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Another Two Oswald's Theory Debunked

on Sun 05 Nov 2017, 11:27 pm
I have a book called Real Or Fake? by Joe Nickell.It has a chapter on Eddowe's Oswald Double Theory.

Do PHOTOGRAPHS AND videotapes of the assassin of President John F. Kennedy really depict ex-marine Lee Harvey Oswald, as the public has been led to believe? Or do they actually show a look-alike, a professional whose job it was to kill the president of the United States?
The allegations are fantastic. They were advanced in 1977 by retired British solicitor Michael Eddowes in his book The Oswald File (see figure 10.1).

He wrote that he would "endeavor to prove beyond reasonable doubt" the following claims: first, that Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev gave the
order for the Soviet Secret Police to assassinate President Kennedy; second, that "the real ... Lee Harvey Oswald" did not return from the USSR (where he had defected in 1959) but rather a KGB assassin "entered the United States in the guise of Oswald" in 1962 and carried out the order; and finally, that "to avoid the possibility of World War III," the U.S. government undertook a massive cover-up (Eddowes 1977, 1-2).

Needless to say, such an astonishing resemblance between two unrelated people would be incredibly rare. It is true that twice, in 1896 and 1904, a
Londoner named Adolph Beck was mistakenly identified as swindler William Thomas, and only the subsequent correct identification of Thomas kept Beck from having to serve out a second prison term. However, it is also true that their similarity extended only to a general resemblance and their
walrus mustaches. And in the most famous instance of "unrelated" lookalikes- the 1903 case of Will and William West, whose astonishing similarity, even as to name, helped advance the use of fingerprinting in the United States-we now know the rest of the story. As shown by one of my early
investigations (Nickell 1980), genetic evidence from ear patterns and fingerprints, as well as documentary evidence, convincingly demonstrated
that they were actually identical twins.
The evidence cited by Eddowes was extremely weak. Beyond innuendo and conspiracy mongering, he offered little more than some discrepancies in height and scars between Oswald's Marine C o r p s service files and post-1962 official records. Though conceding that the "two" men's fingerprints matched, he advanced the notion that "the KGB had substituted a forged print card in the FBI fingerprint files, the forgery substituting the impostor's prints in place of the ex Marine's prints" (Eddowes 1977, 139).

That is a classic conspiracy-theory tactic: claiming that the very evidence that refutes the conspiracy has been altered by the conspirators.I have no data on the sale of Eddowes's book, but it received mixed reviews. Publisher's Weekly (August 1,1977) observed that it "demanded attention," while Library Journal (November 15, 1977) disparaged the "paranoid conspiracy scenario" and concluded: "Geared to exploit the widespread interest in the assassination, this shoddy book is not recommended."

Nevertheless, Eddowes continued to make headlines. "Oswald's Widow Says Briton's Theory Wrong," read an Associated Press article of August 17,1980. Marina Oswald Porter said that, by agreeing to Eddowes's request for an exhumation of the body, "I called his bluff." Oswald's brother Robert sued to halt the exhumation on the grounds that Eddowes's motives were merely to promote his book for personal gain. The tabloid Globe rang in with a headline proclaiming "Oswald Is Alive" (1980).The article was accompanied by a photo of a dapper Eddowes-decked out in a hat
and a three-piece suit-resting on one knee while pointing to Oswald's grave marker with his cane.
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Re: Another Two Oswald's Theory Debunked

on Sun 05 Nov 2017, 11:31 pm
In late 1980, after discussing the issue with Robert Oswald by telephone, I launched an identification project, with three goals: (1) to make a positive identification of the person arrested as Lee Harvey Oswald, shot to death by Jack Ruby, and buried in Oswald's grave; (2) to make the identification without recourse to records that could theoretically have been switched (such as fingerprints, dental records, or medical files); and (3) to accomplish
this without exhumation, which would require breaking into the concrete burial vault and intensifying the anguish of the Oswald family.

In the course of my investigation, I studied Eddowes's book as well as Robert Oswald's Lee: A Portrait of Lee Harvey Oswald by His Brother (1967),plus the Warren Commission report
(formally, the Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, headed by Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren), the report of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, and many other books,articles, and textbooks. I also consulted
with a distinguished identification expert.

Background: Forensic Identification
As far back as the ancient Egyptians,descriptions of wanted criminals have been employed. The first scientific attempt to identify felons began in 1860, when a Belgian prison warden named Stevens began recording the measurements of convicts' heads, feet,body length, and the like. This imperfect method was abandoned, but by 1882,F r e n c h anthropologist Alphonse Bertillon had developed an elaborate system involving sitting and standing
height, length of the outstretched arms,length and breadth of the head, and length of the right ear. Bertillon supplemented his bertillonage with additional data, such as scars and other
markings and eye color, plus full-face and profile photographs. Although fingerprinting eventually replaced this cumbersome system, Bertillon's descriptive portrait parle (or "word
picture") component and "mug shots" remain in use.

Fingerprints are the mainstay of identification. However, in some cases when there are too few ridge characteristics to make a positive fingerprint identification, the pattern of tiny pores along the ridges is employed (a method known as poroscopy). Like fingerprints, the patterns of the palms and the soles of the feet may prove valuable. And because no two things in nature are precisely identical, various other methods of identification have served on occasion, including lip impressions, bite marks, and dental Xrays,to name only a few.

Criminals who thought they were being clever by wearing gloves have occasionally been
convicted when it was demonstrated that the gloves left weave or other patterns identical to latent imprints at the scene of the crime (Nickell and Fischer 1999,7-9, 112-36, 148-50).

Quite often, when attempting to make an identification, several factors that are suggestive but not conclusive must be weighed together. Consider, for example, a case that occurred in 1949
(before DNA testing). It involved comparing the description of a missing man with that of a badly decomposed corpse recovered from a river and lacking a head, hands, and feet. The
estimated age, height, and weight of the victim were consistent with that of the missing man. So were remnants of dark trousers, certain scars, and evidence of a heart condition. Ultraviolet light revealed the initials A. H. S. on the deceased's wallet. The missing man's
initials were A. H. S. L., but on a clinic card, he had used only the first three letters. The body was identified as that of the missing man.

Figure 10.2. According to Eddowes, the "real" Oswald (left) was in the U.S.Marines, but an "impostor" (right) sent by the KGB assassinated President Kennedy in Dallas and was subsequently arrested. (from official photographs reproduced by Eddowes)

To Be Continued
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Re: Another Two Oswald's Theory Debunked

on Sun 05 Nov 2017, 11:37 pm
The Oswald Identification

In the Oswald case, I resolved to make the identification from photographs (see figure 10.2), since the authenticity of the two sets-those of Oswald and those of the Dallas assassin-were not questioned and were not susceptible to accusations of having been switched, unlike
fingerprints and dental records. I was able to rely on ear identification(discussed in the previous chapter),which is based on principles common to other methods of identification.
In the case of the Dallas assassin-the man arrested for assassinating President Kennedy-there was a considerable amount of data, some of which, as Eddowes observed, was conflicting.

For instance, the autopsy report of the Dallas assassin recorded his height as five feet nine inches, whereas Lee Harvey Oswald's U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) records gave his height as seventy-one inches (five feet eleven). Eddowes emphasized this discrepancy. However,
a photo of Oswald in his USMC "Miscellaneous Information and Index"record, where his height was recorded as sixty-eight inches (five feet eight), placed him in front of a height chart, where he just reached the five-nine mark. At this time, Oswald was apparently five foot eight but appeared an inch taller in the photo because he was standing slightly away from the chart and thus closer to the camera.

Eddowes cited the Marine Corps records as evidence of inconsistency with the autopsy report, but the opposite conclusion could also be drawn. The evidence suggested that the mature Oswald had stood five feet nine, but perhaps out of vanity, he claimed to be
taller and his word was accepted by those not having a yardstick handy.

Moreover, Eddowes (1977, 41-43) himself mentioned that Oswald wore thick-heeled boots, which could add two inches to a man's height. Also, Eddowes kne w of a discrepancy between the descriptions of two journalists who had interviewed Oswald in Russia. One
described him as five foot nine with brown eyes, and the other as five foot eleven with blue eyes. Eddowes (1977, 17) conceded, "Although it would appear that they were interviewing two different men, it was, of course, the same man."

Other apparent discrepancies concerned Oswald's scars, notably a mastoidectomy scar behind his left ear that was recorded in the USMC records but not in the autopsy report. But the pathologists who conducted the postmortem were not looking for such a scar (not having the USMC records at the time for comparison), and it might have been hidden in the hair.

Also,having been made when Oswald was just six years old, it might have grown faint over time. Certain other scars noted in the postmortem report (discussed in some detail in Nickell 1992b, 40-41) were quite similar to those of Oswald. It must be concluded that although there were some explainable omissions of scars on the autopsy report (including one that was not in the USMC records either, because it had not yet occurred),those mentioned were consistent with those of Lee Harvey Oswald.

Apart from these understandable discrepancies in height and scars,Eddowes offered little else to support his "double" theory. He tried to convince readers that the famous "backyard"
photos of Oswald holding a rifle and a communist newspaper had been tampered with. In fact, some publications had retouched the photos prior to their publication, the Warren
Commission learned; however, expert examination determined that the actual photographs were not montages, as Eddowes (1977, 117-19) had asserted (see House 1979, 6:138-215).

In contrast to Eddowes's view, there was much positive identification data.First, there was the fact that the fingerprints of the "two" men matched.Eddowes (1977, 137) stated: "There is
no easy way to traverse the fingerprint evidence. If the facts that speak for an imposture were not so compelling, it would be logical to accept the evidence of the fingerprints at face value and to accept the Commission's findings-that the assassin was the former Marine, Lee
Harvey Oswald." But the facts were surely not so compelling and certainly did not go "beyond reasonable doubt,"as Eddowes had promised.

Moreover, the blood type of the Dallas assassin, noted on the original autopsy report, matched that in Oswald's USMC record-both were type A. Although that alone could not determine positive identification, it was certainly noteworthy.

To Be Continued
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Re: Another Two Oswald's Theory Debunked

on Sun 05 Nov 2017, 11:48 pm
Then there was the evidence from the next of kin. For about a month after Oswald's return to the United States, he and his wife Marina lived with his brother Robert and his family. Lee
Harvey Oswald also saw his mother during that time, and the couple subsequently lived with her for two weeks until Lee and Marina secured their own apartment. During that brief but intense period of intimate contact, it was clear that Robert Oswald and his mother knew beyond any doubt that the man subsequently arrested and then killed in Dallas was Lee Harvey Oswald. For the record, Robert, his mother, and Marina each had a conversation with Oswald while he was in custody after the assassination, and following Oswald's death at Parkland Hospital, Robert viewed his body there(Oswald 1967, 152). At the graveside at
Rose Hill Cemetery on November 25,1963, the coffin was opened and the body was viewed by the family. Robert stated that he took "a last, long look at my brother's face" (Oswald 1967, 164).

In addition, there was considerable handwriting evidence. Numerous samples of writing by Oswald and by the Dallas assassin were compared by experts who subsequently testified
before the Warren Commission. The various writings were positively identified by both an FBI expert and a Treasury Department examiner as originating from the same individual.
The House committee enlisted a team of independent document examiners, each of whom concluded that documents from the period were "all in the handwriting of the same person" (House 1979, 8:247).

The committee also convened a panel of photographic experts and forensic anthropologists to determine whether there was any photographic evidence of an Oswald impostor. The panel
examined photographs of Oswald "ranging in time from his Marine Corps enlistment to his arrest in Dallas after the assassination." One analysis was "based on 15 indices derived from 16 measurements of the head and face." For comparison, photographs were included of Oswald's fellow employee, Billy Lovelady, who bore a "strong physical resemblance to Oswald" and who had been "a source of controversy and confusion regarding the `man in the
doorway' photograph." The Lovelady photographs were intended to provide "a convenient control or yardstick to measure the variation observed in the facial indices derived from the Oswald photographs." The analytical indices for Lovelady (the closest Oswald "double"
connected with the case) were quite different from those of the other photos.

The experts concluded: "There are no biological inconsistencies in the Oswald photographs examined that would support the theory that a second person,or double, was involved." They added:"In addition to the analysis of facial indices described above, other facial features were compared. For example, in the three profile views, the angle of the nasal bridge in relation to the face was 37° in all three cases and the angle between the nasal septum and the facial plane varied by less than 1°. The ears are relatively distinctive in shape and are strikingly similar in all photographs where they can be examined" (House 1979, 6:273-81; emphasis added).

The reference to the "strikingly similar" ears was significant and paved the way for my own approach to the identification question. As discussed in chapters 7 and 9, ear identification is a technique with great potential for identifying persons in photographs. In their Modern Criminal Investigation, Soderman and O'Connell (1952, 97) stated, "The ears constitute the most characteristic part of the body next to the patterns of the friction ridges. They remain unaltered from birth until death.

In cases where an arrested person has to be identified by photograph they play a deciding role." For example: An interesting case in which the ears were used for identification purposes was that of the false Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia. Some years after World War I a woman, after an a t t e mp t at suicide in Berlin, Germany, declared herself to be the
daughter of the murdered Czar Nicholas. She said she had escaped the execution of the Czar's family in Ekaterinburg, Siberia, had lost her memory as the result of a blow on the head, and after many adventures had finally come to Berlin. She had a superficial similarity to the real
Anastasia, but Professor Bischoff, the head of the Scientific Police Institute at Lausanne, Switzerland, established her non-identity by means of the ears by comparing profile photographs of the impostor and of the real Anastasia.

As noted in previous chapters, AlfredV. lannarelli is the world's foremost expert in the specialized field of ear identification, and I proposed my plan to identify the Dallas assassin to him. He wrote in reply on October 1, 1980: "I totally agree with your suggestions." In
fact, he had previously made a similar suggestion in "a letter to Jerry Pittman,Eddowes' attorney of record in Dallas....To this day I have neither heard from Pittman nor Eddowes." He offered, "If you would like to go forward with it [the investigation of identity] I will give you all the support I can since your proposals were well taken."

lannarelli studied a variety of photos alleged to be those of Oswald,particularly the photographs in the report of the House Select Committee on Assassinations and in the Warren
Report. Subsequently, lannarelli sent me a copy of a letter he had addressed to the Honorable Louis Stokes, chairman of the House committee, in which he explained that he had "made a thorough study of the anatomical structure" of the ears of the marine Oswald and of the subject arrested in Dallas and identified by fingerprints as Oswald. lannarelli concluded "that the flesh lines of the Helix Rim, Lobule, Antihelix, Antitragus and Concha" [structures of the external ear] were "identical" in both. He added: "My total interest in this case is to set
the record straight that there is no doubt that the individual arrested,photographed, and identified as Lee Harvey Oswald by the Dallas Police Dept. on November 23, 1963, for the
investigation of President Kennedy's murder is indeed, the deceased, Mr. Lee Harvey Oswald" (lannarelli 1980).

Our report was ignored at the time,although I subsequently published a version of it (Nickell 1992b, 35-52). In 1981 Oswald's body was disinterred and autopsied by a team of distinguished pathologists. Hopefully, few were surprised when it was revealed that the
assassin was in fact Lee Harvey Oswald. The identification was based on dental records as well as on the defect of the left mastoid process (the bony prominence behind the ear), which
was consistent with Oswald's mastoidectomy (Norton 1984).

This conclusive identification should put to rest one of the most troubling questions of our time.
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