(PART 514)

Subject: Bag
Date: 5/8/2009 3:04:42 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: David Emerling
To: David Von Pein


Didn't we recently have a brief exchange about the bag that Oswald's rifle was wrapped in?

I ran across the following in the book "Marina and Lee" (by Priscilla McMillan) where she is describing the scene when Ruth Paine came down to New Orleans to pick up Marina and take her back to Dallas to have her baby. Unbeknown to Ruth, Lee was planning a trip to Mexico to visit the Cuban Embassy. Lee was loading up Ruth's car with their possessions.

(p. 462:)

"What she (Ruth) did not know was that among the items he (Lee) was loading with such care in her car was, almost certainly, his rifle, dismantled, wrapped in brown paper and a blanket, and tied up in heavy string. Somehow he led the Paines to understand that it was "camping equipment"."

Her citation for this is Michael Paine's testimony.


It seems like speculation, however. But, it does seem somewhat reasonable as Lee was obsessed with concealing this from the Paines. I can see where he might have added the extra precaution of wrapping it in paper.

David Emerling
Memphis, TN


Subject: The Rifle And The Paper Bag
Date: 5/8/2009 3:26:21 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: David Von Pein
To: David Emerling


Interesting. But I can't possibly see how Priscilla McMillan reached that conclusion about the rifle already being wrapped in brown paper in September based on Michael Paine's testimony. But it could explain why Vincent Bugliosi put that very same thing in his book, too. Vince does utilize McMillan's book "Marina And Lee" heavily as a source at various points in "Reclaiming History".

I wrote an Internet post on October 15, 2007 [portions of which are quoted below], which touches on that very subject about the paper bag, including citations from Mr. Paine's Warren Commission testimony.....

[2007 DVP Quote On:]

"Given the SUM TOTAL of the paper-bag evidence, there can be little doubt that Oswald DID, indeed, construct that makeshift, handmade paper bag at some point prior to approximately 7:10 AM on Friday morning, November 22nd, which was the first time anyone noticed Oswald with a bag (when Linnie Mae Randle watched LHO approach her house in Irving carrying a bulky paper package).

Vincent Bugliosi, in his JFK book, says something interesting regarding this "paper bag" subject that I had never heard postulated before. At one point in the book's "Lee Harvey Oswald" bio chapter, VB says that when the Oswalds' personal possessions were being moved from New Orleans to Ruth Paine's garage in Irving, Texas, in late September 1963, the rifle was ALREADY wrapped in brown wrapping paper and then placed in the blanket roll (where it remained until LHO took it out of the blanket on November 21st or 22nd).

Quoting from "Reclaiming History":

"Looking back, Ruth [Paine] realized he [LHO] had been "distinctly" eager to do the packing. He was probably trying to avoid having her handle, any more than she had to, the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, which he had disassembled, wrapped in a brown paper package, and tied up in a blanket."

[Via the footnote at the bottom of page #746:]

"But of course someone had to unpack the package when Ruth arrived in Texas a few days later, and it was her husband Michael, whom she had called to help her. He was perplexed by the weight and feel of the contents of the package, thoughts like "camping equipment" and "an iron pipe" entering his mind. These guesses didn't seem quite accurate to him, but being the "polite" Quaker he was, and aware of Oswald's "rights to privacy," he never snooped. He would later say he was satisfied it was Oswald's rifle." -- Vincent T. Bugliosi; Page 746 of "Reclaiming History" (c.2007)

So, per Bugliosi's account, the rifle was ALREADY "disassembled" and it was ALREADY "wrapped in a brown paper package" when Lee Harvey Oswald placed the rifle atop Ruth Paine's station wagon in September of '63 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

However, when examining this topic a little further, I really don't think VB's account can be accurate with respect to the rifle being wrapped in brown paper when the blanket containing the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle was moved from New Orleans to the Paine residence in Irving in September.

I now offer up excerpts from Michael Paine's Warren Commission testimony:

WESLEY LIEBELER -- "I now show you Commission Exhibit 364, which is a replica of a sack which was prepared by authorities in Dallas; and I also show you another sack, which is Commission Exhibit 142, and ask you if you have ever seen in or around your garage in Irving, Texas, any sacks similar to those?"

MICHAEL PAINE -- "No, I haven't."

MR. LIEBELER -- "Have you seen any paper in your garage in Irving prior to November 22, 1963, or at any other place, at your home in Irving, Texas, that is similar to the paper of which those sacks are made?"

MR. PAINE -- "No, I haven't."


MR. LIEBELER -- "When you moved the sacks, the blanket, the package that was wrapped in the blanket in your garage, were you able to determine whether or not the object inside the sack was also wrapped in paper?"

MR. PAINE -- "I would have said that it was not. When we practiced wrapping that rifle yesterday, I would have guessed that any paper around the barrel in there, which I could feel with some clarity, would have crinkled."

MR. LIEBELER -- "And to your recollection there was no crinkling in the package wrapped with the blanket?"

MR. PAINE -- "Yes. It was a very quiet package."



There is also the following testimony from Michael Paine regarding the length of the object that was inside the blanket roll which was being stored in Ruth Paine's garage.

This is testimony from Mr. Paine that could very well indicate the possibility that the rifle WAS, indeed, already disassembled when it was being stored at the Paine residence, because the overall length of the paper bag found in the Sniper's Nest on November 22 measured just one inch longer than the estimate provided by Mr. Paine.

But, then too, it should also be noted, to be perfectly fair, that the full length of Oswald's rifle when assembled (40.2 inches) was not really too much longer than this estimate made by Michael Paine:

MR. LIEBELER -- "How long was this package in your estimation?"

MR. PAINE -- "Well, yesterday we measured the distance that I indicated with my hand; I think it came to 37 inches."


And then we have this portion of Mrs. Ruth Paine's WC testimony regarding the length of the blanket roll that she first noticed on the floor of her garage in late October of 1963 (which is testimony that would tend to lean toward the probability that the rifle was not dismantled when Ruth saw it in her garage):

ALBERT JENNER -- "I take it from your testimony that the blanket, when you first saw it in a garage, was in a configuration in the form of a package?"

RUTH PAINE -- "It was a long rectangle shape with the ends tucked in."

MR. JENNER -- "Would you be good enough to re-form that blanket so that it is in the shape and the dimension when you first saw it?"

MRS. PAINE -- "About like so."

MR. JENNER -- "For the record if you please, Mr. Chairman, the length of the form is just exactly 45 inches, and it is across exactly 12 inches."


And there's Marina Oswald's testimony, which almost certainly supports the idea that the rifle was not wrapped in brown paper while being stored on the floor of Ruth Paine's garage:

MARINA OSWALD -- "I had never examined the rifle in the garage. It was wrapped in a blanket and was lying on the floor."

J. LEE RANKIN -- "Did you ever check to see whether the rifle was in the blanket?"

MRS. OSWALD -- "I never checked to see that. There was only once that I was interested in finding out what was in that blanket, and I saw that it was a rifle."

MR. RANKIN -- "When was that?"

MRS. OSWALD -- "About a week after I came from New Orleans."

MR. RANKIN -- "And then you found that the rifle was in the blanket, did you?"

MRS. OSWALD -- "Yes, I saw the wooden part of it....the wooden stock."


So, when evaluating and assessing the totality of all of the above snippets of testimony from the various individuals who saw the rifle and/or the rolled-up blanket on the floor of the Paine garage, I'm compelled to think that Mr. Bugliosi is incorrect with respect to his remarks on page #746 of "Reclaiming History" when VB claims that the rifle was already wrapped up in brown paper when Lee Harvey Oswald loaded it into Ruth Paine's car in September 1963.

In the final analysis, I'm convinced beyond any and all reasonable doubt that Lee Oswald, at some point prior to 7:10 AM on 11/22/63, constructed a homemade paper bag with which to conceal his Mannlicher-Carcano rifle.

If I had a gun to my head and was being forced to explain just exactly WHEN Oswald created his makeshift rifle-carrying bag, I'd say this:

Oswald, IMO, most likely took some wrapping paper and tape from the Texas School Book Depository's first-floor shipping/mailing area on Thursday, November 21st (which is the same day he asked Wesley Frazier for the unusual weeknight ride to Ruth Paine's home in Irving).

Yes, it's true that TSBD "mail wrapper" Troy West testified that he had never seen Oswald hanging around the wrapping-paper area on the first floor, but I think it's a fair and reasonable assumption to say that Oswald, in his quest to gain access to the paper and tape, was probably wise enough to wait until Mr. West had left his work station for a few minutes.

Perhaps Oswald waited until West went to use the bathroom, which everybody has to do a few times every single day of their lives. And while West was temporarily away from his mailing station, Oswald swiped some wrapping paper and some tape.

And, undoubtedly, LHO folded up the wrapping paper so he could conceal the paper more easily during his ride to Irving with Frazier on Thursday evening.

Oswald probably hid the folded paper and tape under his blue jacket that he certainly wore to work at least one time shortly before November 22nd (LHO's blue jacket was found in the first-floor "Domino Room" in early December 1963).

It's also worth mentioning that the bag found on the sixth floor of the TSBD after the assassination had symmetrical, evenly-spaced folds in it....just as if someone had folded it up to make its size much smaller before using it for stashing a 30-plus-inch object (like, say, a dismantled Mannlicher-Carcano rifle).....

I'll also add this regarding Troy West and his Warren Commission testimony.....

West didn't say that a Depository employee positively COULDN'T have taken some paper and tape from the workbench/mailing area. In fact, with respect to the tape, Mr. West specifically told the Warren Commission that employees "could come get it if they wanted to use it".

More West testimony:

DAVID BELIN -- "Did Lee Harvey Oswald ever help you wrap mail?"

TROY WEST -- "No, sir; he never did."

MR. BELIN -- "Do you know whether or not he ever borrowed or used any wrapping paper for himself?"

MR. WEST -- "No, sir; I don't."

MR. BELIN -- "You don't know?"

MR. WEST -- "No, I don't."

MR. BELIN -- "Did you ever see him around these wrapper rolls or wrapper roll machines, or not?"

MR. WEST -- "No, sir; I never noticed him being around."

[Re: the tape dispenser....]

MR. BELIN -- "Could other employees come and pick up some of the tape for themselves?"

MR. WEST -- "Yes, sir. They could come get it if they wanted to use it; but all the time it was there where it is supposed to be."

[2007 Quote Off.]

Thank you, David Emerling, for that tidbit of info from McMillan's book.

David Von Pein
May 8, 2009