(PART 657)


I think THIS POST by Pat Speer makes a lot of sense -- except for this comment made by Pat:

"Wait, Is this news? You [David Lifton] used to state that the body was altered before it reached Bethesda. Has Horne won you over?"


Pat, the remarks made by David Lifton [repeated below] that you are replying to in the above quote are not inconsistent in the slightest way with Mr. Lifton's longstanding beliefs put forth in his book. Lifton is saying here what he's always said (and it's still as far-fetched and unrealistic here in 2014 as it was back in 1966 when DSL's strange odyssey first began). He's saying the body of JFK was altered between Parkland and Bethesda. But the statement below does not imply that Lifton has embraced the additional Humes Altered The Wounds nonsense put forth by Doug Horne.

Emphasis added by DVP here:

"I have to wonder when the day is going to be reached (if ever) when Pat Speer, who has spent a lot of time studying this case, and who--as I said--should know better--is going to stop making these absurd statements that there was no difference in the wounds between Dallas and Bethesda, and face the very clear fact that the wounds were altered between the time Dr. Clark saw the body--at Parkland Hospital--and the time the official autopsy commenced in the morgue of the U.S. Navy Medical School at Bethesda at 8 p.m EST." -- David S. Lifton


I agree with Pat Speer up to a point about some of the "BOH" witnesses. But the composite chart made by Mr. Speer [pictured below] is probably a tad bit misleading (IMO), because the three witnesses pictured here ARE still indicating that there was SOME kind of wound or defect extending all the way into the VERY BACK part of JFK's head. Right, Pat? Otherwise, what do you think Peters and Custer and O'Connor are doing when they have their own hands placed over the REAR portions of their heads in the photos on the right side of your montage below? Are they just scratching their heads here, and a picture was taken to mislead people? Or what?....

Repeating an observation I made a few years ago....

"Of course, the CTers [Conspiracy Theorists] who think that Kennedy was shot in the head from the front can always go down "THE PHOTOS ARE ALL FAKES" path...even though the HSCA said that ALL of the autopsy pictures are "unaltered" in any way whatsoever. .... To stress my main point again (via the opinion that the [autopsy] pictures are GENUINE and are NOT FAKES, which, of course, IS the truth of the matter):

How would it be even remotely possible for a bullet to leave a huge hole in the FAR-RIGHT-REAR portion of President Kennedy's head and yet have the REAR SCALP of that same President Kennedy look like this (in the autopsy picture below) after such a shooting event? Was Kennedy's scalp made of bullet-proof cast iron or some other impossible-to-penetrate material? Lacking that type of crazy explanation, I cannot see how it would be possible for a bullet that caused the amount of damage to the RIGHT-REAR of JFK's skull that most CTers think it DID cause, to NOT have penetrated the RIGHT-REAR scalp of Kennedy's head and caused at least SOME visible damage to the outer scalp of the President. In a word -- impossible."
-- DVP; April 2008


Response to DVP....

1. My observation about Lifton's comment "the wounds were altered between the time Dr. Clark saw the body--at Parkland Hospital--and the time the official autopsy commenced in the morgue of the U.S. Navy Medical School at Bethesda at 8 p.m EST" is accurate, IMO. My understanding is that Horne believes the body was altered at Bethesda BEFORE 8 p.m. It appears, then, that Lifton is now conceding that Horne might be on to something. I apologize to David Lifton if I'm misunderstanding his words.

2. Context is everything. The Case for Conspiracy slide to which you refer is Groden-specific. The images at right are what Groden publishes in his book The Killing of a President. These images are posted all over the internet.

The clear implication is that these men are "back of the head" witnesses, and believed there was a blow out wound on the back of the head. The images at left come from Groden's video The Case for Conspiracy, and proves the deceptiveness of the images at right.

The reality is that these three men were not "back of the head" witnesses, at least not as claimed by Groden. Peters pointed out a wound at the top of the back of the head, well above the ears. Custer and O'Connor said they saw a large wound encompassing the whole right side of the head, from front to back, and were clearly describing the condition of the skull after the scalp had been reflected and the brain removed.

P.S. In a previous discussion of this slide, a well-known teacher of critical thinking got all upset and claimed I was trying to make people think the Bethesda witnesses saw the same wound as the Parkland witnesses. I then pointed out to him that 1) the slide actually argues the opposite, and that Custer and O'Connor's recollections were not supportive of the recollections of the Parkland witnesses, and 2) that the most coherent argument that the wounds observed in Parkland and Bethesda were the same was published in a book HE'D compiled and edited.



What exactly do you think that Peters, Custer, and O'Connor, on the right side of the montage, are pointing to (or indicating with their fingers) on the back side of their head?

Since Peters' head is turned away from the camera more so than O'Connors', perhaps he's the best one to talk about here because his finger placement can be made out a little better.


I'm not sure about Peters. Perhaps he was telling Groden where the cerebellum was, or where others thought they saw a wound. Or maybe even he was showing Groden where he thought the wound was. But the fact remains that in Groden's own video (and other videos posted online) Peters points out the location at left.

As far as Custer and O'Connor, in Groden's own video they said they saw a wound from front to back. At left they are pointing out the forward-most part of this wound. At right they are pointing out the rearward-most part of this wound. The snapshots at right come from Groden's video. The Custer shot at left comes from this video as well. I'm not sure where the O'Connor shot at right came from.


Thank you, Pat, for your last reply. But this comment you made still makes no sense to me:

"...My understanding is that Horne believes the body was altered at Bethesda BEFORE 8 p.m. It appears, then, that Lifton is now conceding that Horne might be on to something."

Well, Pat, since we all know the autopsy started at about 8:00 PM, it's fairly obvious that David Lifton DOES indeed believe the wounds were altered BEFORE 8:00. Right? So how is Lifton's previous remark out of sync with his theory that the body was altered by somebody at Walter Reed (or wherever) prior to the time Dr. Humes started the autopsy? What am I missing here? You surely don't think Lifton is of the opinion the alleged alterations to the President's body were performed AFTER the Bethesda autopsy commenced at 8 PM. Right?

Re: Groden....

I don't know if Robert Groden was being deliberately deceptive in his 1993 book or not, but this picture which I captured of Dr. Paul Peters (taken from the 1988 NOVA/PBS program) comes pretty close to matching Groden's photo of Peters, although it appears as if Peters' hand is a little lower on the back of his head in the montage posted earlier than it is in this 1988 hands-on demonstration:


Look again. The image at left on my slide comes from Groden's video and demonstrates where Peters thought he saw a wound. This location is on the top back part of the head, well above the ears, and is very close to the location you posted. Now look at the photo of Peters in Groden's book, at right on my slide. There he is pointing to a location at and slightly above the level of the ears. It's about 3 inches away.


Either way, Dr. Peters is still wrong, because there was no humongous hole in President Kennedy's head in either one of those "BOH" locations, as these photos clearly prove for all time:

For a more accurate "hand on the head" demonstration of where the large wound in JFK's head was really located, we need to go to the witnesses who saw the assassination as it was occurring in Dealey Plaza. And the best possible witnesses among that group are Abraham Zapruder and William Newman:

And there's also Gayle Newman too, who provided a hands-on account of the location on JFK's head where she saw "blood gushing out". And it sure isn't in the occipital (or rear) portion of the head:


Another good video. Confirms their [Bill & Gayle Newman's] earlier views.

In it, he says that the shots came more from the fence area behind him more to his right than from the TSBD to his left.



Bill Newman said no such thing in that 2003 video. In fact, he specifically says that he refuses to "define" the exact location of the gunshots. He said: "So I say 'behind' and I leave it at that."

He said he can't say whether the shots he heard came more to the left or more to the right of his location:

"If I thought it came from the sixth floor, I'd most definitely tell you so. If I thought it came from the picket fence, I'd certainly tell you so. The reality of it is--I don't know." -- William E. Newman; July 10, 2003


I can see why the Warren Commission didn't want them [the Newmans] to be interviewed.


Yeah, right Ray. They avoided the Newmans, but had no problem publishing the testimony of Sam Holland, Mark Lane, Jean Hill, Jack Dougherty, Victoria Adams, Clint Hill, Marguerite Oswald, and several other "conspiracy" type witnesses. But they were just scared to death of Bill and Gayle Newman, huh?

You're funny.


Zapruder also said he thought the shots came from over his right shoulder.


That's not what he told Eddie Barker in Dealey Plaza in 1967:

"I'm not a ballistic expert, but I believe if there were shots that were coming by my right ear, I would hear a different sound. I heard shots coming from--I wouldn't know which direction to say--but it was proven from the Texas Book Depository. And they all sounded alike; there was no different sound at all."
-- Abraham Zapruder; June 1967 (emphasis added by DVP)


[9 minutes and 50 seconds into this video, Bill Newman said:]

“...but if you want [me] to define it a little closer, that would be a little closer to the picket fence rather as opposed to the School Depository.”


Yes, you are absolutely right, Ray. Bill Newman did utter the above words in his 2003 interview at the Sixth Floor Museum. I stand corrected.

However, even in that excerpt at 9:50 of the video, Newman is saying that the shots came from what he calls the "in-between area", very near where Abraham Zapruder was standing -- between the Depository and the picket fence.


I'm not interested in what he [Abe Zapruder] told Eddie Barker, this is from his Warren Commission testimony:

Mr. LIEBELER - Did you have any impression as to the direction from which these shots came?
Mr. ZAPRUDER - No, I also thought it came from back of me.


And just how on Earth does Zapruder's "from back of me" remark help out the conspiracy theorists who want to place a gunman behind a fence on the Grassy Knoll, which is a fence that was certainly NOT in "back" of Abe Zapruder's pedestal at the time of the head shot. That fence was to the RIGHT of Zapruder....and actually, to be technical, the area of that fence where most of the conspiracy buffs like to put a gunman was also a little bit in FRONT of Zapruder's position as well (i.e., a little SOUTH of the Zapruder pedestal) -- as the photograph below indicates:

But I suppose all the conspiracy theorists can argue that the picket fence area was, indeed, IN BACK of Zapruder's position when at least ONE of the shots was fired, because Zapruder's body would have been turned more toward the corner of Elm & Houston at that time.

So you can argue that "angle" difference if you want, but it's still not going to garner you a victory in this particular argument, and that's because of the following portion of Mr. Zapruder's Warren Commission testimony that Ray decided to leave out of his last post:

Mr. LIEBELER - All right, as you stood here on the abutment and looked down into Elm Street, you saw the President hit on the right side of the head and you thought perhaps the shots had come from behind you?

Mr. ZAPRUDER - Well, yes.

Mr. LIEBELER - From the direction behind you?

Mr. ZAPRUDER - Yes, actually--I couldn't say what I thought at the moment, where they came from--after the impact of the tragedy was really what I saw and I started and I said--yelling, "They've killed him"--I assumed that they came from there, because as the police started running back of me, it looked like it came from the back of me.

Mr. LIEBELER - But you didn't form any opinion at that time as to what direction the shots did come from actually?


So it's pretty clear to me that Zapruder's WC testimony is in perfect harmony with what he told CBS-TV in 1967. In other words--he just couldn't tell exactly where the shots were coming from.


The subject is not about the picket fence. It is about where the head wound was, Newman said in his earliest interview that “As the car got directly in front of us, uh, a gunshot, apparently from behind us hit the President in the side of the temple.”

Now if you can show how a gunshot to the side of the temple can equate to a bullet in the back of the head, I'd be very interested in your explanation.


So, Ray, you think Bill Newman had the superhuman ability to actually SEE the bullet in flight, eh? Otherwise, how could he possibly know precisely where the bullet ENTERED President Kennedy's head?

As any child could figure out, Newman saw the big hole and all the blood on the RIGHT SIDE ("temple" area) of JFK's head after Oswald's bullet had gone through the President's cranium....and Newman's immediate impression, due to the location of all that blood, was that the bullet hit JFK in the side of the temple.

Newman says over and over again in his various interviews in 1963 and 2003 that he saw the "SIDE" of the President's head come off. That sure doesn't sound like he's describing the ENTRY point for a bullet, does it? He's describing where the EXIT wound was located, of course.

And Newman repeated that comment again during his 2013 interview at the Sixth Floor Museum ---> "The side of his head blew off." -- Bill Newman; 11/9/13

There is also a similar statement made by Gayle Newman in her official affidavit, which she prepared on the day of the assassination itself ---> "I saw blood all over the side of his head." -- Gayle Newman; 11/22/63


No, I don't think he had superhuman abilities. Neither have you, although it seems that you think you do. You appear to know more about what he [Bill Newman] saw than he did.


You think it takes superhuman ability to assess and reasonably evaluate the statements made by William Newman concerning his observations relating to JFK's head wound?

A second-grader could figure this out. I wonder why so many conspiracy theorists can't do it?

It's probably because those conspiracy believers just simply don't WANT to properly evaluate statements made by witnesses like Bill and Gayle Newman. The CTers are too enamoured with their long-held belief that William E. Newman is a terrific "conspiracy" type witness. But in reality, he's no such thing.

Newman even marked the location of where he thought the shots were coming from on a map during his appearance at the 1986 mock Oswald trial in England. And just look at where he put the gunman--in a location that's not even close to the famous "picket fence" area:

In fact, Newman's marked location on that map is much closer to the Book Depository Building than it is to the fence atop the Grassy Knoll.


Perhaps if you think that what he saw was the exit of the bullet rather than the entrance, you could tell us where the bullet that supposedly did what you say ended up.


I think you already know the answer to that question, Ray. But, I'll bite anyway....

The largest portion of Oswald's Carcano bullet, after going through JFK's head, was never recovered by anybody. But two fairly large chunks of that head-shot bullet (CE567 and CE569) were recovered in the front seat area of JFK's limousine, with those two fragments of bullet being stopped by the car's windshield and chrome molding (which were cracked and dented, respectively).

More of my thoughts about CE567/569 HERE and HERE.

Now, to reciprocate, maybe Ray Mitcham can answer a similar question for me (and for everyone else in the world too) --- Since you obviously think that what Bill Newman saw on the SIDE of President Kennedy's head was the ENTRY location of a bullet, would you please tell me what happened to that bullet that entered the right "temple" of John F. Kennedy? Where did that bullet end up? And why didn't it cause some kind of wound to the LEFT side of JFK's head?


Nice photo, David [of Bill Newman marking the map], but very naughty. Pity it was taken from an angle which compresses the sketch of Dealey Plaza. It looks a bit different when you see it like this:

The grey curved line equates to the one drawn on by Newman and his position is circled lower on the drawing. It shows that he thought the shot came from nowhere near the TSBD.


And Newman's 1986 map also indicates he didn't think the shots came from anywhere near the famous "Grassy Knoll/Picket Fence" area of Dealey Plaza either. (That was kind of my main point, in case you missed it.)

But, then too, we already knew that fact when Newman clearly stated in his 11/22/63 affidavit that the shots came from "directly behind me", which does not equate to the famous "Grassy Knoll" area where the fence is.


Regarding where do I think the bullet went that entered from the front? Easy -- it stayed inside JFK's skull as it exploded.


Oh, I see. That must be why only TWO very small metal fragments were plucked from inside President Kennedy's head by the autopsy surgeons at Bethesda, huh? [See CE843.]

And I wonder why there is very little in the way of bullet (metal) fragments visible in the X-rays taken of JFK's head? A faked X-ray, Ray? ....

And it's also good to know that you, Ray Mitcham, are a person who actually DOES think that the great-big wound in JFK's head serves as the ENTRY point for a bullet. Most people can easily figure out the ENTRIES from the EXITS when it comes to assessing bullet wounds, with the largest wound almost always indicating the BLOW-OUT (or EXIT) point for the missile.

But, as with everything in this JFK case, the conspiracists have a habit of turning night into day---and exits into entries.

A humorous example of this type of topsy-turvy mindset exhibited by some conspiracy theorists came up on one of the other JFK forums, when a certain unnamed kook insisted that Governor Connally's chest wound was actually a wound of ENTRY, while Connally's upper-back wound was a wound of exit.

Such is the upside-down world of JFK conspiracists.


I notice you said nothing about your sneaky angled photo of the Dealey Plaza sketch.


I wasn't sneaky at all regarding the "angled" Newman map photo. I know it's taken from an angle that somewhat skews everything. But I used it to merely illustrate what even a SKEWED version of that map clearly indicates--i.e., Bill Newman thought the shots were coming from a location where virtually NOBODY in the "JFK World" thinks shots were REALLY coming from.

So, tell me, Ray -- Do you REALLY think shots were coming from an area BETWEEN the Depository and the fence/"Badge Man" area on the Knoll?

If you answer Yes to that question, you'll be the first person on the planet (AFAIK) who thinks shots came from that "in-between" area in Dealey Plaza.

BTW, Ray, your version of Newman's map is almost identical to the "skewed" version I posted. Very little difference at all. Your "unskewed" version still has Newman's mark at the FAR EAST EDGE of the pergola/shelter.

Looks like another "Mountain From A Molehill" argument being made by a conspiracy fan. (What a surprise.)

Besides, how in the heck can I know for certain you've got that gray line in the exact correct spot to equate to Newman's 1986 marking of the sketch/map? Maybe I should call in Dale Myers to check it out. An expert on photogrammetry couldn't hurt here, right? :)


The 'entrance is the smaller' argument only applies when the bullet trajectories are tracked.


Oh, bull, Pat. In THIS (JFK) case, there can be no doubt whatsoever which of Kennedy's head wounds was the entry wound--with or without "tracking" of the bullet wounds. Am I supposed to think THIS wound in the photo below is an EXIT wound and that huge hole in the right/front/top portion of the President's head is an ENTRY wound? (Talk about topsy-turvy. This takes the cake.)


So, get off your high horse, will ya? You would like the readers to believe you've got all the facts on your side, and science on your side, when your whole 'Oswald did it all by his lonesome' argument rests on your unfounded BELIEF that either
1) the autopsy doctors were incredibly inept and that the bullet actually entered 4 inches higher than they claimed in a location nobody noticed, or 2) the autopsy doctors were correct and all the subsequent panels claiming the bullet trajectory they'd proposed makes no sense were inept. In either case, you've gotta go against experts.


I'm not denying that there is controversy among the "experts" and the autopsy surgeons regarding JFK's head wounds. I've never denied or ducked that controversy. I've merely attempted to explain it in what I feel is a reasonable and sensible way (based mainly on what I consider to be the best evidence associated with the President's wounds--the autopsy pictures and X-rays).

But most of the conspiracy theorists disagree quite strongly with EVERY single expert who has ever officially investigated John F. Kennedy's murder and looked at the original autopsy photographs and X-rays. A CTer who is absolutely positive that JFK was shot from the front and had a massive hole in the BACK of his head has no choice but to totally disregard every single item listed below (which is just plain ridiculous):

1.) The autopsy report.
2.) The autopsy photographs.
3.) The autopsy X-rays.
4.) The testimony and subsequent statements of all three autopsy physicians.
5.) The conclusion of the Warren Commission in 1964.
6.) The conclusion of the Clark Panel in 1968.
7.) The conclusion of the Rockefeller Commission in 1975.
8.) The conclusion of the HSCA in 1978.
9.) The Zapruder Film.

See how silly it gets once you get beyond a HALF-DOZEN different things/committees that the conspiracy theorists believe are totally wrong or phony? But the CTers don't care that they have to spit on ALL NINE of the above things. They'll do it anyway. But please don't ask me to disregard the above batch of evidence. Because in order to do that, I'd have to park my common sense at the front door. And I'll never do that.

So, you see Pat, the horse I'm riding isn't perched so high. But CTers don't
even have a horse to ride in this race, as far as I can see. They ride a different animal -- BULL.


I acknowledged that when there are two CONNECTED wounds, the larger one is usually the exit. But in this case, NO ONE ever connected the wounds. In the "official" story, there was a small wound low on the back of the head and a large wound high on the head. That's it.


Given the fact that there was this HUGE hole in the right/top/front part of the President's head....and this small "entry"-like hole in the back of his head, how difficult is the math here? Should we consult Einstein to get this figured out? Or should a cat by the name of Felix be able to solve this puzzle? (I vote for the latter.)

(Can this get any sillier? Answer--Yes, it can. See Pat Speer's next comment for proof....)


In defiance of EVERY written and unwritten guideline for conducting a forensic autopsy, the wounds were never connected. It's even worse than that. Supposedly they weren't even probed. No, even worse than that. The ONLY witnesses claiming the small entrance wound on the back of the head was probed (Lipsey, Robinson) claimed the probe exited--get this--the throat wound. Now, ain't that a humdinger?


A humdinger of a dumb and preposterous theory, yes.


There's also this. While I am not an alterationist, I nevertheless believe your list above is nonsense. If the autopsy photos had been faked, then the conclusions of the Clark, Rockefeller, and HSCA Panels are meaningless.


So, you think the ONLY thing the HSCA relied on were the photos & X-rays, eh? That's interesting (and very wrong). There's also the testimony of the autopsists. Or is their 1978 testimony "meaningless" too (as it relates to their ability to answer the fundamental question of: "WAS JFK STRUCK BY ANY BULLETS COMING FROM THE FRONT?")?

Anyway, the autopsy photos cannot possibly be fake, unless there's a way to fake pictures in stereo pairs (which every expert has said is impossible).

So, you're cooked again, Mr. Speer. Sorry. :-)

David Von Pein
February/March 2014