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Jerry Belknap - the Dealey Plaza "epileptic"

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Jerry Belknap - the Dealey Plaza "epileptic"

Post by greg parker on Sun 26 Nov 2017, 10:52 am

The basic facts are set out in a letter from Jesse Curry to the Warren Commission dated July 17 1964. In that letter, Curry advised that at 12:19 on Nov 22 1963 an ambulance was requested for the 100 block of North Houston to pick someone up who had suffered an epileptic seizure.  The ambulance departed just prior to 12:25. 
Only two of the four officers who went to aid Belknap testified to the Warren Commission, and of the two, only Joe Marshall Smith talked about the incident. In doing so, Smith gave the time of the seizure as approximately 11:50 or 12 noon. If that is the case, them it took at least 19 minutes for someone to decide to call for an ambulance. 


At 12:48, an unknown officer was recorded on police radio logs as saying “We have an epileptic before this [assassination]. The person went to Parkland Hospital. Send a squad [car] there to get all the info.


Not much more was made of this episode until 10:15 pm on May 12 1964 when a Dan Dawson, a former employee of O’Neal Funeral Parlor (who also operated an ambulance service) phoned the FBI. Dawson advised that he had been the telephone operator who took the call to pick up the epileptic in Dealey Plaza on Nov 22 the previous year. It was Dawson who advised that the person “disappeared” while in the process of being registered for admission to Parkland.  Dawson was unable to give the person’s name but was furnishing the information because he thought it possible the whole incident was planned as a diversion. Note however that Smith’s timing is probably too soon for it to be an effective diversionary tactic – although happening too early may be explained by the motorcade being late, and it may also explain any undue delay in phoning O’Neal’s.  At this point, further understanding of the event is needed.


Belknap lived in Irving with his parents. He worked at the Dallas Morning News at the time of the assassination (but had switched jobs by the time the FBI caught up with him).

The family were Baptists which indicates they may have attended the same church as the Randles in Irving.     

The FBI report on Belknap states in part:


Regarding the nature of his illness, Belknap explained that several years ago he was struck by a car and suffered head injury. He stated since that time he had suffered fainting spells and is required to take medication three times daily to prevent this. He stated he does not believe his fainting spells are any type of epilepsy. 


The document goes on to state that a nurse gave him some water, he took his medication which he had missed taking that day, felt better and left without giving any admission details.

That rang alarm bells with me right there - but some simple fact-checking got to the bottom of it.


"Fainting is not caused by head trauma, since loss of consciousness after a head injury is considered a concussion. However, fainting can cause injury if the person falls and hurts themselves, or if the faint occurs while participating in an activity like driving a car."


While fainting spells are not a direct result of head trauma from say a car accident, there are a few conditions around head trauma which may affect balance especially if some damage is to the inner ear. Conditions such as post-trauma vertigo itself result in falling. One treatment today which would have also been a common treatment in 1963 is Dramamine. This medication would certainly give relief to any such episode as it was originally designed for motion sickness.


With all of this in mind, Jerry’s story about fainting, and then taking his meds before feeling better and leaving the hospital without being admitted makes perfect sense. In his situation, where it was obvious there was a major emergency unfolding and if I knew I didn’t need hospitalizing, I too would have left. Jerry had no way of forecasting how suspiciously that would be viewed decades later.


What I am surprised about is that he never ended up on the so-called suspicious deaths list. He died aged 45 in 1985. I Have not been able to verify the cause of death, but it would not surprise me if it was suicide resulting from abusing Dramamine.  According to the FDA, depression can be a side-effect of the drug even at just recommended use.  Risks obviously increase with addiction and abuse. The drug is used by some recreational drug users because of the hallucinatory effects. Here are some comments describing the experience in an online forum:

I had read about how bad most of these trips were, but the hallucinations sounded fascinating none the less. So my first time, I took 10 pills, or 500mg Dimenhydrinate [another brand name of the same drug]. 

After about 30 minutes I started to feel almost drunk, but a lot more heavy, and way more mellow. After about 45 minutes I felt as if my mind was working incredibly slow


After about an hour later I started to feel extremely drowsy and it was hard not to fall asleep. I didn't want to ruin my trip, so I just closed my eyes to rest a little bit. After about five minutes I started to use my computer, I didn't really use it, I just looked at it. Then I opened my eyes and jumped because my computer was never even in my lap where I was looking at it and using it. This was extremely scary at the time.

My second, third, and fourth trip I experienced the same dream like experiences but did not have the same strong heaviness to it, and it didn't feel the same. These doses were all at least 600 mg, or 12 pills. I can't forget to mention that this feeling was incredibly uncomfortable, disturbing, and just plain bizarre. About 5 days later, I decided that I would go on one last trip with
 Dramamine, doing a dose of 750mg or 15 pills.

This experience was the most bizarre as I had heavy dream like experiences and auditory hallucinations. I heard whispering and my name being called, but honestly I cannot remember much from after the hallucination other than that. I once again felt heavy, disoriented, and very uncomfortable and foreign in my own body. I fell asleep during my almost lucid dream-like experiences and when I woke up my lights were off (They were on during 4/5 trips) and I was under my covers. I don't know how this happened, but didn't question it. I woke up about 5 times that night, but couldn't tell the difference between being asleep and awake. The only way I knew is if I would look at my clock, and see what time it was, that was my sign of reality.



On the other hand, if we want to look at Jerry’s fainting from a conspiracy viewpoint, it is possible to bring on a seizure with an overdose of Dramamine. So the scenario put forth by some is possible. At this stage however, I don’t believe there is enough evidence to dismiss the explanation offered by Belknap to the FBI at the time. There are no holes in his story when properly investigated and no internal contradictions, which is what you always look for.  In short, Belknap should have the benefit of the doubt.

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