Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Oswald’s Finances During the Summer of 1963

In my study of the case, one particular thing that started to grab my attention was how Lee Oswald and his wife and child, lived durning the summer of and early fall of 1963.  From July 22 till October 14, Oswald, under the official history, was unemployed during this time.  His only source of income was several months of unemployment checks, which amounted to $336.  Cash on-hand at time at the time he was fired from the Reily Coffee Company $202.75.  With this meager amount of money, the Oswalds are expected to pay rent and utilities, buy groceries, and then finance all of Lee’s pursuits such as printing FPFC pamphlets, pay one person to help hand them out, pay court costs after his arrest, finance a round trip ticket to Mexico City and five nights at a hotel, and finally, pay the hospital and doctor bills for the birth of his second daughter Rachel. 

Oddly, when the Warren Commission complied this listing of Oswald’s income and expenses they totally ignored the birth of the second daughter Rachel, born on the night of October 10, 1963.  That would  probably have been their biggest expense with doctor and hospital bills.  Yet it is completely ignored.  Who paid those bills?  Did Oswald have enough money left over from the Mexico trip to afford it?  The Warren Report accounting has Oswald with $129.76 after the trip and he received his last unemployment payment of $39.00 in early October before the baby’s birth for a total of $168.76.  Was that enough?  Did Ruth Paine offer to pay the bills, or at least chip in?  George de Mohrenschildt would be a good source but he and his wife left for Haiti in June of 1963 so they most likely would not have been involved.  Brother Robert was gainfully employed, did he provide help?  I have never read any other source regarding the medical bills for the birth of that child how they were paid.

Oswald’s tax returns are a spotty record. His income tax returns for 1956, 1958, 1959, 1962, and 1963 were released by the HSCA in 1978 (180-10110-10130). His tax return from 1957 has never been released and incredibly, the IRS told the Warren Commission that it could not be found

Oswald filed no tax returns for the years of 1960 and 1961 while in the USSR.  This would have been against the law today, since all American citizens living and working abroad must file a return but only since 1962.  Oswald claimed during this period to have renounced his U.S. citizenship but that was just a ruse; he didn’t file the proper paperwork (with all things government related, one has to fill out a form, which he failed to do) and his Pass Port file at the State Department was not flagged.  Records show that upon his return to the U.S. in June of 1962 he and his wife were virtually penniless.  He required a State Department loan to pay for the trip home and got a loan of $200 from his brother Robert and $10 from his mother.  While in the USSR his income was greater than the factory manager in Minsk.  Where did that money go?  Was the exchange rate between the Ruble and the Dollar great enough to devalue his Russian earnings?

It appears the Commission decided to focus solely on the 1962-63 time period, including the summer of 1963, a time in Oswald’s life when he was the least employed.  Perhaps it was the easiest accounting method of Oswald’s financial dealings.  Or perhaps it was because the Commission was solely dependent upon the FBI, CIA and so on, for evidence and had no independent investigators assigned to the investigation. They could only deal with what they were provided and then there was much they were not provided with.

Remarkably, when his widow Marina went to apply for survivor’s benefits from the Social Security Administration, she was only allowed two years–1962 and 1963.  Curiously, all of his other working years from the teenage years thru his three years in Marines were ignored.  What is being covered up here?  An interesting thing to ponder as we search Oswald’s background.  Another circumstantial fact in a possible career as an operative?

The accounting does not include Oswald buying any bullets.  He’ll need a clip as well.  Nothing of this is documented.  

All of the accounting for Oswald’s trip to Mexico City was estimated.  Odd considering the FBI down there investigating the matter.  It may have been the Commission didn’t have that information at the time of publication.  Director Hoover was annoyed with the Commission‘s work and often delayed handing over documents. 

Never the less, it appears Oswald was doing things that he may not have had the money for.  If so, what was the other source?  The Commission debated stories of Oswald being an FBI informant. Perhaps that was a source of his finances, one we are not allowed to know. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Lee H. Oswald’s Name Missing From SSDI

As pointed out to me by researcher John Armstrong, after doing a search, found that Lee H. Oswald’s name is not listed in the Social Security Death Index. The index is the public list of deceased persons who have been removed from the SSA records and their numbers retired. Yet the man accused of murdering the president of the United States is not listed.  Why? 

It’s another long list of anomalies associated with this man so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  It reminds me of when his widow Marina applied for her survivor’s benefits and the SSA only acknowledged two years, 1962-1963.  Yes, Oswald had worked part time jobs from a teenager, put three years in the Marines, and was employed over two years in the Soviet Union.  All ignored.  

Oswald’s birth certificate has never been released either.  Not the real one.  The “Declaration of Birth” released by the FBI in the late 1970’s is a fraud.  That type only issued by the state of Louisiana for people born at home, without an attending physician.  Oswald was born in a city hospital attended to by a Dr. Mancuso.  His mother sold her house to him.  I would say that birth certificate is a fraud.

Never the less, you can try it out for yourself HERE.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Double Vision

I’ve written often on the theory that Lee Oswald was impersonated.  At first, I thought this was a fringe element of JFK assassination research.  Really wacky.  However, some many phases and events in Oswald’s life are so perplexing and in some circumstances, downright weird, that two Oswalds can be the only explanation to suss out the high strangeness of Oswald’s life.

It’s quite evident that there is a coverup in the JFK assassination from documents that remain sealed to the odd disappearances and deaths of witnesses.  As at least one researcher has told me, the doppelgängers present a good reason for a coverup.  The government had little problem telling the public that Abraham Lincoln was killed as a direct result of a conspiracy.  Why this president?

There is no way to maintain order in a civil society if a government admits that a national leader has been slain and the accused assassin has a double on the loose.  On the other hand, what a great way to run such an operation.  Have one man to develop a legend–making appearances in public places to create a personality type, especially an unlikable, undesirable one.  In the meantime, set up his double to take the fall.  And the arrested Oswald said such a thing before he was silenced–”I’m just the patsy.”

It all looks like fringe research till you read the June, 1960 memo that FBI Director Hoover sent the Department of State asking for more information regarding Lee Oswald possibly being impersonated.  You can rest assured that Hoover sensed something wasn’t right with a former Marine defecting to the Soviet Union and he was developing leads on him early on.  Ultimately, he knew the most about Oswald outside of the traditional rings of power and the intelligence agencies. (That memo also shows that Hoover lied immediately following the assassination of JFK when he said for the public record that Lee Oswald was somebody the FBI knew little about.  And the FBI agents were showing up everywhere Oswald had worked or went to school in less that 24 hours collecting documents on him.  Didn’t take them long did it?  And many of those records quickly disappeared.)

There are many instances of Lee Oswald possibly being impersonated but what follows is a few of the many examples of a likely doppelgänger at work.

Arrival in New Orleans, 1963
Lee Oswald arrives in New Orleans supposedly in search of work but as will develop over that summer, he will pursue marxist political operations which will land him in jail resulting in a TV interview and a radio debate which will further build the public legend of a leftwing agitator, one of the forerunners of many more to follow in the decade of the 1960’s.

When Oswald turns up on April 24, he stays with the his aunt and uncle, Lillian and Charles Murret.  Lillian is his mother’s younger sister. 

Lee starts doing some peculiar.  He starts researching Oswalds in the phone directory seeking to get in touch with his father’s brothers.  He’s particularly interested in Harvey, the source of his middle name.  He eventually makes contact with Hazel Oswald, the widow of William, one of his father’s other brothers.  She informs him that all of his uncles are deceased.  He then travels to meet her and she gives him a large, framed picture of his father, Robert Sr.

There are several odds things about this story.  First, why doesn’t Lee know is uncles are all gone?  All he has to do is ask his aunt Lillian.  She’s a life-long resident of New Orleans and would probably know if any of the Oswalds were alive since her sister married into the Oswald family.  It’s a common thing most people know, regarding families, both blood and by marriage.  If anything, he could have called his mother to find out.  Even his brothers, Robert and John Pic, might have known.

Apparently, Lee didn’t want anybody in his family to know that he was looking up Oswald family members that by all counts, he should have known were dead.  

Maybe because this is the wrong Lee, an impostor arriving in New Orleans with a sketchy history of the Oswald family.  If he asked anybody in the know, for example his mother or his aunt, he may have been met with, “You don’t know that your uncles are all gone?” Although one would assume that in an operation utilizing doubles, they would both be well briefed in family matters such as this.  It’s reminiscent of Marguerite Oswald giving a host of wrong answers when questioned by probation officer John Caro in 1953 regarding Lee being truant from school in New York.

Eventually, he meets up with Hazel Oswald who gives him a large, framed picture of their father, Robert Sr.  It should be noted that this picture is not found in Oswald’s possessions after the assassination.  Robert Oswald ends up with it.  Interesting, because Robert maintains that he never had any contact with Lee after the 1962 Thanksgiving gathering (see below) until the day of the assassination.  So how did he get it?

Here’s a bit of trivia.  William Oswald had a son, also named William.  Researcher John Armstrong discovered that William was working as a salesman at the Reilly Coffee company at the very same time Lee was working there (p. 554).  It’s unknown what interaction Lee had with this cousin or if William helped Lee get the job there.  He is supposed to have seen an ad for a job, applied, interviewed, hired, and went to work the following day.  This would be his only job in New Orleans.  At least for this version of Lee Oswald.

Thanksgiving Day, 1962
This the last time all three brothers were be together.  They met at Robert and Vada’s home and all of the   brothers had their wives and children present.  Home movies were made which can be easily found online.  Oddly, their mother Marguerite was not invited.  Robert later said in his Warren Commission testimony that her name never came up during the course of the gathering, although John Pic said she was mentioned by Lee.  Some family huh?

Of all the brother’s there, John Pic, the son from Marguerite’s first marriage noticed the most changes in Lee.  John found Lee to look different than the 10 year old boy he had last seen (actually, in his WC testimony he got Lee’s age off by 2 years).  Seeing a difference would be understandable given that length of time, but there were other more adult features John did not see.  For example, their cousin Marilyn Murret had told him that Lee had developed a bull neck since joining the Marines.  The bull neck Lee can be seen from his Marine pictures.  John did not notice Lee’s neck being any bigger.  When questioned by Commission attorney Jenner, John testified to Lee’s eyes looked different, sunken in.  When shown the picture of Lee at the Bronx zoo in 1953, John said that it wasn’t Lee in the picture.  And lastly, he was upset that Lee referred to him as a “half-brother,” which of course he was, but Lee had never alluded to him in such a manner in the past or ever introduced him to anybody as a 

One thing researcher John Armstrong once told me that he had interviewed Rachael Oswald.  He asked her about what interaction she had over the years with her uncle Robert.  None, she said.  Perhaps Oswald’s daughters are fathered by an impostor?  In his actions and statements Robert seems to know more than he ever let on.  He is not approachable by researchers so we can never know for certain what he really knows.  More about Robert Oswald in my article here.

The Mexico City Trip
I don’t intend to take a trip down that confusing rabbit trail.  But it’s a path littered with references to Oswald being impersonated, and that’s long before he actually gets to Mexico City and is impersonated on the phone calls to the Russian Embassy and the Cuban Consulate  office there.

One instance is when Oswald arrives back in Dallas after his Magical Mystery Tour to Mexico, which was on October 3, 1963.  Simultaneously, four library books he allegedly checked out on September 19, in New Orleans, are returned to the library that day of October 3rd.  Those books were, Goldfinger and Moonraker, by Ian Fleming; Age and Essence and New World by Aldous Huxley.  It’s likely that he did not take the books with him on the Mexico City trip as Oswald would have to make a side trip to New Orleans after his return from Mexico, to deliver the borrowed books.  The apartment on 4905 Magazine Street, as stated by the manager, was cleared out leaving nothing behind.  Did Oswald know somebody in New Orleans to deliver the books to the Library?  And why on October 3rd, the very day that he arrives in Dallas?  Basically, Oswald couldn’t have done it.  Somebody else did.  And who? (p. 597)

There is the famous Sylvia Odio incident where she claims two Hispanic men and one gringo showed at her sister’s apartment in Dallas either on September 26 or 27 seeking financial help from her father, imprisoned in Cuba, for running operations against Castro (i.e., assassination of the Cuban leader).  The gringo identified himself as Leon Oswald.  But on the day of the assassination, after Oswald’s arrest, Odio identified Lee Oswald as the “Leon Oswald” at her door.  (Her sister also identified Lee Oswald as well, although she was never interviewed by the FBI.) However, Oswald was on the bus in Mexico at this time.  Her testimony was discounted by the Warren Commission, using two ne'er-do-wells who later recanted their statements that they were ever at the apartment.

Then there is Antonio Veciana of Alpha 66, the anti-Castro group financed by the CIA.  Veciana’s story is famous in JFK lore as it accounts for a witness sighting of Lee Oswald with a major intel operative.  Veciana was in Dallas for the purpose of meeting with his CIA case officer Maurice Bishop (i.e., David Atlee Phillips as ID’d by E. Howard Hunt) in Dallas.  Before he gets there, he see’s Bishop/Phillips chatting with a young man of whom he is not introduced to.  Later, he’ll see this young man on the news charged with the death of a president and a police officer.  This sighting occurred in late summer/early fall, at a time when Oswald was supposed to be nowhere near Dallas.  In fact, not in Dallas anytime in the entire month of September.  But there are many witnesses who can account for Oswald in Dallas/Irving throughout the summer of 1963 such as Cliff Shasteen, the barber that saw Lee Oswald come to shop in Irving numerous times that summer.

Other Sightings
Oswald, or Oswald #2, or even a #3 was leaving tracks all over the place.  In John Armstrong’s Harvey and Lee, he makes mention of an undercover agent, Roy Frankhauser.  Frankhauser claims to have met Michael and Ruth Paine in 1960 as all three were allegedly infiltrating The Socialist Worker’s Party.  He claims to have met Lee Oswald in New York city during the week of September 16th, as he and Ruth escorted Lee to an exposition hosted by David Rockefeller (p. 597).  He also claimed that Ruth Paine was Oswald’s “babysitter.”

Also on September 16, somebody in Hubertus, Wisconsin, left a Lee Harvey Oswald signature in a restaurant registry.  Then on the 24th somebody left an Oswald signature at a nightclub 30 miles outside of Milwaukee.  That day, President Kennedy spoke in Ashland, Wisconsin.  Was this to promote a legend of Oswald stalking Kennedy?  If so, this fiction was not used later (p. 595).

Even earlier that summer, on July 26, a Lee Oswald signed the guest ledger at the Atomic Energy Museum at Oak Ridge, Tennessee (p. 551).  This Oswald left duel addresses of Dallas and USSR.  How’s that for a cheap plant?

As you can see, the operators run threads all over the place from New York, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and back to Texas again.  They run a line of alternate scenarios that might be used later, or not, as the situation develops.  Mostly likely these are not actual physical impersonators at work, but instead, operatives trained in how to replicate Oswald’s signature.  Then send them out marking up guest books, building the legend.  The only real fault with this method is that it leaves a trail; Oswald signatures in diverse places where they should not be, at the wrong dates, making little sense, adding a flare of mystery to the whole shebang.  Meanwhile, Lee Oswald is being monitored and used in ways he probably had no knowledge of.

The poor rube.


All page numbers relate to John Armstrong’s Harvey and Lee.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Lee and Marina Chronology - 1962 to 1963

Lee and Marina Oswald Timeline - June 1962 thru November 1963

June 14, 1962: The Oswalds arrive in Fort Worth, where they move in with Robert.

July 14, 1962: The Oswalds move in with Marguerite at 1501 W. 7th Street in Fort Worth.

August 10, 1962: The Oswalds move to 2703 Mercedes St. in Fort Worth.  Marina claims abuse at this point.

Early October: Marina and June move in with Gary and Alexandra Taylor at 3519 Fairmont (Apt #12), Dallas, for 4 days.  Alexandra is George De Mohrenschildt’s daughter. 

October 7, 1962: Marina and June move in with Mrs. Elena Hall at 4760 Trail Lake Drive, Ft. Worth, while LHO looks for work in Dallas.

October 15, 1962: LHO moves into the YMCA.  (Lee’s whereabouts unknown from 10/9 thru 10/14)

November 4, 1962: The Oswalds are reunited at 604 Elsbeth St. in Dallas, where LHO had found an apartment.

November 5, 1962: The Oswald’s have a violent argument, and Marina and June move in with their friends, Teofil and Anna Meller.  They live at 5930 LaVista Drive, Dallas.

November 10, 1962: Marina and June move to the apartment of Declan and Katya Ford, at 14057 Brookcrest, Dallas

November 17, 1962: Marina and June spend the day at the home of Mrs. Frank (Valentina) Ray. LHO calls and asks to visit Marina, who agrees to return to him. They return to the Elsbeth St. address that night.

March 2, 1963: The Oswalds move to an apartment on 214 West Neely Street, Dallas

April 24, 1963: LHO arrives in New Orleans and stays with his aunt Lillian Murret. 

April 29, 1963: Marina and June move in with Ruth Paine in Paine’s residence at 2515 W. 5th St, Irving, TX

May 11, 1963: LHO starts work (R. Coffee) and he, Marina and June move into their apartment at 4905 Magazine St., New Orleans.

September 23, 1963: Ruth with Marina and June leave for Irving and arrive on the 24th.

September 26, 1963 begins LHO’s trip to Mexico City.

October 4, 1963: LHO arrives in Dallas and stays with Marina and June at the Paine’s residence in Irving.

October 14, 1963: Ruth drives LHO to Dallas, where he later registers as O.H. Lee at a rooming house on 1026 North Beckley.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Oswald and Paine Weekend Timeline, October-November, 1963

You can learn a lot from studying timelines in a case, any case.  It allows for a linear approach to events that’s similar to standing on the highest mountain and looking down. Everything regarding unfolding events is made clearer.  

So what follows is the timeline of Lee Oswald’s weekends at Ruth Paine’s home from October to the last weekend before the assassination.  It was chosen as there were so many sightings of Oswald at various locations, mainly the shooting range, on the weekends when Ruth Paine is maintaining that Lee was at her house on those days except for the last weekend before the assassination when he stayed at the rooming house.  Perhaps she was not lying at all,  if there is an impersonator in play.  Warren Commission lawyers knew there were problems in Ruth’s testimony as so many people were seeing Lee at the Sports Drome Rifle Range when he wasn’t supposed to have been there.  Eventually, they just had to let it all be.

Please note that on those days or weekends that Ruth Paine maintains that Lee was at her house, he is not supposed to be seen anywhere else, especially at night.  Yet witnesses reported seeing Oswald at various locations from Dallas to New Orleans.

October 6 - Sunday  (p. 713)
At Ruth Paine’s home all day Sunday.  Spent the nights of the 4th, 5th and 6th at the Paine home.  (According to her Testimony.)

Activities for Saturday unknown but he did write a letter to The Worker stating he had attended an ACLU meeting the evening of the 5th. 

Mrs. Lovell Penn reports seeing men shoot in her pasture.  She is worried about her cows getting shot.  She warns them and gets a nasty reply from one of the men.  She threatens to call police if they do not stop shooting.  Later, Mrs. Penn ID’s Lee Oswald as the man that was rude to her in her pasture.

October 12-13 - Saturday and Sunday  (p. 722-723)
At Ruth Paine’s home.

Oswald spent the weekend at Paine’s home.  Not seen elsewhere.

October 18-19-20 - Friday, Saturday and Sunday  (p. 730)
At Ruth Paine’s home.  (According to her Testimony.)

October 18.  According to Wesley Frasier, drove Lee Oswald to the Paine’s home for his birthday that evening.  

October 19.  Doorman for The Count of Two Sister’s Restaurant in New Orleans, Leander D’Avy, reports seeing Lee Oswald, David Ferrie, his boss Gene Davis, and four other unidentified men in the storeroom, converted to an apartment.  NOTE: Gene Davis is an FBI informant starting in October of 1961.

October 20.  At the Paine home.  Not seen elsewhere.  Daughter Rachael born at 10:41 PM that night.  He was not present at the hospital for the birth.

October 26-27 - Saturday and Sunday  (p. 736)
At Ruth Paine’s home both days.  (According to her Testimony.)

First known trip by Lee Oswald to the Sports Drome Rifle Range.  Arrives at dusk and seen by employe Malcom Price.  Seen driving himself to the range.  Also noticed by the owner, Floyd Davis.

October 27.  Seen at the Paine home in the yard by neighbor.

November 2-3 - Saturday and Sunday  (p. 744)
At Ruth Paine’s home.  (According to her Testimony.)

Lee Oswald seen test driving a red Mercury at the Downtown Lincoln-Mercury Dealership.  Later that day seen at Morgan’s Gun Shop in Fort Worth.

Spent Sunday, November 3, at the Paine Home.  Not seen elsewhere.

November 9-10 - Saturday and Sunday  (p. 758-763)
At Ruth Paine’s home, both days.  (According to her Testimony.)

Saturday seen shooting rifle at the Sports Drome Rifle Range.  

Sunday, test fired rifle at the Sports Drome Rifle Range and seen by Malcom Price and Garland Slack.  Later, witnessed by Harvey Wade at the Carousel Club at 11 PM that night.  Oswald was seen with two unidentified men.

November 16-17 - Saturday and Sunday  (p. 770-773)
Lee Oswald spent the last weekend before the assassination at the rooming house on Beckley street in Dallas.  Oswald was not seen anywhere on Saturday.

November 17, Sunday.  Seen at the Sports Drome Rifle Range, noticed by Dr. Homer Wood and teenage son, Sterling.  Later, Garland Slack complains to the owner that Oswald shot at his target.  Afterward, seen at Jack’s Bar in Dallas by witness Vern Davis.

Returns to the Paine home on Thursday, the 21st, for the final night. 

Harvey and Lee by John Armstrong.  All page numbers referenced are from his book.

Ruth Paine Warren Commission testimony HERE.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Book Review: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

Popular author Stephen King wades into the JFK Assassination.  

Paperback: 880 pages
Publisher: Gallery Books; d edition (July 24, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1451627297
ISBN-13: 978-1451627299

It took me a few years to get around to Stephen King’s 11/22/63 novel on the Kennedy assassination because he had said one of his sources was Gerald Posner’s dreadful book, Case Closed.  This book is so bad that conspiratorialist mugger Vincent Bugliosi took Posner to task for errors in Bugliosi’s equally dreadful book, Reclaiming History.  I had heard early on that King was going to portray Oswald as the Lone Gunman.  I was disappointed in this but judging from King’s reading on the subject (he lists what books he read in the novel’s Afterword), he clearly did not read very many conspiracy oriented books.  No Six Seconds in Dallas, Rush to Judgement, Accessories to the Fact, or the excellent books published in the last fifteen years; no delving into the released files from the ARRB or for that matter, the Warren Commission’s 26 volumes.  No mention of the Warren Report either.  A pity.  

King of course is a master of popular horror fiction though he has had success in other genres such as fantasy and non-supernatural novels and short stories.  Despite being famous for unsatisfying endings, King no doubt writes compelling tales with believable characters.  It matters little if some of his stories are far out, his major talent is for making them believable, such as Tolkien or Rowling do in their fantasy stories.

The lead character, Jake Epping, is shown a time travel portal from a dying hamburger joint owner who dreams of preventing the assassination of JFK, but fears not living long enough to survive the stay, since the portal always lands the visitor in 1958 and to prevent the assassination of JFK, one has to live in this bygone world till November 22, 1963 in order to get the job done.

King does a great job and presenting this time period.  Quite a contrast compared to our world with our relatively advanced technology that makes some things easier, but in some instances can make life more complicated.  Over fifty years ago, everything is cheaper.  It’s easy to buy a gun–no background checks.  People seem more friendly and trusting.  Cars are made heavy-duty and have great, get-up-and-go, power under the hood with those magnificent V-8’s.  Things taste better such as when Jake stops at a little shop for a root beer and King describes in glorious detail how full of flavor and satisfying a root beer used to taste before it was polluted with artificial flavoring.  Oh, you poor people of the future!  You lost some good stuff along the way.

The quest to disrupt the assassination is a long and convoluted one so it will not be covered here as it involves changing the lives of other characters.  The way King describes certain figures and ignores others is of more interest.  Obviously, as all fiction writer’s have to do, he has to simplify things and cut corners or else a story would grind to a halt.  Think about it–in the Shire who were Frodo’s siblings?  We are never told and it doesn’t matter anyway.  If Tolkien got involved with those people Frodo would not have made it to Mount Doom.  A conspiracy would complicate the narrative as much as multiple Oswald impersonators would have.  So would having Guy Banister, David Ferrie, Ruth Paine and Clay Shaw show up for their cameos.  George De Mohrenschildt makes an appearance as if he is Oswald’s only outside acquaintance.  FBI agent James Hosty appears towards the end and that’s it with notable historical figures.  Instead, King leaves the reader with Lee Oswald, his mother, his brother Robert, Marina and daughter June.  It’s an odd cast lineup if one is familiar with the particulars of the assassination and its lore.  On the other hand, I can see King not wanting to get bogged down as the JFK saga has an endless cast of regulars.

King wants the reader to hate Lee Oswald as much as he does.  This Oswald is the Bugliosi caricature of the sniveling, wife beating, gutter rat that deserves his gut-shot from Jack Ruby’s .38.  This is the loathsome little man that haunts the pages of Reclaiming History or Norman Mailer’s Oswald’s Tale, and the minds of most lone nut believers.  King has one scene where Lee physically abuses Marina in public, out on the street, an event that never occurred that I know of.  You want to despise a man who does such a thing.  There are allegations of abuse but there are no other witnesses other than Marina.  It could have happened, or could be part of the legend building that an unlucky deadman cannot refute.

A pity that King did not chose to explore conspiracy in his story.  He could have had Jake Epping get involved in a plot so he could screw it up in some way to prevent the assassination.  Instead, his hero races up the stairs to the sixth floor to confront Oswald, a surprised lone gunman with a junky rifle in hand.  But what if there is a conspiracy and hence other shooters?  Stopping Oswald settles nothing and Kennedy’s handsome head remains in danger.  But of course, there are no other shooters in this alternate reality version of the story, which in a way, does not many any sense.  There is always a path clear for another shooter from wherever, take your pick.  Grassy knoll or the Dal-Tex building.  Maybe Roscoe White with his long barreled pistol in the parking lot.  Or find a new spot.

Ultimately, King decides changing the past has repercussions for the future and not good ones at that.  So ultimately, preventing JFK’s death is a not a good thing at all, casting a darker future for everybody.  Not exactly a new idea but that is the way King chose to play it.  Let Johnny take his bullets so a confluence of events does not overwhelm us, bringing on the apocalypse. Under that view, time and its marked events are like pearls on a string, take one out and you muck up the rest down the line.  Nobody can ever know for sure what changing past events can portend for the future, not at least, until somebody does it.  We do get a glimpse of it in quantum mechanics where the observer can change the outcome of an experiment simply by observing.  If only one could do that on a grander scale.

Too bad Stephen King could not have made a better go of the Kennedy assassination in 11/22/63. Away from that, an enjoyable read especially the parts involving the 1950’s when our big talk, our big cars, our big guns, and our big balls set the world’s agenda.  Now we are just Romans in sad decline dreaming of greater days, awash in failed leadership and greedy partakers that have taken the largest pieces of the pie for themselves.  

I really long for a mug of that 1958 root beer though.