Business as usual or meet the lone gunman(UA-66627984-1)

Robert Hughes Film

Marrion Baker in Hughes

A week or so ago Robin Unger posted a Hughes GIF with Marrion baker riding alongside Cam Car 3. Seen about halfway the footage, just after the splice in the video below of which the GIF has been repeated a few times.

 

Here is a still.

Marrion Baker in the Hughes film. Click to enlarge.

 

Here is a map of Dealey Plaza which marks Baker’s location on Houston captured by Hughes.

Baker in Hughes on Dealey Plaza Robert Cutler Map.

 

The reader ought to familiarise himself with the distance from the front of the TSBD and Baker’s position on the map.

From what I can see the shooting has yet to start or has just started as Baker looks passive nor does his head change as to looking upward and seeing those pigeons. Nothing looks out of the ordinary.

Then the camera men inside the cars. They are still looking backwards towards the corner of Main and Houston where a toss of film went hilariously wrong and ‘everyone had a good laugh’. This has been confirmed by several of the car’s occupants in Richard Trask’s book Pictures Of The Pain.

Baker’s testimony regarding this matter.

Will you take up your trip from there, please?
Mr. BAKER – As we approached the corner there of Main and Houston we were making a right turn, and as I came out behind that building there, which is the county courthouse, the sheriff building, well, there was a strong wind hit me and I almost lost my balance.

Mr. BELIN – How fast would you estimate the speed of your motorcycle as you turned the corner, if you know?
Mr. BAKER – I would say–it wasn’t very fast. I almost lost balance, we were just creeping along real slowly.
Mr. DULLES – That is turning from Main into Houston?
Mr. BAKER – That is right, sir.
Mr. BELIN – You turned-do you have any actual speed estimate as you turned that corner at all or just you would say very slow?
Mr. BAKER – I would say from around 5 to 6 or 7 miles an hour, because you can’t hardly travel under that and you know keep your balance.
Mr. BELIN – From what direction was the wind coming When it hit you?
Mr. BAKER – Due north.
Mr. BELIN – All right.
Now, tell us what happened after you turned on to Houston Street?
Mr. BAKER – AS I got myself straightened up there, I guess it took me some 20, 30 feet, something like that, and it was about that time that I heard these shots come out.
Mr. BELIN – All right.
Could you just tell us what you heard and what you saw and what you did?
Mr. BAKER – As I got, like I say as I got straightened up there, I was, I don’t know when these shots started coming off, I just–it seemed to me like they were high, and I just happened to look right straight up—
Mr. DULLES – I wonder if you would just tell us on that chart and I will try to follow with the record where you were at this time, you were coming down Houston.
Mr. BELIN – Sir, if you can–I plan to get that actual chart in a minute. If we could—-
Mr. DULLES – I want to see where he was vis-a-vis the building on the chart there.
Mr. BAKER – This is Main Street and this is Houston. This is the corner that I am speaking of; I made the right turn here. The motorcade and all, as I was here turning the front car was turning up here, and as I got somewhere about right here—-
Mr. DULLES – That is halfway down the first block.
Mr. BELIN – No, sir; can I interrupt you for a minute?
Mr. DULLES – Certainly.
Mr. BELIN – Officer Baker, when we were in Dallas on March 20, Friday, you walked over with me and showed me about the point you thought your motorcycle was when you heard the first shot, do you remember doing that?
Mr. BAKER – Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN – And then we paced this off measuring it from a distance which could be described as the north curbline of Main Street as extended?
Mr. BAKER – Yes, sir; that would be this one right across here.
Mr. BELIN – And we paced it off as to where you thought your motorcycle was when you heard the first shot and do you remember offhand about where you said this was as to what distance it was, north of the north curbline of Main Street?
Mr. BAKER – We approximated it was 60 to 80 feet there, north of the north curbline of Main on Houston.
Mr. DULLES – Thank you.
Mr. BELIN – Does that answer your question?
Mr. DULLES – That answers my question entirely.
Mr. BELIN – In any event you heard the first shot, or when you heard this noise did you believe it was a shot or did you believe it was something else?
Mr. BAKER – It hit me all at once that it was a rifle shot because I had just got back from deer hunting and I had heard them pop over there for about a week.
Mr. BELIN – What kind of a weapon did it sound like it was coming from?
Mr. BAKER – It sounded to me like it was a high-powered rifle.
Mr. BELIN – All right. When you heard the first shot or the first noise, what did you do and what did you see?
Mr. BAKER – Well, to me, it sounded high and I immediately kind of looked up, and I had a feeling that it came from the building, either right in front of me or of the one across to the right of it.
Mr. BELIN – What would the building right in front of you be?
Mr. BAKER – It would be this Book Depository Building.
Mr. BELIN – That would be the building located on what corner of Houston and Elm?
Mr. BAKER – That would be the northwest corner.
Mr. BELIN – All right. And you thought it was either from that building or the building located where?
Mr. BAKER – On the northeast corner.
Mr. BELIN – All right. Did you see or hear or do anything else after you heard the first noise?
Mr. BAKER – Yes, sir. As I was looking up, all these pigeons began to fly up to the top of the buildings here and I saw those come up and start flying around.
Mr. BELIN – From what building, if you know, do you think those pigeons came from?
Mr. BAKER – I wasn’t sure, but I am pretty sure they came from the building right on the northwest corner.
Mr. BELIN – Then what did you see or do?
Mr. BAKER – Well, I immediately revved that motorcycle up and was going up there to see if I could help anybody or see what was going on because I couldn’t see around this bend.
Mr. BELIN – Well, between the time you revved up the motorcycle had you heard any more shots?
Mr. BAKER – Yes, sir; I heard–now before I revved up this motorcycle, I heard the, you know, the two extra shots, the three shots.

And later.

Mr. BELIN – All right. After the third shot, then, what did you do?
Mr. BAKER – Well, I revved that motorcycle up and I went down to the corner which would be approximately 180 to 200 feet from the point where we had first stated, you know, that we heard the shots.
Mr. BELIN – What distance did you state? What we did on Friday afternoon, we paced off from the point you thought you heard the first shot to the point at which you parked the motorcycle, and this paced off to how much?
Mr. BAKER – From 180 to 200 feet.
Mr. BELIN – That is where you parked the motorcycle?
Mr. BAKER – Yes.
Mr. BELIN – All right.
I wonder if we could go on this plat, Officer Baker, and first if you could put on here with this pen, and I have turned it upside down.
With Exhibit 361, show us the spot at which you stopped your motorcycle approximately and put a “B” on it, if you would.
Mr. BAKER – Somewhere at this position here, which is approximately 10 feet from this signal light here on the northwest corner of Elm and Houston.
Mr. BELIN – All right.
You have put a dot on Exhibit 361 with the line going to “B” and the dot represents that signal light, is that correct?
Mr. BAKER – That is right, sir.
Mr. BELIN – You, on Friday, March 20, parked your motorcycle where you thought it was parked on November 22 and then we paced off the distance from the nearest point of the motorcycle to the stop light and it was 10 feet, is that correct?
Mr. BAKER – That is correct, sir.
Mr. BELIN – All right.
Now, I show you Exhibit 478 and ask you if you will, on this exhibit put an arrow with the letter “B” to this stoplight.
Mr. BAKER – Talking about this one here?
Mr. BELIN – The stoplight from which we measured the distance to the motorcycle. The arrow with the letter “B” points to the stoplight, is that correct?
Mr. BAKER – That is correct, sir.
Mr. BELIN – And you stopped your motorcycle 10 feet to the east of that stoplight, is that correct?
Mr. BAKER – That is correct, sir.
Mr. BELIN – We then paced off the distance as to approximately how far it was from the place your motorcycle was parked to the doorway of the School Book Depository Building, do you remember doing that, on March 20?
Mr. BAKER – Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN – And it appears on Exhibit 477 that that doorway is recessed, is that correct?
Mr. BAKER – That is correct, sir.
Mr. BELIN – Do you remember how far that was from the place your motorcycle was parked to the doorway?
Mr. BAKER – Approximately 45 feet.
Mr. BELIN – This same stoplight appears as you look at Exhibit 477 to the left of the entranceway to the building, is that correct?
Mr. BAKER – That is correct, sir.
Mr. BELIN – After you parked your motorcycle, did you notice anything that was going on in the area?
Mr. BAKER – Yes, sir. As I parked here
Mr. BELIN – You are pointing on Exhibit 361 to the place that you have marked with “B.”
Mr. BAKER – And I was looking westward which would be in this direction.
Mr. BELIN – By that, you are pointing down the entrance to the freeway and kind of what I will call the peninsula of the park there?
Mr. BAKER – Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN – Toward the triple underpass.
Representative BOGGS -Where is the underpass?
Mr. BAKER – The underpass is down here. This is really Elm Street, and this would be Main and Commerce and they all come together here, and there is a triple overpass.
Representative BOGGS -Right.
Mr. BAKER – At this point, I looked down here as I was parking my motorcycle and these people on this ground here, on the sidewalk, there were several of them falling, and they were rolling around down there, and all these people were rushing back, a lot of them were grabbing their children, and I noticed one, I didn’t know who he was, but there was a man ran out into the crowd and back.
Mr. BELIN – Did you notice anything else?
Mr. BAKER – Except there was a woman standing–well, all these people were running, and there was a woman screaming, “Oh, they have shot that man, they have shot that man.”
Mr. BELIN – All right.
Now, you are on Exhibit 361, and you are pointing to people along the area or bordering the entrance to that expressway and that bit of land lying to the west and north, as to where you describe these people, is that correct?
Mr. BAKER – That is correct, sir.
Mr. DULLES – Would you mark where the overpass would be, right at the end of those lines, just so we get oriented on it.
Mr. BELIN – I am trying to see down here.
Mr. DULLES – I just wanted to get a general idea.
Mr. BELIN – On Exhibit 361, sir, it wouldn’t show but it basically would be off in this direction coming down this way. The entrance to the freeway would go down here and the overpass would roughly be down here.
Mr. DULLES – As far as that?
Mr. BELIN – Yes, sir; I think Mr. Redlich is going to get a picture that will better describe it.
Mr. DULLES – All right.
Mr. BELIN – All right.
Is there anything else you saw there, Officer Baker, before you ran to the building?
Mr. BAKER – No, sir; not at that time.
Mr. BELIN – All right.
Then what did you do after surveying the situation?
Mr. BAKER – I had it in mind that the shots came from the top of this building here.
Mr. BELIN – By this building, you are referring to what?
Mr. BAKER – The Book Depository Building.
Mr. BELIN – Go on.
Representative BOGGS -You were parked right in front of the Building?
Mr. BAKER – Yes, sir; ran right straight to it.
Representative BOGGS -Right.

Now suspicious or not regarding Baker measuring out with Belin his distance after he heard the first shot.

What can be derived from this part of the episode is that from a distance p.o.v. there is not much to play with regarding observing pigeons coming over/of the roof of the TSBD and then the so called revving up to park the bike just on Elm near the side walk.

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.

The 6th floor window in the Robert Hughes film

Robert Hughes

Robert Hughes

On Nov 26th 1963 Robert Hughes hands over his film which he shot while the motorcade was turning from Houston on to Elm St. on Nov 22nd 1963.

The FBI initially investigates and reckons there is a person visible in the window where the so called sniper’s nest is located. But they change their mind once the film is being studied in Washington.

Although the FBI had the Hughes film in its possession 4 days (Nov 26th 1963) after the Big Event, the WC decided not to use it. This is an important FACT! Actually the WC barely used anything from that day while they were aware of most photographs and film footage they choose not to admit it into evidence.

In a memo dated Nov 26th it says it appears that there may be someone in the 6th floor window.

This is repeated in a memo on Nov 28th by A. Rosen to Alan Belmont

Alan Belmont  writes on Nov 28th, the same day he received the memo from Rosen without any further evidence besides jumping on the band wagon that he can see one person in the window.

A memo by Robert Barrett makes the same claim, let’s also add that this particular finding comes from Dallas first and foremost. The FBI lab in Wa. has not had their hands on the Hughes film yet and investigate this particular claim. And this shift from Dallas to Washington is where things seem to change!!!

The FBI makes 10 copies of the film according to the memo on Dec 9th (check out all the signatures!) and guess what? They reported they could NOT SEE ANY HUMAN FORM in that window.

But it is getting better! In a memo (which includes Belmont as one of the recipients btw!) from Dec 10th  by W.D. Griffth it is repeated that no human form is visible.

Not only does the FBI investigate this in WA. and comes to the conclusion I just mentioned.. They want a second opinion and the FBI sends it to the Navy Photographic Interpretation Centre and they conclude the same.  

Richard E. Sprague adds on that there is no rifle showing either. From a timing perspective this makes it rather difficult to conclude that 3 shots have been fired from that very same window.

 

Memo Nov 26th 1963

Memo Nov 26th 1963

FBI Memo Rosen to Belmont Nov 28th 1963

FBI Memo Rosen to Belmont Nov 28th 1963

Memo by Robert Barrert Nov 30th 1963

Memo Dec 9th FBI-10 copies of Hughes film made

Memo Dec 9th 1963-1

Memo Dec 9th 1963-2

Memo Dec 9th 1963-2

FBI Report stating they can not see any human form in Hughes-1

FBI Report stating they can not see any human form in Hughes-1

FBI Report stating they can not see any human form in Hughes-2

FBI Report stating they can not see any human form in Hughes-2

WD Griffth Memo Dec 10 1963

Sprague, Richard E., Monographs

Prayer Man The Movie Release

Yes!!!!!!!!!

Here it is, finally :) Go full screen for a maximum visual experience, as it is upped at 1080 pixels.

Enjoy

 

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