Jump to content
The Education Forum

Jerry Belknap


Recommended Posts

Keyvan:

There is an older EF thread on this topic begun in November 2007 called "The Epileptic Seizure".  It contains information about Jerry Belknap, and speculation about the incident. Belknap didn't have epilepsy, but had purportedly been in a car accident years earlier and suffered a head injury which caused him to have fainting spells. He took medication (unspecified) least three times a day.  His FBI interview (the only one ever recorded) reveals that, due to the excitement of JFK's visit, he had forgotten to take his medication, and had subsequently fainted shortly after arriving at Elm and Houston, an auspicious location in Dealey Plaza.  Belknap's fainting at 12:10 pm that day was one of several coincidences in the Plaza  in the hour preceding the motorcade. There was never any real background investigation of Belknap, except an FBI interview in June 1964, with the incident prompts many unanswered questions:

  • An ambulance arriving within 5 minutes seems like a world record; who called it, and how/why did it arrive so promptly?  
  • There is no record of Belknap's admittance to Parkland Hospital. Belknap (and his records) seems to have too easily 'escaped' Parkland Hospital.  Why would the ER allow someone who had such an episode - especially one where an ambulance ride is warranted - to simply walk away? 
  • Belknap's Dallas Morning News part-time job, in which he didn’t stay too long (he was soon employed elsewhere )
  • While he described feeling "much better" (to a Parkland nurse) after taking his medication - which he had in his pocket - why had he not taken it that morning?
  • No anticonvulsant medication will give an instant feeling of well-being (plus side effects aren't pleasant). Unfortunately, he was not asked to name the medication.
  • How could he have not suspected something sinister, after the fact? Surely, he must have known that something strange had played out, that he was part of.
  • Belknap was a young man (23-24) about the same age as Lee Oswald, with another 'part-time' job across the street.

Some have theorized that the ambulance was timed to be in the intersection to slow/block the motorcade at a critical point, in what would be considered the kill zone.  The motorcade was slowed only minimally, as you can actually see the ambulance leaving in the Bronson film taken from the motorcade.  The same plan was probably in play for the pickup that was stalled under the overpass and diverted police attention for a good while before it two was taken away before the motorcade arrives.  Diversion and blocking are basic military/paramilitary practices in ambush. Others speculate that the distraction was aimed at occupying the ambulance from Parkland, so none would be available (for JFK) in the next half hour. The same could be said for the stalled pick up down by the overpass which diverted police before the motorcade arrived.

Aubrey Rike was an ambulance/hearse driver for O'Neal Ambulance Service.  In a 1997 interview by Walt Brown, Rike told of receiving several "bogus" ambulance calls during the days preceding the President's motorcade, and the location was usually the corner of Houston and Elm Streets.  He expressed the possibility that perhaps the Belknap seizure was part of something  bigger, and that his ambulance (cruising nearby) was supposed to have arrived a few minutes later ... he implied that the sound of its siren would have drowned out the sounds of the shots. At that time in Dallas, ambulances were attached to the funeral homes and not the hospitals. O'Neal's dispatcher Dan Dawson that suggested this may have been a diversion connected to the assassination (i.e.  a personal feeling of his).

If a similar event were to occur today during a presidential motorcade, the first responders would not be an EMT team ... Secret Service, and all other sorts of protective personnel (in the crowd) would be all over a guy writhing on the ground, just minutes away from POTUS arrival.

Gene

image.png.b4506afeed7b9ca9165d3b4d0536f4a4.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Great post Gene.  I am also a Maverick like Jerry.  Where Jim Marrs taught, but I missed.

I've long wondered if the Belknap ordeal wasn't staged.  

Your detail and analysis are excellent imho.

The tail lights are telling.  The parade was 5 minutes late. 

Edited by Ron Bulman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Ron ... Belknap interested me a few years back (March-April 2008), and the EF thread subsequently contained input from many experienced researchers (Jack White, Greg Parker, Larry Hancock, Bill Kelly, Steve Thomas, James Richards, Michael Crane, Ty Carpenter, Paul Brancato, Tom Hume, Roger Fong ... just to name a few).  That's a considerable list of talent and JFK knowledge, so Belknap's story was thoroughly rung-out.  That said, it remains remarkably coincidental, and far too enigmatic to be dismissed (imho), prompting many unanswered questions.  What is nagging me is the fact that no one ever talked with Belknap (other than the FBI) and he disappeared into oblivion for 23 years.  If one buys into a military-style operation in play, then it fits into a classic blocking/diversion strategy. Larry Hancock's opinion was that the ambulance was timed to be in the intersection to slow or block the motorcade at a critical point (i.e. the kill zone).  Greg Parker's research established the following:

In a letter from Jesse Curry to the Warren Commission dated July 17 1964, he advised that at 12:19 on Nov 22 1963 an ambulance was requested for the 100 block of North Houston to pick someone up who had suffered an epileptic seizure.  The ambulance departed just prior to 12:25. Only two of the four officers who went to aid Belknap testified to the Warren Commission, and of the two, only Joe Marshall Smith talked about the incident. Smith gave the time of the seizure as 11:50 or 12 noon (i.e., it took at least 19 minutes to call for an ambulance). This episode was ignored until May 12, 1964, when one Dan Dawson, a former employee of O’Neal Funeral Parlor (who operated the ambulance service) phoned the FBI. Dawson advised that he had been the telephone operator who took the call to pick up the epileptic in Dealey Plaza on Nov 22nd, and stated that the person “disappeared” while in the process of being registered for admission to Parkland Hospital. Dawson furnished the information because he thought it possible the whole incident was planned as a diversion. 

The Presidential motorcade was due to pass the TSBD very close to when Belknap and the ambulance were blocking progress down Elm Street. Even though the motorcade was running late, it stopped twice; once for the President to shake some hands, and once for the President to get out and interact with a nun and some children. Belknap had allegedly neglected to take his medication that morning and, shortly after arriving at noon, stated he "felt a fainting spell coming on" while waiting for the motorcade; he then fainted and fell backward on the sidewalk (but apparently never lost consciousness).  Within about ten minutes, the ambulance appeared on the scene. Rike's ambulance (#606) was not at the funeral home when called, but at a car dealership at the corner of Harwood and Cedar Springs (along the motorcade route), one mile from Dealey Plaza.  The timing questions are interesting, as the Trade Mart luncheon was advertised to start at 12 noon (as printed on the invitation) with a speech to follow at at 1pm. Air Force 1 was scheduled to arrive at 11:30 and reach the Trade Mart approximately 45 min later. On November 18th, Agents Sorrels and Lawson drove over the selected route with police officers, verifying that it could be traversed within 45 minutes.  Ar Force-1 did not land at 11:30 nor did JFK leave Love field at 11:30 - but rather at 11:55 - pushing the parade route timing out.  Consider the testimony of Lee Bowers who observed activity from his rail tower north of the Texas Book Depository Building:

" ... about 11:55 am I saw a dirty 1959 Oldsmobile Station Wagon come down the street toward my building. This street dead ends in the railroad yard. This car had out of state license plats with white background and black numbers, no letters. It also had a Goldwater for "64" sticker in the rear window. This car just drove around slowly and left the area. It was occupied by a middle aged white man partly grey hair. At about 12:15 pm another car came into the area with a white man about 25 to 35 years old driving. This car was a 1957 Ford, Black, 2 door with Texas license. This man appeared to have a mike or telephone in the car. Just a few minutes after this car left at 12:20 pm another car pulled in. This car was a 1961 Chevrolet, Impala, 4 door, am not sure that this was a 4 door, color white and dirty up to the windows. This car also had a Goldwater for "64" sticker. This car was driven by a white male about 25 to 35 years old with long blond hair. He stayed in the area longer than the others. This car also had the same type license plates as the 1959 Oldsmobile. He left this area about 12:25 pm. About 8 or 10 minutes after he left I heard at least 3 shots very close together. Just after the shots the area became crowded with people coming from Elm Street and the slope just north of Elm".

Lee Forman noted in 2008 that the ambulance incident happened almost directly across from the Records Building. The inference being that there were 'spotters' in the building to notify employees of the arrival of the motorcade, and there may have been a method to the madness of the timing of Belknap's seizure as a diversion to gain access to the building. Some speculate that the Belknap incident occurred ahead of schedule, timed wrongly to coincide with the motorcade's expected entrance into Dealey, which was delayed. And that the ambulance activity was intended to distract police or draw attention away from shooters ... a diversion, drawing attention away from shooters (and others) and allowing them to get into place. Just as the alleged shooting from and activities at the TSBD were a diversion.  It also served as a signal of sorts, letting the ambush teams know that's its almost time (i.e. a two-minute warning). By taking him to Parkland, it perhaps also alerted those who would be stationed and positioned at the hospital (as contingencies); somehow, it seems associated with clearing a path to the hospital. This makes sense as there are allegations (by Aubrey Rike) that the ambulance ride to Parkland was timed previously.  One wonders what would be critical (to someone) about how long that ride takes.  The Belknap incident somehow establishes the timing for events that follow.  

Aubrey Rike remained accessible and was interviewed several times. In 1961 he went to work for the O’Neal Funeral Home & Ambulance Service. He was at Parkland Memorial Hospital when President Kennedy was brought in after being shot and was the attendant who placed the President’s body into the casket while in the Trauma Room. Rike later became a police officer, and retired from the Highland Park Police Department as a Detective Sergeant after 26 years of service. The following is from a post by Don Roberdeau in 2015:

In 1992, Aubrey Rike (the ambulance driver) spoke at the Assassination Symposium about Kennedy and stated that he knew of, at least, eight phony telephone calls that had each requested an ambulance go to Dealey Plaza in the three weeks leading up to the assassination. Rike suggested that the calls were made with a deliberate purposes to determine exactly how much time it took an ambulance to reach Dealey Plaza after being called. He also suggested that another possible purpose of the phony calls was to time the assassination shots to occur simultaneously with the loud siren of his ambulance was still within hearing distance of Dealey Plaza, so to try and confuse witnesses and/or drown out the assassination shots noises. Rike's ambulance departed Dealey Plaza at 12:22-12:23 pm (Dallas newspapers had previously printed that the President would enter the plaza at 12:25 pm)

Twenty years later, more questions were posed (and some reconciled) by the respected researcher Dr. Jerry Rose and his associate, Keith Freedman. On November 21, 1983, they visited with Belknap who was still living with his father and mother on Ross Drive in Irving TX.  Belknap contradicted some of the earlier statements found in the transcript of his 1964 FBI interview: he denied that he took one of his "regular medications" before he left Parkland; rather, a male attendant offered him a glass of water and an aspirin. He explained how - because he didn't receive prompt medical attention - he walked out without registering, and then caught a city bus  back to Dealey Plaza and the Dallas News. Only when he was back downtown did he learn of the President's shooting. The interviewers didn't notice anything unusual or uncooperative about Belknap (although his mother appeared nervous and protective of her son).  Two years later, Belknap was dead at age 45 (cause unspecified).

Gene

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Gene Kelly said:

In 1992, Aubrey Rike (the ambulance driver) spoke at the Assassination Symposium about Kennedy and stated that he knew of, at least, eight phony telephone calls that had each requested an ambulance go to Dealey Plaza in the three weeks leading up to the assassination. Rike suggested that the calls were made with a deliberate purposes to determine exactly how much time it took an ambulance to reach Dealey Plaza after being called. He also suggested that another possible purpose of the phony calls was to time the assassination shots to occur simultaneously with the loud siren of his ambulance was still within hearing distance of Dealey Plaza, so to try and confuse witnesses and/or drown out the assassination shots noises. Rike's ambulance departed Dealey Plaza at 12:22-12:23 pm (Dallas newspapers had previously printed that the President would enter the plaza at 12:25 pm)

Why did the dispatcher suggest a police squad meet the ambulance at Parkland, and why did the ambulance crew agree?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He fainted but never lost consciousness, yet it was an epileptic seizure.

His disappearance into oblivion for 23 years reminds me of Frazier finally coming out of oblivion but shepherded by Hugh Aynesworth.  And the soldier on the knoll. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tony

I have no way of answering your questions.  The evidence and testimony about this incident are sparse.  The DPD statements are in a Jessie Curry letter and Officer Smith's Warren testimony.  The ambulance driver (Rike) was accessible and interviewed some 30 years later (by Walt Brown) but not asked this question (he died in 2010).  An O'Neal Funeral Home employee (Dan Dawson) who received the police request for the ambulance made a phone call to the FBI in July 1964, and made the allegation that this was all a diversion. The story trail ended there, and was generally ignored for the next twenty years. 

Gene 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ron

In the November 21, 1983 Jerry Rose interview, Belknap confirmed much of the story he told the FBI in June 1964, with a few contradictions and some intriguing additional details. Contrary to his FBI statement, Belknap told the interviewers that he did lose consciousness; he stepped back from the crowd and the "next thing he knew" a policeman was standing over him (but he was not an epileptic).  More interesting, Jerry Rose didn't believe the story and felt that it was "manufactured" (similar to the Steve Witt umbrella man explanation) ... and he doubted that Belknap was the man picked up by the ambulance.  Here is an excerpt from Rose's article found in a January 1984 edition of Penn Jones' "The Continuing Inquiry" (accessed via Baylor).  Rose felt that there was police collusion, and that Belknap was possibly "coached" or groomed:

Belknap may not have been the "epileptic seizure" at all but---as has been suggested of Steve Witt as the self-confirmed "umbrella m11n"---he may have been "invented" after the fact to provide an explanation for A seemingly sinister coincidence.  There is no doubt that a man was removed by ambulance at Elm and Houston shortly before the assassination; a number of witnesses comment on having seen the event. If the "victim" was a conspirator his role was presumably satisfied when the commotion was created and - assuming the collusion of the ambulance driver and attendant - was dropped at some point after he was safely removed from the scene. The best evidence for this interpretation is the utter silence of any and all Parkland employees concerning the arrival of a seizure victim. If Jerry Belknap had been at Parkland at tha.t time, somebody must have been dealing with him (such as those who supposedly told him to "lay down" on the short table) and yet nobody, to my knowledge, has remembered such a detail of his or his activity at that time. This fact, plus the incredibility of Belknap's version of his treatment at Parkland and his departure therefrom, leads to a grave doubt that an epileptic seizure victim arrived at Parkland on that afternoon.

Jerry Rose's reason for doubt was based on a reflection that Belknap was prone to seizures as a result of a childhood accident: he had been apparently hit by an automobile as he got off a school bus.  If this was a precisely-timed "seizure" at a given place, a plotter would not use a person prone to actual seizures, lest the person have a real seizure at an inopportune moment. Rose believed that there was police complicity in the assassination, so they could easily have gone (before or after the assassination) to police files of accident reports to find a person who could be groomed as an investigatory stand-in for the man removed by ambulance.

Gene

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tony

I found this in the Jerry Rose article: 

According to DPD radio logs, at 12:18 P.M., Sergeant D.V. Harkness (at that time in charge of traffic control in the TSBD area) radioed the dispatcher to report the incident
and ask for an ambulance at the scene.  Subsequently, the radio logs show, ambulance 606 was dispatched there; its driver picked up the victim and reported himself "enroute" to Parkland Hospital at 12:24 P.M.  Also, in one version of the radio log, a DPD patrolman, apparently one Bill Barnes, was directed to "meet" the ambulance at Parkland .  Here is a footnote to this aspect of the story:

The "official" versions of the DPD radio logs that appear in the Warren Commission exhibits include the ambulance driver's request for a police car to meet him at Parkland but no indication of the dispatching of such a car.  Judith Bonner's (Investigation of a Homicide) "unauthorized" version of the logs, presumably based on her close access to DPD records, includes an entry directing the squad car assigned to Barnes to meet the ambulance at Parkland.  Since Bonner's book strikes me as essentially a would-be whitewash of official investigations, I cannot believe that she fabricated this entry; rather I assume that the instructions to Barnes was on the tape and that both the DPD and FBI compilers emitted it to give themselves an excuse for not having questioned Barnes on the matter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agreed.  Don't know too much about Harkness, but he was onto something.  None of this ever showed up in the Warren Report records.  The FBI investigation was weak (almost nonexistent).  The only reason they recorded something is because they received the July 1964 allegation (which they couldn't ignore) ... but that affidavit is inaccurate and incomplete.  Jerry Rose believed that both DPD and FBI did investigate Belknap earlier, but no records can be found. DPD and FBI weren't exactly Ozzie and Harriet.  Here is what Jerry Rose wrote about Harkness:

Even Sergeant Harkness seems to have had such a suspicion; at 12:48 he radioed a different dispatcher to inform him that the episode preceded the assassination and to direct that a squad car be sent to Parkland to investigate.  Either the dispatcher ignored this instruction or else the dispatched squad (and Patrolman Barnes as well)
failed to do the investigation, or to report on the results thereof. Nor does an examination of the log of patients received in the emergency room at Parkland on Nov. 22 show any record of a patient admitted with any such "complaint."  In fact nothing about the episode beyond the radio log entries appears in either the Warren Report or its twenty six volumes of Hearings. Incredible as it may seem, there is no indication in Warren Commission documents that the FBI investigated the incident at any time before May of 1964. Even this belated investigation is contained only in a document withheld from publication in the twenty six volumes: Commission Document 1245.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Report from Charles Batchelor to Chief J. E. Curry, November 30, 1963. Page: 41 of 70. Page 20 of this Report.

The Portal to Texas History.

https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth338584/m1/41/?q=Lumpkin

image.png.2b8da9faf3db13f8a0a65d397bbebc53.png

Lumpkin must have missed this incident by just a couple minutes. I wonder if any of the officers he spoke to at the corner of Houston and Elm mentioned it to him.

Steve Thomas

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Steve Thomas said:

Report from Charles Batchelor to Chief J. E. Curry, November 30, 1963. Page: 41 of 70. Page 20 of this Report.

The Portal to Texas History.

https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth338584/m1/41/?q=Lumpkin

image.png.2b8da9faf3db13f8a0a65d397bbebc53.png

Lumpkin must have missed this incident by just a couple minutes. I wonder if any of the officers he spoke to at the corner of Houston and Elm mentioned it to him.

Steve Thomas

Altgens could see the motorcade on Main coming towards him at the very same moment he saw the ambulance go through the underpass. The ambulance notified dispatch that they were on the way to Parkland at 12:24. The text you supplied suggests Lumpkin was at Elm/Houston at 12:27/28. Therefore Altgens saw Lumpkin's pilot car coming towards him on Main as the ambulance departed. Maybe Lumpkin heard the transmissions about the ambulance and stopped at Elm/Houston to get more info.

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...