Thursday, 24 July 2014

How Dave Reitzes Gets it Wrong Part 4

Shots in the Dark

The Dallas Police dictabelt recording, previously mentioned in part two of this critique, is the only piece of evidence that has ever changed the way the Kennedy assassination has been reported by officialdom; albeit for all too brief a time. The way Reitzes chooses to cover this particular topic is revealing to say the least. It certainly makes a mockery of Skeptic's claim that it promotes science and critical thinking since these two things are notable only by their absence. For those who are new to the subject, the dictabelt is an audio recording of Dallas police radio transmissions made at the time of the assassination by a police motorcycle officer who's microphone had become stuck in the 'on' position. It was brought to the attention of the House Select Committee on Assassinations in the late 1970s by researchers Mary Ferrell and Gary Mack.

As Reitzes describes it, the HSCA “endorsed the findings of a computer science professor and his assistant, indicating that a shot had indeed been fired from the grassy knoll.” This description of the committee's experts is laughably inept, incomplete, and clearly intended to downplay their expertise. Analysis of the acoustics data was, in actual fact, undertaken by two independent teams of scientists who were at the very top of their profession. To find someone with the requisite qualifications to conduct an analysis of the tape, the HSCA asked the Acoustical Society of America for a short list of leading experts in the field. Top of the list was the Cambridge, Massachusetts, firm of Bolt, Baranek and Newman. As the HSCA reported, BBN “specializes in acoustical analysis and performs such work as locating submarines by analyzing underwater sound impulses. It pioneered the technique of using sound recordings to determine the timing and direction of gunfire in an analysis of a tape that was recorded during the shootings at Kent State University in 1970.” (HSCA report, p. 67)

The second team of experts recommended by the ASA was that of Mark Weiss and Ernest Aschkenasy of Queens College, New York. As well as being involved in various acoustical projects such as the examination of the Watergate tapes, (Ibid, p. 69) Weiss and Aschkenasy wrote computer programs for processing acoustical data for military applications. For example, a submarine navigates by bouncing sounds of its environment and the on-board computer is able to factor in and adjust for important elements like the vessel's speed and the water temperature which varies with latitude. Weiss and Aschkenasy wrote those software programs for the U.S. Navy. (Thomas, p. 594) They were genuine, proven and trusted acoustical experts, something one would not realise from reading Reitzes' facile characterization.

In his typically misinformed manner, Reitzes writes that the dictabelt “contained no audible sounds of gunfire”, which is factually incorrect. It is not that the sounds are inaudible but that they are mixed in with other white noises making them indiscernible to the human ear. BBN chief scientist, Dr. James Barger, and his colleagues discovered six impulses on the tape occurring at approximately 12:30 pm (the time of the assassination) that it was believed could be gunfire. On-site testing was then conducted in Dealey Plaza with microphones being placed along the parade route on Houston and Elm Streets. Test shots were then fired from the Texas School Book Depository and the Grassy Knoll and recorded at each of the microphones. BBN found that five of the suspect impulses on the dictabelt acoustically matched the echo patterns of tests shots fired in the plaza, the fourth in sequence matching a shot fired from the Knoll. (8HSCA101) However, at that point in time, Barger could only attach a statistical probability rating of 50% to the matching of the Knoll shot. (HSCA report, p. 72)

The HSCA then turned to Weiss and Aschkenasy, asking if they could move that 50-50 probability off center, one way or the other. The sonar experts refined BBN's analysis using, as Dr. Weiss testified, “fundamental things in acoustics...basic well-tested, well-established principles” (5HSCA558) and were able to reduce the margin of error from six one-thousandths of a second to one one-thousandths of a second. Thus, after more than two months of calculations, they were able to move the probability of a Grassy Knoll gunshot from 50 to “95 percent or better”. (Ibid, 556) Dr. Barger and his colleagues at BBN then reviewed the work of Weiss and Aschkenasy, making their own independent calculations, and agreed that “the likelihood of there having been a gun shot from the knoll” was “about 95 percent or possibly better”. (Ibid, 674)

It should come as no real surprise that the work of the HSCA's scientists came under attack long before the committee had finished its work. Dr. Barger even had to dispose of criticisms made by private investigator, Anthony Pellicano, during his second appearance before the committee. (5HSCA671-72) Reitzes claims that when the findings of the acoustics experts “were subjected to peer review by a National Academy of Sciences committee...the failings of the HSCA's conspiracy theory were revealed.” But “peer review” does not accurately describe a group with no intentions of approaching the evidence fairly and objectively deliberately setting out to discredit the work of another.

When the Justice Department commissioned the NAS study, it revealed immediately that it had no interest in conducting an open-minded analysis by offering the chairmanship to none other than Luis Alvarez, a vocal defender of the Warren Commission who had staked his professional reputation on there having been no shots from the Knoll. Alvarez, who had publicly dismissed the acoustics evidence before he even looked at it, wisely declined the position and instead recommended his colleague, Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Norman Ramsey. Nonetheless, Alvarez stayed on as the panel's most active member. (Thomas, p. 618) Needless to say, the conclusions of the “Ramsey Panel”, which did not include a single expert on ballistics or acoustics, were preordained. When Dr. Barger met with the panel to explain and defend his work, Alverez let him know that it didn't actually matter what he said, they were going to shoot down the HSCA's findings regardless. (Ibid, 619)

The Ramsey Panel spent two years going over the acoustics data with a fine tooth comb looking for serious flaws but kept coming up empty handed. In the end, the only significant argument in its report was based on a discovery made not by a member of the panel but by a rock drummer from Ohio named Steve Barber. Before discussing what Barber found, it is important to understand that on the day of the assassination, the Dallas police were using two radio channels. Ch-1 was for routine communications and Ch-2 was for the police escort of the Presidential motorcade. If two police units who were tuned to opposite channels came close to one another, and one opened a microphone, it could capture a broadcast from one channel and simulcast it over the other. This phenomenon, known as “cross-talk”, occurred several times during the five and a half minute sequence during which the motorcycle microphone that recorded the alleged shots was stuck open. These simulcasts are a potential means of synchronizing events between both channels.

Steve Barber acquired a copy of the dictabelt recording that came as a promotional plastic insert with a girlie magazine and, after repeated listens, heard something that nobody else had noticeda barley audible instance of cross-talk in which Dallas Sheriff Bill Decker seems to say the words “...hold everything secure...” These words came from a broadcast Decker made about a minute after the assassination on Ch-2. On Ch-1, they appear only one-half second after the impulses identified as a gunshots by the HSCA acoustics experts. The Ramsey Panel seized Barber's discovery with both hands and with it concluded that whatever the impulses on the tape were they could not be the shots that killed Kennedy because they occurred a minute after the assassination. The HSCA's conclusion of a probable conspiracy had supposedly been “debunked”.

However, in 2001, Dr. Donald Thomas reopened the acoustics debate with a paper published in the British forensics journal, Science & Justice. Dr. Thomas debunked the debunkers, pointing out that the Ramsey Panel had overlooked a second instance of cross-talk, the “Bellah broadcast”, and that using that simulcast to synchronize the transmissions placed the impulses “at the exact instant that John F. Kennedy was assassinated”. Several years later, Dr. Thomas noted that none of the five instances of cross-talk on the recordings actually synchronizes with one another, “Hence, the cross-talk evidence does not prove that the putative gunshots are not synchronous with the shooting.” (Hear No Evil, p. 662) In his original paper, Dr. Thomas pointed out numerous errors made by the Ramsey Panel and called special attention to facts which the panel had been very careful to omit from its report. Namely, the “order in the data”.

If the impulses on the dictabelt are not gunshots then any matches to the test patterns are spurious. Therefore, a match would be equally as likely to occur at the first microphone as the last and the five matches could fall in any one of 125 random sequences. But, as Dr. Thomas explains:

...the matching of the five putative shots were to five microphone positions in the correct topographic order...Moreover, not just the order but the spacing was correct. The time lapse between the five matching impulsive sounds was 1.7, 1.1, 4.8, and 0.7 sec on the evidence tape. The first three impulses obtained their highest three consecutive microphone locations...which were spaced at 6 m increments on Houston Street. The fourth sound matched to a microphone location on Elm Street...24 m removed [from the previous matching microphone]...and, the last matched to a pattern recorded at the very next microphone location...Thus the order spacing revealed by the matching procedure is an accurate fit with the hypothesis that the sounds were gunshots captured on a microphone of a motorcycle travelling north on Houston Street then Westerly on Elm Street at the time of the assassination.”

Furthermore, the distance from the first matching microphone to the last was 143 feet and the time between the first and last suspect impulse on the tape was 8.3 seconds. In order for the motorcycle with the stuck microphone to cover 143 feet in 8.3 seconds it would need to be travelling at approximately 11 mph—the very speed that the Presidential limousine was travelling on Elm Street. (see Warren Report, p. 49) And lastly, the impulses on the dictabelt synchronize perfectly with the images on the Zapruder film. The most obvious reaction to a shot on the film occurs at frame 313 with the explosion of President Kennedy's head. This is preceded by the flipping up and down of Governor Connally's white Stetson hat between frames 225 and 230; the apparent result of a bullet passing through his wrist. When we align the fourth shot on the dictabeltthe Grassy Knoll shotwith frame 313, the third shot falls precisely as expected at frame 225. Therefore, the exact same 4.8 second gap between shots is found on both the audio and visual evidence.

The above described correlations between the dictabelt recording and all other known data are beyond coincidence. In fact, NASA physicist G. Paul Chambers has calculated the odds of the order in the data and the synchronization of film and audio being random together as “only one chance in eleven billion”. (Chambers, Head Shot: The Science Behind the JFK Assassination, p. 142-143) And yet, as noted, the Ramsey Panel mentioned absolutely none of it. The same is true of Reitzes and the authors he most frequently relies upon such as Gerald Posner, John McAdams and Vincent Bugliosi. In Bugliosi's case this is a particularly egregious omission given that his critique of the acoustics evidence takes up some 66 pages of his endnotes section. 66 pages and yet he could not find room for what I summarized above in just a few short paragraphs? Of course he could. But Bugliosi, Reitzes, the Ramsey Panel and their cohorts know full well that if they disclose the order in the data to their readers they will end up convincing them of the validity of the acoustics evidence.

The order in the data leaves us with only two possible conclusions. Either the Dallas police dictabelt genuinely captured the sounds of the shots that killed President Kennedy, or, as Dr. Thomas remarks, “...within moments of President Kennedy being assassinated a burst of static (perhaps cosmic particles from some supernova, or an eruption of the sun, or a thunderclap in the distance) had occurred, and...these static clusters [gave] rise to seperate patterns that just happened to mimic the echo patterns of three gunshots from the Texas School Book Depository, one gunshot from nearby, and one from the grassy knoll, if recorded over a microphone travelling north on Houston Street then west on Elm Street at 11 mph when the air temperature was 65 degrees F.” (Thomas, p. 625)

I believe most reasonable-minded people will agree that the latter is a notion much too ridiculous to take seriously.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

How Dave Reitzes Gets it Wrong Part 3

Back and to the Left”: The Zapruder Film

The most striking moment of the Zapruder film arrives at frame 313 when President Kennedy's head explodes and his entire upper body is slammed violently backwards and leftwards. Although I don't believe it's accurate to say, as Reitzes does, that the “head snap” has been held up by critics as “irrefutable proof of conspiracy”, there is no doubt that to the majority of us laymen it certainly gives the immediate impression that the fatal shot came from the right front. In fact, after Zapruder's home movie was shown on television for the first time in 1975, public outrage was so great that it ultimately resulted in the formation of the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

But as Reitzes is quick to point out, numerous medical experts convened by government panels have consistently reassured the American public that “back and to the left” doesn't prove anything. He quotes experts for the Rockefeller Commission in 1975 who were “unanimous in finding that the violent backward and leftward motion of the President's upper body following the head shot was not caused by the impact of a bullet coming from the right front.” One of these specialists, Dr. Alfred Olivierwho had previously worked as the chief ballistics expert for the Warren Commissionclaimed, unsurprisingly, that the President's movement “could not possibly” be the result of a frontal shot and “attributed the popular misconception to the dramatic effects employed in” movies and television.

However, the government's experts failed to provide evidence to support their assertions. Even in the 1970s, films showing victims of rifle shots to the head were readily available. I myself have seen old black and white wartime films of kneeling prisoners being shot in the back of the head with bolt action rifles. In each case, the victims did not lurch drastically back towards the shooter but fell forwards onto their faces. Regardless, the Rockefeller experts chose not to provide documented examples to buttress their position and instead offered two theories, the “neuromuscular reaction” and the “jet effect”, neither of which has withstood scrutiny.

The “jet effect” suggests, that in a similar fashion to the thrust developed in a rocket or jet engine in response to its exhaust, the explosive exiting of blood and brain matter from the right side of Kennedy's head created a corresponding propulsive momentum in the opposite direction. The theory was the brainchild of Nobel Prize-winning physicist and stern Warren Commission supporter, Dr. Luis Alvarez, whothough he kept the fact to himselfwas paid by the government to conduct his study. (David Wrone, The Zapruder Film: Reframing JFK's Assassination, p. 103) Alvarez demonstrated the effect by shooting a high powered rifle at melons resting on fence posts which caused the melons to recoil back towards the shooter. But as scientist Dr. Donald Thomas explained in his fine book, Hear No Evil: Social Constructivism & the Forensic Evidence in the Kennedy Assassination, Alverez had rigged the tests.

Firstly, the melon is not, as Dr. Alvarez claimed, a “reasonable facsimile of a human head.” In fact, as Dr. Thomas writes, “a melon differs from a human head in precisely those characteristics that make the jet effect implausible in the latter, but possible in the former.” (Thomas, p. 359) A melon weighs approximately half as much as a human head and so requires less energy to set in motion. It also lacks a bone which means that it offers little resistance to a bullet so that there is little deposition of momentum and, consequently, very little force to overcome. “By minimizing the deposition of momentum, using a target with little resistance,” Dr. Thomas writes, “Alvarez was free to work on the other end of the equation, by jacking up the velocity.” Dr. Alvarez used a high-powered 30.06 rifle instead of the lower velocity Mannlicher Carcano and hot-loaded his cartridges to 3000 feet per second. (Ibid) When another Warren Commission defender, Dr. John Lattimer, attempted to duplicate Alvarez's tests using an actual Mannlicher Carcano and factory ammunition, he did not achieve the jet effect. His melons simply fell off the pedestal; sometimes backwards and sometimes forwards. (Ibid, p. 362)

Dr. Thomas also makes the point that in order for the jet effect to be a viable explanation for the backward motion, the exit wound, or the “vent”, would have to have been in the very front of the skull. But the massive wound to Kennedy's skull involved most of the right side, from the temple back to the occiput. And if the vent was on the right side, “then the jet effect would have driven the head to the left (the side opposite the vent) not backwards.” (Ibid, p. 358) As Dr. Thomas summarizes, “...the President did not have an exit wound in a position that would have caused his head to move rearward if there was a jet effect.” (Ibid, p. 370)

As it's explanation for the backwards motion, the HSCA favoured the neuromuscular reactiona theory that was put to the committee by ballistics expert, Larry Sturdivan, who had worked at Edgewood Arsenal under Dr. Alfred Oliver. Sturdivan put his hypothesis in the simplest possible terms for last year's Cold Case: JFK television special: 

The tissue inside the skull was being moved around. It caused a massive amount of nerve stimulation to go down his spine. Every nerve in his body was stimulated. Now, since the back muscles are stronger than the abdominal muscles, that meant that Kennedy arched dramatically backwards."

But as Dr. Thomas explains, "Sturdivan's postulate suffers from a patently anomalous notion of the anatomy. In any normal person the antagonistic muscles of the limbs are balanced, and regardless of the relative size of the muscles, the musculature is arranged to move the limbs upward, outward, and forward. Backward extension of the limbs is unnatural and awkward; certainly not reflexive. Likewise, the largest muscle in the back, the 'erector spinae', functions exactly as its name implies, keeping the spinal column straight and upright. Neither the erector spinae, or any other muscles in the back are capable of causing a backward lunge of the body by their contraction." (Thomas, p. 341) Additionally, the type of reaction Sturdivan posits is simply not in keeping with what we see on the Zapruder film. Kennedy's movement did not begin with an arching of the back. As the ITEK corporation noted following extensive slow motion study of the Zapruder film, his head snapped backwards first, “then his whole body followed the backward movement.” (ITEK report, p. 64)

Reitzes writes that immediately before the backward motion appears on the Zapruder film, Kennedy's head moves forward by 2.3 inches. This, he suggests, is the “instant of impact” of a bullet entering the back of the head. This alleged forward motion was first reported by Josiah Thompson in his book, Six Seconds in Dallas, but Thompson has since changed his mind about its very existence. In his online article, Bedrock Evidence in the Kennedy Assassination, Thompson writes: “In the years since those measurements were made, I've learned I was wrong. Z312 is a clear frame while Z313 is smeared along a horizontal axis by the movement of Zapruder's camera. The white streak of curb against which Kennedy's head was measured is also smeared horizontally and this gives rise to an illusory movement of the head. Art Snyder of the Stanford Linear Accelerator staff persuaded me several years ago that I had measured not the movement of Kennedy's head but the smear in frame 313. The two-inch forward movement was just not there.”

On the other hand court certified Crime Scene Investigator, Sherry Fiester, believes Thompson's initial observations were correct. She characterizes the alleged forward motion as a "movement into the force" of a shot from the front. Citing a number of ballistics studies, Fiester explains, "Once a bullet enters the skull...the bullet immediately loses velocity. The loss of velocity results in a transfer of kinetic energy...This initial transfer of energy causes the target to swell or move minutely into the force and against the line of fire." (Fiester, Enemy of the Truth: Myths, Forensics, and the Kennedy Assassination, p. 245)

The reader will have to do their own research and decide for themselves whether Thompson or Fiester is correct but there is something else that needs to be considered. That is, the motions of the other occupants of the Presidential limousine who, the Zapruder film shows, all moved forward at the time of the head shot and continued their forward motion after Kennedy's body was sent hurtling backwards. This is clearly demonstrated in the these two animations from researcher David Wimp:

It stands to reason that these people, who all made the same motion, were all affected by the same force. That force would appear to have been the deceleration of the limousine. If Dr. Alvarez's calculations are correct, then it appears that the President's car began to slow down a little under one second before the head shot at approximately Zapruder frame 300. (Thomas, p. 340) This was apparently the result of Secret Service driver Willaim Greer touching the brakesan inexplicable act that caused many bystanders to believe that the limousine came to a virtual standstill during the assassination.

So, if Greer tapping the brake caused the other limo passengers to lurch forward, then it quite probably was responsible for any forward motion on the President's part. There is, then, no compelling reason to accept Reitzes' hypothesis that Zapruder frames 312 to 313 captured the “instant of impact” of a shot from the rear.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

How Dave Reitzes Gets it Wrong Part 2

The Parkland Hospital Professionals

The observations of the trauma room doctors and nurses who attempted to save President Kennedy's life have long been a thorn in the side of Warren Commission followers and lone gunman theorists. This is because, as Reitzes admits, “many of these medical professionals made observations indicative—some strongly so—of shots from the President’s front rather than the rear.” For example, Professor and Director of Neurological Surgery at Parkland, Dr. Kemp Clark, swore in his Commission testimony that he had seen a wound “in the back of the President's head. This was a large, gaping wound in the right posterior part, with cerebral and cerebellar tissue being damaged and exposed." (6H20) Similarly, Dr. Robert McClelland noted that “the right posterior portion of the skull had been extremely blasted. It had been that the parietal bone was protruded up through the scalp and seemed to be fractured almost along its right posterior half, as well as some of the occipital bone being fractured in its lateral half, and this sprung open the bones that I mentioned in such a way that you could actually look down into the skull cavity itself and see that probably a third or so, at least, of the brain tissue, posterior cerebral tissue and some of the cerebellar tissue had been blasted out...." (Ibid, 33)

Despite Reitzes' erroneous and unsupported claim that “the testimony of the Parkland doctors and nurses is highly contradictory and confused”, the above descriptions of a defect in the right rear of the skull were supported by the statements and/or testimony of every other trauma room participant. The only exceptions were Dr. Kenneth Salyer—who stood on JFK's left and did not get a good look at the wound (Ibid, 81)—and Dr. Aldoph Giesecke who, for some reason, got his left and right confused but nonetheless recalled that the wound extended into the occiput. (Ibid, 74) As should be obvious, the appearance of a gaping wound in the right rear of the skull is very much suggestive of a shot from the front.

Then there's the wound in the throat which, from all descriptions, appeared more like an entrance than an exit. Dr. Malcolm Perry told autopsy surgeon Dr. James Humes that the hole was a mere 3-5 mm in diameter. (17H29) He further explained in his Commission testimony that "It's edges were neither ragged nor were they punched out, but rather clean cut." (3H372) Dr. Charles Carrico recalled that the wound measured “4-7 mm...It was, as I recall, rather round and there were no jagged edges or stellate lacerations." (6H3) And Dr. Ronald Jones described it simply as a “very small, smooth wound.” (Ibid, 54) It goes without saying that a neat, round wound measuring between 3 and 7 mm is not what one would expect from an exiting 6.5 mm rifle bullet. In fact, tests performed for the Commission at Edgewood Arsenal demonstrated that such wounds typically measure up to 15 mm. (17H846)

None of this matters in the least to Reitzes. He dismisses it all with the wave of a hand and states matter-of-factly that “they [the Parkland staff] were wrong”. He offers no explanation, elaboration, or—heaven forbid!—discussion of the evidence. Instead he cites a “A study published in 1993 in the Journal of the American Medical Association...comparing the post-mortem findings of a board-certified forensic pathologist to the previous assessments made by trauma specialists”. According to Reitzes, “the study found that the trauma specialists made errors about the nature of bullet wounds (such as the number of bullets involved and in distinguishing between entrance and exit wounds) in 52 percent of the cases.” Whilst this is an intriguing statistic, Reitzes never explains how it relates to the observations of the Parkland staff, let alone how it supports his contention that they were wrong.

As Reitzes tells it, the JAMA study addresses the assessment of wounds, i.e. the question of entrance versus exit. But this has nothing to do with the location and size of the wounds observed by the Parkland trauma room staff. It in no way suggests that a Professor of Neurosurgery, as was Dr. Clark, would be unable to tell the back from the front of the head. Nor that qualified physicians like Dr. Perry and Dr. Carrico would be unable to tell smooth from ragged or 3 mm from 15 mm.

So what exactly does Reitzes think the Parkland doctors were wrong about? He cannot be saying that the autopsy showed they were wrong about the damage to the right rear of the skull because the autopsy report confirms that “the large irregular defect of the scalp and skull on the right” extended into the “occipital” region (in fact, the X-rays show extensive damage to the upper right rear of the skull). And Reitzes cannot be saying that they were proven wrong about the size and appearance of the wound in the throat because that would be absurd. As chief pathologist Dr. Humes explained in his Commission testimony, he had been unaware of the wound in the throat when he performed the autopsy because a tracheotomy had been performed on top of it at Parkland Hospital. It wasn't until the following day, when he no longer had access to the President's body, that Humes spoke to Dr. Perry and learned of its existence. (2H362) But by then it was too late to ascertain the true nature of the wound.

I can only assume that what Reitzes means to say is that critics are wrong to infer from the testimony of the Parkland physicians that shots were fired from the front. But the JAMA study he cites fails to support that proposition. A study which suggests “the odds that a trauma specialist will correctly interpret certain fatal gunshot wounds are no better than the flip of a coin” does not change the fact that the wounds were where they were and looked how they looked. The hole in the throat was still a “very small, smooth wound”. And the damage to the head as seen at Parkland was still in “the right posterior portion of the skull”.

Nothing that Reitzes has to offer in any way demonstrates that the Parkland professionals were wrong in their key observations.


Reitzes spends a few paragraphs discussing Mary Moorman's famous Polaroid photograph which shows, in rather fuzzy detail, the Grassy Knoll approximately 1/5 of a second after the fatal head shot. Picking an easy target, he largely concentrates on describing how researcher David Lifton saw various assassins in the photograph that were, in actual fact, all as imaginary as his ridiculous body alteration theory. Reitzes also dedicates a paragraph to Gary Mack's “Badge Man” image which gathered some interest when it first appeared on television in 1988 but few critics take seriously nowadays. Unsurprisingly, the most intriguing find—made by author Josiah Thompson in 1967—barley gets a mention.

As Thompson explained in his classic book, Six Seconds in Dallas, to see if “the hypothesis of a shot from the stockade fence” could be “validated by the Moorman picture”, he compared it to another photograph taken from her position some time later. What he discovered was that an “anomalous shape” appeared along the fence line in Moorman's photograph that was not present in the comparison picture. He then took eyewitness S.M. Holland “to the assassination site and asked him to stand in the position where he found the curious footprints and saw the smoke”. Thompson took himself back to Moorman's position and saw that, remarkably, Holland's head “appeared in the exact position defined by the shape” in the Polaroid. (Thompson, p. 127)

Whilst the above might be dismissed as a simple coincidence, it becomes all the more interesting in light of evidence first made public by the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1978. The HSCA was presented with a Dallas Police dictabelt recording made at the time of the assassination that, according to analysis by the top acoustics experts in the United States, contained an impulse with the acoustic fingerprint of a shot fired from the Grassy Knoll. When the Committee's experts were asked to pin down the location of the alleged Grassy Knoll gunman, their analysis pointed to the very same spot behind the fence—approximately 8 feet left of the corner—in which Holland stood and in which the anomalous shape appears in Moorman's picture. (8HSCA29) As Thompson later noted, this means that there is a “remarkable convergence of evidence”, eyewitness, photographic and acoustic, “concerning not just a shot from the Knoll from some shadowy corner, but the exact location of a shot from the Knoll...The evidence doesn't lead to various locations and to various battles over which location is correct. Rather, it leads to one, single, unambiguous location.”