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Lee Harvey Oswald

2nd floor lunchroom encounter talk

This coming Saturday I am giving an informal talk at the Dealey Plaza UK meeting. It will be about the 2nd floor lunchroom encounter that never was.

Venue The Flying Horse in London. 52 Wilson St, London EC2A 2ER

Start at about 13:30

In about a week the update to my essay will be published as well, an additional 30 pages/8,000 words extra stuff.

 

Billy Lovelady HSCA Interview

In part 1 of  Lovelady’s HSCA interview (originally posted by Richard Gilbride at the ROKC website) we skip to around the 24:50 mark where the talk is about the front steps of the TSBD, its occupants (he names Frazier, Shelley and Stanton and some ladies from the offices inside the building).

His position was the 2nd or 3rd step sitting and eating his lunch and having a coke (which he purchased in the second floor lunchroom).

He is asked whether he saw Oswald on those steps and he answers this with a “No.”.

The follow-up question whether it could have been possible that Oswald could have been on those steps and him not noticing is answered with: “Could have.”

Just after the 29:00 mark he talks about a lady who ran up to them (without any indication as to where “they” were-B.K.) and say that The President had been hit and  he identifies her as Gloria Calvery. He then says after  Gloria Calvery says that The President had been hit they leave for the rail road yard and then make their way back in through one of the side entrances of the TSBD.

Then he describes the situation inside the building after they got back in (31:20) wondering whether they should go back to work. And at 31:40  the  roll call is discussed.

 

In part 2 (better quality audio) Lovelady describes at first that Truly and the police officer (Baker) had run up the steps, and connects this with shots being fired from the 6th floor and those two on their way investigating this. He does declare that he did nit know the reason for their ascend at that time, only later. Then Secret Service and others come in and want to get up to the top floor so Lovelady takes about ten to fifteen of them up in one of the freight elevators.

After taking them the 7th and the 5th floor he takes them to the 6th floor and while he is standing near the freight elevator he states he was present when they found the shells. He did not see them, he also states that he saw the rifle being found from about a distance of 50 feet. It did have a sling attached to it. He times these finds at about 20-25 minutes after his arrival back inside the TSBD.

Around the 08:20 mark he states that the first time he spoke with a law enforcement official and had his primary statement taken was at 13:30, one hour after the assassination. The second time is in the evening and he confirms it’s him in Altgens6 when FBI agents show up at his house at 18:00.

After that he is shown a still of him on the front steps of the Martin film, with his 5 o’clock shadow and he confirms it is him. A voice in the background (Robert Groden.) says that this was shot between 8-15 minutes after the assassination. Lovelady sees this image for the first time. Lovelady’s wife is present as well and recognises him in that image. This part is interesting due to the interaction of the interviewer and Lovelady. Sean Murphy posts about Billy Lovelady at the Education Forum in 2013 (Prayer Man: Out of the Shadows and Into the Light, Chapter 9):

In the first part of his HSCA interview Billy Lovelady Lovelady is shown an image he has never seen before: a frame from the John Martin film showing him (Lovelady) standing over by the east side of the entrance some 15 minutes post-assassination. Lovelady identifies himself immediately.

`
HSCA: If a movie camera showed you farther in the center of the doorway than that person there [i.e. Lovelady in Altgens, who appears, due to the deceptive angle, to be well over to the left/west of the entrance] would you still identify that person as being yourself?

LOVELADY: Sure would. I would say the other picture was not taken at the split second as the one to the left is.

HSCA: Okay, alright. If it showed two figures in that doorway at the same time, and you could positively identify one as yourself, would that have any bearing on your identification of that other figure?

LOVELADY: No, that’s still me at the left [of the] doorway.

Whether knowingly (i.e., with knowledge of the Prayer Man figure in Wiegman) or unknowingly (i.e., by pure speculation), the HSCA interviewer noticed  Two Lovelady-resembling men caught on film at the time of the assassination, one over on the west (“left”) side of the entrance and the other more towards the center.

The interviewer could have been getting some information from Richard E. Sprague regarding this discovery, since he was already well informed on the sighting of that man on the west side of the TSBD steps in the shadow.

 

From thereon the convo steers into the shirt matter, when the FBI ask him to come so he can be photographed as a comparison to Altgens6. No one tells him to wear the same shirt so he does NOT wear it while his pix are taken.

Lovelady also mentions that Joseph Ball contacted him before he was to testify in front of the Warren Commission (27:10). Ball discusses that he will be interviewing him about the actions around the assassination about him around the building. He is also asked whether he was coached by Ball or if anyone else from any agency tried anything, and to both he replies “No.”

But the biggest revelation is saved to the very last, at 29:20 when he says that it took 20-25 minutes before he got back in the building, so while captured by Martin and Hughes he still had not regained entry back into the building, which makes you wonder how he got back in through the side of the TSBD along with Shelley?

Oswald seen at 12:45 in the TSBD?

Here are three newspaper articles from the 23rd and 24th of Nov, saying there are timing issues with Oswald’s sighting at Mrs. Roberts’ house visit and subsequent clothes change and the reports of Oswald being inside the TSBD at 12:45.

Eureka Humboldt Standard from Nov. 23rd 1963.

Eureka Humboldt Standard Nov 23 1963

 

And the Washington Post of Nov. 24th.

Washington-Post-Nov-24-1963-page-7-ROKC-Scan-1

 

The Cuero Record November 24, 1963

 

Article No. 4 (added Feb 19th 2017)

Scottsdale Progress Nov 23rd 1963 Click to enlarge.

 

Then there is of course Roger Craig, his story has been told many many times before.

One of those ‘times’ is Gary Shaw. I shall post 5 pages of his fab book Cover Up. read and inspect the material for yourself. This book is hard to obtain and only at a serious price btw.

Earle V. Brown a patrolman with the DPD, while talking to the HSCA.

During the interview with the committee, Brown also added that soon after the Presidential motorcade passed, after the last shot was heard, Brown saw a man run down the stairs on the west side of the depository and then turn north away from the front of the building.(297) Brown estimated that this occurred approximately 15 minutes after the shots.(298) He said he was not able to follow the path taken by the man because of an obstructed view.(299)
Brown described the man to the committee as young, of medium size, fair complexion, and not having dark hair.(300) He said the man was dressed in light blue work pants and a shirt which was similar.(301) He did not see anything in the man’s hands.(302)
Brown was shown a picture of Dealey Plaza and the depository during the committee’s interview.(303) At that time, he noted that his view of the west door world have been obscured by an add-on shed section of the building.(304) Investigation by the committee indicated that the section was added to the building prior to 1956.(305) There is a door there at the west side of the building, but the door is hidden by uncut bushes and trees; no determination was made of the age of the bushes trees.(306) The doorway does face the trestle on which Brown was standing at the time of the assassination; the estimated distance to the trestle is approximately 500 yards.(307)
Brown told the investigators that he had not mentioned seeing the man leaving the building when he testified before the Warren commission because he had not been asked by the Commission counsel, and also because he was not able to identify the man as Lee Harvey Oswald, although the man was about Oswald’s size.(308) Brown said he thought he had mentioned the incident to his wife and to his partner at the time, Officer Lomax.(309)
Brown also mentioned that he had experienced an extrasensory perception premonition before the assassination about the President being shot by a rifle barrel protruding from a window in a brick wall.(310)

Then there are the news reports, such as the collection of Jack White’s “Escape” document.

11/24/63          Dallas – … Oswald stuck to his story that he left work early at the building from which the shots were fired because he thought it would close in honor of the President.  San Francisco Chronicle, UPI.

This by itself it worth further thinking about. If Oswald had left the TSBD in the three minutes as the Warren Commission stated, of which you can subtract 2 for the official version of Oswald’s escape down the stairs and his lunchroom encounter and the sighting by Mrs Robert Reid. It would be highly unlikely that anyone could leave the TSBD that quick

Stuart Reed

From ROKC with Love.

Very contrasty images by Stuart Reed. We got these from SouthEastern UNI. I have no idea how many generations deep this is. We were quite disappointed ourselves.

The quality is rubbish really, a privilege Ed Ledoux paid 90 bucks for.

Richard Bernabei

Richard Bernarbei (1933-1979) was a college professor at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Richard Bernabei (1951). Thanks to Mati Bernabei.

About a year and a half ago I was wondering whether anyone else had noticed Prayer Man in the Wiegman and/or Darnell films before Sean Murphy started his quest less than ten years ago. I was already loosely checking out where this all originated from but I could not find anything from before the millennium until I came across Bernabei’s name  while trawling through Harold Weisberg’s archive. I read his correspondence from the late 60’s, between them and Richard Sprague and almost fell off my chair and made mention of this after I regained my composure  at ROKC. There is quite a bit of correspondence in this archive.

And by chance I came across his discovery of another person on those steps besides doorway man (a.k.a. Billy Lovelady). I shall post some of these pages of his correspondence below. These pages are the first signs of discovery of Prayer Man, although he was not named as such, that credit belongs to Sean Murphy.

Knowing that Richard Bernabei’s material was held at his workplace in Kingston  I emailed Queens University in June last year and was told that the archives were not indexed nor digitised, so a dead end for me unless I or one of my fellow ROKCers made their way over there.

I left the whole thing for what it was, as I had plenty to go on until I emailed roughly 6 months ago to see if I could get a local person to investigate for me instead. Little did I know that an individual by the name of Sean Adessky had gone through all of Bernabei’s  archive a few months before and had made an index. From that index one section jumped out to me.

Folder, “Man in the TSBD Doorway” 

–      Documents relating to the individuals seen in the doorway of the TSBD at the time of the shooting.

–      Photographs, commission documents, sketches, few pages of handwritten notes.

Totalling 35 pages I was dying to get hold of all of this material, which they promptly helped me with. The whole document is more focused on Doorway Man (Billy Lovelady) but by researching it from every possible angle he also deals with Prayer Man for  about 4-5 pages. These pages are very valuable since they contain sketches made by Richard Bernabei and  diagrams as well of the people on the front steps of the Texas School Book Depository. This material is the first hard evidence of someone actually recognising a person in that shadowy area of those front steps of the Texas School Book Depository when JFK was assassinated and also actively documenting it. How he did this is a bit of an enigma, since the material of Wiegman he had in his collection there is not much to see there. Check for yourselves in the picture gallery below.

Bear in mind that at that time no one had gotten hold of the Jimmy Darnell film where Prayer Man is seen a lot clearer than in the Dave Wiegman film. The other sources, regarding this particular segment of the case, Bernabei had were Altgens 6 and the Hughes film.

Great stuff indeed, not just from a find p.o.v. but also what else he wrote inside that document. He followed the same ‘tactic’ Sean Murphy and Richard Hocking used. Not only did he study the film and photo material but he also looked at all the available testimonies and brought Oswald’s interrogations and whereabouts and TSBD employees Carolyn Arnold and Victoria Adams into the fold. Furthermore I plaster some scans of the images he had during his research. Two copies of Altgens 6, Willis 4, 8 & 10, Wiegman, Towner and Bell.

The letter below is from Richard E. Sprague who writes in good detail about Wiegman and his film to Richard Bernarbei.

  • Sprague managed to buy a copy of the film on 35 mm, where this film is, is not known at this time. He also mentions that he has clipped some of the frames out of his film, therefor the possibility exists that the film was kept in a cut up state.
  • He explains the many generations of the film.
  • Wiegman had not seen his film at the time of their telephone interview.

The large format negatives Sprague is talking about are at the National Archives in Washington, we at ROKC managed to get copies of these.

And then the trail went dead, for almost 40 years………………..why?

 

Addendum Dec 30th 2016:

Mati Bernabei (Richard’s daughter) contacted me through Facebook and shared the following info with me, which she has allowed me to share:

She was 14 years old when he died in 1979. He was very unwell the last two years due to alcohol related deterioration of body and mind.

” I knew that he was deeply interested in JFK, I didn’t understand what he was working on. I was too young. Close to the time of his death (when he, and everyone, understood that his death was imminent), my mother and other friends of his convinced him to donate his JFK files to the Archives at Queen’s University. They didn’t want the work to be lost”

“. I’ve always imagined that his work would remain in dusty boxes in the Archives forever, so I am truly delighted that you found it useful . My father was an artist, heart and soul (before academia, he studied art), hence his drawings, and his understanding of visual perspective, light and shadow, etc. I’m sure he would be deeply gratified that his work is still of interest in some way. Very interesting for me to read your analysis too! Thank you!”

“When looking for the photo I reread a short bio of my father that my mom wrote in the 1990s when she doing a hobby genealogy project (for my sister and I). That mentions the donation to the archives, and I remembered more details. My father was a true mess in the last two years of his life. He had a heart murmur due to childhood rheumatic fever, thus the collapse of his body due to chain smoking and alcohol was accelerated. In June of 1979 my uncle (his brother) came to visit — by that time it was clear that there was no turning back – organ failure was occurring, and father would die soon (he died 2 months later). At that time my uncle and my mom convinced Pa to donate the JFK material. My father had already destroyed much of his artwork, in a fit of self loathing, I think. So, my mom and uncle rightly worried that he might do the same with his JFK documents.”

“My father’s struggles were obvious to people who knew him in the last few years, thus there was no need or purpose in in trying to create a facade. And, he talked and wrote about too. He was a kind, loving, tragically self-destructive person in those last years.”

*****

 

Special thanks to Heather Home and Susan Office at Queens University.

Mati Bernabei for the portrait and the additional info.

And many thanks as well to Francesca Brzezicki for making the Bernabei correspondence and photo scans for me.

Wiegman scans by ROKC from the Richard E. Sprague archive at the National Archives in Wa.

Roy Truly interview 1964

This Roy Truly interview was done by Will Lang for Dolores Kraich and sent to Holland McCombs, who was bureau chief for TIME and LIFE magazine in Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, and Dallas.

It deals with Truly’s recollections of Oswald’s job application, the day of the assassination, the second floor lunch room encounter, but also delves into the whole Doorway man matter.

Any nuggets?

A few:

  • Truly, on page 2 describes Oswald as an ‘undetected paranoiac’
  • Page 3,  he states that Oswald could not have known about the motorcade passing by the TSBD until 72 hrs beforehand. And starts to speculate about and eventually condemns Oswald heavily “But as I suppose we all now realize, he had to shoot somebody or do something big. He probably would have shot anybody who was big enough if he had the chance or could make the chance”.
  • Page 4 digs into the doorway-man Lovelady vs Oswald saga.
  • Page 5, he discusses the day JFK got shot. He mentions Lovelady and being outside on the steps, and himself standing in front of those steps near the curb of Elm.  What is downright rubbish is his description of a wave of people making their way back and that Baker had to push his way though the crowd. The Couch and Darnell films show that Baker had a clear run towards the TSBD building.
  • On page 8 he contradicts himself regarding this wave of people. “there were not so many people out there in front of this building when the President’s car passed here”
  • Page 9 shows that the author(s) forwarded a copy to Hugh Aynesworth in 1967.

 

Overall a well rehearsed interview, a puff piece by the looks of it, but Truly makes the same mistake again like he did with his statements, testimony and newspaper reports, he always adds info that makes one question his claims.

 

 

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