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Warren Commission

Out Of The Blank #1495

Thanks to Robbie Robertson for featuring me again on his out of the Blank podcast.


Also my book Prayer Man More Than A Fuzzy Picture is now also available through Barnes & Noble.

Prayer Man More Than A Fuzzy Picture

Prayer Man More Than A Fuzzy Picture


Prayer Man More Than A Fuzzy Picture Book Cover

So here it is, something I did not think I would be putting together,  a book! Especially after finishing my papers just over a year ago, ‘blame’ Malcolm Blunt who said to me in June 2022 “You should do a book.” It meant more research and many more hours of work, which enabled me to conclude on some things I had not thought thought of, like the fingerprints, palm prints and above all the connection between the rifle and Lee Oswald on Nov 22nd.

That editing and finalising the book was going to be such a slog (10 weeks) and that stressful was unbeknown to me, but hey I am an experience richer. Same goes with publishing it thru Amazon, which was virgin territory as well.

I hope you enjoy it, like the ones who have ordered it already!

To order from Amazon click below
Soft back
Update Sept 18th 2023.
It is now also available through Barnes & Noble.

JFK Lancer 2023

JFK Lancer Conference 2023


I will be doing a one hour presentation remotely at the 27th Annual JFK Lancer Conference!
This event is being held on November 17th – 19th, 2023 at the Lorenzo Hotel, Dallas, Texas.

I shall be speaking about some of my key findings from my book Prayer Man: More Than a Fuzzy Picture.

The Book

The Book


So when I finished my papers last year in June Malcolm Blunt said to me “you should do a book”. And that was something I had not planned on doing at all. I was completely against it when I set off on this ‘journey’ of writing it all down in 2016. I enjoyed the approach of the interactive papers with its inserted evidence right there and then.

Had it been anyone else I would not have heeded much notice to that remark, but in this case I did nothing until September 2022 and then started to look into what needed to be done to add and turn it into a book. Producing a book is not really something I have done before, it’s my first.

So here goes….

Since Autumn 2022; the fingerprints, palm prints and nitrate tests have been dug into. Oswald’s psych reports at Youth House in 1953 as well. There will be partial transcripts of interviews done by Ed Ledoux  with Roy Edward Lewis in 2018 & 2022.  On top of that some serious finds added purely based on the documented evidence at hand from the Malcolm Blunt archive and not brought forward before on  this website or anywhere else.

The e-book version will have all its evidence ( 1,200 foot notes) linked but for the hard copy book version I refer you to this website’s special section of the book. Which is a set of pages that has the book chapters’ numbered links to all evidence neatly organised for those that are interested. So you can use your electronic device at the same time to check out the foot notes while reading on that particular page of your hard copy.

This section I put together instead of having to go back and forth within book.

The book will have three chapters:

  1. Prayer Man.
  2. Inside the TSBD.
  3. The Interrogations.

Setting up this whole thing is virgin territory to me and took a few weeks longer than originally thought, but now I hope to release the e-book by July 10th and the hard copy version to be released a week later.

Lee Harvey Oswald – Youth House NY – Psychiatry Test 1953

Lee Harvey Oswald – Youth House NY – Psychiatry Tests 1953


One aspect of this case I wanted to include was Oswald’s Youth House psychiatry tests in 1953. He stayed at Youth House due to his increased absence from school late 1952 to the beginning of 1953, in New York, while being a young teenager. Youth House was a remand centre for delinquent boys who had gotten into trouble with the court and were remanded to Youth House for a brief period of diagnostic study. These psychiatry tests could be giving us some sort of insight into who Lee Harvey Oswald was. And do these tests have any relation to his behaviour while being incarcerated on Nov. 22nd – 24th 1963?

Oswald is admitted on April 16th 1953 and his psychiatry test was taken and reported upon on April 21st 1953 by John Carro, Some of the pages of the above linked document are very hard to read due to the terrible reproductive quality. The first 4/5 pages (of the 33) is the report that has been made up by Carro. Pages one & two start with Oswald’s background and then on that second page it states that Lee is a boy of average height and weight and the boy impressed the P.O. of a boy of normal mental and physical development. Lee was pleasant and friendly though withdrawn to himself. During the interview the boy’s expression was one of indifference. He more or less of’ a blank expression, registered little enthusiasm nor emotions. When questioned, he generally answers affirmatively by saying “I guess so”. He tried to evade an impression of unconcern as to what had taken place. The P.O. observed that the boy is somewhat shallow and seems to be immature to have little capacity for comprehension.

On page three Marguerite Oswald describes Lee as an introvert who has difficulty making friends after moving to NY in the midst of different nationalities and move into a crowded apartment and has retreated into a shell. On page four it is stated that the boy, the P.O.’s observed, is a friendly, likeable boy who portrays very little emotions. Rendition to the present situation (absence from school-BK) was one of indifference. The P.O. feels that we are dealing with a boy who feels a great deal of insecurity and the need for acceptance. As it does not seem that this can be done with the boy remaining at home, but it was felt that perhaps placement in an institution where these needs can be met would be beneficial at this time. However, recommendation is being held in acceptance pending the receipt of the psychiatric examination.

John Carro is called up by the Warren Commission and in his testimony  he does not relay much valuable info as to Oswald’s personality but there is an exchange as to what was in the planning for Oswald.

Mr. LIEBELER – You mentioned that the boy was going to go to your own psychiatric clinic. That is a different proposition from the Youth House, is it not?

Mr. CARRO – Yes. This is the psychiatric court clinic, that is on 22nd Street, which in some instances, where we are not able to effect the kind of placing we need or so, we will utilize that as a last resort, and the boy would go there periodically and be seen by the psychiatrist.

Mr. LIEBELER – It would be an outpatient-type situation?

Mr. CARRO – An outpatient-type of situation, yes.


Mr. LIEBELER – Would you say that Oswald was more mentally disturbed than most of the boys that you had under your supervision at that time?

Mr. CARRO – Not at all, actually. I have handled cases of boys who committed murders, burglaries, and I have had some extremely disturbed boys, and this was one of the problems, this was just initially a truancy situation, not one of real disruptive or acting out delinquent behavior.

Back to the psychiatric reports document and on that same page four Dr Renatus Hartogs continues with his summary on May 1st 1953. This 13 year old well built boy has superior mental resources and functions only slightly below his capacity level in spite of chronic truancy from school which brought him into Youth House. No finding of neurological impairment or psychotic mental changes could be made. Lee had to be diagnosed as a personality pattern disturbance with schizoid features and passive aggressive tendencies. Lee has to be seen as an emotionally, quite disturbed youngster who suffers the impact of really existing emotional isolation and deprivation, lack of affection, absence of family life and rejection by a self involved and conflicted mother. Although she denies that he is in need of any other form help other than “remedial” one, we gained the definite impression that Lee can be reached through contact with an understanding and very patient psychotherapist and if he could be drawn at the same time into group psychotherapy. We arrive therefore at the recommendation that he shouldnbe placed on probation under the condition that he seek help and guidance through contact with a child guidance clinic, where he should be treated preferably by a male psychiatrist who coud substitute, to a certain degree at least for the lack of a father figure. At the same time, his mother should be urged to seek psycho therapeutic guidance through contact with a family agency. If this plan does not work out favourably and Lee cannot cooperate in his treatment plan on an out-patient basis, removal from the home and placement could be resorted to at a later date, but it is our definite impression that treatment on probation should be tried out before the stricter and therefore more harmful placement approach is applied to the case of this boy.

Renatus Hartogs. Photo by Martha Holmes.

On May 7th (page nine) Hartogs writes another report: He is a tense, withdrawn and evasive boy who dislikes intensely talking about himself and his feelings. He likes to give the impression that he doesn’t care about others and rather likes to keep to himself so that he is not bothered and does not have to make the effort of communicating. It was difficult penetrate the emotional wall behind which this boy hides and he provided us with sufficient clues, permitting us to see increase anxiety, shyness, feelings of awkwardness and insecurity as the main reasons as the main reasons for the withdrawal tendencies and solitary habits. Lee told us: “I don’t want a friend and I don’t like to talk to people.” He describes himself as stubborn and according to his own saying likes to say “no.” Strongly resistive and negativistic features were also noticed but psychotic mental content was denied and no indication of psychotic mental changes was arrived at.

He is a youngster with superior mental endowment functioning presently on the bright range of mental efficiency. His abstract thinking capacity and his vocabulary are well developed. No retardation in school subjects could be found in spite of his truancy from school.

An excerpt of Hartog’s WC testimony.

Mr. LIEBELER. In your capacity as chief psychiatrist for the Youth House did you have occasion at any time to interview Lee Harvey Oswald?


Mr. LIEBELER. Would you tell us when that was and all that you can remember about that interview in your own words?

Dr. HARTOGS. That is tough. I remember that-actually I reconstructed this from what I remembered from the seminar. We gave a seminar on this boy in which we discussed him, because he came to us on a charge of truancy from school, and yet when I examined him, I found him to have definite traits of dangerousness. In other words, this child had a potential for explosive, aggressive, assaultive acting out which was rather unusual to find in a child who was sent to Youth House on such a mild charge as truancy from school. This is the reason why I remember this particular child, and that is the reason why we discussed him in the seminar. I found him to be a medium-sized, slender, curly haired youngster, pale-faced, who was not very talkative, he was not spontaneous. He had to be prompted. He was polite. He answered in a somewhat monotonous fashion. His sentences were well structured. He was in full contact with reality.

Mr. LIEBELER. He was?

Dr. HARTOGS. He was in full contact with reality. I found his reasoning to be intensely self-centered, his judgment also centering around his own needs, and the way he looked at life and his relationships with people. This was mostly in the foreground. So this is what I remember actually.

Hartog’s recollection is not based on the documentation made in 1953/54 but on a seminar in which he and colleagues discussed the case in an informal non-documented manner. What is not explained is why he did not use his original report?

During the same testimony Hartogs claims Oswald was recommended to be sent to an institution. But the paperwork signed by Hartogs in 1953 does not support this at all, it was all on a probationary basis!

Mr. LIEBELER. Do you recall what recommendation you made to the court in respect of Oswald?

Dr. HARTOGS. If I can recall correctly, I recommended that this youngster should be committed to an institution.

Mr. LIEBELER. What type of institution, do you recall?

Dr. HARTOGS. No; that I don’t recall.

Mr. LIEBELER. But you are quite clear in your recollection that you recommended that he be institutionalized immediately because of the personality pattern disturbance; is that correct?

Dr. HARTOGS. Yes; that is right. That I remember; yes.

And a little later.

Mr. LIEBELER. Can you recall what kind of institution you recommended that Oswald he committed to?

Dr. HARTOGS. I never make a recommendation as to the name, the specific institution. This is a prerogative of the court.

Mr. LIEBELER. Do you make a recommendation as to the type of institution which you recommend a child?

Dr. HARTOGS. Yes; I do that, either a mental hospital or training school or residential treatment center, but I do not recall in this case what I recommended.

Mr. LIEBELER. But you do recall quite clearly that you did recommend, because of this boy’s personality pattern, disturbance?

Dr. HABTOGS. Yes; that he should not be placed in the community.

Mr. LIEBELER. Or placed on probation?

Dr. HARTOGS. Yes; that is right.

Mr. LIEBELER. Do you recall being interviewed on this question by the FBI?


Mr. LIEBELER. Do you remember approximately when they interviewed you?

Dr. HARTOGS. No; I don’t know the date.

Mr. LIEBELER. Do you remember that you told them the same thing, that is, that you recommended institutionalizing Oswald as a result of his psychiatric examination which indicated that he was potentially dangerous?


Dr Renatus Hartogs is exposed and criticised for his contradictory remarks in the New York Post in Nov. 1964.

Hartogs himself gets convicted of having sexual relations with a patient of his in 1975,

Renatus Hartogs in 1975.

Evelyn Strickman, a social worker questions Lee as well and writes a report on May 7th (pages 19-24).

Lee Oswald is a seriously detached, withdrawn youngster of thirteen years, but volunteered almost nothing by himself spontaneously. Despite the fact that he is very hard to reach, Lee seems to have some ability to relate which in view of the solitary existence he has been leading, is somewhat surprising. There is a rather pleasant, appealing quality about this emotionally starved, affectionless youngster which grows as one speaks to him, and it seems fairly clear that he has detached himself from the world around him because no one in it ever met any of his needs for love.

Laconic and taciturn, Lee answered questions, but volunteered almost nothing about himself spontaneously. Despite the fact that he is very hard to reach, Lee seems to have some ability to relate which in view of the solitary existence he has been leading, is somewhat surprising. There is a rather pleasant, appealing quality about this emotionally starved, affectionless youngster which grows as one speaks to him, and it seems fairly clear that he has detached himself from the world around him because no one in it ever met any of his needs for love.

Lee was able to respond to expressions of understanding for his lonely situation, but he denied that he really felt lonely. Questioning elicited the information that he feels almost as if there is a veil between him and other people through which they cannot reach him, but he prefers this veil to remain intact. He admitted, however, the tearing aside of the veil is talking to a social worker was not as painful as he would have anticipated. He was not comfortable in talking but he was not as disturbed in talking about his feelings as he thought he might be. When this was used as an opportunity to inquire into his fantasy life, he responded with a reminder that “This is my own business”. He agreed to answer questions if he wanted to, rejecting those which upset him and acknowledged fantasies about being powerful, and sometimes hurting or killing people, but refused to elaborate on this. None of these fantasies involved his mother, incidentally. He also acknowledged dreaming but refused to talk about the dreams other than to admit that they sometimes contained violence, but he insisted that they were pleasant.

Observation of Lee’s relationship with other boys during his stay at Youth House showed that he detached himself completely, and repulsed any efforts at friendship by others. Although he reacted favourably to supervision and did whatever was asked of him without comment when on his floor he sat by himself and read. At 8:15 every evening he asked to be excused so that he could go to bed. The other boys appeared to respect his seclusion and didn’t force themselves on him. He did not encourage conversation with anyone, and when asked questions was very terse in his replies. He was very neat and clean and always finished his work before going out to the floor.

In the recreation area he was usually quiet and withdrawn sitting by himself. If he did become involved in any minor altercation he was very hostile and belligerent and somewhat defiant of supervision. He seemed to be respected by group members who left him alone.

This pattern was some very minimal movement in his relationship with his social worker, although it was so small as to be almost not noticeable. Ordinarily when approached he remained polite but uncommunicative but when he was shown some special attention and concern when he had an earache, he responded somewhat. He never sought his caseworker out, and asked for nothing, nor did he volunteer anything further about himself.

Lee Oswald is a seriously withdrawn, detached and emotionally isolated boy of 13, who is at Youth House for the first time on a charge of truancy.

Lee became a reclusive child who was thrown upon himself and his own resources and he never made friends with other children. His mother who worked and who, when he was an infant, demonstrated her need to shift responsibility for him by leaving him with her sister and then placing him for a while in a Home, appears to be a rigid, self-involved woman with strong ideas and she has little understanding of this boy’s behaviour nor of the protective shell he has drawn around himself in his effort to avoid contact with people which may result in hurt for him. It is possible that her own negative attitude about casework help and probation officers may communicate itself to Lee, interfering with his chances for help. On the other hand there would be little accomplished by placing him in the impersonal setting afforded by an institution without seeing, first, if he can be reached in therapy. Despite his withdrawal, he gives the impression that he is not so difficult to reach as he appears and patient, prolonged effort in a sustained relationship with one therapist might bring results. There are indications that he has suffered serious personality damage but if he can receive help quickly this might be repaired to some extent.

Strickman also appears in front of the Warren Commission, but she does not elaborate anything further during that short session on Oswald’s personality.


The FBI requested the test become part of the evidence and New York judge Florence Kelley grants the FBI their request due to extraordinary circumstances.

Judge Florence M. Kelley. Click to enlarge.

There is another FBI document, although released in full, it has no online appearance at all. Then there is this hefty 143 pager “Oswald Youth” document of which I only have the RIF sheet, the other pages are nowhere to be seen elsewhere online.

The psychiatric report from Apr 17 1953 by Irving Sokolow states: “All his scores are above the average for his age group, appreciably so in the verbalization of abstract concepts and in the assembly of commonly recognizable objects. His method of approach was generally an easy, facile and a highly perceptive one. Although presumably disinterested in school subjects he operates on a much higher than average level.”

This FBI report quotes from Evelyn Strickman on Apr. 30 (pages 2 & 3): “This is a seriously detached withdrawn youngster who has preserved some ability to relate, but is very hard to reach, He is laconic and taciturn and while he answered questions he volunteered almost nothing about himself. Toward the end of the interview he occasionally would say something gratuitously without my asking him but on the whole everything had to be pulled from him. What is really surprising is that this boy has not lost entirely his ability to communicate with other people because he has been leading such a detached, solitary existence for most of his life.” The full assessment can be read on pages 11-14 of the Youth House report.

Edgar A. Buttle of the law firm Finch & Schaefler writes to Melvin Roman of the Domestic Relations Court on Dec 14th 1953 (page 25) It is my thought that some serious consideration should be given to having the boy receive private clinical treatment if it is really necessary. It has been my impression that the boy has the feeling he is being kept under surveillance so extensively that he is beginning to feel abnormal. While I am highly in favour of psychiatric treatment and its accomplishments, I feel in this case it is being overdone.

Three days later Bessie Ford (page 26), a chief psychiatric social worker of the Domestic Relations Court states that the family has moved to New Jersey.

On Dec 30th 1963 the FBI writes a report about Buttle and his then contact with the Domestic Relations Court about the handling of Oswald and states that “it was conceivable that the problem of the boy in question could be the result of too close supervision of the boy by the court or school officers, resulting in a psychiatric condition being forced upon the youth.”


Malcolm Blunt Archives

Harold Weisberg Archives.

Lee Shepherd for the Carro video link.

Out of the Blank #1366

I had a chat with Robbie Robertson two weeks ago. Was not really in the mood, but got ‘chatted’ into doing it. I ended up talking about the fingerprints, palm prints and the nitrate tests and also a bit on Oswald at Youth House. An article on that is in the works. It is an element that had to be added to the interrogations chapter.

Furthermore I am working hard on the book. I hope to have it done in electronic form in about 2-3 weeks (famous last words….). A physical copy follows in and around May/June. There will be some exclusive content in that book. Watch this space.

Also I am doing another Quick Hits show with Doug Campbell and Rob Clark in April, so more to come.

Lee Harvey Oswald’s Paraffin Casts

Lee Harvey Oswald’s Paraffin Casts.


The paraffin casts are interesting as it appeared to be able to confirm whether Oswald had fired a weapon or not. I will share all my available information that I have managed to gather and my special thanks go to Malcolm Blunt for the documentation. I thank Terry Martin for the scans of the hallway photographs. I also used documents from NARAMFFAARC, History Matters and UNT.

Joseph L Thimes on gunshot wounds and their residue tests. This four page summarisation is a great way to familiarise yourself with the subject matter at hand. Also some article and book excerpts on the paraffin casts and its tests, from Malcolm Blunt Archive, are worth checking out as well. At the Weisberg Archive is a chronology of some of the reports and DPD statements released by Dallas Police. Jesse Curry and C.W. Brown seem to be most vocal about the tests.

The Warren Report on the paraffin casts

The Warren Report states on page 561: In fact, however, the test is completely unreliable in determining either whether a person has recently fired a weapon or whether he has not.

A positive reaction is, therefore, valueless in determining whether a suspect has recently fired a weapon. Conversely, a person who has recently fired a weapon may not show a positive reaction to the paraffin test, particularly if the weapon was a rifle. A revolver is so constructed that there is a space between the cylinder, which bears the chambers, and the barrel. When a revolver is fired, nitrate-bearing gases escape through this space and may leave residues on the hand. In a rifle, however, there is no gap between the chamber and the barrel, and one would therefore not expect nitrates to be deposited upon a person’s hands or cheeks as a result of his firing a rifle.

An agent of the FBI, using the C2766 rifle, fired three rounds of Western 6.5-millimeter Mannlicher-Carcano ammunition in rapid succession. A paraffin test was then performed on both of his hands and his right cheek. Both of his hands and his cheek tested negative.
The paraffin casts of Oswald’s hands and right cheek were also examined by neutron-activation analyses at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Barium and antimony were found to be present on both surfaces of all the casts and also in residues from the rifle cartridge cases and the revolver cartridge cases.  Since barium and antimony were present in both the rifle and the revolver cartridge cases, their presence on the casts were not evidence that Oswald had fired the rifle.

In short the Warren Commission wasn’t too impressed with the paraffin tests from an evidentiary point of view. Oswald, while working at the TSBD that morning definitely had gotten into contact with printing ink (nitrates). Which would have been enough to have contaminated the paraffin test from the beginning.

W.E. Barnes


Jim Murray/Black Star. Scanned by Terry Martin/ROKC from the Richard E Sprague archive at NARA.

When W.E. Barnes is photographed in the corridor after applying the casts it becomes clear that he has an empty(!) tin of wax in his hands (here is a close-up), but there are no paraffin casts on display, allegedly he dropped these off on the fourth floor, as per his  WC testimony, and the three of them did their appearance in the corridor with the evidence afterwards.

Mr. BELIN. At the time you carried back the paraffin casts?
Mr. BARNES. No. We came back and got the palm prints after I delivered the paraffin tests upstairs. 

W.E. ‘Pete’ Barnes and his empty tin of paraffin wax. Pic.: Ft Worth Star Telegram.


Effectiveness of a paraffin cast on a cheek to determine whether a rifle had been fired

  • W. E. ‘Pete’ Barnes who had been doing these tests for quite a few years, had not applied this test to a suspect’s face ever before. He did this test on orders of Will Fritz. And it would not have made any difference in determining whether Oswald had fired a rifle that day! For this I refer you to Barnes’ W.C. testimony.

Mr. BELIN. Well, let me ask you this. Of the paraffin tests that you have made, how many have you made of a cheek or cheeks?

Mr. BARNES. One.

Mr. BELIN. Was that with Lee Harvey Oswald?

Mr. BARNES. It was.

Mr. BELIN. Other than that, you have never made a paraffin test of anyone’s cheek?


Mr. BELIN. Any particular reason why you might not have in any other case?

Mr. BARNES. It has never been requested of me before.

Mr. BELIN. Based on your knowledge and information about the science of paraffin tests, do you know whether or not it is a common practice or not a common practice to make it of one cheek?

Mr. BARNES. It is not a common practice.

Mr. BELIN. Any particular reason it is not a common practice that you can think of or know of?

Mr. BARNES. Firing a revolver, should he fire a revolver, I would say the revolver most likely would be far enough away where powder residue wouldn’t reach his cheek.

Mr. BELIN. What about a rifle?

Mr. BARNES. Firing a rifle, you get your chamber enclosed with steel metal around it, and the chances of powder residue would be very remote.

Mr. BELIN. Have you fired a bolt-action rifle at all before?

Mr. BARNES. Many times.

Mr. BELIN. How close would the chamber be to the cheek as you would be looking through the sight of the gun?

Mr. BARNES. Be several inches to the rear of the chamber.

Mr. BELIN. Would this have any effect on the paraffin test at all?

Mr. BARNES. It sure would.

Mr. BELIN. What about telescopic sights? Would that push your face back further or not?

Mr. BARNES. Push it even further back.

Mr. BELIN. Would this have an effect on the paraffin test?

Mr. BARNES. The further you get from the chamber, the less possibility of getting powder residue on it would be.

A little later during the same testimony.

Mr. BELIN. Did Lee Harvey Oswald say anything to you as you were removing these casts, that you remember?

Mr. BARNES. Very little, other than what I repeated to you before, that he knew what I was trying to do, and that I was wasting my time that he didn’t know anything about what we were accusing him of.

Barnes is also quoted in a summarisation of a DPD/WC document that taking a paraffin cast of Oswald’s hand was ok with him.

  • Carl Day says pretty much the same during his C. testimony:

Mr. DAY. I directed them to make it, and also paraffin casts or just of a piece of paraffin on the left side of the face to see if there were any nitrates there.

Mr. BELIN. On the left side or right side of the face?

Mr. DAY. Right side.

Mr. BELIN. Do you know what the results of the paraffin tests were?

Mr. DAY. The test on the face was negative.

Mr. BELIN. Had you ever done a paraffin test on a face before?

Mr. DAY. No; actually–had it not been for the particular type of case and this particular situation here we would not have at this time. It was just something that was done to actually keep from someone saying later on, “Why didn’t you do it?” Actually, in my experience there, shooting a rifle with a telescopic sight there would be no chance for nitrates to get way back or on the side of the face from a rifle.

Mr. BALL. Is it usual to find any trace of nitrate on the face if a rifle has been fired? 
Mr. HICKS. That is the first time that I had the opportunity to make a paraffin test on a person’s face.
Mr. BALL. You never made one before?
Mr. HICKS. Never before.
Mr. BALL. The other tests were always on the hands?
Mr. HICKS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL. Was there some reason for that?
Mr. HICKS. I had never had the occasion arise that I know of where anyone had that suggested, that a paraffin test be made of a cheek. On other occasions they were only interested in the hand.

The admissions during the W.C. testimonies of Barnes and Day mean that the paraffin cast of Oswald’s right cheek was not going to give them the confirmation of Oswald’s connect to the rifle.

Paraffin test before or after fingerprints?

Then there is the small, but pivotal matter of whether the fingerprints and palm print were taken before the paraffin tests. During Barnes’ testimony something jumps out. And that is whether the finger prints and palm prints were administered before or after the paraffin tests. If they did them before then these paraffin tests would have been useless from the beginning due to the nitrates from the ink being present.

Mr. BELIN. Sergeant, did you make any other tests or obtain any other evidence or information from Lee Harvey Oswald other than the paraffin that you made?
Mr. BARNES. I obtained palm prints from Lee Harvey Oswald.
Mr. BELIN. When did you do this?
Mr. BARNES. Immediately before we made—no, immediately after, I am sorry, immediately after we made the paraffin test.
Mr. BELIN. I would assume you did it afterwards?
Mr. BARNES. That is right. It was after we made the tests. 

According to Ramparts Magazine (page 4), Oswald had his palm prints and finger prints taken before those paraffin tests. In a report submitted by Richard Sims and Elmer Boyd it states that the fingerprints were taken before the paraffin casts.

Barnes is also interviewed for the HSCA on April 17th 1978. And he does not misspeak again and sticks to the order of the paraffin casts being taken first on Oswald and then having his finger and palm prints taken. At the end of the statement it says that J.B. Hicks was not present to be interviewed since he had left town to go fishing.

What happened with the casts?

The paraffin casts are sent in three envelopes to DCCCIL at Parkland hospital by George Doughty (page 5). The results from these tests are not obtained until the next day. In this ten page report it is brought forward that the results are showing nitrate patterns consistent with the subject having discharged a firearm on exhibits #2 and #3. A pattern on exhibit #3 is typical of the patterns produced in firing a revolver. None of these point to Oswald firing a rifle. Nor are they able to differentiate the powder residues, after a Neutron Activation Analysis, to see which particles are from a revolver or from a rifle. There is more additional technical info from Vincent Guinn and articles here. Guinn himself defends the work he and others have done in a newspaper article on Oct 13 1964.

The FBI also releases a report in the afternoon of Nov 23rd which states the same. The FBI earlier that day is keen to obtain the test results for section Chief Jim Handley. The second page is peculiar as it states the paraffin tests were taken at 10:45 AM and that a doctor was present who conducted it!

The findings get repeated in another FBI document alongside the mention of Louie L Anderson, of the Dallas City Council Criminal Investigative Laboratory who washed and taken the paraffin casts home since they were marked to be discarded.

Norman Redlich writes to his fellow Warren Commission member Allen Dulles on July 2nd  1964 and states rather concisely what the Neutron Activation Analysis had managed to achive. Which is not much.

Marrion Johnson of NARA confirms on Feb 3 1966 (page 2) that he has examined seven pieces of paraffin cast and an empty wax tin among the FBI evidence exhibits.

In conclusion, there was not a shred of evidence that tied Oswald to the rifle, not the fingerprints, the palm prints nor the nitrate tests.

Add on that the DPD had no clue about the Hidell ID on the 22nd what did they actually have to charge Oswald with the murder of John Kennedy? Nothing!

Dave Methany – Minnesota Daily Feb 20 1964 Click to enlarge.

Lee Harvey Oswald’s Palm Prints

Lee Harvey Oswald’s Palm Prints.


The palm print is of major interest and that is because eventually Oswald’s palm print was linked to the rifle, but before it got to that it went through some interesting moves. I will share all my available information that I have managed to gather and my special thanks go to Malcolm Blunt for some of the documentation, Terry Martin for the scans of the hallway photographs. Also NARAMFFAARC and UNT. And additional research by Michael T GriffithHarold WeisbergHenry Hurt and David Lifton. Sylvia Meagher is one of the very first ones, in Dec. 1964, who writes about this.

The palm print cards.

There are two sets of Nov. 22nd palm prints known to me. Both signed by Hicks, and referred to as CE 735 & 736. A better quality set is also at the Malcolm Blunt archive in a FBI report from May 19 1978.

Then at UNT, the second set (left & right) is also signed again by Hicks and the images are referred to as the Commission Exhibits. This means that these photos come from the WC and are not reproductions from the DPD themselves. The black edging and numbering give that away. These sets are not originals.

These sets differ from each other once you check the annotations and the positions of the printed fingers of the palm prints in the photographic reproductions.

Carl Day and the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle.

Taking a closer look at Carl Day and his statements about the alleged palm print lift. It was allegedly underneath the barrel and ‘protected’ by the wood stock. Day was the only person who handled the rifle.

Lieutenant Day is seen in this Helmer Reenberg compilation of various clips handling the weapon on the sixth floor of the TSBD, near the front entrance and inside the third floor corridor of the DPD. Below a set of photos of Day in the third floor corridor on his way to Room 317 of Robbery & Homicide which was Will Fritz’s office and where Marina Oswald was to be shown the rifle for identification. She was of no help to them. There are no reports of Marina positively identifying the rifle there and then.

In his W.C. testimony he explains where he found the print and what happened during the process of developing the palm print.

Mr. DAY. I took it to the office and tried to bring out the two prints I had seen on the side of the gun at the bookstore. They still were rather unclear. Due to the roughness of the metal, I photographed them rather than try to lift them. I could also see a trace of a print on the side of the barrel that extended under the woodstock. I started to take the woodstock off and noted traces of a palmprint near the firing end of the barrel about 3 inches under the wood-stock when I took the woodstock loose.
Mr. BELIN. You mean 3 inches from the small end of the woodstock?
Mr. DAY. Right–yes, sir.
Mr. McCLOY. From the firing end of the barrel, you mean the muzzle?
Mr. DAY. The muzzle; yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. Let me clarify the record. By that you mean you found it on the metal or you mean you found it on the wood?
Mr. DAY. On the metal, after removing the wood.
Mr. BELIN. The wood. You removed the wood, and then underneath the wood is where you found the print?
Mr. DAY. On the bottom side of the barrel which was covered by the wood, I found traces of a palmprint. I dusted these and tried lifting them, the prints, with scotch tape in the usual manner. A faint palmprint came off. I could still see traces of the print under the barrel and was going to try to use photography to bring off or bring out a better print. About this time I received instructions from the chief’s office to go no further with the processing, it was to be released to the FBI for them to complete. I did not process the underside of the barrel under the scopic sight, did not get to this area of the gun.

Mr. BELIN. At what time did these same photographs which are the same as Commission Exhibit 720 and 721 of this print—-
Mr. DAY. About 8 o’clock, somewhere around 8 o’clock, in that neighbourhood.
Mr. BELIN. Of what date?
Mr. DAY. November 22, 1963.
Mr. BELIN. What about the lift which has previously been marked as Commission Exhibit 637?
Mr. DAY. About what?
Mr. BELIN. When did you turn that over to the FBI?
Mr. DAY. I released that to them on November 26, 1963. I did not release this—-
Mr. BELIN. You are referring now—-
Mr. DAY. On November 22.
Mr. BELIN. You are referring to Commission Exhibit 637?
Mr. DAY. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. Is there any particular reason why this was not released on the 22d?
Mr. DAY. The gun was being sent in to them for process of prints. Actually I thought the print on the gun was their best bet, still remained on there, and, too, there was another print, I thought possibly under the wood part up near the trigger housing.
Mr. BELIN. You mean the remaining traces of the powder you had when you got the lift, Exhibit 637, is that what you mean by the lift of the remaining print on the gun?
Mr. DAY. Yes, sir. Actually it was dried ridges on there. There were traces of ridges still on the gun barrel.
Mr. BELIN. Can you tell the circumstances under which you sent Commission Exhibit No. 637 to the FBI?
Mr. DAY. We released certain evidence to the FBI, including the gun, on November 22. It was returned to us on November 24. Then on November 26 we received instructions to send back to the FBI everything that we had.
Mr. BELIN. Did you do that?
Mr. DAY. Yes, sir; and at that time I sent the lift marked—-
Mr. BELIN. 637.

But then Day admits photographing the rifle again. He had another chance to photograph the rifle but did not bother about that all important lift again!

Mr. BELIN. I am now going to hand you No. 737 and ask you to state if you know what this is.
Mr. DAY. Yes, sir. This is the rifle found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository November 22, 1963.
Mr. BELIN. Who took that picture?
Mr. DAY. I took it myself.
Mr. BELIN. When?
Mr. DAY. About 9 or 9:30 p.m., November 22, on the fourth floor of the City Hall in my office.

Carl Day and the Mannlicher Carcano. Click to enlarge.

Day will not confirm for 100% that Oswald’s palm print is CE 637 without checking it first.

Mr. BELIN. Based on your experience, I will ask you now for a definitive statement as to whether or not you can positively identify the print shown on Commission Commission Exhibit No. 637 as being from the right palm of Lee Harvey Oswald as shown on Commission Exhibit 629?
Mr. DAY. Maybe I shouldn’t absolutely make a positive statement without further checking that. I think it is his, but I would have to sit down and take two glasses to make an additional comparison before I would say absolutely, excluding all possibility, it is. I think it is, but I would have to do some more work on that.

He is questioned about the palm print at the very end by John J McCloy and his statement is very telling.

Mr. McCLOY. Can you restate again for the record what you can positively identify in terms of fingerprints or palm prints and Oswald’s—-
Mr. DAY. The palmprint on the box he apparently sat on I can definitely say it is his without being in fear of any error. The other, I think it is his, but I couldn’t say definitely on a witness stand.
Mr. McCLOY. By the other, you mean the other palmprint?
Mr. DAY. The palmprint and that tracer print aside the trigger housing or the magazine housing.

In an FBI interview from Sept. 9 1964 J.C. Day states on page 4: It appeared probable these prints were from the right palm and fingers of Lee Harvey Oswald, but the rifle was released to the FBI, to be sent to Washington, D .C. before the examination was completed and positive identification of the prints could be made. The prints were not very good for comparison purposes.

Later on he states that after the palm print lift he only told Jessy Curry and Will Fritz about it that evening. He was not able to state the exact time of the discovery nor when he relayed the result to Curry and Fritz. He only knows it is prior Vincent Drain’s collection of the evidence. Yet Curry is asked about the fingerprints that same evening and Will Fritz early on the 23rd and both answered negative.

Hard to believe this as Fritz would have used this there and then since he had nothing that tied Oswald to the rifle at that time. On Dec. 23 1963 Will Fritz has a report made up about the evidence and the palm print is briefly summarised in it. All irregularities are swept under the carpet.

Carl Day and the Mannlicher-Carcano. Click to enlarge.

In Carl Day’s HSCA interview on Oct. 18 1977 he states that Will Fritz ordered him to bring it downstairs and display it to Marina Oswald. Day could not understand whether she recognised the rifle or not. Only after his return to the fourth floor does he ‘discover’ part of a print on the metal bit underneath the barrel where it sits on the stock.

Will Fritz tells him twice to stop as the FBI is taking the rifle with them. No mention of Jesse Curry who was originally stated as the man who told Day to cease his work on the rifle.

He did not give the FBI the print lift as he thought the FBI would do a better job. When the rifle returns to Dallas, Day is disappointed that the FBI did not find the print on the barrel. And once the FBI requires the rifle to be sent back again. Day sent the print lift alongside with the rifle.

He did not make a positive ID with the print he lifted off the barrel as belonging to Oswald. He felt (!) it was Oswald’s, but would not have testified that it was, under oath without further examination.

 Henry Hurt for his book Reasonable Doubt interviewed Carl Day and Vince Drain in 1984 (page 109). Day remains adamant that the Oswald print was on the rifle when he first examined it a few hours after the shooting. Moreover, Day stated that when he gave the rifle to Agent Drain, he pointed out to the FBI man both the area where the print could be seen and the fingerprint dust used to bring it out. Lieutenant Day states that he cautioned Drain to be sure the area was not disturbed while the rifle was in transit to the FBI laboratory. Drain flatly disputes this, claiming that Day never showed him such a print. “I just don’t believe there was ever a print,” said Drain. He noted that there was increasing pressure on the Dallas police to build evidence in the case. Asked to explain what might have happened, Agent Drain stated, “All I can figure is that it [Oswald’s print] was some sort of cushion, because they were getting a lot of heat by Sunday night. You could take the print off Oswald’s card and put it on the rifle. Something like that happened.”

In First Day Evidence by Gary Savage & Rusty Livingstone Savage writes Captain Doughty came in at about 20:30 – 21:00 hrs and told Day to stop working on the rifle (p 108).

Also in the book, on page 108, “He then placed a strip of 2” scotch tape over the developed print and rubbed it down before finally lifting the tape containing the print off and placed it on a card. He said he then compared the lift to Oswald’s palm print card and was certain (!) that it was Oswald’s. He also said that after the lift, he could still see an impression of the palm print left on the barrel.

This is hard to believe when Day stated previously stated that he did not do such a thing.

Next, Lieutenant Day had intended to photograph the area of the rifle barrel from which the palm print lift had been made, but was again interrupted by Captain Doughty at about 10:00 pm. He was told once again to stop working on the gun and release it to FBI Agent Drain, who would arrive about 11:30 pm. Lieutenant Day did not have time to write any reports about what he had found, but did have time to reassemble the rifle before Drain arrived.

 So we have a third person entering the fold as to teling Day to stop working on the rifle! He is at first told by Will Fritz to cease working on the rifle, then Max Doughty tells him twice at 22:00 and then in a statement made by Day to the FBI (page 5) he said that the call from Jesse Curry to get the evidence ready for the FBI to collect came just before midnight! Curry btw makes no mention of this in any of his WC testimony.

Day said that a few days after the evidence was turned over, an FBI agent came to his house. He wanted too know when Lieutenant Day had lifted the palm print included in the evidence they had received because they had positively identified it themselves as Oswald’s palm print. Lieutenant Day got the impression that they had missed it and he could “envision J Edgar Hoover going into orbit.” (pages 109&110).

Lieutenant Day believed at the time that he had not completely obliterated the palm print on the barrel after his lift and later stated he had pointed out the area of the palm print to FBI agent Drain when turning the rifle over to him. Drain on the other hand did not recall being show the palm print (page 110).

 In this ARRB document from Dec. 19 1996 they question the course of the narrative regarding the palm print and the lack of contemporaneous evidence and wonder whether they should question Carl Day again.

Henry Wade.

It is Dallas DA Henry Wade who mentions the alleged palm prints first and that is during the press conference on Nov 24, while Oswald is dead.

 The FBI.

he FBI‘s Vincent Drain collects the rifle. Day and others reports state that he handed the rifle over to Drain at 23:45. This time is hard to accept as being correct. When Oswald speaks to the press at 00:15 he is still wearing his shirt. That shirt was part of the collection of evidence taken by Drain to Washington. Furthermore Henry Wade held a press conference after Oswald’s and Drain is seen standing next to Wade. The earliest Drain could have collected it and taken it away with him would have been 00:30.

The FBI (J Edgar Hoover) writes on Nov. 23rd to DPD Chief Jesse Curry and have found nothing. He states the following on page 7: The latent prints appearing in the photograph taken of the rifle K1, by the Dallas Police Department, are too fragmentary and indistinct to be of any value for identification purposes. Photographs of this weapon taken by this Bureau have failed to produce prints of sufficient legibility for comparison purposes.

After processing the rifle the FBI returns the rifle to the Dallas Police on Nov. 24. The FBI could not find anything, but the DPD produces a palm print lift four days after the evidence has travelled back and forth from Dallas to Washington already.

Then the evidence is turned back over to the FBI by Carl Day to Vincent Drain on Nov. 26th. And this time the palm print lift is included with the rest of the evidence. The official report by Day.

The FBI states in a report, titled “LATENT FINGERPRINTS EXAMINATIONS”, from Nov. 28 that fingerprints and palm prints have been discovered on certain items, but there is no mention of any found on the rifle.

On Nov 29. 1963 the rifle is back in FBI custody after it had been back in DPD custody from Nov 24.

In this report by the ARRB all rifle transporations are logged.

The FBI on Feb. 23 1964 questions the initial missing photographs of the palm print (page 2).

Sebastian Latona.

Sebastian Latona, who is the FBI’s supervisor of the latent fingerprint section of the identity division, in his WC testimony states the following about the quality of the weapon and its connection to fingerprints:


Representative BOGGS. Now, does a weapon lend itself to retaining fingerprints?

Mr. LATONA. This particular weapon here, first of all, in my opinion, the metal is very poorly finished. It is absorbent. Believe it or not, there is a certain amount of absorption into this metal itself. It is not finished in the sense that it is highly polished.

Representative BOGGS. So this would be conducive to getting a good print, or would it?

Mr. LATONA. It would not.

Representative BOGGS. I see-because it would absorb the moisture.

Mr. LATONA. That’s right. Now, there are other guns-for example, Smith and Wesson, which have exceptionally nice finishes, the blue metal finishes are better surfaces for latent prints. Where you have a nickel-plated or silver plated revolvers, where it is smooth-they are much more conducive to latent prints than some of these other things, say like the army type, the weapons used in wartime that are dull, to avoid reflection-things of that type-they are not as good.

Latona has various photographs taken of the rifle and also looks for any other prints.

So I made arrangements to immediately have a photographer come in and see if he could improve on the photographs that were taken by the Dallas Police Department. Well, we spent, between the two of us, setting up the camera, looking at prints,… highlighting, sidelighting, every type of lighting that we could conceivably think of, checking back and forth in the darkroom-we could not improve the condition of these latent prints. So, accordingly, the final conclusion was simply that the latent print on this gun was of no value, the fragments that were there. After that had been determined, I then proceeded to completely process the entire rifle, to see if there were any other prints of any significance or value any prints of value I would not know what the significance would be, but to see if there were any other prints. I completely covered the rifle.

Then he is asked whether he dusted the rifle himself.

Mr. EISENBERG. We will get other evidence in the record at a subsequent time to shon those were the prints of Oswald. Mr. Latona you were saying that you had worked over that rifle by applying a gray powder to it. Did you develop any fingerprints?

Mr. LATONA. I was not successful in developing any prints at all on the weapon. I also had one of the firearms examiners dismantle the weapon and I processed the complete weapon, all parts, everything else. And no latent prints of value were developed.

When it comes to the palm print Latona’s testimony confirms that they had no knowledge of it until seven days after the murder. They only knew of the trigger guard prints wrapped in cellophane. Nor did he see any trace of markings of a lifting on the gun.

Mr. EISENBERG. Now, Mr. Latona, as I understand it, on November 23, ‘therefore, the FBI had not succeeded in making an identification of a fingerprint or palmprint on the rifle, but several days later virtue of the receipt of this lift, which did not come with the weapon originally, the FBI did succeed in identifying a print on Exhibit 1303

Mr. LATONA. That is right.

Mr. EISENBERG. Which may explain any inconsistent or apparently inconsistent statements, which I believe appeared in the press, as to an identification?

Mr. LATONA. We had no personal knowledge of any palmprint having been developed on the rifle. The only prints that we knew of were the fragmentary prints which I previously pointed out had been indicated by the cellophane on the trigger guard. There was no indication on this rifle as to the existence of any other prints. This print which indicates it came from the underside of the gun barrel, evidently the lifting had heen so complete that there was nothing left to show any marking on the gun itself as to the existence of such even an attempt on the part of anyone else to process the rifle.

Mr. DULLES. Do I understand then that if there is a lifting of this kind, that it may obliterate—

Mr. LATONA. Completely.

Mr. DULLES. The original print?

Mr. LATONA. That is right.

Mr. EISENBERG. So that you personally,

Mr. Latona, did not know anything about a print being on the rifle which was identifiable until you received, actually received the lift, Exhibit 637?

Mr. LATONA. On the 29th of November.

Mr. EISENBERG. Seven days after the assassination. And in the intervening period, correspondicgly, the FBI had no such knowledge?

Mr. LATONA. As far as I know.

The WC and the FBI try to iron out the creases.

On Aug 28 1964 Wesley Liebeler reports to J Lee Rankin and mentions the Carl Day’s WC testimony and points out the issues regarding the lift of the palm print. He makes mention of FBI agent Sebastian Latona who makes contradicting statements about the barrel, the fingerprint powder, the prints and the lack thereof.

On Aug 28 1964 in a FBI document to Alan Belmont it is noted that the Warren Commission has some questions about the timing of the actual lift of the palm print. They also wonder aloud whether Day had taken actual photographs of the lift or the barrel and this is something he had not done.

In WC Exhibit 2637, a letter from J Edgar Hoover on Sep 4 1964 to J Lee Rankin. Hoover states that the attached photos of the palm print are the ones that were found under the barrel of the rifle.

In a DOJ document of Sep 11 1964 Day is mentioned as having lifted the palm print and that it belonged to Oswald. And that the FBI also tested it and came to the same conclusion. This record is based on the Sep 9 interview (see previous paragraph) of Carl Day by the FBI.

And when the Warren report is published the whole ‘discovery of the palm print’ is rubber stamped.



Related: Lee Harvey Oswald’s Fingerprints.