Jump to content
The Education Forum

Josiah Thompson's brand new book LAST SECOND IN DALLAS


Recommended Posts

5 hours ago, Mark Tyler said:

Sadly I can't find it anywhere either.  However, back in 2004 David Wimp did give a presentation, at about 40 minutes into this video:

https://www.c-span.org/video/?183565-1/warren-report-lone-assassin-theory-part-1

I found this presentation to be very persuasive, and LSID chapter 14 "The Blur Illusion" is a very important correction to Thompson's 1967 book.  The forward movement of JFK's head during Z313-Z314 is no more than an illusion, and JFK's exact head movements during that time can never be known due to the blurring and the explosion debris in the film (which both make any proper measurement impossible).

JFK assassination conference: "The Lone Assassin Theory - Photographic Evidence" 2004 - YouTube

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 256
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

8 hours ago, Mark Tyler said:

Thanks Vince.  It's great to see these old presentations on video, especially in this case when the the slides and documentation can't be found anywhere else on the internet.

My pleasure!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now I've read the book completely, and considered the details, I thought I would share my initial thoughts in a few posts.

Firstly, this is a book that focuses entirely on the forensic details of the Dealey Plaza crime scene, so if that part of the case interests you then it's a worthwhile read.  If you would rather explore the myriad of different theories, or you want to know what Lee Harvey Oswald was doing on some rainy Tuesday afternoon in 1961, then you will need to look elsewhere!

Secondly, the book is written in an autobiographical style, which I quite like as it gives a human angle and allows us to follow the narrative through the eyes of Josiah Thompson the investigator.

As my posts will reveal I don't agree with him on everything about the crime scene, but his thoughtful approach of weighing up the contradictory evidence and his willingness to challenge his own preconceptions does allow him to make progress from the book he published in 1967.  If anyone hasn't read Six Seconds In Dallas (SSID), it can be read online here:

https://archive.org/details/SixSecondsInDallas

Last Second In Dallas (LSID) supersedes much of SSID, but the 1967 book is still worth a read to appreciate some of the details of the crime scene evidence and eyewitness interviews that do not appear in LSID.  Thompson is someone who has spent a lot of time investigating, researching, and pondering the complex nature of the evidence in Dealey Plaza so I found it rather interesting to read his current thoughts on the case (which I would now assume to be his final settled view).

To cut a long story short, Thompson settles on the idea that more than one sniper was firing shots in Dealey Plaza.  Various pieces of evidence are presented to support this idea, most notably the dictabelt evidence studied by the HSCA and its scientists back in the 1970's.  Thompson slightly deviates from the conclusions of the HSCA thanks to work done since 2000, and on page 173 he says that five shots were fired in two bursts at these points in the Zapruder film (Z-film):

Z175
Z204
Z224
-
Z313
Z328

By contrast the HSCA said that it was the final shot that hit JFK in the head, which shifts the time sequence back by 15 frames for each shot:

Z160
Z189
Z209
-
Z298
Z313

In this scenario the Z298 shot was fired from the knoll, and the Z313 shot  from the TSBD.  The HSCA agreed with the Warren Commission Report (WCR) that there was a single bullet theory shot fired around Z190 (not Z210 as the WCR said) which hit JFK and Connally, and they discarded the Z210 shot from the acoustics analysis (accepting it would have forced them to require a third gunman).

Both of these dictabelt driven scenarios seem to match both the head shot and the victims reacting at Z225-Z230 to their wounds, so superficially they seem credible as there is a loose match between the audio on the dictabelt and the events that unfolded in the Z-film.

However, there are several problems with the HSCA version of events here, most notably that JFK and John Connally start to react to their wounds during Z225-Z230, which is a strange two second delay after the Z190 shot which doesn't seem right for such grievous wounds that both victims sustained.

The other problem with the knoll shot being fired at Z298 is that the three people on the knoll as seen in the Muchmore film don't react at all until after the head shot:

20150407-073359.jpg

20150407-074018.jpg

I would have thought that a bullet whistling past those people on the steps would have stimulated some kind of reaction, but apparently not, which is one of the many problems with a knoll shot at Z298.

In short, the HSCA shot scenario doesn't really match the film evidence, so I think Thompson and others are right to reject it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Moving on to the acoustics analysis generally in LSID, I noticed that it relies a lot on the research done since the HSCA closed in 1979, such as the work by Donald Thomas and others.  If anyone hasn't read this, it is helpfully presented here at the Mary Ferrell foundation website:

https://maryferrell.org/pages/Acoustics_Evidence.html

Back in 2019-2020 I took some interest in the dictabelt issues when I created my animated reconstruction of the Dealey Plaza crime scene:

https://www.marktyler.org/mc63.html

The purpose of this reconstruction is to track the positions of the cars, bikes, and witnesses using the films, photos, and eyewitness testimony.  This is relevant to the HSCA acoustics analysis because the HSCA scientists claimed a 95% certainty of a shot from the grassy knoll, which required a microphone to be in exactly the right place at the right time.  From Z160 to Z330 the HSCA said that a bike with a microphone was turning from Houston Street onto Elm Street at a speed of just over 11 MPH.  I placed a large circle into the animation where this bike must have been, as depicted by these animation frames at Z188, Z255, and Z313 (the circle labelled 10 is where the microphone needs to be):

mc63-2-2-Z188.pngmc63-2-2-Z255.pngmc63-2-2-Z313.png

As can be seen there isn't a bike (an orange circle) anywhere near where it needs to be.  The bike that the HSCA suspected of being the bike with the stuck open microphone was HB McLain (orange circle 16 on Houston Street), but this can be proven to be wrong as we know that his bike was consistently positioned near the camera and congressman cars.  We are able to judge McLain's position fairly accurately thanks to him being visible in the DCA, Hughes, and Dorman films travelling down Main Street and Houston Street (always around Camera Car #3 and the Congressman #1 cars):

Mc-Lain-DCA.png

Hughes-f-01085-Z150.png

Dorman-Mc-Lain-969.png

Here is a photo from earlier in the motorcade showing McLain and Baker just in front of Camera Car #3 (Dillard photo from the Dallas Morning News):

mclain-baker-motorcade.jpg

Notice the ID numbers are on the back of the bikes so we know exactly who they are thanks to them being listed in various places in the documentary record.  For an overview, forum member @Todd W. Vaughan prepared a very nice motorcade guide back in 1993, including citations on page 19:

https://archive.org/details/nsia-MotorcadeRoute/nsia-MotorcadeRoute/Motorcade Route 05/page/n22/mode/2up

Lastly, McLain was seen in the Bond 4 photo on the left frame edge:

bond4.jpg

Here is the equivalent animation frame showing McLain travelling at about 8 MPH:

mc63-2-2-Bond-4.png

My animation timings show that if McLain travelled down Houston Street from Z150 to Z410 without stopping, he would have averaged about 10 MPH.  He must then have slowed to around 5 MPH as he took the sharp corner, before gently accelerating as he travelled down Elm Street.  All of this would have happened smoothly without requiring any stops, or sudden accelerations in speed.  Everything fits with no loose ends, which means that the 95% certainty claim has no basis in fact (there was no bike or microphone anywhere near where it should have been if the claim was correct).

Back in 2007-2010 Dale Myers found the same results and wrote them up here:

http://www.jfkfiles.com/jfk/html/acoustics.htm

Pat Speer also made some interesting criticisms of the dictabelt last year:

http://www.patspeer.com/debunking-the-dictabelt

It's not often you find Dale and Pat on the same side in a JFK assassination debate, but on this issue they are united!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another problem that I have with the acoustics analysis is that the dictabelt recording of the alleged shots doesn't contain any ambient noise from Dealey Plaza such as crowd noise or the siren that Sam Kinney started immediately after he saw the head shot explosion.  The HSCA said that a siren should be recorded by a bike microphone if it was within 300 feet of the noise, which is the red area on this map (Z388 of the Z-film):

mc63-2-2-Z388.png

As you can see, any microphone in the red area should have recorded the din from the siren, but no such noise exists on the recording.  By contrast, about three minutes after this point the dictabelt contains about 40 seconds of sirens seemingly passing the point where the bike microphone was.  Judging from the timing this would make perfect sense if the bike was located somewhere near the Trade Mart, and the motorcade was rushing to Parkland Hospital nearby.

I don't think we can ever be 100% certain of exactly whose bike and microphone was responsible for the dictabelt recordings, but the theory of it being located in Dealey Plaza has too many problems for it to be correct.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Mark Tyler said:

I would have thought that a bullet whistling past those people on the steps would have stimulated some kind of reaction, but apparently not, which is one of the many problems with a knoll shot at Z298.

In short, the HSCA shot scenario doesn't really match the film evidence, so I think Thompson and others are right to reject it.

Mark,

I agree.  But, the situation is more complicated.  Like just about everything in Dealey Plaza there is a "wait, what's that.  That contradicts".  

Mary Moorman's photo agrees with Muchmore.  Some people have suspected they are the same or from the same source.

Moorman-fraud.jpg

This is a Marie Muchmore frame showing 3 men on the steps.  The same as Moorman's 3 men in almost the exact same pose.

m21-black-patch.jpg

Is that enough to convince one of 3 men on the steps.  Perhaps not.  The following raises more questions about Muchmore and Moorman.

This is a Bell frame showing only two men on the steps.

bell-two-guys-steps.jpg

and they are kind of transparent.

This is a Martin frame showing two men sitting.

martin-interesting-frame-2.jpg

In the Willis slide we see only two men and not 3.

willis-5-zframe-202-compare-a.jpg

In this Towner frame we see two men sitting.

towner2lga.jpg

Although some 35 or 40 seconds later in the Couch frame there appears to be two men sitting in that area.  A mag look at will show more.  This is similar to the Martin frame:

breaking-the-news-19-couch-film-a.jpg

Zapruder does not show the men on the steps.  IMO, It should.

Conclusion:  None of the pictorial evidence in Dealey Plaza can be trusted.  Especially, the Zapruder film which starts out as a fraud in frame 1 and continues with many examples of altered film throughout the movie.  Another photographer that can not be trusted is Ike Altgens.  Altgens 5, 6, and 7 are frauds.

These two along with the Moorman Polaroid tell a story in Dealey Plaza that is totally false.  They are the basis of the official story and it is false. 

 

 

Edited by John Butler
Link to comment
Share on other sites

PS

You can make a fair case that the Moorman Polaroid is from the Muchmore film:

Muchmore-Moorman-comparison-montage.jpg

If you look closely at the Moorman Polaroid there are traces of Kennedy being shot and the head wound's ejection of material has been mostly erased.  We see in the Muchmore film frames this head wound and ejecta are more visible.  The head wound plume of material is less than the image shown in Zapruder, but is shown longer in a greater number of frames.  

The top, left hand Muchmore frame is almost an exact copy of the Moorman Polaroid.  There are differences.  Mary and Jean are not in the Polaroid.  The Babushka women is not in the Polaroid which may indicate that the Polaroid is a cut down version of the Muchmore frame.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, John Butler said:

Is that enough to convince one of 3 men on the steps.  Perhaps not.  The following raises more questions about Muchmore and Moorman.

This is a Bell frame showing only two men on the steps.

One of the men on the steps turns and runs away immediately after the head shot which is why in later films there are only two people who remain.  If you look closely at the Nix film here you can just about see him as he disappeared into the shadows as he scuttled up the steps:

Marilyn Sitzman said that two people ran behind the pergola immediately after the shooting and in the process dropped some glass bottles.  Appropriately for this thread, that information came from a Josiah Thompson interview!  I suspect the second person Sitzman referred to was the so called black dog man, visible in the Willis and Betzner photos behind the concrete wall.

1 hour ago, John Butler said:

In the Willis slide we see only two men and not 3.

willis-5-zframe-202-compare-a.jpg

The Willis slide is rather curious, but maybe Emmett Hudson is directly behind the man and his presence is obscured?

1 hour ago, John Butler said:

Zapruder does not show the men on the steps.  IMO, It should.

I think Zapruder frame 413 shows the top of Emmett Hudson's head at the bottom of the frame, slightly obscured by the bushes:

z413.jpg

1 hour ago, John Butler said:

Conclusion:  None of the pictorial evidence in Dealey Plaza can be trusted.  Especially, the Zapruder film which starts out as a fraud in frame 1 and continues with many examples of altered film throughout the movie.  Another photographer that can not be trusted is Ike Altgens.  Altgens 5, 6, and 7 are frauds.

These two along with the Moorman Polaroid tell a story in Dealey Plaza that is totally false.  They are the basis of the official story and it is false. 

If the photos and films are fake then nothing useful can be learned from them regarding the assassination, which is rather disappointing!  Wouldn't fabricating so much evidence be a little risky?  One mistake and the whole thing would be exposed as a fraud, which would create an uproar.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

48 minutes ago, John Butler said:

Muchmore-Moorman-comparison-montage.jpg

If you look closely at the Moorman Polaroid there are traces of Kennedy being shot and the head wound's ejection of material has been mostly erased.  We see in the Muchmore film frames this head wound and ejecta are more visible.  The head wound plume of material is less than the image shown in Zapruder, but is shown longer in a greater number of frames. 

 

1 hour ago, John Butler said:

PS

You can make a fair case that the Moorman Polaroid is from the Muchmore film:

The three men on the steps look identical in the Moorman photo and the Muchmore film, but there is a logical explanation.  If you look at the Muchmore frame above you can see Mary Moorman positioned beneath the guys on the steps, which means Muchmore, Moorman, and the guys on the steps are all aligned in a straight line during Z313-Z315 when those images were exposed to film:

mc63-2-2-Z313-Moorman-Muchmore.png

The Moorman photo was taken at about Z315 which is why the explosion isn't visible in it (compared to Z313 and the equivalent Moorman frame).  It's only a fraction of a second but it's long enough for the debris to mostly disappear.  The other thing to remember is that the Moorman Polaroid is a very low quality image so it won't be completely clear.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Apart from the acoustics analysis, what about the rest of the evidence that the HSCA and Josiah Thompson referred to regarding the shot sequence?  The first burst of shots was stated as being between Z175 and Z224.  With the Z-film showing the victims reacting to being shot at Z225 (after they came out from behind the sign), it is very clear that a shot was fired just before that point.

The timing of the first shot seems harder to judge, but there are some clues to be found in the Z-film and the witness statements.  The HSCA did some work that became known as "jiggle analysis", as it measured the points in the Z-film where Zapruder jiggled the camera and created noticeable blurs.  The idea was that whenever a shot was fired in Dealey Plaza it would startle Zapruder and cause a blur.  The five largest blurs are located in these places in the Z-film (from the largest to the smallest):

Z318 onwards
Z190-Z210
Z227-Z235
Z155-Z160
Z290-Z295

The HSCA went into much more detail about these issues here:

https://history-matters.com/archive/jfk/hsca/reportvols/vol6/pdf/HSCA_Vol6_2_Shots.pdf

As we know, the victims reacted to their wounds at Z313 and Z225 in the Z-film so we know for certain that two shots were fired just before these points, which is what the jiggles at Z318 onwards and Z227 must relate to.  Of the remaining three jiggles we must decide which relate to shots, and which are false alarms (such as where Zapruder simply wobbled the camera as he panned).

A fair number of witnesses gave useful information regarding when the shooting started, so we should be able to use this to decide which of the jiggles is indicative of the first shot (Z155, Z190, or Z227).  Firstly, there was Hugh Betzner who took a photo at exactly Z186 who said:

"I took another picture as the President's car was going down the hill on Elm Street. I started to wind my film again and I heard a loud noise."

Then we have Phil Willis who took a photo at exactly Z202 who said

"Then my next shot was taken at the very–in fact, the shot caused me to squeeze the camera shutter, and I got a picture of the President as he was hit with the first shot. So instantaneous, in fact, that the crowd hadn't had time to react."

Taken together these two witnesses are saying the noise of the first shot was not heard before Z186, but was heard just before Z202.  This is a narrow frame of just under a second, and I think this is when the witnesses heard the first shot, including Zapruder who was startled Z190-Z210.

Finally, we have a whole group of witnesses who were standing at the lamppost by the Thornton freeway sign (or just west of it) who all said that the limo had just passed them or was directly in front of them when the first shot was fired: AJ Millican, Karen Westbrook, Gloria Calvery, Karan Hicks, Jane Berry, and Betty Thornton.  Here is the Betzner photo for reference:

betzner_3_crop.jpg

This photo shows that at Z186 the Presidential limo has just passed the lamppost by the Thornton freeway sign, so the first shot was heard just after this.  I would therefore deduce that the Z190-Z210 jiggle is a function of the first shot, and the Z155 jiggle is a false alarm (Zapruder had only switched it on a second before at Z133 so he was probably still getting comfortable and framing the limo).

With LSID saying the first shots were fired in a bunch Z175-Z224, the photos, films, and witnesses seem to support this.  Most importantly if a shot was fired at Z180-Z185, and also Z215-Z220, then we have two shots being fired within two seconds which is impossible for Oswald to have achieved on his own with his clunky old rifle.  This supports the LSID assertion that two gunmen were firing shots in Dealey Plaza.

I can't see how the lone nut theory survives this, unless I have made a mistake somewhere?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Mark Tyler said:

If the photos and films are fake then nothing useful can be learned from them regarding the assassination, which is rather disappointing!  Wouldn't fabricating so much evidence be a little risky?  One mistake and the whole thing would be exposed as a fraud, which would create an uproar.

Only in modern times does a fellow like me have the means to see this stuff for what it is.  I have a nice computer and good software.  There are people who did this with more primitive means and pretty much came to the same conclusion, Jack White for one.

In those days not many would not have even thought that such could be fabricated on such a large scale.  People still have that problem today.   As, example why is it that Zapruder is the only person who can show us what happened to the p. limo from the passenger's side?  There were plenty of cameras in Dealey Plaza on East Houston and North Elm, about 14 if I am remembering correctly from a count I made some years back.  Where is their film? 

Turning to another issue of concern:

It you look at Willis slide 5 you will see only two men on the steps before the p. limo arrives there in about 3-5 seconds or less.   Yep?  Three men, maybeso? The third man was obviously quick to get there for Muchmore/Moorman and then quicker to get away from Bell.

 

Edited by John Butler
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Mark Tyler said:

 

This photo shows that at Z186 the Presidential limo has just passed the lamppost by the Thornton freeway sign, so the first shot was heard just after this.  I would therefore deduce that the Z190-Z210 jiggle is a function of the first shot, and the Z155 jiggle is a false alarm (Zapruder had only switched it on a second before at Z133 so he was probably still getting comfortable and framing the limo).

Starting off, I would recommend watching Hargis' motorcycle (repeatedly) just before the Groden frames appear, besides considering the head movement of JFK and JBC throughout:

Splice.gif

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Mark Tyler said:

This photo shows that at Z186 the Presidential limo has just passed the lamppost by the Thornton freeway sign, so the first shot was heard just after this.  I would therefore deduce that the Z190-Z210 jiggle is a function of the first shot, and the Z155 jiggle is a false alarm (Zapruder had only switched it on a second before at Z133 so he was probably still getting comfortable and framing the limo).

This disregards over a hundred witnesses who heard shooting on Main St., Houston St. and Elm St.  Most of the witnesses, close to 90 or more, heard shooting when the p. limo was in the intersection of Houston and Elm Street and in front of the TSBD.  Folks may claim that I cherry pick these witnesses.  I did with the simple question "where was the p. limo when you heard shots"?

 

2 hours ago, Joseph McBride said:

Zapruder testified to the WC that he filmed the turn onto Elm Street.

He did, but it turned into the Zapruder Gap.  They say when a camera like Zapruder starts up the first frame is lighter than other frames.  Here is Z 001 and the startup frame Z 133 after the Zapruder Gap.  Are the the same?

Zapruder-Gap-comparison.jpg

This has been explained by others smarter than me.  I like the Z 001 frame.  It is a fraud.  The Zapruder film has a fraudulent start up and does not get better.  Jack White explained this long ago by noting that not a single person can be identified in this area with the people of the same area in Altgens 5.  In other words the people in the area in Altgens 5 or the people in Z 001 are a stage prop.  The same goes for the Southwest corner of Houston and Elm St.  There are differing numbers of people there in Zapruder and the Elsie Dorman film.  And, of course Mannikin row is real.

IMO, the missing film (and film from earlier shots and films) in the Zapruder Gap was used to provide the scenery inside the p. limo as it traveled down Elm towards the Grassy Knoll.  Counting jiggles and head movements simply can't account for what really happened.  Head movements or figures turning to look at something in another direction always seemed to be misleading.  These were security people monitoring the crowd.  So, anything could have caught their attention.

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
 Share


×
×
  • Create New...