In Six Seconds in Dallas, Thompson argued that there was a conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy. Based on an examination of the Zapruder. a micro-study of the Kennedy assassination proving that three gunmen ^ murdered the President v SIX SECONDS IN DALLAS hy JOSIAH THOMPSON SIX. Start by marking “Six Seconds in Dallas: A Micro-Study of the Kennedy Assassination” as Want to Read: With dozens upon dozens of far-fetched theories about the JFK assassination, this book above all others is the most sane, the most rational, and the most logical.
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Six Seconds in Dallas With dozens upon dozens of far fetched theories about the JFK assassination this book above all others is the most sane. History, Kennedy. Edition not noted, 1/68 on the jacket flap. Red and blue covers very nice, corners and spine ends lightly bumped, tape scars and stains four. Get Instant Access to PDF File: #fbd7 Six Seconds In Dallas A Micro Study Of The Kennedy Assassination Proving That Three Gunman.
Elsie Dorman, for instance, stood at a fourth-floor window of the Depository and photographed the parade with her new movie camera. Her view would have been the closest to that of an assassin from the sixth-floor win- dow. Unfortunately, she took her eye away from the viewfinder at the crucial moment and missed the assassination. The Report , understandably, says noth- ing about Mrs. Four of her pictures have revelance to the case, and they are reproduced and explained in this book.
The color movie taken by Robert Hughes, who stood at the corner of Main and Houston streets, is of even greater importance, yet scant mention is made of it in the 26 volumes. The Commis- sion, however, without bothering to piece together the available evidence, stoutly maintained that the first shot might have missed.
It seemed clear, then, that the Commission had either neglected or only hastily examined the photo- graphic record of the assassination. It seemed equally clear that this record might constitute a primitive level of data on which a positive reconstruction could be built.
The present study seeks to make proper use of the photographs inasmuch as they constitute the only inviolable form of evidence.
This new study, which uses photographs as a base and superimposes upon them the corroborated witness reports and the physi- cal evidence, takes up where the Commission left off. There are, of course, obstacles in the way of such a project. First is the Zapruder film itself. As Life ' s special consultant on the assassination, I have had unlimited access to the film and have spent literally hundreds of hours examining it.
But publishing the results of that examination is something else entirely. There is one further piece of evidence which we feel must now be made available to the entire public: The orig- inal is now the private property of Life Magazine.
The other prime obstacle is not as simple to cope with; in fact, it remains as much an obstacle today as it has been in the past, impervious to such influen- tial bodies as Life and the Warren Commission: Cyril Wecht. As Manchester admitted to Richard Goodwin, permission to view the films personally had been denied him, but he was reluctant to say so in his book. Congressman Kupferman of- fered to ask the Archives to permit him, Dr. Wecht, and Dr. Helpern to see them.
Unfortunately, and inexplicably, in January, , his request was refused. We believe that the Zapruder film is an invaluable asset, not of Time, Inc. But for the present there is enough visual ma- terial in the public domain to reconstruct the assas- sination. And the reconstruction that follows does not square with any that have preceded it.
NOTES 1. If this report were true then the speed of the assassination would have to be boosted by 30 percent; the total time would be reduced to 4.
Weisberg made quite a lot of this report, and his discovery was picked up by The New York Times. On December 8 we learned from Mr. See also 5H where FBI agent Shaneyfelt testifies con- cerning how the speed of the Zapruder camera was clocked at Taped interview with Marilyn Sitzman, Nov.
Since that time additional sums have been paid to Zapruder by Life. But the motion faltered. He had been reaching for the top of his head. We know from the Zapruder film that no such gesture ever occurred. Having studied the stills of the Zapruder film both at Life and at the Archives, there is no doubt in my mind that Life' s transparencies are the better of the two sets.
The testimony of FBI expert Lyndal Shaneyfelt implies, however, that both sets of transparencies were made from the original film. If this is indeed the case, then the only explanation for the difference in quality must be that -the copying job done by Life for the Commission was a poor one in comparison with the one done by Life for Life.
Yet it was this set of slides that was used by both the FBI and the Commission. The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc. A lawsuit seems to be the only recourse left open at this point. A private individual in this case the Kennedy family can legally make an agreement with the Archives limiting access to material turned over to the Archives. But the private individual has to first own the material he turns over. The autopsy photos and X-rays were enclosures to an official government document.
They were taken by a Navy photographer on government film at government expense. They were in government hands until August, Lynn had said 6H Thus, a half hour later, Ronald Fischer became one of the more than four hundred people to witness the assassination of President John F. Ken- nedy. Most of the bystanders were present in Dealey Plaza, on the edge of downtown Dallas, primarily because they worked in buildings nearby.
Many of them, like Fischer, were given time to view the mo- torcade; otherwise they might not have gone. Others, like Phil Willis, who took his children out of school so they could see the President, had carefully selected Dealey Plaza over all the other places because they thought it afforded the best view of the President and a good spot to take pictures. There are tall build- ings on the eastern side of the Plaza, but the rest is open, and to the west, beyond a triple underpass, there are highways and the Trinity River.
Furthermore, there were open spaces and grassy slopes, so an unobstructed view was virtually assured. Moorman had brought along her Polaroid camera, and since she knew she would only be able to get one picture of the President, she and Mrs. Hill were looking for the best spot to stand. At noon Howard L. Brennan, a steam fitter who was working behind the Depository, walked over to a cafeteria on the corner of Main and Record stieets and ate lunch 3H At In about 4 minutes he had seated himself on the retaining wall at the corner of Houston and Elm, directly across from the Depository.
During the next 10 minutes, Brennan watched the people in the crowd, including a man who had an epileptic seizure down the street. After an ambulance carried the man away, Brennan casually resumed scanning the build- ings that surrounded the plaza. He looked up at the Depository. In the moments that preceded the assassination, the individuals in the crowd made their last moves to see better, to get closer, to have a longer look.
Asso- ciated Press photographer James Altgens, having been denied permission to stand on the overpass, readied his camera at the intersection of Houston and Main. Danny Arce stepped off the sidewalk onto the grass in front of the Depository. Those who rode in the motorcade had been placed according to protocol in one of a number of limou- sines and cars or in the press bus. Connally on the jump seats, and the Ken- nedys in the rear.
As the limousine turned onto Elm Street, Mrs. At the same time, Mrs. As if on cue, the shoot- ing began. It is from those gathered by chance in Dealey Plaza, and from the others in the motorcade, that much of the important information about the assas- sination has come. But none of the pictures can by itself determine the number of shots, their timing, and their direction, and there was no sound equip- ment operating in Dealey Plaza. For this reason, the eyewitnesses are tremendously important.
But their testimony taken alone, makes for ex- ceedingly vulnerable evidence. Memories fade or become too vivid, and inevitably stories conflict. Law professors like to prove this point by staging im- promptu incidents in the middle of class, then ask- ing the students to put in writing what happened. Dozens of variations are always offered, for the simple reason that nobody really has time to focus his attention fully on the incident.
Obviously, this is precisely what happened to many of the bystanders during the assassination. George Rackley and James Romack, for instance, were standing together in the truck yards well behind the Depository at the time of the shooting, and Rackley says he heard nothing, while Romack says he heard three shots 6H, Still, with all of the pitfalls and inaccuracies considered, eyewitness testimony can be of some value if ob- jectively and cautiously studied.
The greater part of the crowd in Dealey Plaza was dispersed along Houston Street; only a few scattered spectators dotted the sidewalk and grass on either side of Elm Street. Thus, when the gunfire broke out, only a few people were in close proximity to the presidential limousine. It is their testimony that pro- vides, with graphic, chilling immediacy, the most de- tailed accounts of those six seconds. She stood next to her father, across Elm Street from Abraham Zapruder.
Linda Kay was watching the President when the first shot rang out: I heard one [shot]. Then there was a little bit of time , and then there were two real fast bullets together.
When the first one hit , well, the President turned from waving to the people, and he grabbed his throat, and he kind of slumped forward, and then I couldn't tell where the second shot went.
But Mrs. John B. Connally, sitting next to her husband in the left jump seat of the presidential car, did see where the second shot went. Questioned later by Assistant Commission Counsel Arlen Specter, she described the assassination in these words: I heard a noise, and not being an ex- pert rifleman , I was not aware that it was a rifle. It was just a frightening noise, and it came from the right. I turned over my right shoulder and looked back, and saw the President as he had both hands at his neck.
And you are indicating with your own hands, two hands crossing over gripping your own neck? Yes ; and it seemed to me there was — he made no utterance, no cry.
I saw no blood, no anything. It was just sort of noth- ing, the expression on his face, and he just sort of slumped down. Then very soon there was the second shot that hit John.
The third shot that I heard I felt, it felt like spent buckshot falling all over us, and then, of course, I could see that it was the matter, brain tissue, or whatever, just human matter all over the car and both of us..
His sworn affidavit reads as follows: Shortly thereafter the first shot went off and it sounded to me as if it were a firecracker. There was a sec- ond shot and Governor Connally disappeared from sight and then there was a third shot which took off the top of the President's head and had the sickening sound of a grapefruit splattering against the side of a wall.
The total time between the first and third shots was about 5 or 6 seconds. Although most witnesses to the assassination were not in positions to observe what happened with the clarity of those in the immediate vicinity, a canvass of witnesses undertaken here, surprisingly for the first time gives us an indication of the number and timing of the shots.
Most of the witnesses agreed that three shots were fired, as reflected in the overall survey of witness re- ports. Of those witnesses who expressed an opinion as to the number of shots, and whose affidavit or testimony is found in the Archives or in the twenty- six volumes of hearings and exhibits, All the Secret Service agents who hazarded an opin- ion put the time factor in the 4- to 6-second range. A chart giving the location of each witness forms a part of this Appendix.
We split the difference to arrive at our figure of Their ambiguity in re- gard to sound direction is reflected in the total profile of witness reports.
Only one-third of the witnesses an- swered this question; yet, of these, 52 percent thought the sound came from the area of the grassy knoll to the right front of the presidential limousine, while 39 percent thought the sound came from the direction of the Depository.
A small number of witnesses believed the shots came from the east side of Houston Street, while slightly over 6 percent of those reporting thought the shots came from two directions. It is difficult to know what weight to give these conflicting reports. Theoretically, just the opposite effect would be the most likely: Since the knoll is covered with sound- absorbing foliage, one would expect shots fired from there to echo off the hard, flat surfaces of surround- ing buildings, rather than the reverse, so that reports of sound coming from the Depository might actually have been echoes from a shot originating on the grassy knoll.
This sharp disagreement over sound direction may be ascribed either to echo effects or to the generally untrustworthy character of earwitness testimony with respect to sound direction. Witness testimony with regard to sound spacing is flawed by a similar conflict. This conflict is re- flected in the overall profile of witness reports with respect to sound spacing. Only about one-third of the witnesses 65 out of mentioned the timing.
Once again the validity of witness reports is called into question. Some witnesses even gave different estimates of spacing at different times. In November, , for example, Linda Kay Willis told me she thought the shots were evenly spaced, while earlier she had told the Warren Commission she thought the last two were bunched. Although Senator Ralph Yar- borough was quoted in the press on November 23 as saying the first two shots were bunched, his later affidavit to the Commission insisted that the last two shots were bunched 7H Probably the most sensible explanation of this con- flict was given to me by another witness, F.
Standing at the corner of Main and Houston streets, Mr. Bell heard two of the shots definitely bunched but could not honestly say which shots these were. There were, how- ever, between four hundred and five hundred people in Dealey Plaza, so the number interviewed is less than half the total.
We have no way of knowing whether the selection process produced a random or nonrandom sample. This does not mean, however, that an intelligent speculation cannot be based on them. Within limits, this overall study of witness reports does define a general profile of what happened in Dealey Plaza. Over 90 percent of the witnesses gave an opinion as to the number of shots. Of these wit- nesses, over 90 percent again estimated that at least three shots were fired. Surely the virtual unanimity of witnesses on this point cannot be overlooked.
Given this weight of testimony, it would seem difficult to argue that fewer than three shots were fired. The same is true with respect to the total firing time.
Although only twenty-nine witnesses gave an estimate of the total time factor, it surely is signifi- cant that twenty of these twenty-nine put the total time in the range of 4 to 6 seconds. The conflicting testimony with regard to sound di- rection is probably without much significance.
True, over half the witnesses reporting thought the sound came from the knoll, and photos taken seconds after the assassination show people reacting in this direc- tion. But crowds are known to be highly suggestible, and without an acoustical study of Dealey Plaza no firm conclusion can be drawn. The disparity of views on time between the shots is a different matter. For although there was consid- erable disagreement among witnesses over which shots were bunched, 80 percent of the witnesses re- porting thought that some shots were bunched.
This, as we shall see, is significant by itself. The overall profile of the assassination which emerges from this survey of witness reports is a series of at least three shots, not evenly spaced, in a total interval of 4 to 6 seconds. If we had to rely on witness reports alone, it would be impossible to refine this general pattern much further.
At this point the critical importance of the photographic evidence becomes apparent. For using this evidence as a firm foundation for the witness testimony, the picture that emerges will be more de- tailed and logically much more convincing. See 6H, 7H, 22H, 7H Dell Publishing Co. Bell, Feb. Bell was never questioned by the federal or local agencies or by the Commission, even though he filmed parts of the assassination with an 8 millimeter movie camera.
No part of his film was examined by any of the authorities, nor has any part of it been published.
Selected frames appear for the first time in this book. Since the preponderance of the evidence indicated that three shots were fired , the Commission concluded that one shot probably missed the Presidential limousine and its occupants.
On September 24, , after ten months of in- tensive research, the Warren Commission turned in its conclusions about the bullets fired at President Kennedy: To this neat ballistic scenario the Commissioners added a disturbing footnote.
They were not sure which shots caused which hits or which of the three shots missed. The second hit struck President Kennedy in the head, and a third bullet went astray.
The bullet that missed might have been the first shot preceding the two hits , the second coming between them , or the last. To some, this frank admission of doubt concerning the basic events of the assassination may appear as an admirable reticence to draw conclusions beyond the bounds of evidence.
To others, it may seem a sly attempt to prop up the single-bullet, double-hit theory. The main thrust of the evidence, however, seems to be quite clear: None of the shots missed; all found their mark. The first shot struck the Presi- dent in the back. The Commission used this film as a basis for all of its findings relating to the shoot- ing, and thus it is more than appropriate to refer to it here in explaining just where the Commission went wrong.
In the early frames of the Zapruder film the Presi- dent can be seen smiling and waving to the crowds on his right. This natural waving movement contin- ues as the President disappears from view behind the Stemmons Freeway sign at Z On the film we see no evidence to suggest that a bullet has struck until the President begins to emerge from behind the sign at Z His motions at this point leave no doubt that he has been hit and that he was just starting to react at frame The question then arises: If there was a shot that missed before this, when could it have been fired?
His fastest time for getting off three shots was 4. The Commission divided this figure in two and arrived at 2. ROY H. Kennedy was riding passed the location where I was standing, I heard a shot. I heard the shot, and without having to turn my head, I jerked my head up. Thus, if we assume that the President was reacting to a hit when he emerged from behind the sign Z , then an earlier miss could not have been fired later than Z minus If the missed shot was fired at Z, the gunman was firing blindly into a tree.
In all like- lihood, if the first shot missed, it was fired before the President disappeared behind the tree, which means before Z Is there any evidence for such an early missed shot? Not one of the several hundred witnesses in Dealey Plaza that day reported hearing a shot that could have come as early as Z In fact, by taking a series of witness reports, we can triangulate the position of the car at the time of the first shot.
Its position falls in the range of Zapruder frames It should be pointed out that the position of the presidential limousine established by triangulating these witness reports compares favorably with the position given in early government reports.
This would have been at Zapruder frame As Melvin M. Johnson, Jr.
It is difficult to say what evidential value this has in light of the considerable differences between indi- vidual rifles. No evidence was ad- duced by the Commission to indicate a shot fired prior to Z In addition, photo- graphic evidence corroborates such a finding. Philip Willis took a photograph of the presidential limousine at a time determined to be in the range Z 15H Willis testified before the Commission that this photo was taken simultaneously with the first shot.
In subsequent Zapruder frames we see Governor Connally turn sharply to his left, a movement he said he made just after the first shot. Officer B. Martin, riding the outboard cycle to the left rear of the presidential car, testified that he turned his head sharply to the right immediately following the first Z SKETCH shot 6H At frame he is still looking straight ahead. The evidence of both the Zapruder and Willis films points to a first shot fired in the range Z2 — a first shot that did not miss but struck the Presi- dent in the back.
There is no evidence that a shot was fired prior to Z The conclusion follows that the shot to which the President is most visibly react- ing at Z is the first shot. This is precisely what most witnesses believed at the time. The 26 seconds-long moving picture, it was thought, captured in full the shooting and death of a president.
Yes, Zapruder filmed the death, but he did not capture the entire shooting sequence for posterity. It is fallacious to conflate the film with everything that happened, to believe that the rifle fire commenced only after the Dallas dressmaker decided to turn on his camera.
Accordingly, the Zapruder film has always been pored over, as if it were a Rosetta stone, by students of the assassination looking for equally persuasive visual evidence that would reveal the timing of the pesky first shot.
Estimates as to which Zapruder frame coincided with the first shot have gyrated over the decades. The moment the first shot occurred also dictates, of course, the total amount of time Oswald had to fire all three shots, and how much time elapsed between them.
Now, after more than 43 years, there may finally be a rational explanation that squares with the most important and salient facts. The first federal panel to investigate the assassination, the Warren Commission, actually chose not to hazard a guess about when the first shot occurred, emphasizing instead that there had to be at least 2.
Their estimates lead to total elapsed times of around 8. As the timing of the first shot wanders, though, the Zapruder film begins to resemble a Rorschach test rather than a Rosetta stone.
Thus, the first Zapruder frame to show the dark blue Lincoln was Z —a frame exposed several seconds after the limousine had completed the sharp, slow turn onto Elm Street from Houston, and, we contend, after the first shot had already been fired.
Any theory involving a first shot even as early as Z faces an insurmountable problem. It directly contradicts the earwitness testimony of dozens of Dealey Plaza observers, including such notables as then-Dallas mayor Earle Cabell and then-U. Senator Ralph Yarborough, both of whom were experienced hunters.