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Harper Fragment - how is it possible?

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Vincent M. Palamara JFK's skull fragments Vince Palamara As of June - 2003, write Vince Palamara at vincebethel@yahoo.com ------------------------------------------- JFK's Skull Fragments compiled by Vince Palamara [for witness letter and photo scans, see urls at the bottom] FIRST LADY JACKIE KENNEDY--- a) 5 H 180 / testimony [see also "Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb and Perry Adams (1974), pp. 138-139: what they claim comes from the unedited transcript is in parentheses]---“And just as I turned and looked at him, I could see a piece of his skull (sort of wedge-shaped like that), and I remember it was flesh colored (with little ridges at the top). I remember thinking he just looked as if he had a slight headache. And I just remember seeing that. No blood or anything. And then he sort of did this [indicating], put his hand to his forehead and fell in my lap… [Reference to wounds deleted]”---!; http://www.informatik.uni-rostock.de/Kennedy/index.html :o 4/11/72 declassified testimony excerpts (as reproduced in “Post Mortem” by Harold Weisberg, pp. 380-381 [Groden quotes this in the program “JFK: An Unsolved Murder”, KRON, 11/18/88, which was repeated in “JFK: The Case for Conspiracy” video 1993, as well as "TKOAP", p. 38)---“I was trying to hold his hair on. But from the front there was nothing. I suppose there must have been. But from the back you could see, you know, you were trying to hold his hair on, and his skull on..”; c) 11/29/63 interview with writer Theodore H. White: his notes released 5/26/95 [wrote "The Making of the Presdient 1960" , the "Camelot" article for the 12/6/63 "Life" magazine, and his own memoirs entitled "In Search of History", among others]---"I could see a piece of his skull coming off; it was flesh colored not white---he was holding out his hand---and I can see this perfectly clean piece detaching itself from his head; then he slumped in my lap…"; SAIC GERALD A. BEHN- SKULL FOUND IN REAR SEAT (FBI/S&O INTERVIEW, 11/27/63)[behn: 9/27/92 interviews (3) by Vince Palamara; deceased 4/93]; KELLERMAN-; SKULL IN REAR SEAT (2H85); CLINTON J. HILL- BACK OF SKULL IN REAR SEAT (2H141); --------------------- SECRET SERVICE AGENT SAMUEL A. KINNEY: a) RIF # 180-10078-10493:HSCA summary of an interview with Sam Kinney conducted on 2/26/78---“Inside the aircraft [the C-130 transport plane] during flight, the loading sergeant, who had been in the rear compartment where the cars were stored, entered nthe forward cabin and said, “I can’t stand to be back there.” SA Kinney gave him his seat and returned to the resar compartment. At this point he discovered in the Presidential limousine (1) a skull fragment under the jump seat where Connally had been seated, and (2) a bullet fragment in the front seat between the driver’s and passenger’s seat. He remarked that the bullet fragment “looked like it had hit the windshield frame above the windshield.” SA Kinney put on a radio patch to Presidential Physician Admiral Burkley to inform him that he had discovered the skull fragment. Chief Petty Officer Tommy Mills, an aide to Burkley, received the message. SA Kinney then announced that he was going to go directly to the White House non-stop. The Washington Field Office learned of this and sent 6 or 7 Park police to escort SA Kinney to the White House Garage. In the garage they were met by FBI agents."”; :) 10/19/92, 3/5/94, and 4/15/94 interviews with Vince Palamara (“The Third Alternative-Survivor’s Guilt: The Secret Service and the JFK Murder”, pp. 8-9, 28, 55-56, 78-80,81-82, 110-111)--- Sam told me twice that he saw the back of JFK's head come off immediately when the fatal shot struck the President's head. Once at Parkland Hospital, Kinney helped remove the President from the back seat of the limousine along with Clint Hill, Roy Kellerman, and Dave Powers, thereby receiving an extremely vivid, close-up look at the wound on JFK's head. "His brain was blown out," Sam said, " there was nothing left !" I pressed further, to which Sam added: "There was brain matter all over the place...he had no brains left in his head." And, while aboard the C-130 aircraft, he found the piece of the back of JFK's head lying in the rear seat of the bloody limousine! Sam told me it was "clean as a pin" and that it resembled a "flowerpot" or "clay pot" piece. Kinney added: "It was a big piece-half his head was gone." When I pressed him on this point and asked him if he was sure of the skull piece's orientation, he said " I don't know what else it could have been but the back of his head." ------------ THREE pieces of skull found by none other than ASAIC FLOYD BORING during the "official" Secret Service limousine inspection late on 11/22/63(CD 80. p.3), four hours before the FBI did the same- this is seperate from the finding made by Kinney on the C-130 will en route to AAFB ------------ the "Harper fragement" (found by Billy Harper 11/23/63)--- ) Drs. Jack C. Harper, A.B. Cairns, and Gerard Noteboom, Methodist Hospital (re: the Harper fragment, found 11/23/63 by Dr. Harper’s nephew William Allen "Billy"Harper, a medical student): a) 8/17/77 interviews of Harper and Cairns with the HSCA (RIF#180-10093-10429) [see also pp. 261-262 of “Killing Kennedy” by H.E.L.]---“Dr. Harper said the consensus of the doctors who viewed the skull fragment was that it was part of the occipital region…Dr. A.B. Cairns…said the piece of skull fragment came from an area approximately two and a half to three inches above the spine area. He said it had the markings of a piece of skull fragment from the lower occipital area, specifically: suture and inner markings where blood vessels run around the base of the skull.”; B) CD 5, pp. 150-151, CD 1269 and FBI 89-43-479 (11/25/63)---Billy Harper, after finding the skull fragment and taking it to Drs. Harper and Cairns, spoke to FBI agent James Anderton, who notified the Secret Service and was then immediately instructed by SAIC of PRS Robert Bouck to send the fragment to the White House “AND NO PUBLICITY WHATSOEVER”, wrote Agent Anderton; c) FBI lab sheets, 11/27/63; FBI 62-109060; FBI 62-109060-60, p. 2 [see “Best Evidence”, p. 503]---the fragment was personally delivered to Dr. Burkley. Burkley said it should be delivered to him “so that in the event this bone piece is from President Kennedy’s head it can be enclosed in the autopsy reports.” However, the fragment was NOT given to the autopsy doctors, nor was it mentioned at the autopsy; d) CD 1395, p. 50/ FBI interview of Cairns+ pages 46 and 44---“Dr. Cairns stated the bone specimen looked like it came from the occipital region of the skull.”; The doctors made 12 photographs of it at Methodist Hospital; a woman wrote RFK in June 1964 and told him that in Dallas she had seen snapshots, taken at a hospital, of JFK’s head!; RFK forwarded this letter to the WC and J. Lee Rankin’s assistant, Howard Willens, immediately requested the FBI to investigate the matter.; e) 7 H 25, 123, 228-230, 245-248---the HSCA believed the Harper fragment came from the upper middle third of the parietal area; f) Noteboom: “Best Evidence”, p. 504 (1972 interview with Robert P. Smith [7/20/72 letter from Smith to Lifton])---“also saw the bone and held the same opinion [as Harper and Cairns]”; g) Noteboom: 8/25/98 letter to Vince Palamara---"Re: Skull fragment, JFK. My best estimate of the fragment was that it was occipital. I took 35mm transparency slides, which were turned over to the FBI."; h) Noteboom: interview with Milicent Cranor 1998---confirms his same opinion; i) “Mortal Error”, p. 169; Groden’s “TKOAP”, pages 34 and 83; “JFK: The Case For Conspiracy” video 1993; "Bloody Treason" by Noel Twyman, p. 222; CD 1269a [in the author’s collection]----photos of the Harper fragment; Dr. Randy Robertson, at COPA 1996, showed slides of X-rays of the Harper fragment that the FBI took; j) Article by Joseph N. Riley, Ph.D, in the April 1996 issue of “JFK/ Deep Politics Quarterly” journal entitled “Anatomy of the Harper Fragment”. k) 9/15/98 letter from William A. Harper to Vince Palamara---"Your letter to my uncle Dr. Jack C. Harper has been forwarded to me for response. My uncle told me that the fragment I found was from the occipital area of the skull. I have seen drawings in various publications that would indicate that it belonged to this region. With regard to the question of the existence [of] photographs, it is my understanding that my uncle gave his pictures to an assassination investigative agency." SKULL FRAGMENT(S): 4 DPD MOTORCADE MOTORCYCLE OFFICERS--- STAVIS ELLIS:9/8/98 letter to Vince Palamara---"Yes, I did see a hole in the limousine windshield at Parkland Hospital. I did not see the bone fragment. The officer on the escort with me said there was one fragment, approximately 6 or 7 inches around." BOBBY JOE DALE:"No More Silence" by Larry Sneed (1998), pp. 132-141+photos---[pp. 135-136]"…the President was on the gurney beside the car, and they were wheeling him in. At that time, it was obvious that nobody could have survived a wound like that…Blood and matter was everywhere inside the car including a bone fragment which was oblong shaped, probably an inch to an inch and a half long by three-quarters of an inch wide. As I turned it over and looked at it, I determined that it came from some part of the forehead because there was hair on it which appeared to be near the hairline. There were other fragments around, but that was the largest piece that grabbed my attention. What stood out in my mind was that there was makeup up to the hairline. Apparently he had used makeup for the cameras to knock down the glare. It was fairly distinct where it stopped and the wrap of skin took up. Other than that, nobody messed with anything inside the car in any manner, shape, or form. Nobody said, "Clean this up!" We then put the top up and secured it."; JAMES W. COURSON: "No More Silence" by Larry Sneed (1998), pp. 127-131+photos---[pp. 129-130] "The driver immediately got out into the center lane with me on his left rear and another officer on the right. Mrs. Kennedy had, by that time, gotten back down in the seat and was holding the President's head in her lap. I was able to see that his head was horribly mangled. Skull, brain, and blood material was all along the seat…Flowers were scattered all around the car…Two other officers and I helped take the Presdient out of the car and put him onto the stretcher. From what I was able to see of the wound, the damage seemed to be in the right rear of his head, but it was hard to tell because there was so much blood. The back part of the skull seemed to be laying over the forehead. I didn't actually see an exit wound since I saw only the back part of his head.", AND H.B. McCLAIN: "No More Silence" by Larry Sneed (1998), pp. 162-168+photos---[p. 164] "I figured at the time that the wound was fatal. Part of the skull was laying on the floorboard. Blood and brain material was splattered all over as if a ripe watermelon had been dropped. It was a pretty gory scene." AS WELL AS FBI AGENTS JAMES W. SIBERT & FRANCIS X. O'NEILL: report 11/26/63 [see “Post Mortem”, pp. 532-536]---"...Also during the latter stages of the autopsy, a piece of the skull measuring 10 x 6.5 centimeters was brought to Dr. Humes who was instructed that this had been removed from the President's skull. Immediately this section of skull was X-Rayed, at which time it was determined by Dr. Humes that one corner of this section revealed minute metal particles and inspection of this same area disclosed a chipping of the top portion of this piece, both of which indicated that this had been the point of exit of the bullet entering the skull region…"; Sibert: TWO-HSCA rec. #002191, RIF# 180-10105-10164: interview with James Kelly and Andy Purdy, 8/25/77 [see “Killing Kennedy”, pp. 343-344, and "Bloody Treason", page 100, for drawings]—“Regarding the head wound, Sibert said it was in the “…Upper back of the head.”; “The head wound was in the upper back of the head…a large head wound in the upper back of the head with a section of the scull [sic] bone missing…”; his drawings depict a large wound squarely on the back of the head, as well as a small wound well down on the back, very much like the one in the autopsy face sheet; Humes and Finck agreed, after probing, that there was no exit wound of the bullet in the back: “concluded it only went so far and they couldn’t find it.”; "Sibert recalls that much of the piece of the missing bone section came in somewhat later"; 'Sibert said he was present when the bone piece was brought in which had been found in the limousine."; O’Neill: TWO-RIF#180-10090-10044, HSCA rec. #006185: interview with Andy Purdy and Mark Flanagan, 1/10/78 [see “Killing Kennedy”, pp. 348-349 for drawings]---"He does remember the doctors measuring the piece of skull that was found in the limousine and brought to Bethesda during the autopsy. O'Neill stated that in his opinion JFK could have had an open casket." Sibert & O’Neill: ARRB depositions [see also "High Treason III" (1998), pp. 404-407]--- Sibert, 9/11/97: " said that a "big piece of bone came in from Dallas---which was found in the limousine out in Dallas, a piece of the skull…there definitely was a large cavity…much skull missing." O'Neill, 9/12/97: Regarding the official Archives photos of the rear of the head: "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…Quite frankly, I thought that there was a larger opening…in the back of the head…I specifically do not recall those--I mean, being that clean or that fixed up."; "a massive wound in the upper right. Back here." James W. Sibert: 9/1/98 letter to Vince Palamara---"…In answering your two questions, the head wound, which was called the fatal wound by the pathologists, was located in the right rear portion of the head. A piece of the skull was missing which was found in the limousine and brought to the autopsy room during the latter stages of the autopsy." PLUS VINCENT E. DRAIN: "No More Silence" by Larry Sneed (1998), pp. 245-262+photo---[p. 246] "When I arrived in the trauma room, the doctors were working with President Kennedy. They were trying to do what they could to stop the gurgling sound he was making by performing a tracheotomy on him. Despite the fact, as I later learned, that he was dead, his body reflexes were still working. I wasn't up close to the body, but I could still see fairly well the large amount of blood from the head wound. The head was badly damaged from the lower right base across the top extending across the top of the ear. It appeared to me as though the bullet traveled upward and had taken off the right portion of his skull. It may have been the security officer or one of the other officers who gave me a portion of the skull which was about the size of a teacup, much larger than a silver dollar. Apparently the explosion had jerked it because the hair was still on it. I carried that back to Washington later that night and turned it over to the FBI laboratory." ALSO 3 DEPUTY SHERIFFS SEYMOUR WEITZMAN: found a small piece of skull in the plaza---7H107; JACK FAULKNER: "No More Silence" by Larry Sneed (1998), pp. 215-223+photos---[p.216] "As we were crossing Elm Street, [A.D.] McCurley picked up a white piece of bone near the north curb. He asked me, "Do you suppose that could be part of his skull?" I said, "There's no blood on it," and he put it down. Later, we got to thinking, and somebody said your skull doesn't necessarily have to be touching something that's bloody. We went back and looked for it later but never found it. To this day, I believe it was a piece of John Kennedy's skull." AND AL MADDOX: "No More Silence" by Larry Sneed (1998), pp. 507-517+photo---[p. 509] "…I also saw human tissue lying in the street which was being wiped and cleaned up at the time.That was right about where the President was said to have been hit. I also saw one of the motorcycle officers who was splattered with blood.", 3 SPECTATORS---CHARLES BREHM: saw the skull fragment fly back and to the left of where he was standing---: NBC 11/22/63 (familiar newsreel interview); Mark Lane “Rush To Judgment” film 1967 (clip repeated in Lane’s “Two Men In Dallas” video); Part 4 of “CBS News Inquiry: The Warren Report” 6/28/67; “On Trial: Lee Harvey Oswald” 1986 Showtime; “JFK: That Day In November” 11/22/88; “The Men Who Killed Kennedy” 1991;and Mark Oakes’ Eyewitness video 1991; see also the book "No More Silence" by Larry Sneed (1998), pp. 63-64, DPD JOE CODY: "No More Silence" by Larry Sneed (1998), pp. 467-480+photo---[p.467] "…we jumped in our car and arrived at the scene where Kennedy was shot and killed in just three or four minutes. By that time, it was probably ten minutes after the shooting. While we were there, I searched the plaza and found a bone lying in the gutter that apparently came out of the back of the President's head." AND POSTAL INSPECTOR HARY HOLMES: "Murder From Within" by Fred Newcomb and Perry Adams, p. 213 (based off an early 1970's interview)--- "A postal inspector [Holmes] picked up a piece of skull from the Elm St. pavement. He said it was as "...big as the end of my finger..." Furthermore, it was one of many: "...there was just pieces of skull and bone and corruption all over the place..." He later discarded it.[!!!]"; -------- see also "The Medical Evidence: The (Earliest) Reports": http://www.mindcushion.com/jfk/MedEvEarly1.html -------- Color Harper fragment picture #1:

That's a lot of detail which Vince Palamara pulled together. Brilliant. I wonder if it would be possible to use this detail to graphically reconstruct the skull - anyway - it appears that skull fragments were recovered in three different locations:

1. Interior of the Lincoln

2. The grass on the south side of Elm

3. The street 'gutter' and possibly on the curb.

I think Vince may be missing the Altgens account in his excellent summary.


Fragments of his head fell right at my feet. That was some heck of an explosion when it hit his head. His skull just disintegrated and bone and flesh flying..

The Harper fragment was recovered 11/23/63 - the day after the assassination. It was discovered by William Allen Harper - a student - on the south side of Elm, in the grass, between Elm and Main - roughly across the street from the stairs leading to the retaining wall and Pergola hut. Don Roberdeau apparently went with Harper in 1997 to roughly determine the location where the fragment was recovered - it is marked on his plat. I took the liberty of creating an overlay of his plat and his blank plat to mark the area.

- In the hours which followed the assassination, photographers captured individuals milling about the plaza - some in the area of the manhole cover and associated lawn area. More than one can be seen stooping to pick up something. It beggars belief that these individuals would have overlooked a fragment of the size Harper recovered - especially given all of the other fragments that appear to have been recovered as per Vince's piece above.

- If we examine the z-frames of the area - and indeed, the skull fragment was the result of shot to the head which sent the fragment flying forward of the Lincoln - then we also have to add an additional leap of faith that the young couple standing there would have ignored it. Of course, we don't know who they are - so that just adds to the dilemma.

- There is an argument concerning what part of the skull this bone fragment came from. It seems that it revolves around Parietal [top of skull] vs Occipital [rear].


- The interesting part about all of this revolves around timing. Timing of the recovery of the piece of skull by Harper. Timing of all of the pieces recovered previously.

So the issues/questions I have are these:

- If the bone was a fragment from the occipital area of the skull - how would this even be possible? How can a bone from the back of a person's head launch forward and ahead of them some 120 feet or so - even if they are hit from the rear? I'd like to see that duplicated. And with a FMJ round.

- If the bone is parietal - again - how is it possible to have launched this far? Let's take the LN approach - Kennedy's head would have had to have dipped pretty far forward - but this is supposed to be a 6.5mm FMJ round. Possible? I don't think so.

- Vince Drain and Bobby Joe Dale concerning pieces of skull with hair attached - Drain says he thinks the bullet had to have travelled upwards. Now I can see that scenario - if it's parietal. A bullet travelling from the rear to front - being fired at street level into the back of the head. The skull exploded, which is why at least 2 pieces of the known recovered fragments were stated to have hair attached - one appears to have been from the forehead area.

Couple that with a reaction that may have taken place with 2 frangible rounds striking almost simultaneously - one from the right rear and one from the right front. A possible explanation? Synched by radio and/or hand signal?

There is another possibility - just thinking - which is that there was a final shot to the side of the head from the right side - past z313. That sounds logical, and could also help to explain the movement - forward, back, left. Three timed shots delivered within the same few seconds. Then perhaps the 'jump' between frame z313 and z314 could be explained as a frame that has been removed. Or maybe something else is missing, as per that ricenpeas video, the day the dream died, where they attempt to add the sound of the shots as taken from the dictabelt recording.

Otherwise, I think:

a) The Harper fragment would have had to have been planted there in evening for purposes of establishing Oswald as the shooter. It was originally among the many pieces found as detailed in the Palamara summary above.

B) It was overlooked during the hunt that followed in the aftermath of the shooting, and was the result of a frangible round, fired from the rear - at a lower elevation.

c) It was picked up by a someone and discarded where Harper found it.

d) Harper was totally mistaken about the location where he found the fragment originally.

e) It was the result of a FMJ round from the TSBD, despite the fact that it appears to have been physically impossible.

Any thoughts? I like 'a' personally. 'b' would be honorable mention.

- lee

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