By S.r. Dusty Rohde
Due to three recent events, I’ve been motivated to pass along the information in this article. Those events are for one, the recent shenanigans ongoing with the records release related to the JFK assassination. Or maybe I should say those that once again, may not be released. The other reasons are that I was recently asked a question by my friend Ted Hammond related to the Zapruder film. The final reason being a post made by my friend Gayle Nix Jackson. Both Gayle and Ted are long time participants in the JFK assassination research community. Gayle’s grandfather was one of those who filmed the assassination on 22 November, 1963. Gayle stated in effect that living witnesses should come forth and tell their stories. These three events caused me to think about some old memories, events that happened after the assassination.
I wasn’t in Dealey Plaza in 1963, but what I saw at that time is no less important as you will soon see. I was in school when JFK was shot, and they let us out early that day. Once at home, I immediately turned on the Television to watch the news. Information was very slow in being reported on Television at the time. At my age when these events occurred, I wasn’t particularly interested in politics at that time. Yet, I did watch a lot of the news coverage, as they kept cutting into regularly scheduled programming. Sometime after this, there was a “Special Report” on Television, a report that as far as I know, was only ever shown one time. This report was a collage of assassination films, along with some still photo’s and other film footage shot by the news crew at a later time, after the assassination occurred. I want to describe to you, as best I can, what this report included, (No, I’m not talking about the Secret Service recreation or any other recreation of assassination films).
Most often when we discuss missing films, it is the film made by Gayle’s grandfather, the original is missing, but copies can be seen on Youtube and several copies still reside at NARA. The other missing film often discussed, is that suspected to have been taken by a woman known as the “Babushka” lady. They are not the only missing films.
When the “Special Report” began (as they called them back in the day), they showed four specific and separate films that they had pieced together. One of those films was the Abraham Zapruder film, one was the Orville Nix film. One could only have been the Gordon Arnold film, and the fourth, I have no idea who would have been in a position for this angle shown by this film. Dennis Moricet or Robin Unger may know the answer to that question. These were views from four separate and distinct angles. Also, the films that were shown back at that time were crystal clear, as clear as a brand new movie you might purchase at Walmart to watch right now. Even the best, so-called “stabilized” versions of these films available on Youtube today, are very poor substitutes. The films were not even remotely blurry. More importantly, in the process of creating this news segment, the station had apparently edited the films. The films were zoomed in, approximately 30% closer than what you see in the originals, and it makes a very big difference when viewing. So let me show you the angles from which these films were taken, some I’m sure you are probably familiar with. (See below)
In the image above, “A” represents Abraham Zapruders position, “B” is the approximate location of Orville Nix when filming, “C” is the angle in which, as far as I know, the only person filming from this area was Gordon Arnold, who stated his film was immediately confiscated by Dallas Police. “D” is the final angle shown in the collage of films, and I have no idea who might have been filming from here. “D” also could have been farther back, or slightly more to the right as you view this image, but the angle shown here is very close to the angle shown in the film collage.
In the film collage, from position “D“, I could see the back of the limo, the President and his wife Jackie. The president had been hit in the throat, his arms were up in the “Thornburn” position, elbows sticking out to the side, hands clenched into fists at his throat. In this position, JFK’s body was very rigid, as if all of his muscles had tightened up. This is an important point to make note of. For a very brief time, JFK is sort of frozen in this position, leaning forward between 10-15 degrees of an angle. After a very brief pause, suddenly JFK’s head sort of wobbles and then a split second later it was like an invisible hand pushed him from behind, causing him to start falling forward. Initially, JFK lurched forward slightly, then fell forward at a steady slow pace. At this point, I could see something protruding from the rear of JFK’s skull. I remember thinking, “well, there’s the head shot” and I wasn’t expecting another shot after that, as I was under the impression from the media there was but a single shot to the head. Immediately, I could see something sticking out of the back of JFK’s head. This protrusion at the back of JFK’s skull didn’t look like a piece of bone, it wasn’t angular, it was very rounded. It looked to me, to be brains, more than bone. This protrusion was maybe 50% larger in diameter than your standard hotdog…and maybe half the length, or a tad longer. As I watched JFK falling forward, for a moment, I thought he was going to fall right over between the two seats that John and Nelly Connally had been seated, that didn’t happen. Very abruptly, JFK was hit in the head by the bullet people see in Zapruder frame 313. JFK was thrown backwards with extreme violence, and the upper right side of his head just sort of exploded. As JFK flew backwards, Jackie Kennedy straightened up a bit in posture, where she had been leaning down and forward before this. JFK flew backwards until his back hit the rear seat behind him, his head continued its backward progress and it appeared the back of his head made contact with the top of the back seat or trunk before rebounding forward again. When JFK bounced forward again, there was some space between him and his wife Jackie. At this point, from the “Arnold” angle, the expression on Jackie’s face was very, very clear and easy to see. Jackie basically had a blank stunned expression on her face, and her mouth was open a fair amount. It looked as if her brain was trying to process what she had just seen but hadn’t arrived to conclusion yet, this would change quickly. When JFK rebounded from the back seat, he was leaning a bit to his left, gravity caused him to start falling to his left, towards Jackie. JFK fell into Jackie, and immediately Jackie’s facial expression and physical movements kicked in at the same time. Jackie suddenly had a look of what to me seemed a combination of horror and terror on her face. Jackie tried to move back away from JFK, but her back was against the side of the limo. Jackie pushed her husband twice, once with each hand, right hand, left hand. Then Jackie began to raise herself up onto her knees, while turning towards the back of the seat. Jackie placed her right hand up near the top of the seat, her shoulder leaning into the corner of the seat and side of the limo. Jackie began to turn her head to look in the direction of where the Secret Service agents would normally be (standing on the rear of the limo). She only got about halfway turned when she saw her husband falling back towards her once again. Jackie rotated her left arm clockwise, so that the palm of her hand was facing out towards JFK and she tried to “bat” or “swat” him away from her.
Now, at this point, I need to correct a common misconception on the subject of Jackie Kennedy retrieving a skull fragment of JFK, on the trunk. At no time between JFK being hit in the throat/back to her raising herself up in the back seat, did Jackie ever look in the direction of the trunk. Jackie couldn’t have known at this point that the skull fragment was on the trunk. When JFK was first hit, she was looking at him, then she looked at John Connally and then back to JFK. The skull fragment wasn’t the reason Jackie Kennedy climbed onto the trunk, it was a result of climbing onto the trunk. Jackie, upon seeing JFK’s head wound after he had fallen into her, freaked, this was sheer panic/terror. It was very obvious by her expressions and her movements that she was desperate to get away from the bloody mess she was seeing. She also had no way of knowing if more shots would be coming. She now knew her husband had been greviously wounded as well as John Connally, she wanted out of that limo. After JFK started falling towards her, and her swatting at him, she immediately turned and began to scramble out of the seat onto the trunk. Initially, Jackie was headed straight back towards the rear of the car. Just then, Clint Hill had managed his second attempt at getting on the limo. Clint Hill reached a hand out to stop Jackie and said something to her, what he said I have no idea. But, Hill’s movement did stop Jackie for a split second, and both of Jackie’s hands were on the trunk. Jackie then began to turn, and I thought she was just going to climb back into the seat. Instead, she turned slightly, and suddenly lunged out at an angle, stretching out both her body and her arm to grab the skull fragment. It is my impression, that it was only when Jackie began to turn to get back into the limo that she saw the skull fragment, and she retrieved it. Again, the skull fragment was not the reason for Jackie climbing onto the trunk, it was the end result.
Let me go back to the point that JFK is hit by the bullet shown in Zapruder film frame 313. You see a flap of skull, which was still attached. This piece of skull was not stationary during JFK’s movements. This piece of skull was bouncing around quite a bit. You could see inside the skull, the tissue…and also the large wound at the right rear, upper quadrant of his skull. At one point, after JFK rebounded off of the back seat, it appeared to me that some piece of brain tissue flopped out of this opening. I remember thinking also that JFK had to be dead the moment the shot hit him. His body had gone completely limp, even though he was flying backwards.
Clearly, there were two distinct head shots seen in these films, just as there were two different sets of head movements and body movements when JFK was hit by each. The shots from behind, drove JFK forward, the shot in Z-313 drove him violently backwards. These were two separate shots, moving JFK in two completely opposite directions, a clear indication that the two shots came from opposite directions, from the rear and from the front. During the Warren Commission hearings, it would be claimed that the violent backward movement by JFK seen in the Zapruder film was a result of muscle reaction by JFK. This claim is absolutely false, JFK was unconscious after the first head shot from behind, before the second head shot even hit him. The instant the first head shot hit JFK from behind, there was no visible effort at any kind of muscle control by the President at all. JFK didn’t try to stop himself from falling forward, not did he make any attempt at all to stop himself from flying backwards. The film from the rear angle best showed the injury to the back of JFK’s head. The “Arnold” film best showed Jackie Kennedy’s reaction to the shots, her facial expressions, JFK’s body movements and the severity of the wounds on the right front and right rear side of his head.
As I stated, I wasn’t shocked by JFK’s head shot but I remember thinking and saying out loud, “why do you keep showing this”? The wounds were gross, especially at my young age. This film collage showed JFK’s head wounds several times, and it seemed to be at the time totally unnecessary. More than that, it just seemed to be in very poor taste as I was sure that at least some of the Kennedy family might see this report, and knew how traumatizing it would be for them. In spite of the public’s need to know, I just felt this was wrong to keep showing repeatedly.
These two films are out there, somewhere…the “Arnold” film and the film shot from behind the limo. Where they ended up, I don’t know, but they do exist….perhaps in a CBS storage room. Time will tell, maybe.
PS: Thanks Ted, Thank you Anna…