A study of Kennedy assassination, the event, the lore, and the evidence after a while becomes a mind numbing experience. No recreation of the event makes any sense. Witnesses change their testimony over time. Evidence disappears. Tantalizing fragments appear in declassified files but lead you nowhere. Right when you think you’ve got a handle on this thing, your grasp lessens and you loose it. It falls into the Black Hole. The Black Hole is where it all goes.
A good example of the Black Hole is the CE 399—the famous pristine bullet, that’s not really pristine. It has been fired and is slightly flat on one side, yet it bears none of the deformation a bullet displays when striking something hard, like bone. This bullet is supposed to have passed through the bodies of two men and shattered John Connely’s fifth rib. Take a look sometime of the bullet that killed Martin Luther King. It looks like a small metal mushroom. During target practice I’ve shot bullets into a sandy bank and retrieved them to discover the nose melted into a mushroom shape leaving only the rear of the projectile in its original form.
Researcher Gary L. Aguilar was probing trough the National Archives looking for the FD-302 on the bullet. It is common procedure for an FBI agent to file a 302 form when acquiring evidence and taking witness testimony in the field. Aguilar never found the FD-302 file. In fact, he discovered there were no records of any kind pertaining to the CE 399.
Their next step was to contact the agent in question, Bardwell Odum, who by this time had retired from the FBI. Gary Aguilar teamed up with another researcher, Josiah Thompson, and together they found Mr. Odum and questioned him.
From Gary Aguilar’s transcript:
AGUILAR: "From what I could gather from the records after the assassination, you went into Parkland and showed (#399 to) a couple of employees there."
ODUM: "Oh, I never went into Parkland Hospital at all. I don't know where you got that. ... I didn't show it to anybody at Parkland. I didn't have any bullet. I don't know where you got that but it is wrong."
Interesting. So what is the source of the original account of the bullet’s retrieval if not Agent Odum? The FBI. They filed a report on the genesis of CE 399 and submitted it to the Warren Commission. Even more troubling is that the document reported that both witnesses had identified CE 399 as being the exact bullet they had found and said so to Agent Odum. Two witnesses that Mr. Odum says he never spoke too! And to further complicate things one of the witnesses, O. P. Wright would later say that he couldn’t recognize a picture of CE 399 as the same bullet he originally saw. (Mr. Wright makes an excellent witness as well. He was a former deputy chief of police in Dallas, with significant knowledge of firearms.)
So here is one of the most important pieces of evidence in the whole case and there is no documentary proof for it. It cannot be properly authenticated. The FBI agent mentioned in official documents states he never took the evidence or interviewed the witnesses one of whom could not positively identify the bullet when examined later. Some suggest that Mr. Odum over the years simply forgot about it. If he did, then where are the 302 files? This state of affairs becomes as foggy as the Parkland medical staff reporting a large wound to the back of the President’s head, yet no autopsy photographs or x-rays confirm this.
It’s an old assertion, circulating for many years, that the “pristine bullet” was a plant to frame Oswald. After all, it was found on a stretcher in an unsecured area of the hospital. Since CD 399 cannot be authenticated, perhaps this idea is not so outlandish after all. But if Oswald is guilty, then why frame a guilty man?
I told you it was a Black Hole.