren Commission that the package was 27''-28'' long. Mrs Randle told that she measured it before her hearing, so she was prepared for the question.

4. Mr Frazier described in his Warren Commission testimony the way how Lee carried the package. One end of the package was stuck under the armpit and the other end rested in the cupped hand.

5. The required length of Curtain rods for Lee's rented room was 32'' inch, about 4'' longer compared to the length of the package which Mr Frazier and Mrs Randle claimed to have seen.

6. A package of 32'' but also a package 27''-28'' could not be carried by Lee Oswald in the way described by Mr Frazier.

7. Mrs Randle claimed to have seen Lee holding the package below the top of the package with the bulky end of the packed almost touching the ground. However, a package of 27''-28.5'' would only reach to the knees.

8. The rented room had three windows and therefore, Lee could only need three curtain rods. The curtain rods would not create a bulky end on package.

Safe implications:

1. Lee Oswald did not carry any curtain rods to work on Friday morning. The package as described by both Mr Frazier and Mrs Randle could not accommodate the curtain rods, and curtain rods would not necessitate a bag 5-6'' wide. The curtain rods would stick out of the package and Frazier and Randle would have to see a part of curtain rods.

Correction: the telescoping curtain rods would not stick out from a package 27-28'' long.

2. The package as described by Mr Frazier and Mrs Randle could not hold the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle either.

3. Mrs Randle's description of how Lee Oswald carried the package and that the package had a bulky end was not consistent with the length of the package given by Mrs Randle and Mr Frazier. The bulky end of the package would not be consistent with the methods of carrying the package described Mr Frazier in his interview with Tom Meros.

Questions:

1. Did Lee tell Mr Frazier about fetching the curtain rods but carried something else in the package, something which would neither be curtain rods nor the rifle? What would it be and why he would not tell Mr Frazier and the Police about the content of such package? If it was not a rifle, why did Mrs Randle hurry up on Friday afternoon to tell the Police about the long package?

2. Did Lee Oswald carry his rifle to work and both Mrs Randle and Mr Frazier saw it? This possibility connects most of the dots: it explains why was Lee Oswald vulnerable after the shooting and why would Mr Frazier want to detach himself from the rifle by inventing the curtain rod story. There was no need for inventing curtain rods story unless there was a rifle problem.

Edited by Andrej Stancak
##### Share on other sites

26 minutes ago, Mark Knight said:

In my limited experience with curtain rods, my early married life consisted of low-rent apartments and TELESCOPING curtain rods. Say, if the window was 32 inches wide, the telescoping curtain rods would be around 18"-20" long when not extended, depending on the type of ends on the curtain rods. My mom's 1928-vintage farmhouse has 1940s/50s vintage telescoping curtain rods at every window.

So a 22'-24" long bag would make sense for curtain rods for 32" windows.

A good point. Telescopic curtain rods would explain the package length of 22'' inch. But why would then both Mr Frazier and Mrs Randle claim that the package was 27''-28'' long, too long to be carried the way Mr Frazier has described? And why would Mrs Randle say seeing a bulky bottom of the package to almost touch the ground while Lee held the package below the top of the package? Three curtain rods would not cause any bulky end and would not require a width of the paper bag to be 5-6''.

However, I admit that the bag which Mr Frazier claims to have seen (it would have to be shorter than 2 feet though) could be flat, it could be 5-6'' wide and it could contain three thin telescoping curtain rods of 22'' length.  The question is then the length of the package (27-28'') and its bulky end.

Why would Lee Oswald deny carrying a package containing curtain rods?

Edited by Andrej Stancak