On 10/24/2008 at 3:47:24 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
this e-mail message was sent to DVP:

Hey David, We've exchanged emails a number of times over the last few years. I was wondering if you've read the thread on the Lancer forum recently about a black man who appears in a picture taken either just before or soon after the assassination who is standing with a black woman holding a baby where the BDM/Gordon Arnold position supposedly is. Could it be that the BDM figure has finally been located? Even Debra Conway seems to think so, and I disagree with 99% of what is posted on Lancer. If you don't mind, can you let me know what you think about this? Thanks.



I haven't been following that particular Lancer thread, but I just now took a
look at it after getting your e-mail, and here are some of my thoughts on it:

The photo of the black man and the woman holding the baby proves
absolutely nothing with respect to whether either one of those
individuals is "Black Dog Man" [BDM] or not.

That photo/(film) was obviously taken several minutes AFTER the
assassination (and it's hard to believe that anyone at the Lancer
forum could think it was actually taken BEFORE 12:30), and since we
know that the Grassy Knoll area of Dealey Plaza was flooded with many
people within a few minutes of the shooting, such speculation about
any particular person seen in a post-assassination photograph or film
seems to me to be relatively meaningless and a waste of time.

Plus: There's the built-in "So what? / Who cares?" factor also (from
my own "LN" POV anyway).

I.E., since I'm nearly 100% certain that there wasn't (and couldn't
have been) any conspirator or gunman behind the retaining wall at
12:30 PM on November 22....then what difference does it make if "BDM"
is really a human figure, a photo anomaly, or Santa Claus delivering
an early Christmas present to Jackie and the Kennedy kids?

It's a huge NON-ISSUE from the get-go. But conspiracy theorists feel
the need to "solve" the "Black Dog Man mystery" for some reason. But
does anyone with a brain in their head really and truly believe for
one second that any gunman would have placed himself in that
relatively-open and highly-vulnerable position behind the retaining
wall in Dealey Plaza that day?

Some people do, indeed, think so....including the late Jim Garrison. I
think, in fact, Garrison (who, of course, was one of the looniest of
all conspiracy-happy kooks the world has ever seen) once said that it
was his belief that there were MULTIPLE assassins/henchmen located
behind the retaining wall during the assassination.

But, IMO, such a shooting position for any gunman would have been
suicide for that gunman. For crying out loud, he would have
practically been staring right into the faces of all of the Secret
Service agents in the follow-up car as he shot the President!

And such a nutty shooting location would certainly have also spelled
disaster for any kind of "Let's Frame Lee Oswald In The Depository"
plot, which is a plot that many/most CTers find to their liking.

I have no idea what (or "who") BDM is. The photos we currently have of
"BDM" are of such low and fuzzy quality, that any kind of definitive
determination about what "it" represents is pretty much impossible to
obtain or discern.

I know that assassination eyewitness Marilyn Sitzman, in her November
1966 interview
with author Josiah Thompson, said she saw "a colored
couple" in that "BDM" area of Dealey Plaza, and Sitzman remembers
hearing the sound of glass breaking (probably Coke bottles) in that
same area just after the shots were fired:

"Another thing that I remember this day: there was a colored
couple. I figure they were between 18 and 21, a boy and a girl,
sitting on a bench, just almost, oh, parallel with me, on my right
side, close to the fence. .... And they were eating their lunch,
'cause they had little lunch sacks, and they were drinking Coke. The
main reason I remember them is, after the last shot I recall hearing--
and the car went down under the triple underpass there--I heard a
crash of glass, and I looked over there, and the kids had thrown down
their Coke bottles, just threw them down and just started running
towards the back. .... Of course, I don't see anything unusual in
that, because everybody else was running that way, 'cause when I look
over on my left side, the people on the hill were all running back the
same way too."
-- MARILYN SITZMAN; 11/29/66

Plus, I also am aware that some photo experts have said that they feel
that BDM is definitely a "person", or that BDM (at the least) isn't
merely some kind of photographic anomaly (which I would tend to agree
with too, since the same "object", whatever it is, shows up in two
different pictures taken that day--Betzner's photo and Willis' slide).

But I don't see how any reasonable person can truly think that a
"conspirator" or a gunman who was just about to shoot John Kennedy
with a rifle bullet would have positioned himself behind that wall on
11/22/63, with a whole lot of his "body" fully visible to whoever
might be looking at him (and/or photographing him):

And if conspiracy theorists truly DON'T think that any shooter (or "co-
plotter") would ever in a million years have put himself in such a
vulnerable and precarious position behind the wall -- then the never-
ending efforts at attempting to physically identify the "Black Dog
Man" become pretty much moot efforts from their "CT" point-of-view as
well, and it seems to me that such efforts are merely reduced to
exercises in "This Goes Nowhere" futility.

As a footnote to this discussion, I will say that I'm always a little
bit amused when I see people like Robin Unger, et al, who feel a need
to try and start identifying unknown people in the various photographs
and films that were taken on November 22nd.

For example -- There was a forum thread on the Internet recently which
featured a photo of an unknown woman holding a camera. And Robin Unger
(and others) were trying to find this same woman in the Elsie Dorman

Some of the forum members came to the general conclusion that the
camera-toting lady was, indeed, visible in a few frames of Dorman's
color home movie that was taken from the fourth floor of the Book
Depository. (The woman "in the blue dress" I believe was the

Okay, great. So we have a woman, who we KNOW from the first photo was,
in fact, definitely in Dealey Plaza on 11/22/63. And now we have that
same woman seen in a different film or photograph.

I couldn't help but think to myself -- So what? Where does this kind
of photographic "pairing up" take anybody, whether they be LNers or
CTers, with respect to answering the big-ticket question of "Who
Killed JFK?"? ~shrug~

It seems that most of this kind of activity is more of a fun-to-play
game than it is anything else -- a game that might be aptly named: "I
Found This Person In A Different Picture; Isn't This Cool?!"

I suppose that kind of photo work of finding the same person in
various other pictures and films could conceivably be useful and
constructive in some instances, but from the examples of it that I've
seen on the Internet forums I've visited, it seems to be much more of
a parlor game, versus trying to locate "hidden assassins" or
mysterious "plotters" in the various photos.

And trying to say for sure whether "Black Dog Man" is really a woman
holding a baby or not (as some people over at the Lancer Forum are
trying to do), based on the low-quality and blurry images we have of
BDM, is a photographic task that is so immensely subjective in nature,
it can only leave a reasonable person scratching his or her head at
the end of the day.

But apart from any futile "photo pairings" that have been undertaken
by Robin Unger and others over the years, I will say that Robin
definitely has provided a great service to other JFK researchers by
way of his "JFK Assassination Research Photo Gallery".

Robin's scans of many of the photos and film frames relating to JFK's
assassination are of impeccable quality, and he deserves a lot of
credit (and thanks) for making his high-quality collection available
to everyone with an Internet connection.

Another Footnote:

In the Lancer thread regarding Black Dog Man, this motion-picture clip
from Marie Muchmore's film was posted, which I thought was kind of
unique and interesting:

The above clip doesn't "solve" anything, of course; it's merely a
toggling clip of the three men (including Emmett Hudson) on the
Knoll steps as the assassination of JFK is occurring.

But take note of how the man in the red shirt on the lowest step,
right after seeing the President shot in the head by the fatal bullet,
stops his clapping and spreads his hands out to his sides, while at
the same time he does a little sideways "dance" on the step that he's
standing on. When viewed in repeated toggling format (like above), it
becomes almost comical.

Also take note of the man on the top step, as he turns quickly and

So if BDM is really a gunman, he's now going to have some unwanted
company up there near the retaining wall, based on the above film clip.
Which is actually just one more reason to know that BDM is certainly
no rifle-carrying assassin. Because, would he dare be brazen enough
to brandish a firearm at 12:30 PM with those three guys standing there
on the steps, just a few yards away from the assassin?

Also -- You said this in your e-mail to me today:

"Could it be that the BDM figure has finally been located? Even
Debra Conway seems to think so."

I'm a little confused by the above statement. I looked at that whole
thread, and the only comment (to date) from Ms. Conway is this one:

"Most excellent thread! Congratulations to everyone participating. I
am leaning to "sweater man" being one of the three on the steps."
-- Debra Conway; 10/22/2008

So, Debra is saying that she is of the opinion that "sweater man" (a
man seen behind the retaining wall in a post-assassination film) is
the same man who can be seen starting to run up the steps in the
Muchmore film. She isn't saying, though, that it's her belief that BDM
has been identified as "sweater man".

Upon looking at the images provided in that Lancer thread, I think
Debra might be correct about "sweater man" too. Which means, if she
is correct, that BDM is still as much of a mystery as ever before --
because the running man in the sweater on the steps can't be on the
steps and behind the wall at the same time.

EDIT --- As I think about this some more, I guess it would be possible for "Black Dog Man" and "Sweater Man" to be the same person, because the pictures we have that show BDM were taken by Willis and Betzner a few seconds before Marie Muchmore's filmed footage showing the three men on the steps. Therefore, as some other people have also suggested in the past, it would indeed have been physically possible for anyone in the "BDM" position behind the retaining wall to have walked down the steps immediately after Betzner and Willis snapped their pictures, in order to stand with the other two men on the steps by the time Muchmore's footage was taken.

Although some Lancer-ites seem to believe that the baby-carrying woman
is BDM....which means we'll now have to come up with a new acronym. I
guess BDM will turn into BDW [for "Black Dog Woman"]. Or, perhaps, we
could go with BDWWC ["Black Dog Woman With Child"]. ;)

David Von Pein
October 2008
November 2014