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.
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.