The Alleged Raleigh Call

The Alleged Raleigh Call


This is a rewritten and updated version from the original post published on Feb. 26 2019.

Updated with text and links added on Dec 30 2022, Jan 20 & 27 2023.


Thanks to Malcolm Blunt for some of the A.R.R.B., H.S.C.A. and F.B.I. documents. And thanks to Jessica Shores for some assistance by providing me some newspaper articles and info on Henry Hurt. I also would like to thank Grover Proctor for acknowledging my work at his 2019 presentation in Dallas. This article main findings will be included with my book from 2023, in a much more abbreviated version. This web article contains every item of evidence in my possession here or linked to.

While working on the Oswald interrogations I kept thinking of including The Raleigh Call research by Grover Proctor and others into my first release in Sep. 2017. But I decided against it, as something did not feel right. That all important niggle, yet not knowing where that niggle came from at that time or what it entailed so I kept it on the back burner for 18 months, until I had decided to change the entire paper over in a timeline setting and decided to look deeper into it.

So what is it about the Raleigh Call?

The history of the Raleigh Call is written up by Randy Benson quite recently at Indyweek. I’ll quote from it: “It was through the work of independent researcher Michael Canfield that a copy(!) of the Raleigh Call slip first became public. He secured a copy of the slip, which became available as the result of a Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by a civil rights activist Chicago researcher Sherman H. Skolnick, while conducting research for the 1975 book Coup d’Etat in America. The book, co-authored with Alan Weberman, was the first major work to deal with the Raleigh Call, and the slip was reprinted in the appendix.”  Anthony Summers’ 1980 book release Conspiracy made a brief mention about the call as well. But it was dropped when an updated version was released. Summers confided to G Robert Blakey of the HSCA that he doubted the call ever happened at all. From thereon Grover Proctor picked up on it and did his research for years to come. His site is filled with a lot of documentation to study for those interested in this subject.

The Raleigh call, allegedly, happens late in the evening of Saturday the 23rd of Nov. between 22:15 – 22:45. That actual evening of the 23rd after 21:00 hrs of Oswald’s detention is not very well documented with anything happening at all. I know this as I decided to put Oswald’s incarceration that weekend in a timeline manner together for my paper and now for my book.

I do not believe that Oswald made a call to Raleigh, nor spoke with John David Hurt. There is simply too much wrong with it. By just going through the batch of statements on Proctor’s page there are already quite a few inconsistencies and memory lapses to be noted. In this updated and revised article I can safely say that the alleged Raleigh call is just a horrible conspiracy theory that deserves to die a death as it has been kept alive for far too long.

One of the first things I did was to investigate if there were any records in the Dallas Police Department archives at the University of Texas. There are reports made from the three earlier phone calls Oswald made that day. The first phone call by Lee Oswald on Nov 23rd is recorded by the jailer Arthur E Eaves and is at about 13:40 which is just short of 24 hours after his arrest!  Oswald has been returned to his cell after another interrogation by Will Fritz in the morning and sees Marina shortly after this session and is then brought back to his jail cell from where he uses the phone. This looks like Oswald’s very first attempt to call John Abt. Oswald then makes a call to Ruth Paine, at 16:00, trying to get hold of Marina. See the affidavit below of J.E. Popplewell & second affidavit. I go into depth about this specific call to Ruth Paine in my interrogations paper. Then he also makes a 30 minute call at 20:00 in Thurber T. Lord‘s statement. Oswald was making these calls unhindered. Compare these reports with the subject matter at hand then other than an alleged slip, which is a rather poor photocopy, there is not much physically present to support this Raleigh Call coming from Oswald claim.

Will Fritz, in an Outside Contact Report for the HSCA on Apr 20 1978, believes it did not happen since. But he believes the jail records would show who Oswald called and at what time. And these jail records do not reflect a call from Oswald to Raleigh while being incarcerated at the DPD.

The first time the Raleigh Call story was brought up, was in 1965 when Winston Smith, who during his H.S.C.A. interview on Dec 4th 1978, states that he had heard the story after moving the Treons out of Dallas to Springfield that year. He doesn’t remember when exactly, only during a dinner, he was told the story. And during that conversation Alveeta Treon produced the call slip.

The next trace is an unsigned affidavit, from 1968, of Alveeta Treon, which probably was taken during the Garrison investigation. I suggest you click that link to Proctor’s site to see the full story behind this. During the HSCA, on Aug 4 1977, Jim Kostman writes to Donovan Gay and brings up the Raleigh call. This is largely in relation to Alveeta Treon’s first, unsigned, affidavit and Winston Smith, who did assist the Garrison investigation around the time of the making of that affidavit in 1968.

In her HSCA interview of Nov 7th 1978 Alveeta Treon says: Mrs. Treon said that it has concerned her from conversations with Committee investigator Harold Rose that we might not have completely correct information. She said the sequence at the switchboard was that when Oswald came on, both she and Louise Swinney got on the line to take the call. She said, however, it was clear that Mrs. Swinney intended to handle it, as though she had instructions, so Mrs. Treon let her handle it, but Mrs. Treon stayed on the line. She said she was therefore able to hear everything Oswald said and she is sure he asked for the name John Hurt and gave the two numbers. She said that as she listened she wrote the information down on a regular telephone call slip. However, since Mrs. Swinney actually handled the call, Mrs. Treon signed her name to the slip she intended to keep as a souvenir. She said the notations on the slip of “DA” and “CA” stand for did not answer and cancelled, because the call was never actually put through. Mrs. Treon said she never retrieved any paper from the wastebasket on which Mrs. Swinney supposedly entered the information.

Mrs. Treon said her lasting impression of the events that night is that Mrs. Swinney had been instructed by someone to not put the call through to Oswald. She said her belief was strengthened by the fact that Mrs. Swinney did not leave work as soon as Mrs. Treon came on that night as she usually did. Instead she remained as though she had been assigned to handle the call. In that same interview Mrs. Treon said she also intended to tell Harold Rose of the HSCA that her daughter Sharon thought she recognized one of the men who came into the telephone room when Oswald tried to make his call. She said Sharon thought the man might have been one of the officers who was with Oswald just before he was shot in the basement; she thought it was the one who was handcuffed to him. Which can only be Jim Leavelle or L.C. Graves.

Louise Swinney in her interview with the HSCA on  Feb 6th 1978 remembers that Oswald tried to make two calls. One to “Lawyer Apt.” [sic.] in New York and she doesn’t remember who the other call was to. The name John Hunt [sic.] is not familiar to her. She is forewarned, at about 19:00 hrs, that if Oswald was going to make any calls that two DPD detectives would drop by and tap in on the line. There is just one small thing that doesn’t sit right with this scenario, and that is that she is being told about this one hour before Oswald made a call at 20:00 (see the Thurber T. Lord report above) and this call went through for 30 minutes without a glitch!

She stated that she did not put either call through for Oswald. Why not?  And who ordered her to do this? The detectives left after they got the numbers. She states that she wrote the numbers on a blue piece of paper and she believes she may still have it at home. She will try to find it for the HSCA, but a follow-up on this does not materialise. She remembers Alveeta Treon well, but does not recall if they worked together on the night of 11/23/63.

Then on April 20th in an HSCA outside contact report (see below) things get better when the slip gets into play: I showed Louise Swinney, a Xerox copy of the slip containing information on a phone call placed by Lee Harvey Oswald to John Hurt, Raleigh, N.C. on November 23, 1963 and bearing her signature. She stated that it was definitely [ sic. ] not her signature. She was upset that someone had signed her name. She stated that she never handled a call from Oswald to John Hurt. She stated that she only handled a call from Oswald to Lawyer Apt [ sic. ] and another one that she cannot remember, but it was not to John Hurt. Mrs. Swinney insisted on giving me samples of her handwriting and told me that she would have no reason to lie. She stated that only someone working in the switchboard room could have made that out and Alveeta Treon [ sic. ] was the only other person working that night.

The statements by these two women by itself should have been enough to question the truthfulness of this story right there and then. But let’s get Alveeta Treon’s daughter involved to turn this whole thing in an even bigger mess!  Sharon Kovac, contradicts matters compared with Louise Swinney and her mom Alveeta Treon in her HSCA statement from Dec. 6 1978 even more: Ms. Kovac said she cannot recall anyone else being present in the switchboard room that night besides herself and her mother. She said she knows Louise Swinney, her mother’s supervisor, but she does not recall Mrs. Swinney being present at the time. She said when Oswald called in, it is her recollection that her mother handled the call and she remembers seeing her mother open her key on the switchboard at the time of the call.

With regards to IDing the two detectives who were there to prohibit the call from going through.  In the Dec. 6 1978 statement by Sharon Kovac: She said that on Sunday, November 24, 1963 when Oswald was shot in the Dallas Police Department basement, Lt. Leavelle, the man to whom Oswald was hand cuffed at the time of the shooting “resembled” one of the men who had come into the switchboard room on November 23, but she does not believe it was Lt. Leavelle. Which in all honesty doesn’t give us anything as to who these two detectives actually were. Nor is there any follow up investigation regarding this, no pictures shown, nothing.

So Alveeta Treon has one version of the story, her daughter contradicts this, and Louise Swinney her supervisor contradicts both their stories.

The DOJ answers to the HSCA on Nov 1978 that there is no other documentation available.

Our main character John David Hurt.

John David Hurt and his wife Billie Greer Hurt.

John David Hurt’s HSCA interview, the so called intelligence connection, he denies the whole thing and then some.

There are a few newspaper reports on John Hurt and the alleged Raleigh Call on July 17 1980 as well.

If we then look at the FBI report from Feb. 3 1964 that lists the phone numbers Oswald had written down on a piece of paper and that was found on him after he was shot. You can conclude that there is no Raleigh phone number indicating the call to John Hurt, the note does contain phone numbers of John Abt and Ruth Paine. This is again confirmed three days later on Feb 6 1964.

Henry Hurt (no relation) speaks to John David Hurt’s wife after he has passed away in 1981. In his book Reasonable Doubt he states: a few months later, his wife told the author that Hurt had admitted the truth before he died. Terribly upset on the day of the assassination, he got extremely drunk—a habitual problem with him—and telephoned the Dallas jail and asked to speak to Oswald. When denied access, he left his name and number. Mrs. Hurt said her husband told her he never had any earlier contact with Oswald and had been too embarrassed to admit that he got drunk and placed the call.

The ARRB discusses the Hurt matter as well. In an email from Jan 7 1997, Christopher Barger indicates that they will not be able to determine anything further because Hurt is dead and that the HSCA files seem to be of very little value. That last part is very strange since a simple comparison of the HSCA statements of John Hurt, Alveeta Treon, Louise Swinney and Sharon Kovac add a lot of doubt to any validity of the alleged phone call. And yet this email states that there is no dispute that Oswald attempted to call that number.

I have taken all the key bits from the available documents and transferred these into a spread sheet of which I post a screen shot below.

Click pic to enlarge.

So what do I think?

  • Louise Swinney, Alveeta Treon and Sharon Kovac contradict each other to such an extend that there are very few areas of agreement of the Raleigh call actually happening.
  • Louise Swinney is forewarned at 19:00 about two detectives who would want to listen in to any call of Oswald she would handle. When she does handle the call between 22:30 – 23:00 she does not connect the call and states to Oswald she cannot get an answer on the other end of the line. Yet Oswald makes a call at 20:00, which must have been during Swinney’s shift for about 30 minutes unhindered.
  • All other calls by Oswald were reported by the jailers, there is no such report present when Oswald allegedly made that call.
  • There is not a single trace of the original calling card.
  • Louise Swinney denies it is her signature on the calling card.
  • Sharon Kovac was not there, at the time of the so called call, she heard it from Alveeta Treon at a later time.
  • On the piece of paper found on Oswald, after he has been murdered by Jack Ruby, were several numbers, yet not one refers to John Hurt let alone anyone in Raleigh.
  • John Hurt was not called, it is possible he did try to call the DPD while being intoxicated, and if he did then his call would have been tossed into the “crazies wastepaper basket” along with several others and that slip happened to be fished out of the waste paper basket.
  • Some conspiracy theorists have made a mess as there is no connection between John David Hurt and Lee Harvey Oswald.