Chapter 12c: Animania
Searching for Truth in Dale Myers' House of Mirrors
Blinded by the Light
Over the past few decades, the work of digital animator Dale Myers has become quite the lightning rod, with many (perhaps millions) believing it proves the feasibility of the single-bullet theory. The problem: his work is deliberately deceptive at best, and an absolute fraud at worst. In this chapter, then, we will take a closer look at his work, and clearly demonstrate its deceptiveness.
We'll start by examining an apparent contradiction. On the 2003 version of his website, before he decided to single-handedly turn the single-bullet theory into what he has since called the single-bullet fact, Myers portrayed the back wound above his animated figure’s shoulder line, in the discredited location of the Rydberg drawings. He even acknowledged he derived this location by projecting Connally’s wounds back through Kennedy’s throat wound, and that this entrance didn’t match the location of Kennedy’s back wound on the autopsy photos.
As of 9-20-2003, he offered: "The minimal discrepancies between the renderings and the photographs are anticipated in a model of this type and are due to (a) the use of generic humanoid models that do not necessarily match the muscular physique of the victims, and (b) the potential errors (up to 2 degrees at Z223) inherent in positioning computer models based on the Zapruder film."
In the run-up to the 11-20-2003, broadcast of Myers' animation on ABC's Beyond Conspiracy special, however, Myers’ website was changed to state that the back wound location used in his animation had been established through exact measurements, etc.
As of 12-01-2003, he bragged: "Analysis of the computer recreation found that Governor John B. Connally received his chest wound during the 1/18th of a second interval between Zapruder frames 223-224. Using medical data surrounding President Kennedy and Governor Connally's wounds, and Zapruder frame 223 (demonstrating their relative positions less than 1/18th of a second before impact), a trajectory was plotted to determine the source of the shot...To determine the source of the shots, the point of entrance on the President's upper-right back was connected to the exit wound in his throat with a straight line to represent the trajectory path of the bullet through JFK's upper body. Extending that trajectory line forward shows that a bullet passing through the President's upper-right back and throat, at the equivalent of Zapruder frame 223, would go on to strike Governor Connally in the right shoulder just behind the armpit -- the precise location where the entrance wound in JBC's body was located...To determine the firing source of the bullet that passed between Kennedy and Connally, the entrance wound on JBC's back was connected to the exit wound on the front of the President's throat at the equivalent of Zapruder frame 223 using a straight line. That trajectory line was then projected rearward 200 feet to its source. The result shows the bullet moving at a 10 degree angle, right to left, relative to the midline of the limousine. The angle of declination is about 20.5 degrees. Accounting for the 3 degree slope in the road, the bullet is moving downward at an angle of about 17.5 degrees below true horizontal. These figures are comparable to those determined in previous trajectory analysis conducted by the FBI in 1964 (WR106) and the HSCA's Photographic Panel in 1978. (6HSCA46) When this trajectory path is projected rearward, it is found to intersect the front face of the Texas School Book Depository at the southeast corner of the sixth floor. The trajectory line passes through the half open window located at that position, over a stack of boxes believed to have been used as a gun rest, and into the area referred to as the "sniper's nest."
Well, this sounds pretty impressive, right? He figured out the precise positions of Kennedy and Connally when shot, and then lined up their wound locations, and they pointed to the sniper's nest window!
There was just one problem: a huge freaking problem, IMO...
As shown on the slide above, the back wound location on Kennedy Myers admitted was inaccurate (which had been determined by pointing back to the sniper's nest from the back wound location on Connally) in September 2003, was identical to the back wound location supposedly determined from the "medical data" in December 2003!
Myers had fudged his data!
The Defense of Dale Myers Part 1
On Myers' website, he asks himself a question, and then responds by discussing how such awful questions get asked in the first place. In February 2008, I came to realize he'd addressed some of my concerns and complaints in this manner. In the interest of fair play, then, I include his response to my complaints. In the interest of what I perceive to be the truth, I then provide a response to his response.
Myers responds by asking: "Isn't it true that you admitted a key flaw in your recreation: the incorrect positioning of the president's back wound?
Myers answers: "No. One critic has repeatedly made this false claim on a number of Internet newsgroups. The charge stems from a preliminary 1995 version of my computer recreation which employed generic humanoid figures to represent Kennedy and Connally and determine the locations of their bullet wounds. When a trajectory line was connected from the entrance wound at the back of Connally's right armpit with the exit wound on the front of Kennedy's throat, and projected rearward, that line passed a bit high of the presumed location of the entrance wound on Kennedy's upper-right back. I explained that the generic nature of the humanoid figures, which were not exact matches of either man's physique, was probably responsible for this visual effect. I also pointed out that because the medical evidence shows that Kennedy had only one bullet wound in his upper-right back, and the projected trajectory nearly intersected that exact location, there could be little doubt that the discrepancy was attributable to slight inaccuracies in the generic models.
In the recreation broadcast on ABC Television in the fall of 2003, I used new human skeleton models to more accurately pinpoint the wound locations in both men and also used new high resolution human models, though still generic in physique, to "skin" the underlying skeletons. Both of these model upgrades resulted in more accurate wound placement and improved trajectory analysis which effectively demonstrated that the earlier inaccuracies were in fact due to the generic models, as I surmised."
My My My My Rebuttal: nonsense. As demonstrated on the slide above, Myers placed the back wound well above the back wound shown in the autopsy photos, both before he started using the new and purportedly improved models, and after. His assertion that his ABC cartoon characters are based on high resolution human models, and that this improvement in technology led to a more accurate determination of the back wound location--which just so happened to be exactly where he'd previously acknowledged it needed to be to support the single-bullet theory--is garbage of the smelliest kind. Don't you believe it!
When one re-watches Beyond Conspiracy, moreover, a possible reason behind Myers' back and forth with the collar becomes apparent. When showing the single-bullet trajectory from a point in front of Kennedy, the animation briefly becomes see-through, so that one can see the bullet trajectory in Kennedy's neck. The bullet on this trajectory impacts well below Kennedy's jacket collar. The problem is that Kennedy's jacket collar is depicted well above Kennedy's shirt collar, and the bullet appears to have entered just below Kennedy's shirt collar. This should give one pause.The hole on Kennedy's jacket, as testified to by FBI agent Robert Frazier before the Warren Commission, was 5 3/8 inches below the top of his jacket collar. The hole on Kennedy's shirt, as testified to by Frazier, however, was 5 3/4 inches below the collar. This means there was more shirt above the bullet hole than jacket. Which means Myers' animation is clearly inaccurate on this point. Let's put ourselves in Myers' position. By having the jacket creep up the back of "Kennedy's" neck to almost the level of his nose, Myers had successfully lifted the bullet hole on the jacket to align with his proposed trajectory. But how could he do this with the shirt? The Willis photo on the slide above, and the Towner photo on the slide before that, show the white shirt collar cutting across Kennedy's neck at a roughly 45 degree angle to the top of the back of Kennedy's neck, at the level of the top of his chin. But to keep the shirt consistent with the jacket on Myers' model would mean placing the shirt collar an inch or more higher, at the level of Kennedy's nose. Well, the thought occurs that having a white line of collar pointing almost straight up would have been readily obvious to Myers' viewers, and that he decided to avoid this issue altogether by returning the jacket collar to the bottom of the neck. Better to have the jacket and shirt collars together and in the wrong place than have the coat collar in the wrong place and looking ridiculous...
Murder by Cartoon: Birth of the Crone
Now, that explains why the clothing on Myers' Kennedy model changed so much from year to year. But what about the posture of his model? Why did Myers stretch out its neck and make Kennedy look like an old crone?
Well, there is a surprising aspect to Myers' animation that helps us understand why he depicts Kennedy as an old crone. Unlike the majority of neo-single-bullet theorists, Myers acknowledges that the back wound was at the same level or lower than the throat wound, and that the bullet did not descend within the body. He even depicts this on his animated model of Kennedy.
So how does Myers get around this? How does he have a bullet descending twenty degrees or more through the air enter Kennedy’s back and exit his throat at the same level? As this bullet is, in Myers’ estimation, the near-pristine CE399, it couldn’t have struck bone. Furthermore, as the Zapruder film showed Kennedy’s head to be upright within a tenth of a second of the moment Myers believes Kennedy was shot, Myers can’t just pretend Kennedy was simply leaning forward at the moment of the shot. So how does he make it work?
Well, one way for him to get around this (and the way I believe he chose) is to distort Kennedy’s body into the body of a crone, so that Kennedy’s neck is leaning forward, but not his head. (This distortion becomes obvious when one compares a photo of Kennedy in Dealey Plaza with Myers’ figure of Kennedy, and is demonstrated on the Old Crone Analysis slide above.) The angled neck of Myers' Kennedy figure is not apparent in any photo of Kennedy that I am aware of, nor is it seen in the Zapruder film. This Myers invention, not surprisingly, lifts the location of Kennedy’s back wound considerably above his throat wound, and makes it appear possible for a shot to hit Kennedy in the shoulder line from the sniper’s nest and still come out somewhere near his throat.
The Defense of Dale Myers Part 2
Myers asks: "Isn't it true that you blatantly misrepresented the shape of Kennedy's back to get the single bullet theory to work?"
Myers responds: "No. Several critics have pointed out that Kennedy's posture appears distorted in the animation. One critic wrote, "I still cannot figure out why Myers made JFK a hunchback. Was that the only way to achieve a downward trajectory projection between the back injury and the neck wound?" Another critic wrote, "The blatant misrepresentation of the shape of the back is the sort of thing which makes me dismiss everything that Myers tries to 'prove' with his animation. If he's willing to lie to his audience to make his point, then he deserves no consideration whatsoever."
This criticism stems from some modeling and animation issues that were not fully resolved at the time of the ABC Television broadcast. The issue is ultimately a cosmetic one and has nothing to do with the trajectory analysis or its conclusions, as these critics falsely suggest.
Photographs and films taken during the course of the motorcade show that the president's suit jacket had ridden or bunched up, making his shoulder line appear to be higher than it actually was. When shot, the president's elbows rose dramatically, increasing the effect. While animating the shooting sequence, the shoulders and collar of the president's computer generated "clothing" was raised off the shoulder line of the human model beneath to mimic what is seen in the film. Due to modeling constraints, the collar could not be returned to its proper position without affecting the shoulder line. To get the clothing to "look right," the model would have to be redone, a luxury I did not have time to complete given the production schedule. That's showbiz. While the position of the collar was not a perfect match with the film (in fact, it is too high in its current position), the shoulders, as defined by the "clothing," did fit better with what is seen in the Zapruder film. In the end, because of time constraints, it was decided to leave the "clothing," including the collar, in the raised position throughout the animated sequence. Contrary to the criticism levied by my detractors, the position of the president's clothing in the recreation has nothing to do with the validity of the single bullet theory. That's because the human model representing Kennedy, which is positioned beneath the "clothing," and therefore hidden from view, has not been moved. Only the "clothing" has been tugged around. As explained elsewhere on this page, it is the location of the wounds on the body, not the "clothing," that is the basis for defining the trajectory path of the bullets."
Note that Myers' doesn't even bother to pretend the entrance holes on the clothes of his Kennedy model are accurate.
Since Myers' 2004 animation in Beyond the Magic Bullet failed, for the most part, to depict the clothing in the "raised position," it seems apparent, moreover, that he realized the futility of his situation and decided to just ignore the hole on the shirt and the uncomfortable fact it casts doubt upon his theories.
But this was not the end of Myers' deceptions.
Murder by Cartoon: Midget Analysis
No, sorry to say, I'm just getting going.
As Dale Myers’ animation depicts Kennedy stooped forward at the moment of the magic bullet’s impact, in the approximate posture of an old crone, one would think an overhead shot of this pivotal moment would show his head out in front of his body. But here, once again, Myers’ animation fails the consistency test. The overhead view of Kennedy in 2004’s Beyond the Magic Bullet shows him to be sitting straight up, with his head barely forward of his back. What me, consistency?
When one looks closer at this overhead view, the integrity of Myers’ work is once again called into question. When viewed from above his characters seem to have entirely different proportions than the real Kennedy and Connally. Clearly, Myers uses different measurements for his animated figures depending on how he wants them to be seen. How else can he explain the fact that Connally, who was 6’2” 205 lb.s to Kennedy’s 6’0” 170 lb.s, is depicted as a much smaller man than Kennedy? It certainly appears to be more than a coincidence that by depicting Connally as a midget Myers was able to place Connally’s armpit, the site of the bullet entry, several inches further in from the side of the car, and more in line with the pre-determined trajectory from the sniper’s nest through JFK.
While Myers has done some valuable research, particularly when it comes to the head wound trajectories and the Tippit shooting, his deception regarding the single-bullet theory is simply inexcusable. He would have to know that when people see computer simulations they believe the proportions are consistent from angle to angle—otherwise it’s just a cartoon. By changing the body shape of Kennedy to accommodate the bullet trajectory through his body, and by shrinking Connally 20% or more to accommodate the bullet trajectory in the car, Myers moved on up to the high rent neighborhood of Thomas Canning: deliberate deceptionville.
His depiction of Kennedy’s position in the car is also in error. While the Zapruder film shows Kennedy’s arms inside the car, as there’s no shadow on the side of the car, Myers’ animation always depicts Kennedy’s right elbow hanging over the side, a position Kennedy had abandoned seconds before. Not surprisingly, this misrepresentation by Myers puts Kennedy more in line with the pre-determined sniper’s nest—JFK--Connally trajectory.
In sum, while it was purportedly created to accurately depict a murder, the only murder accurately depicted in Myers’ cartoon is the murder of the truth.
(NOTE: so that no one stopping here is deceived. As we progress in this chapter, I include several more responses by Myers, in which he offers explanations for the diminutive Connally. He eventually offers one that makes sense (well, sorta). He admits the images used in Beyond the Magic Bullet were distorted, but insists this was done inadvertently. He insists as well that this has no bearing on the feasibility of the single-bullet theory. Read on and decide for yourself.)
Murder by Cartoon: Birth of the Midget
In June 2006, while looking through a website devoted to debunking the film JFK, I noticed yet another inaccuracy in Myers’ animation. In a section of the website in which Oliver Stone is held up as a liar, I found an early Myers depiction of the single bullet theory, that left me holding a similar impression of Myers.
Now, I'd seen this depiction before, as it was featured in Gus Russo’s 1998 book, Live by the Sword. This was, as one might guess, a book devoted to the "Oswald-did-it" theory. Still, I'd forgotten the central role this depiction played in the book. Pre-cursing ABC News and the Discovery Channel by a full 5 years, Russo grossly overstated the value of Myers’ work, and grossly oversold its accuracy. The caption to Myers' depiction reads: “when the car blueprints, body sizes, surveyor’s maps, and exact measurements are considered, it is clear that Connally’s wounds track back through JFK to Lee Harvey Oswald’s perch in the Book Depository, as the Myers computer renderings clearly demonstrate.”
There was a problem with this, of course. When one looks closely at this early “computer rendering,” two things are abundantly clear: 1) the bullet goes from Kennedy to Connally in a straight line within the car; and 2) the car is driving directly away from the school book depository! Well, a close look at the surveyor’s plat of Dealey Plaza that Myers is purported to have studied will show you that this did not happen. Elm Street has not curved that far to the left by frame 223, when Myers claims the shot was fired.
As a consequence, I decided to see if Myers had corrected this mistake on his website. Sure enough, when discussing his analysis of the limousine’s location at frame 223 of the Zapruder film, Myers confirms “The result shows the bullet moving at a 10 degree angle, right to left, relative to the middle of the limousine.”
When I double-checked Myers’ words against the overhead view he created in 2004 for the Discovery Channel, however, I discovered that his words were rather hollow. On the overhead view, already deceptive due to its “shrinking” of Connally and the resultant moving of his armpit closer to the middle of the car, the right to left angle within the car was but 6 degrees! I also noticed at this time that the car itself was angled 2 degrees in the overhead view, creating the appearance the bullet trajectory was coming in at 8 degrees. Well, it seemed obvious from this that Myers, aware that his early depictions were incorrect, tried to straighten the car up on Elm Street, so that a bullet heading into the car at a 10 degree angle would hit Connally in the armpit. Apparently unwilling to simply slide Connally over in his seat, a la Thomas Canning when performing the HSCA trajectory analysis, moreover, Myers instead began to tweak things a little. First, he down-sized Connally to move his armpit in a little. Then, he minimized the angle of the bullet coming into the car so that the bullet could strike paydirt in Connally’s newly pint-sized armpit.
If I’m reading too much into this, I apologize to Mr. Myers. It’s certainly possible I am mistaken or that his mistakes were honest mistakes. It's just that it seems obvious to me that an honest depiction of Connally’s size, when coupled with an honest projection from the wound in his armpit back through Kennedy’s wounds, would point back to the Dal-Tex Building, and not the sniper’s nest. Based upon the behavior of Arlen Specter, the Warren Commission, and the HSCA, moreover, it seems that acknowledging this fact is verboten.
This makes me a little paranoid. Is Myers but one in a long line of deceivers, many of whom have been honored and rewarded for their deceptions?
The Defense of Dale Myers Part 3
Myers responds by asking: "Isn't it true that you distorted the size and position of your models of President Kennedy and Governor Connally in order to fit your simulation to the single bullet theory?"
Myers answers: "No. One critic charged that "Myers depicts Governor Connally’s body as considerably smaller than JFK’s body" - 25% according to one of this critic's measurements, and later 15% smaller, after a second measurement - and that "by depicting Connally as a midget it allowed Myers to place Connally’s armpit, site of the bullet entry, at a point several inches further in from the side of the car, and more in line with the predetermined trajectory from the sniper’s nest through JFK." According to this critic I also distorted Kennedy's size and position, writing "In order to make the trajectory work, however, Myers had to distort Kennedy’s body shape. Kennedy suddenly had a crookneck, which curves forward and then up, like the neck of an old crone. This is not apparent in any photo of Kennedy. This Myers invention made it possible for a shot to hit Kennedy in the shoulder line and still come out his throat. When viewed from above, however, this distortion should have been obvious, with Kennedy’s head a half-foot forward of his shoulder. In the Discovery Channel program Beyond the Magic Bullet Myers’ animation was shown both from behind and above, and the two depictions of Kennedy’s shoulders and his back wound were completely at odds with one another. Clearly, Myers uses different measurements for his animated figures depending on how he wants them to be seen."
The critic also charged that "While the Zapruder film shows Kennedy’s arms inside the car, as there’s no shadow on the side of the car, Myers' animation always depicts Kennedy’s right elbow hanging over the side...Not surprising, this misrepresentation by Myers puts Kennedy more in line with the pre-determined [single bullet theory]. When JFK is put in his proper position the trajectory traces back to the Dal-Tex Building."
What does the critic conclude from all of this? "While Myers has done some valuable research...this deception regarding the single-bullet theory is inexcusable...He lures you into thinking that because he's using a computer the proportions and angles are the same from frame to frame and shot to shot when they're not...I've come across three different depictions by [Myers] of the single-bullet shot which move the President's position and the wound itself depending on what would look plausible to the viewer from that angle...It's all smoke and mirrors...[H]is animation is blatantly dishonest and demonstrably inaccurate...The bottom line: it's okay to misrepresent the evidence as long as you do it to PROTECT the government."
Hogwash. This is a common refrain from critics of my computer work. The truth, of course, is that my computer reconstruction of the Kennedy assassination is based on a single model put in motion. The mistakes this particular critic made in his analysis of my work are numerous.
First, his claim that the relative sizes of Kennedy and Connally change according to the angle at which they are presented is apparently based on the critic's measurement of the final rendered image. Performing an analysis in this manner fails to take into account photogrammetric effects as well as the size distortions produced by the computer's virtual camera. Photogrammetry describes how three-dimensional spatial relationships can be extracted from two-dimensional photographs or images. Without taking into account these relationships, accurate interpretations of two-dimensional images are impossible. In short, you cannot simply draw or overlay lines on a two-dimensional image (as this theorist has claimed) and extract three-dimensional measurements. This is a common amateur blunder. In addition, each rendered viewpoint is generated by a virtual camera whose focal length characteristics are akin to real-world cameras. For instance, a wide angle focal length in both virtual and real-world cameras will produce images in which identical-sized objects appear at different sizes depending on their relationship to the camera. In the case of my computer reconstruction, wide angle overhead-view renderings of Kennedy and Connally in the limousine will produce images in which the model of Kennedy appears slightly larger than the model of Connally if the virtual camera is positioned closer to the Kennedy model. Clearly, this was the case in the rendered images used by this critic for his "analysis".
Second, the critic's claim that I distorted Kennedy's neck in order to produce a position favorable to the single bullet theory is equally invalid. The computer model of Kennedy was matched to the position dictated by the Zapruder film - the only complete filmed record of the event. This filmed record records the three-dimensional position of Kennedy's head, neck, shoulders, upper torso, arms and hands relative to his surroundings. The computer reconstruction tracks the dimensional changes of Kennedy's body as recorded by Zapruder's camera. Those positional changes are not "inventions" created by me in order to validate the single bullet theory. Rather, the Zapruder film, and consequently my computer reconstruction based upon it, are a definitive record of what actually occurred in Dealey Plaza.
Third, the critic's charge that my computer reconstruction falsely depicts Kennedy's right elbow hanging over the right side of the car, while the Zapruder film shows Kennedy's arm inside the car, and that this "misrepresentation" puts Kennedy more in line with the single bullet theory is also invalid. The critic apparently bases his claim on the fact that the Zapruder film doesn't show Kennedy's arm casting a shadow on the car. The critic fails to consider whether a shadow from Kennedy's arm would even be visible on the limousine's surface given the quality of the film and the highly reflective nature of the limousine body. More importantly, despite the critic's claim, the position of Kennedy's torso, as determined by the shoulder-line, and the length of his upper arm, make it a certainty that Kennedy's right arm would have extended over the side of the limousine. In fact, numerous photographs of the Kennedy motorcade show this to be true. Incidently, the critic never offers any facts to support his claim that positioning Kennedy properly in the limousine would result in a trajectory that traced back to the Dal-Tex building.
Finally, the overall charge that I re-positioned Kennedy and Connally and the location of their wounds from rendered sequence-to-sequence in order to validate the single bullet theory and/or hide the truth about their actual positions during the shooting is completely false and without foundation. I find it quite entertaining that critics of my computer work are perfectly comfortable embracing the portions of my work that support their own theories (this particular critic agrees with my reconstruction of the trajectory of the fatal head shot), while rejecting those portions they disagree with. Evidently, it's okay to use the work of a "blatantly dishonest" individual as long as you can pick and choose your own truth."
My My My My Rebuttal: I'm sorry. I'll try to disagree with Myers about everything if it makes him feel better. Geez... But seriously, Myers makes a valid point in that it's best to criticize the integrity of someone's work without passing judgment on their character. It's just hard for me to do so under these circumstances, when his depiction of the single-bullet theory is so incredibly misleading. As for his assertion that I "use" his work, he should get over himself. When his findings correspond with my own, I pass this information on to the reader, so that the reader can better judge what is evident to researchers on both sides of the fence. I fail to see how this amounts to my "using" his work. If the reader disagrees, please let me know.
As for his excuse regarding the positioning of President Kennedy...it's smoke and mirrors, folks. One needn't rely on shadows to understand that Kennedy was not leaning over the side of the limo at the time Myers presents him hanging over the side of the limo. Here are two screen grabs from the Andrej Leche film of the motorcade in which Governor Connally is talking to President Kennedy, and Kennedy is draped over the side of the limo a la Myers' animation.
Murder by Cartoon: Old Crone Analysis
Now, Myers' gamesmanship regarding the back wound location went unnoticed by many if not most people following the development of Myers' animation. And there was a reason for this. The location of the back wound on Myers' Kennedy model was not shown in Beyond Conspiracy, and the location of the entrance on the clothing seemed to match the entrance on Kennedy's clothing. Kennedy's coat collar was way up by his hairline, much as it was shown to be in films of Kennedy in the motorcade. But the coat collar on Myers' animation looked odd. Instead of angling across Kennedy's neck at a roughly 45 degree angle, as shown in the Towner photo, above, it stretched almost straight up, at an 80 degree angle or so. And this was because the neck on Myers' model was angled sharply forward, whereby the top of the neck was almost directly above the base of the front of the neck. Well, this gave Kennedy the appearance of an old crone.
And this odd appearance of Myers' Kennedy model was not the only problem with Myers' animation. When one compares the animation of the moment of the single-bullet's impact created by Myers for 2003's Beyond Conspiracy, with the animation of this moment he created for 2004's Beyond the Magic Bullet, there is a surprise. In 2003’s Beyond Conspiracy on ABC, a program which, horrifyingly, received an Edward R. Murrow Award for best documentary, Myers’ animation depicted Kennedy’s collar bunched up at his hairline. In 2004’s Beyond the Magic Bullet on the Discovery Channel however the collar was well below the hairline and not bunched up at all. Even more surprising, in 2004’s Beyond the Magic Bullet, Myers depicted the bullet entering well down from the collar in one segment and just below the collar in another.
It's the Shirt, Stupid!
Now, here is Connally's testimony regarding the shooting: "We had just made the turn, well, when I heard what I thought was a shot. I heard this noise which I immediately took to be a rifle shot. I instinctively turned to my right because the sound appeared to come from over my right shoulder, so I turned to look back over my right shoulder, and I saw nothing unusual except just people in the crowd, but I did not catch the President in the corner of my eye, and I was interested…the only thought that crossed my mind was that this is an assassination attempt. So I looked, failing to see him, I was turning to look back over my left shoulder into the back seat, but I never got that far in my turn. I got about the position I am in now facing you, looking a little bit left of center, and then I felt like someone had hit me in the back."
So, sorry Dale. We don't need shadows on the limousine or lack of shadows blah blah blah to understand that Kennedy was not draped over the side of the limousine when Connally was hit. We have Connally's testimony. Yes, Connally, the man whose testimony has been twisted into a pretzel suggesting a first shot miss by single-bullet theorists, was actually quite definitive in his statements regarding Kennedy's position at the time he (Connally) was shot--he was not visible in the corner of Connally's eye--where Connally had seen him but minutes before.
Now, Myers would have to have known Connally claimed he couldn't see Kennedy when he looked for him after the first shot...but that didn't stop from from pretending Connally could, and did. In his 1995 video in which he first used his animation to defend the single-bullet theory, Myers presented an animated depiction of Connally's point-of-view during the shooting, and presented Connally looking JFK right in the face before turning back to his left.
And no, I'm not kidding, here it is. (Thanks to Matt Douthit for grabbing this off a monitor.)
It then occurred to me that one could lift the the bullet trajectory hitting Kennedy and Connally from the middle of Connally's back (where it impacted in the WC and Discovery re-enactments) up to Connally's armpit simply by having Kennedy lean forward off the back of his seat. A close look at Myers' animation confirmed that, yes, indeed, he has Kennedy leaning forward, with his back off the seat, at the moment of impact. As the films and photos taken just before Kennedy went behind the sign in the Zapruder film show him leaning back in his seat, one must ask Myers at what point did Kennedy lean forwards? While looking at Myers' depiction of Kennedy's forward lean, I once again grew suspicious that his overhead view fails to depict this lean. On the slide above, I attempt a comparison of the overhead and lateral views of the single-bullet theory presented by Myers in Beyond the Magic Bullet. While performing this comparison, I decided to correct the size of Connally on the overhead view and see if this confirmed my earlier suspicions. Sure enough, I found that making Connally's shoulders full-sized brought the entrance on his back several inches further to his right than the trajectory through Kennedy. This trajectory now entered Connally squarely on his back, probably on his shoulder blade, and headed straight for his heart. Also intriguing was that, by correcting the size of Connally's shoulders to match Kennedy's, one made his head far larger than Kennedy's. This demonstrated that the head on the Connally midget was disproportionately large in comparison to the rest of his body, but that the head on the Kennedy model was not. One can only suspect that this was done to conceal that Connally's body width had been down-sized.At this point it occurred to me that, even though the Connally figure had been down-sized, it still appeared to fill up its seat. This meant the seat had similarly been down-sized.
And yet Myers' animation had a series of straight lines on the floor of the limo, suggesting that all was in perfect alignment with the back seat.
Myers is correct on another point as well. In earlier versions of this webpage, when I discussed the overhead "midget" view, I asserted that Connally was not a midget on the lateral view, but only became one when the angle changed to looking straight down on the limousine. This was incorrect. Myers, in fact, depicts Connally as a midget on the lateral view as well. Now, at first, I thought his depiction of a lateral midget was designed to lift the wound from the Connally figure's back up to its armpit. The sniper's nest view at frame 225 published by the Warren Commission, and the trajectory of the bullet in Beyond the Magic Bullet, after all, demonstrated that a bullet leaving Kennedy's neck at the moment of Myers' proposed single-bullet event would go on to strike Connally's middle to lower back, and not his armpit. Ultimately, however, after correcting the size and position of the Connally model, I found that the bullet still hit Connally in the armpit. If this is so, I wondered, why did Myers shrink his Connally model on the lateral view? If, as Myers asserts, Connally appeared to be smaller than Kennedy on the overhead view because he used a wide-angle "virtual" camera and Connally was 2-3 inches further from this lens, then why doesn't Connally appear even smaller on the lateral view, when he was six inches further from the side of the limousine than Kennedy? Did Myers "change lenses" deliberately as the cyber camera panned from the lateral shot to the overhead shot? If so, why?The thought occurred that Myers had picked his cyber lenses and "virtual" camera locations to create the illusion of consistency, without their actually being consistent.I asked my girlfriend, a photographer well-familiar with the effects of wide-angle lenses on an image, if it was possible that Myers had used wide angle "lenses" to create this illusion and she immediately responded in the negative. She said that a lens so distorting the size of Kennedy in comparison to Connally, when Kennedy was at best 2-3 inches closer to the lens in one view, and 6 inches closer to the lens in the other, would have grossly distorted other elements of the image as well. She disputed that such a "lens" was used in either the overhead view or lateral view and suggested instead what I'd already surmised--that Connally was deliberately down-sized in both images. (Input from other photographers welcome.)
The Anatomy of Illusion
When I looked back at Myers' animation, I found he was right about one of my criticisms. I had thought shadows should be apparent on the side of the limousine should Kennedy's arm be extended over the side of the limousine. Myers stated "The critic fails to consider whether a shadow from Kennedy's arm would even be visible on the limousine's surface given the quality of the film and the highly reflective nature of the limousine body." What Myers failed to understand, however, is that it was his animation that made me believe the shadows should be apparent in the first place. That's right, Myers' animation invariably depicts the shadow of Kennedy's arm on the side of the limousine. Since Myers, by his response, now acknowledges that he didn't see these shadows, one can't help but wonder why he decided to include them in his animation. As many objects in the films are not depicted in Myers' animation (including Jacqueline Kennedy), one can't help but wonder why Myers decided to include something he admits he could not see.Hmmm...could it be that a depiction of shadows corresponding to Kennedy's right arm on the side of the limousine helped sell that Kennedy was hanging over the side of the limousine?
Have a Cigar!
The man (Connally) swore he couldn't see Kennedy when he turned to his right after the first shot. So, hmm, maybe Connally wasn't as far over on his seat as Myers assumes he was... Or, failing that, maybe Kennedy wasn't hanging over the side of the limo at this time? Or, how about both? That Connally wasn't sliding off his seat to his left, and Kennedy wasn't draped over the side of the limo to his right, when Connally turned his head? Or is that too logical?
As for Myers' explanation on why Connally appears to be under-sized, it leaves a lot to be desired--chiefly, the truth. By stating that Connally only appeared to be a midget due to blah blah blah photogrammetry blah blah blah, he is as much as admitting that his overhead depiction of the left-right trajectory between Kennedy and Connally was deceptive. Did he forget that I didn't cherry-pick an image from his animation, and claim he used this image to say Kennedy and Connally were in alignment, but instead analyzed the image HE chose to "demonstrate" the alignment between Kennedy and Connally? And why, if as he states, "you cannot simply draw or overlay lines on a two-dimensional image (as this theorist has claimed) and extract three-dimensional measurements. This is a common amateur blunder" did he use a three-dimensional image to demonstrate the bullet trajectory? I mean, why not just use a schematic, free of distortion? He was using a computer. How hard could it have been? And is it really possible that he fails to realize that by asserting his image was distorted by his use of a wide-angle "virtual" camera, he was as much as admitting that his demonstration was a charade? And does he really expect us to believe that his use of a "virtual" camera would distort the size of Connally's head, less than 2 inches below Kennedy's head, but not Kennedy's feet, several feet below? I mean, why are Kennedy's feet not only proportional to his head but so much larger than Connally's, when they're on the same floor as Connally's feet, and are the same distance from this ultra-high-tech "virtual" camera? Methinks he's blowing smoke.
The uncomfortable feeling of having smoke blown in my direction, led me to take an even closer look at the smoke-blower. And I didn't like what I saw.
Shadows and a Doubt
I decided to put this to a test. Since Myers depicts the impact location on Connally about 20% across the width of his seat, and since Myers claims this seat was 20.5 inches wide, we can assume Myers believes the bullet struck Connally 4 inches in from the edge of his seat. If the seat on Myers' model was actually 2 1/2 inches in from the right door, as on the HSCA schematic, then, the bullet would have to have hit Connally 6 1/2 inches in from the door. Now let's see where this takes us. If we project back 29.36 inches (74 cm...the HSCA's 14 cm distance through Kennedy's back/neck plus the HSCA's 60 cm distance from Kennedy's throat to Connally's back) at 10 degrees (Myers' accepted horizontal angle of trajectory from the sniper's nest to the limo at Z-224) from 6 1/2 inches from the door, we can see where this would impact on Kennedy. While the Dave Powers film of Kennedy in the motorcade suggests the impact on Kennedy was 8-10 inches in from the side of the limo, and Myers' own animation suggests the impact on Kennedy's back was about 4 3/4 inches in from the inside of the door (the 5 1/2 inches from his shoulder tip to the back wound minus the 3/4 of an inch or so that the shoulder tip resides to the right of the inside of the door) the impact on Kennedy, if Connally was hit but 6 1/2 inches inside the door, would have to have been about 1 1/4 inches in from the side of the door. Well, heck. This confirms that in Myers' animation Connally's seat is 6 inches in from the door, and not 2 1/2 inches, as on the HSCA schematic. So how does Myers explain this mistake?The Defense of Dale Myers Part 4
On his website, Dale Myers asks: "Isn't it true that you incorrectly modeled the presidential limousine, positioning Connally's jump seat six inches from the inside of the door rather than the actual distance of 2.5 inches?"
Myers answers: "No. One critic claimed that I "used the incorrect limo measurement of a 6 inches clearance between JBC jump seat and door. The actual measurement was 2.5 inches. So whatever trajectory [Myers] thought he proved was not what 'a single bullet' could have taken."
"This particular criticism stems from a comment made during the ABC News broadcast. At one point in the program, a computer animated sequence compares a diagram of how conspiracy theorists believe Kennedy and Connally were seated in the limousine with how they actually were seated as seen in the Zapruder film. Peter Jennings notes in voiceover narration that Connally was not seated directly in front of Kennedy, as some conspiracy theorists believe, but was "six inches" to Kennedy's left. However, the six inch figure mentioned in narration did not refer to the distance between the jump seat and the inside of the limousine door, as presumed by this critic, but instead referred to the distance between the center of Kennedy and Connally's body. Kennedy was seated to the extreme right side of the limousine. Connally was turned to his right and had shifted left on the jump seat in front of Kennedy. Projecting an imaginary line forward from the center of the both men shows that the difference between their two center points is six inches. Connally's jump seat, which was about 20.5 inches wide, was correctly located 2.5 inches from the inside of the right-hand door."
Seat of Government At this point I went back to Myers' website, to see what he'd used to determine the size of Connally's seat. Myers claims "The original body draft of the modified 1961 Lincoln convertible, prepared by The Hess & Eisenhardt Company, served as a guide in modeling the presidential limousine." He later claims "The presidential limousine began as a digitized model of a 1961 Lincoln convertible. The resulting computer model was then modified to match the dimensions of the presidential limousine's original body draft, provided by Hess and Eisenhardt. Details were created based on a multitude of photographs taken during the 1963 Dallas motorcade. Particular attention was paid to the seating arrangement as depicted in photographs taken by the Secret Service and FBI in the White House garage the night of November 22, 1963."
The problem is that the HSCA printed this "body draft" as Exhibit II-19, and a close comparison of this exhibit with Myers' overhead view reveals that the actual jump seats occupied by John and Nellie Connally on 11-22-63 were approximately twice as large as the seats depicted by Myers. This supports the possibility Myers shrunk the seats to disguise that he'd shrunk Connally. This comparison also reveals that the Governor's seat is slightly closer to Kennedy's seat in Myers view than on the "body draft." Along with the forward lean of Kennedy depicted by Myers, this helps explain why Myers' proposed bullet trajectory through Kennedy aligns with Connally's armpit when the Warren Commission re-enactment photo of the alignment a split second later shows it aligning with his lower back.
Even worse, a close look at Exhibit II-19 reveals that Connally's seat was but 2.5 inches in from the right door. This short distance is confirmed by the Secret Service photos purportedly relied upon by Myers. Now this is where things get crazy. In both Beyond Conspiracy and Beyond the Magic Bullet, Myers shifts the seat inboard 6 inches from directly in front of Kennedy, in order to put it into its "actual" location.
Wait. What's going on? Does Myers' animation present the seat in the wrong location?
A Tale of 2 1/2 Inches
And that's not the only curiosity regarding Myers, Bugliosi and the single-bullet theory. When looking back through Reclaiming History, in order to learn more about Myers' role its creation, I came across yet another depiction of the single-bullet theory, this one courtesy Animation of Arizona. Well, guess what? This depiction differed from both Bugliosi's semi-visible ghost-writer and "Emmy Award-winning computer animation specialist" Dale Myers' animation, and the text of Bugliosi's book, in that it presented the jump seat in its proper location, 2 1/2 inches from the door. It differed in other ways as well. While the first part of Bugliosi's book describes a 4.9 second gap between the second and third shots, roughly 90 frames, and this indicates the second shot came around frame 223, 90 frames before the head shot at frame 313, a caption in the illustration section declares: "No one knows the exact Zapruder frame at which the president and Governor Connally were hit by Oswald's second bullet, but it was somewhere within a split second of frame 210. This is a three-dimensional overhead rendering of Kennedy and Connally as they were seated in the limousine at approximately frame 210, with the single-bullet's trajectory." This image, as demonstrated on the slide above, depicts Kennedy hanging over the side of the limo. This is, in my opinion, totally inconsistent with the motorcade photos depicting Kennedy's position in the limo. These show his elbow to be resting on the side of the limo but his shoulder to be well inside. And it's not just my opinion that Kennedy jerked to the left by 210. Let's recall that the HSCA photographic panel concluded: 70) At approximately Zapruder frame 200 , Kennedy's movements suddenly freeze; his right hand abruptly stops in the midst of a waving motion and his head moves rapidly from right to his left in the direction of his wife. Based on these movements, it appears that by the time the President goes behind the sign at frame 207 he is evidencing some kind of reaction to a severe external stimulus.
So where does Bugliosi get off pretending that Kennedy's draped over the side of the limo at 210? First, Kennedy's behind the sign and no one can tell exactly where he is, and second, when last seen his head was moving from right to left. There's absolutely no reason to believe he's in the position depicted.
Which brings me to a related point. In Dale Myers' TV appearances, and on his website, he preaches the gospel of Connally reacting to a shot at frame Z-224. (I pretty much agree.) He even claims Kennedy and Connally were in a position to receive their wounds for but a split second, between frames 217 to 224. So how could he have sat by while Bugliosi dismissed or ignored his evidence for this hit, and pretended instead that the shot could have come as early as frame 210? It must have been extremely frustrating for him.
Something tells me it was. In the acknowledgments section of Reclaiming History, where Bugliosi lavishes praise upon Myers and thanks him for all his help, he writes "Even though he worked with me for a relatively short part of my long journey, no one helped me as much as Dale Myers." David Lifton, whom Bugliosi praises in Reclaiming History for his thorough research, while at the same time criticizing him for his unorthodox conclusions, decided to do some digging on this previously secret Bugliosi/Myers connection.
On March 11 2008, on historian John Simkin's Education Forum, Lifton reported:
With the 1998 ARRB releases, and the advent of the Internet, Bugliosi needed assistance to complete his project. This brings us to the second phase.
ENTER Ghostwriter #2 –DALE MYERS
Bugliosi (and/or his publisher) hired another writer--this time, one with expertise in the area of the shots, the medical evidence, and the acoustics. Dale Myers—the JFK researcher who appeared with Bugliosi on a Discovery Channel documentary—was solicited, and agreed. Once again, as was the case with Haines, a formal contract was drawn up. Furthermore, it was agreed that the credit for the book would now read "by Vincent Bugliosi," but "with Dale Myers."
Unfortunately for Bugliosi (and perhaps because both of these fellows have outsized egos), the collaboration between Dale Myers and Bugliosi didn't work out. Consequently, and similar to a marriage that doesn't work, a "literary divorce" now had to be arranged (i.e., another contract had to be drawn up—this one spelling out the terms of their "separation.) One of the provisions of this second contract was that Myers agreed that he would never divulge the existence of the original arrangement, or its dissolution. In other words, Myers is bound by contract not to talk about the writing he did for Bugliosi, what he contributed, how much he was paid for his contribution, or the circumstances of their "divorce."
Consequently, Dale Myers has TWO contracts with publisher W. W. Norton:
--the first, when his writing deal was originally formalized, and the book was to be published with the authorial credit reading by Vincent Bugliosi "with Dale Myers";
-- the second, when their collaboration didn't work as planned and their separation had to be formalized.
So now, addressing the issue of ghostwriting and counting up the signed contracts for ghostwriting, here's where we stand: there's one (and probably two) with Fred Haines (one for the original arrangement, and one for the separation); similarly, there were two contracts with Dale Myers—one for the original arrangement, the second for the "literary divorce."
Since single-assassin theorists routinely criticize conspiracy theorists for 1) trying to make money off the assassination, and 2) not having a uniform theory, it's more than a little ironic that Bugliosi and Myers, possibly the two highest-profile single-assassin theorists of recent times, couldn't see eye to eye and develop a uniform theory, and had to get Bugliosi's publisher to pay Myers off.
When I looked back at Myers' website, to see what else I'd missed, I noticed that he illustrated his schpiel about the construction of his limousine model, quoted back in the Seat of Government section, with an early version of his limousine model. When I compared this early version of his model with the completed model used in Beyond the Magic Bullet, it confirmed once again that he had shrunk Connally's seat for his single-bullet theory depiction. When I compared this early model to the schematic purportedly used in its creation, however, it held a surprise. This surprise was that the schematic was not drawn to scale, as the space between the seat and the door purported to be 2.5 inches, was much larger than that when compared to the seat, which was purportedly 20.5 inches wide.
This brings up the question: if Myers' early limousine model depicted the seat (almost) in the right place, why'd he move it for his finished animation? Well, when one puts Beyond the Magic Bullet's Connally model on the jump seat of Myers' early limo model (as on the slide above), one can see the probable answer. The bullet hits Connally in the back, and not his armpit. While this was already demonstrated on The Anatomy of Illusion slide, it has to be considered more than significant that Myers' early models demonstrate that this is true, and not just my correction of his finished model.
It's hard not to conclude from this then that Myers deliberately fudged his animation to portray what he knew to be untrue.
(NOTE: so that no one stopping here is deceived. As we progress in this chapter, I include a number of responses by Myers, in which he offers explanations for the diminutive Connally. He eventually offers one that makes sense (well, sorta). He admits the images used in Beyond the Magic Bullet were distorted, but insists this was done inadvertently. He insists as well that this has no bearing on the feasibility of the single-bullet theory. Read on and decide for yourself.)
Such a mistake, after all, would almost be excusable. On June 4, 1964, the sworn testimony of Thomas Kelley was taken, and the following exchange took place: (Notably, this was the same Arlen Specter-orchestrated testimony in which Kelley falsely stated that CE 386 was used to mark the back wound during the re-enactment).
Mr. SPECTER. On the President's car itself, what is the distance on the right edge of the right jump seat, that is to say from the right edge of the right jump seat to the door on the right side?
Mr. KELLEY: There is 6 inches of clearance between the jump seat and the door. (5H129-134)
When blaming his mistake on Kelley, moreover, Myers could also have pointed to the 1979 HSCA trajectory report, in which Thomas Canning claimed: "Connally, on the other hand, was seated well within the car on the jump seat ahead of Kennedy; a gap of slightly less than 15 centimeters separated this seat from the car door." (As Canning was a NASA scientist, and meticulous in the presentation of his findings, his representation of a gap of 2.5 inches (roughly 6.25 cm) as only "slightly less" than 15 cm (roughly 6 inches) is thoroughly out-of-character and suggestive that he, or the committee itself, was trying to hide that Kelley had testified incorrectly to the Warren Commission.)
But no, Myers never even mentions these deceptive assertions in his response. Apparently, we're to believe it's just a coincidence that Kelley falsely testified that the seat was six inches in from the door, Canning helped cover up that Kelley falsely testified, and that Myers' animation just so happened to shift Connally's seat inboard 6 inches to its "actual" location.Even more troublesome is Myers' own deceptive assertion that he bears no responsibility for the inaccurate perception that he placed the seat six inches from the door. No, he claims, it stems not from anything he'd said or done but from a misinterpreted voice-over by the now-deceased Peter Jennings on 2003's Beyond Conspiracy.
Nothing could be further from the truth. When discussing Oliver Stone's movie JFK, Jennings says: "In the Stone film diagrams have Governor Connally sitting directly in front of the President, facing forward at the time of the second shot. Not true. Governor Connally was sitting 6 inches inboard of the President, and turned sharply to his right." (During this pronouncement we see an animated Governor Connally siting in front of an animated President, then slid inboard, and turned to his right.) Now compare this to Myers' exact words from Beyond the Magic Bullet, a year later. (Note: he's looking at the overhead view on the slide above): "Here's the position that most critics believed they were occupied at the time of the single bullet, with Connally directly in front of Kennedy. But that's not true. Actually, Connally's seated about six inches inboards (Here, he slides Connally over, as depicted on the second image in the slide up above). And turned to his right."
It is therefore Myers who is responsible for the mis-perception his animated jump seat was six inches inboard of the door, and not Jennings!
And that's not the worst of it. As shown on the last slide, it is not actually a mis-perception! When one compares the edge of the jump seat in in Myers' overhead views of the seat before and after he slides it inwards, it's absolutely and devastatingly clear that he slides the SEAT inwards six inches in both Beyond Conspiracy and Beyond the Magic Bullet. He does not slide the middle of Connally's body over six inches on the seat. He slides the seat. Unless one is to believe that Connally's seat, in Myers' first image, is actually 3 1/2 inches outside the interior of the limousine, it is strikingly clear that Myers moves the seat 6 inches in from the door, and not 2 1/2. This fabrication by Myers--blaming his own deception on a dead man--in my opinion, marks a new low and reveals the depths that he will travel before he will admit the obvious--that his animation deceptively depicts an under-sized Connally model on a seat 3.5 inches further from the door than the seat occupied by the flesh and bone Connally, and that, when these mistakes are corrected, the bullet exiting Kennedy's neck strikes Connally in the middle of his back.
In Myers' defense ( I can't believe I'm doing this) it's clear he's in a trap. He can't admit his "mistake" without risking all he's worked for. He sold his animation to large entertainment corporations under the assurance it was accurate. He then snowballed this success to become a semi-visible ghost writer for Vincent Bugliosi's Reclaiming History. In the acknowledgments section, in fact, Bugliosi writes "no one helped me as much as Dale Myers, the Emmy Award-winning computer animation specialist...Dale helped me in the writing of several sections of Book One." Included in Book One is Bugliosi's section on the single-bullet theory. Not surprisingly, he (or Myers) condemns conspiracy theorists for assuming that Connally was sitting directly in front of Kennedy by writing "In fact, Connally's jump seat not only was situated a half foot inside and to the left of the right door, but also was three inches lower than the backseat." This assertion has a footnote. As one might guess, it refers back to the inaccurate testimony of Thomas Kelley on June 4, 1964.
Such a mistake would be bad enough, but Bugliosi ended up compounding this mistake during the 2007 promotional tour for his book. In appearance after appearance, from a video interview put online in April 2007 through the many interviews that followed, Bugliosi accused conspiracy theorists of telling an "unbelievable lie" when they depicted Connally sitting directly in front of Kennedy on drawings designed to discredit the single-bullet theory, and then told his audience, over and over, the all-too believable lie that Connally was actually "seated on a jump seat 6 inches in from the door."
By 8-20-07, Bugliosi was still engaging in this embarrassing regurgitation of misinformation. On that day, he echoed his earlier statements and told George Mason University's History News Network:
"If you start with an erroneous premise, everything that follows makes a heck of a lot of sense. The only problem is that it is wrong. There’s no question that Connally was not seated directly in front of Kennedy in the presidential limousine. He was seated to his left front. I have a photograph in Reclaiming History showing exactly where they were seated, and right along side of it I show sketches that they put in conspiracy books, [with Connally] right in front and the bullet is making a right turn and a left turn. But he was seated to [JFK’s] left front in a jump seat a half-foot in so the orientation of Connally’s body vis a vis Kennedy’s was such that a bullet passing on a straight line, through Kennedy, would have no where else to go, except to hit Governor Connally."
Bugliosi died in 2015. One can only wonder then if anyone ever told him his defense of the single-bullet theory was based in large part on the "erroneous premise" the jump seat was 6 inches inboard of the door.
Bugliosi Vs. Myers
If 6 Were 2 1/2Godzilla! I'd accepted the possibility Myers felt his animation was "close enough" and had, step by step, made it more and more convincing--without fully realizing it was now yards if not miles away from an accurate depiction of the shooting. But I hadn't fully expected him to LIE in such a manner. I figured he would say he'd mistakenly trusted the Warren Commission testimony of Secret Service Inspector Thomas Kelley, but that this mistake was of no importance.
Squeezing Out the Truth
On this visit to Myers' website I also found a small overhead image depicting the single-bullet shot. Not surprisingly, this early depiction had a full-sized Connally sitting on a full-sized seat, and the bullet heading into the middle of his back. This gave foundation to my suspicion Myers created his simulation using an incorrect seat location, saw that it still didn't support the single-bullet theory, and then "fine-tuned" it by shrinking his Connally model, and tapering the side of the limo to make an 8 degree trajectory look like a 10 degree trajectory, etc.
A few days later, while watching Myers' animation on Youtube, I came to an even more surprising realization. When one compares his single-bullet theory over-views on Beyond Conspiracy, from 2003, and Beyond the Magic Bullet, from 2004, it becomes clear that it was not until the latter program that he changed the impact location from Connally's back to his armpit, and that, to do so, he had moved the bullet trajectory coming out of Kennedy's neck a few inches to its right, and compressed the overall image, bringing Connally closer to Kennedy.
Assuming that Myers "squeezed" his image to make the bullet trajectory he believes is true more palatable to the public, we should ask ourselves, at what point does making the truth more believable become an outright lie? At what point does squeezing out the truth become an exercise in deception, with no truth left to squeeze?
These questions finally squeezed some "truth" out of Myers...
Of Fast Food and Emmy Awards
On May 1, 2008, in an email posted on a newsgroup, Myers responded to some more of my criticisms. He attempted to cut off my criticism of his squeezing his image by explaining that the image in Beyond the Magic Bullet was filmed on a monitor at an angle. This took me by surprise. Before, Myers had explained that the distortion of the images was caused by photogrammetry blah blah blah but now he was saying it was the fault of the Beyond the Magic Production team. Here, then, is his explanation...
The Defense of Dale Myers Part 5
You're obviously referring to the website and rantings of Pat Speer, one of many conspiracy theorists who pretend to know the truth about my reconstruction work on the Kennedy assassination. The only thing obvious about these folks is their distain for the truth and honest research. As you noted, Mr. Speer has made no attempt to contact me and get answers about my work from the only source who could answer him - which should tell you all you need to know.
As Mr. Speer himself has noted on his website, I pointed out the fallacy of his arguments on my FAQ page. He has failed to address those fallacies and continues promoting falsehoods about my work which include the newly minted, ridiculous assertions you mentioned. For instance, he continues to claim that the Connally (JBC) figure was shrunk (as was the jumpseat) to accomodate the SBT. He now uses images of my work culled from the Discovery Channel program "Beyond the Magic Bullet" to promote this nonsense. Even a cursory look at the images should tell anyone with a brain that the images used by Mr. Speer are at an angle to the viewer (i..e, the right side of the image is falling away from the viewer). This is due to the fact that the images are being filmed directly off my computer monitor and that the camera filming these images is viewing the monitor at a considerable angle. This can be seen in any of the wide angle shots in which I am visible alongside the monitor (none of which, BTW, are included in Speer's presentation). If Mr. Speer had shown his viewers those wide angle views, it would be obvious that the reason JBC (and the jumpseat) appears smaller is because of the camera/monitor relationship.
Mr. Speer compounds this nonsense by overlaying the images from the Discovery program with those culled from the ABC/History Channel program and claiming that because they do not align I have made wholesale changes on a frame-by-frame level in order to sell a "lie" to the networks and the American public. This is obviously false.
Mr. Speer also attempts to demonstrate his theories about my work by drawing lines on two-dimensional images I have produced and pretending that these lines of "alignment" can be projected into three dimensional space. This is false, as I have already demonstrated on FAQ page when addressing equally silly accusations made by self- proclaimed photo expert Bill Miller, another conspiracy theorist who's concept of photo interpretation is equally bankrupt.
None of these self-proclaimed experts have retracted their false accusations about my work (on the contrary, they act as if their methods haven't been shown to be false and irrational), nor do I expect them to in the near future. If it isn't Mr. Speer or Miller perpetuating these myths, it would be someone else. Who has time for all this nonsense?
Mr. Speer's claims about the jump seat location have no bearing on the issue at hand - again, as I have already answered and addressed in my FAQ page. The figures of JFK and JBC were matched to the Zapruder film perspective, not to the location of the jumpseat. Frankly, you could eliminate the entire limousine from the reconstruction and the alignments of JFK and JBC would still be valid since their position in space is based on Zapruder's view of the scene and the relationship of JFK to JBC and their combined relationship to the TSBD and the surrounding buildings. In short, the position/size of the jumpseat has no bearing on the SBT. Mr. Speer might as well be arguing that the side mirror is misplaced, therefore, the reconstruction is invalid. How much sillier are all these accusations going to get?
The movements of JBC and the jumpseat (as shown in the ABC/ History Channel program and the Discovery Channel program), demonstrating the differences between prominent conspiracy-based illustrations and reality, were done in unison for clarity. Any charges to the contrary are false.
The differences in the height of the JFK and JBC were accounted for in the reconstruction. Again, any charges to the contrary are false.
The location of JBC relative to JFK (i.e. approximately 6 inches to the left of JFK's midline) and JBC's rotational position relative to the midline of the limousine (i.e. turned approximately 37 degrees to the right) as reported on my website at www.jfkfiles.com is correct. Any charges to the contrary are false.
The locations of the wounds of both JFK and JBC were marked according to medical data culled from the WC and HSCA (including photographs and X-rays) as reported on my website at www.jfkfiles.com. Any charges to the contrary are false.
Anyone who wants to pretend my reconstruction work is false or doesn't matter is free to do so. In the final analysis, the truth doesn't require anyone's belief.
I don't respond to posts on the many newsgroups because of the sophomoric nature of the vast majority of the postings (and I know many respected experts on the assassination who feel the same way). It is the insipid name-calling and disrespect for honest research that I (and others) find the most appalling. It is worse than a kindergarten sandbox. Too bad. The Internet promised to bring people of common interests together. Instead, it gives a global soap box and a megaphone to those who have the least to say.
I appreciate your thoughtful question - it is rare - and hope this answers your question.
Feel free to post my response, if you think it will help. Personally, I think you'll only see the nuts come out of the woodwork again. It's a never ending cycle of lunacy; one argument after another to
see who can be the top fool.
"Best regards, Dale K. Myers" [April 2008]
Well, Dale, in the words of that old fast food commercial--have it your way. On the slide above, I've placed the "wide-angle" views of you from Beyond the Magic Bullet next to the close-ups of your animation.
That mission accomplished, I must admit I did not realize the close-up footage on Beyond the Magic Bullet was shot at an angle. I mean, why would they do that? Filming the trajectory from the side would both bring Connally closer to Kennedy and move him slightly inboard. While the interview portion with Myers was filmed at an obvious angle, I assumed this was so they could get his Emmy Award in the picture (real subtle, by the way). When they then moved in for the close-up, they cropped off the top and bottom of the screen. This made it hard to discern that one side of the monitor was taller than the other, and that the rectangular monitor was still being filmed at an angle. They also showed both Myers' left and right hands against the image. This gave the illusion the camera was over his left shoulder. As a result, there was little reason to suspect they were showing us a grossly distorted image taken from a "considerable angle".
Still, when one looks closely at Myers' hands, it's clear the camera was slightly to his left. But was this enough to grossly distort the image? I'm not sure.
What I am sure about is if, as Myers contends, the image viewed in Beyond the Magic Bullet was his original Beyond Conspiracy animation, only viewed at an angle, then someone--in the fast food lingo--sold us a Whopper.
You see, during Myers' appearance in Beyond the Magic Bullet, he glides his right hand over the image he now admits is distorted, and a 10 degree angle follows. 10 degrees is the R-L angle from the sniper's nest into the limo at frame 223/224. On this distorted image the 10 degree angle connects Kennedy's throat wound and back wound, and hits Connally in the armpit. There is a huge problem with this. If you take this same 10 degree angle and place it on Myers' Beyond Conspiracy animation, and match it up with Connally's armpit wound, it's clear a bullet hitting Connally's armpit, as depicted on Beyond the Magic Bullet, would pass considerably to the right of Kennedy's throat wound. If you take this angle and have it exit Kennedy's throat wound, on the other hand, it hits Connally in the middle of his back.
As the angle on Beyond the Magic Bullet starts to the left of Myers' monitor, it's obvious it was added in post-production. This suggests that one of the following is true:
(a) The Beyond the Magic Bullet team added the trajectory in post-production, and it was just a coincidence that the trajectory connecting Kennedy's back wound with Connally's armpit wound, which, on an undistorted image, would have been 7 degrees, just so happened to be 10 degrees, the actual angle from the sniper's nest. (I suspect you'll agree this is doubtful.)
(b) Myers' original animation was consulted, whereby the Discovery team noted that it had the bullet entering Connally's back and proceeding into the middle of his chest. The Beyond the Magic Bullet producers then proceeded to "fix" this problem by having a properly-angled trajectory strike Connally in the armpit on an image shot from a specific angle, and distorted to their specifications.
(c) Myers himself was in on this deception, and collaborated with the producers in adding a 10 degree angle onto a distorted image in order to make his trajectory "work".
No matter what, someone sold us something that wasn't good for us.
Cutting the Crap
As part of his May 1, 2008 response to my criticisms, Myers asserted:
Mr. Speer's claims about the jump seat location have no bearing on the issue at hand - again, as I have already answered and addressed in my FAQ page. The figures of JFK and JBC were matched to the Zapruder film perspective, not to the location of the jumpseat. Frankly, you could eliminate the entire limousine from the reconstruction and the alignments of JFK and JBC would still be valid since their position in space is based on Zapruder's view of the scene and the relationship of JFK to JBC and their combined relationship to the TSBD and the surrounding buildings. In short, the position/size of the jumpseat has no bearing on the SBT. Mr. Speer might as well be arguing that the side mirror is misplaced, therefore, the reconstruction is invalid. How much sillier are all these accusations going to get?
As he was now asserting that the limousine model had nothing to do with his positioning of Connally, only measurements taken from the Zapruder film, I decided to put the seat in (as near as I could determine) the correct location on Myers' undistorted over-view, and see how it matched up with Connally. Not surprisingly, he has Connally scooted way to the left in his seat, so much that his left leg is draped off the left side of the seat.
I also put a 10 degree trajectory on this over-view to see how it all lined up. Sure enough, it hit Connally near the middle of his seat, several inches to the left of his right armpit. Sure enough, it projected into the middle of Connally's chest, through his heart, inches to the left of its actual trajectory along the right side of his rib cage. Myers has Connally so far to his left he's falling off his seat, and it's still not far enough.
Myers undoubtedly knows this. This further fuels my suspicion that the distorted animation used in Beyond the Magic Bullet was no "mistake".
The Defense of Dale Myers Part 6
On May 8, 2008, my ongoing suspicion that Myers was party to a deliberate deception brought about another response, posted on his website. This response was subsequently posted on the alt.assassination.jfk newsgroup by David Von Pein.
Con Job: Debunking the Debunkers (by Dale Myers):
"It’s been thirteen years since I released my preliminary computer-generated JFK assassination reconstruction and five years since an updated version was broadcast world-wide, although you’d never know it given the frequency with which the History and Discovery Channels re-broadcast the two programs my work appeared in.
And consequently it’s no wonder that conspiracy theorists continue to hammer at my work in the hopes of convincing mainstream America that my computer reconstruction is nothing more than a carefully constructed sham designed to further a supposed cover-up in the murder of President Kennedy.
The newest crop of debunkers push their warped ideas about my work with graphic illustrations and self-produced YouTube videos which purport to show the “obvious” lies and distortions these theorists have supposedly discovered among sequences of my work aired by the History and Discovery Channels.
One of the more vocal and equally off-base debunkers is Patrick J. Speer, a self-acknowledged wanna-be poet, turned wanna-be-musician, turned record buyer for the music industry who eventually became “obsessed with recent American history.”
Mr. Speer’s graphic intensive website promises “a new perspective on the Kennedy assassination” and while some newcomers to the subject may be impressed with the eye-candy, there’s nothing really there that rises above the same old, tired arguments and misinformation kicked around by conspiracy theorists for better than four decades.
It’s the same old shoe with new laces.
There are plenty of identical websites that offer up the same kind of misinformation for those who don’t know any better and if visitors to these kinds of websites are willing to get their facts about American history from wanna-be poets and the like, who am I to spoil the party?
In fact, I’ve largely avoided confronting this army of wackiness, outside of addressing a few of their more frequent allegations, because doing so proves time and again to represent a colossal waste of time.
It doesn’t take long to figure out that one could waste a lifetime attempting to hammer a little common sense into these people who for one obsessive reason or another find it their calling to opine about something they know very little about, or in the case of Mr. Speer, know absolutely nothing about.
I’m referring of course to the multitude of vile and reckless charges concerning my computer reconstruction of the Kennedy assassination which are featured as part of Mr. Speer’s “new perspective” on the case.
Utilizing screen grabs lifted from the two television programs I participated in, Mr. Speer pretends to debunk my work using graphic overlays that break every rule of photogrammetry accompanied by
childish headlines like Dale Myers’ House of Mirrors; Murder by Cartoon; and Cutting the Crap.
I pointed out Mr. Speer’s photographic follies on my FAQ page over three years ago (without using his name in order to save him embarrassment), yet Speer continues to use the same deceptive
photographic techniques to – get this – claim that he has evidence of my deception.
For instance, Speer uses overlays of images taken from two different angles and claims that because they don’t align I am being deceptive; or, Speer draws lines of trajectory on a two-dimensional image of a three-dimensional scene and claims that because the two-dimensional line doesn’t line up with the three-dimensional scene (an impossibility due to the basic rules of photogrammetry) that I am being deceptive.
Forget about convincing Mr. Speer that one cannot draw a rational conclusion from an irrational premise; I’ve tried. Suffice it to say that Mr. Speer prefers to live in a land of illusion where physical realities don’t hold a candle to obsessive conspiracy theories.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time here pointing out the ridiculous nature of each and every one of Mr. Speer’s goofy assertions. But here are just two to make the point, as well as the truth of the matter:
Charge: Myers shrunk the model of Governor Connally and his jumpseat 25% in order to get the single bullet theory to work.
Truth: Mr. Speer used a frame grab from the Discovery Channel’s “Beyond the Magic Bullet” to make his point, but failed to note that the image he used was taken from a portion of the program in which my computer work was being displayed on a computer monitor which was at a significant angle to the camera – the effect being that the computer images of Kennedy and Connally were compressed horizontally and consequently the Connally image appeared smaller than the actual model.
When Mr. Speer was informed that wide-angle sequences from the Discovery program showed the relationship of the computer monitor to the program camera (and therefore the fallacy of his argument), he wrote on his website, “I must admit I did not realize this footage was shot at an angle. I mean, why would they do that?” Believe it or not, Mr. Speer than proceeded to claim that the producers of the program and I conspired to deceive viewers (and presumably the hapless Mr. Speer) about the true alignment of the single bullet theory by purposely shooting the monitor on an angle!
Can it get any sillier? I’m afraid it can.
Charge: Myers misplaces Connally’s jumpseat in order to ensure the alignment of the single bullet theory.
Truth: The location of the jumpseat has no bearing on the alignment of any trajectory plotted in my computer reconstruction. The figures of JFK and JBC were matched to the Zapruder film perspective, not to the location of the jumpseat. Frankly, you could eliminate the entire limousine from the reconstruction and the alignments of JFK and JBC would still be valid since their position in space is based on Zapruder's view of the scene and the relationship of JFK to JBC, and their combined relationship to the TSBD and the surrounding buildings. In short, the position and size of the jumpseat has no bearing on the single bullet theory.
All of this means little to Mr. Speers who now writes, “As he is now asserting that the limousine model had nothing to do with his positioning of Connally, only measurements taken from the Zapruder film, I decided to put the seat in the correct location on Myers' undistorted over-view, and see how it matched up with Connally….”
Does it matter that Mr. Speer cannot really move the jumpseat to the “correct” location within my computer rendering (i.e., move a two-dimensional image in three-dimensional space)? Apparently not, because Mr. Speer then proceeds to once again break the Cardinal Rule of photogrammetry (i.e., draw two-dimensional lines on a three-dimensional image) to “demonstrate” that Connally doesn’t align with the single bullet trajectory, concluding, “Myers undoubtedly knows this. Which fuels my suspicion that the distorted animation used in ‘Beyond the Magic Bullet’ was no ‘mistake’.”
One can only feel sorry for Mr. Speer after reading such nonsense. The only one being conned by such addled thinking is Mr. Speer himself who despite all efforts is determined to prove just how thick-headed conspiracy theorists can truly be.
Anyone who wants to pretend my reconstruction work is false or doesn't matter is free to do so. As I’ve said before, in the final analysis, the truth doesn't require anyone's belief.
I don't respond to posts on the many Internet newsgroups because of the sophomoric nature of the vast majority of the postings (and I know many respected experts on the assassination who feel the same way). It is the insipid name-calling and disrespect for honest research and work that I (and others) find the most appalling. It is worse than a kindergarten sandbox.
Too bad. The Internet promised to bring people of common interests together. Instead, it gives a global soap box and a megaphone to those who have the least amount to say.
On occasion, I feel the need to defend my work against these childish armchair detectives if only to plant a little sanity in a field of nonsense. Unfortunately, whenever I speak up, it only seems to bring more nuts out of the woodwork for yet another round.
It's a never ending cycle of lunacy; one ridiculous argument after another to see who can be the top fool.
Congratulations, Mr. Speer! You’re TOPS with me."
-- Dale K. Myers; May 8, 2008
The Defense of Dale Myers Part 7
On May 10, 2008, Myers responded again, by adding on to the above message. This response was once again posted on the alt.assassination.jfk message board by David Von Pein.
"In a recent post on the UK’s Education Forum, Mr. [Patrick J.] Speer writes, “No one to my knowledge, including Myers, until this response, had ever suggested the images were distorted because the animation – the animation shown round the world to convince people the single-bullet trajectories worked, mind you – was shot at an angle from a computer monitor."
Mr. Speer doesn’t seem to understand that in the real world there is no need to acknowledge something that is self evident--namely, that Discovery Channel viewers were watching a presentation being given from a vantage point that was not perpendicular to the presentation screen. This is obvious from the Discovery program sequences that show a wide-angle view of the studio in which the presentation was being given. Mr. Speer failed to note that fact and now claims that the Discovery Channel and yours truly conspired to deceive everyone about the single bullet theory.
The so-called distortions Mr. Speer refers to are of course the unintended result of the Discovery Channel photographing the presentation monitor at an angle and have nothing to do with the
alignments depicted in the actual images appearing on the monitor. And the trajectory path superimposed over the videotaped sequence by Discovery editors after the fact has no more relevance or accuracy to the images below it (other than to illustrate, in very broad terms, the path of the bullet) than Mr. Speer’s own attempts to project two-dimensional lines into three-dimensional space.
It’s unfathomable to me that anyone could swallow Mr. Speer’s illogical rationale for dismissing the breadth of my work on the single bullet theory, but in the world of conspiracy theorists bent on
embracing anyone and anything critical of the single bullet theory, such idiocy is common place. (The UK’s Education Forum’s administrator, John Simkin, applauded Speer writing, “Congratulations.
I am sure all members have been very impressed with your work in this area.”)
Mr. Speer further complains that the animated sequence I produced in which Connally is shown sitting inboard of Kennedy by six inches is equally deceptively because it shows Connally and the
jumpseat moving in unison. I explained in a recent email that Connally and the jumpseat were moved as one for clarity.
According to Mr. Speer, “This is as good as a confession that Myers knew the jumpseat was not 6 inches in from the door when he created animation showing it to be 6 inches from the door… I wonder how many [millions of viewers] would feel deceived to find out that Connally's sitting comfortably in the middle of his seat was merely a Myers invention designed to ‘clarify’ things for them? Some might call this an out-and-out fraud perpetrated on the public."
I don’t know how many ways to say it, but Connally was situated six inches inboard of Kennedy at the time they were both hit. Connally’s jumpseat, however, was fixed to a track in the floor of the
limousine, the outside edge of the jumpseat cushion measured at 2.5 inches from the inside door panel, according to body drafts produced by Hess & Eisenhardt Company.
To demonstrate the difference between a rather common (and inaccurate) drawing purporting to show Connally seated directly in front of Kennedy at the time of the single bullet shot and their
actual positions as deduced from the Zapruder film and other photographs, the models of Connally and the jumpseat were moved as a single unit during presentations for ABC News and the Discovery Channel.
The relationship between Connally and the jumpseat are identical in both positions. Moving Connally and the jumpseat in unison was simply easier than moving the two separately given the television time available – especially given the fact that the position of the jumpseat had absolutely no bearing on the single bullet theory.
But for Mr. Speer, focusing on inconsequential minutia is better than acknowledging his own obvious mistakes in photographic analysis and logic. It also allows him to play the martyr for his fellow conspiracy theorists and pretend he has actually proven something."
-- DALE K. MYERS; ADD-ON SECTIONS TO HIS MAY 8TH ARTICLE
My My My My Rebuttal
Let's recall here that, on Myers' website, he defends the accuracy of his animation by stating:
"Connally was turned to his right and had shifted left on the jump seat in front of Kennedy. Projecting an imaginary line forward from the center of the both men shows that the difference between their two center points is six inches. Connally's jump seat, which was about 20.5 inches wide, was correctly located 2.5 inches from the inside of the right-hand door."
Now let's point out that, as a response to my demonstrating that this last statement is untrue, and that the seat on his overhead views is in fact 6 inches in from the door, rather than refute my demonstration, Myers now claims:
"The location of the jumpseat has no bearing on the alignment of any trajectory plotted in my computer reconstruction. The figures of JFK and JBC were matched to the Zapruder film perspective, not to the location of the jumpseat. Frankly, you could eliminate the entire limousine from the reconstruction and the alignments of JFK and JBC would still be valid since their position in space is based on Zapruder's view of the scene and the relationship of JFK to JBC, and their combined relationship to the TSBD and the surrounding buildings. In short, the position and size of the jumpseat has no bearing on the single bullet theory."
He has also offered this explanation for his placing the seat 6 inches from the door when, as he now admits, it was not:
"I don’t know how many ways to say it, but Connally was situated six inches inboard of Kennedy at the time they were both hit. Connally’s jumpseat, however, was fixed to a track in the floor of the limousine, the outside edge of the jumpseat cushion measured at 2.5 inches from the inside door panel, according to body drafts produced by Hess & Eisenhardt Company.
To demonstrate the difference between a rather common (and inaccurate) drawing purporting to show Connally seated directly in front of Kennedy at the time of the single bullet shot and their
actual positions as deduced from the Zapruder film and other photographs, the models of Connally and the jumpseat were moved as a single unit during presentations for ABC News and the Discovery Channel.
The relationship between Connally and the jumpseat are identical in both positions. Moving Connally and the jumpseat in unison was simply easier than moving the two separately given the television time available – especially given the fact that the position of the jumpseat had absolutely no bearing on the single bullet theory."
So...according to Myers, it was "easier" to depict Connally incorrectly on the middle of his jumpseat, than to depict him sitting leftward in his seat, where Myers insists he was actually sitting. That this deliberate misrepresentation deceived people into believing Kennedy and Connally were in "perfect" alignment for the single-bullet theory to be true, was, according to Myers, never a consideration. Apparently, he believes an overhead view demonstrating the single-bullet theory with Connally sitting on the left side of his seat would be just as believable to the viewers of Beyond Conspiracy and Beyond the Magic Bullet as an overhead view of Connally sitting comfortably in the middle of his seat.
Myers, who claims to have studied the Zapruder film intensely, and to have figured out Kennedy's and Connally's locations in the film with precision, never even offers us the frame number in which Connally suddenly slides to the left in his seat. If he had isolated such a moment, one would think he would mention this on his website or on his television appearances.
Methinks the boy's been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
Myers vs. Myers
When I re-watched my video of Beyond Conspiracy, to take a closer look at Myers' pre-distorted animation, I noticed something that made me suspect that Myers' computer models are not even fixed in space. On a view of the single-bullet shot from in front of Connally, in which one can see the exit location on his jacket, one can see Kennedy behind Connally, and slightly to his left. The problem is that in order for the trajectory from the sniper's nest to work Kennedy needs to be sitting to Connally's right. I've stared and stared at this image (in the top left corner on the slide above) and have been unable to convince myself the figure is to Connally's right. (If anyone reading this thinks I'm being daft about this, please let me know.) Even more confusing, however, is that when I watched the completed animation of the single-bullet sequence, it became apparent that Kennedy and Connally were in this same position, but that the back seat was now at a different angle. This led me to suspect that the Kennedy and Connally figures used in Myers' overhead trajectories were not fixed in space, and attached to the limousine model in a consistent manner.
With these doubts in my mind, I watched his animation again, and noticed other apparent anomalies. At one point in Beyond Conspiracy, it shows the single-bullet shot from above and to the right. The bullet trajectory runs parallel to the grid lines of the limousine. Since the bullet, by Myers' own admission, was heading 10 degrees right to left, this appeared to make no sense. Upon further reflection, however, I realized that the bullet's descent would, at certain angles, give the appearance of a left to right trajectory, and that there would be an angle where the descent would counter-balance the actual right to left trajectory, and make it all look like a straight line.
Just a split second later, however, I noticed something that I still can't explain. As the camera changes angles to view the shot from directly above Kennedy and Connally, the bullet trajectory heading into Kennedy, for just a brief moment, appears to be at a different angle than the bullet trajectory heading out of Kennedy. When I captured this image I found that the red line heading into Kennedy was indeed incongruent with the red line heading out of Kennedy. If the bullet was on a straight trajectory, as purported, this makes little sense.
As a result, I continue to suspect that Myers' animation was, in fact, a cartoon, with ever-changing angles and proportions, only designed to look consistent from frame to frame, and somehow scientific. People tend to trust technology. Remember that scene in the Wizard of Oz, where the wizard uses his machines to belch out smoke and fire, and tells everyone to never mind the man behind the curtain? I think that's Myers, only he's the...Wizard of Oswald. (Yeah, yeah, I know.)
Lost in the TreesNow, it should also be noted that, in early 2008, while Myers' was mounting a heated defense of his award-winning animation, I stumbled upon a number of other reasons to doubt the integrity of his work.
The first of these involved Myers' treatment of the first shot.
In March 2008, while visiting an internet forum, I came across a link to yet another video pushing Myers' work. This one, however, had a new twist. Unlike the animation used in Beyond Conspiracy and Beyond the Magic Bullet, the animation presented in this video, presumably derived from Myers' DVD, pushed that the first shot would have been likely to hit a tree and be deflected.
Now, for some strange reason, I was momentarily taken aback. Perhaps I possessed more respect for Myers than I realized. In any event, I couldn't believe Myers would push such nonsense. After taking a look, however, I realized that the creator of the thread was right: Myers DID present the first shot heading into a tree. (You can watch this video here.) But the creator of the thread was also wrong: this didn't demonstrate that the bullet would have been deflected, but that Myers is not a researcher but a propagandist.
Anyone claiming to have studied the shooting in the detail necessary to create a simulation would have to know that on May 24, 1964, during the Warren Commission's re-enactment of the shooting, FBI agents Robert Frazier and Lyndal Shaneyfelt took a series of pictures from the sniper's nest, through the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle's scope, and correlated these photos to exact moments in the Zapruder film. In Beyond Conspiracy, Myers articulates "Around frame 160 is approximately the time of the first shot." On May 24, 1964, the FBI took a picture of the limo at frame 161. This SHOULD have been the basis for Myers' animated depiction of the limo at the time of the first shot. This photo shows the President's stand-in just heading behind a tree. The FBI, in fact, concluded that Kennedy's back wound location was not obscured by the tree until frame 167. And yet, at the moment of the first shot in his animation, Myers has the limo almost completely hidden by the tree, all the way down to the limousine's trunk. (It appears he also exaggerates the magnification of the scope.)
Even Myers' cohort Vincent Bugliosi knew this was deceptive. On page 471 of Reclaiming History, Bugliosi writes, if the first shot "was fired between Z143 and Z160, it would not have hit any significant twig or branch of the oak tree (from the sniper's nest only a few leaves and branchlets are visible, at the edges of the tree, around frame 160) as some have theorized, since the bullet would have been fired before the limousine disappeared under the branches."
And Myers himself would ultimately admit this was nonsense. From 2007 to 2014, Myers wrote five separate critiques of Max Holland's theory the first shot was deflected by the traffic light seconds before Zapruder began filming the limousine. Myers published these on his blog, jfkfiles. In several of these he questioned the widely-accepted idea the bullet would have to have been deflected in order for Oswald to have missed the limo with his first shot. On 12-13-14, he asserted: "We now know, of course, that the first shot would have been fired before the President passed under the tree (and hence, the tree would not have obscured Oswald's view) and that the thin tree branches, even if they had obscured Oswald's view, would not have deflected a bullet..."
Myers' depiction of the limousine behind the tree at this point, then, convinces me that the raison d'etre behind his animation was not to demonstrate anything but to SELL something, namely, that the magic bullet theory is the single-bullet fact. By having the first shot ring out when Kennedy was behind the tree, after all, Myers was able to explain why, according to the currently popular single-assassin scenario, the first shot missed and wounded James Tague on the other side of the plaza. Never mind that, as subsequently acknowledged by Myers in his attacks on Holland, Kennedy was not yet behind the tree. Never mind that, as subsequently acknowledged by Myers in his attacks on Holland, Tague felt certain he wasn't wounded by the first bullet fired.
An article in the May 28, 2007 Provo, Utah Daily Herald about Vincent Bugliosi's book Reclaiming History quotes Myers extensively, and gives us some insight into his possible motivations. It concludes: "Myers points to a "false history" encircling the assassination and says that, as a culture, we have already incurred "tremendous damage, which has a bigger impact on this country than most people realize. We are now thoroughly and unthinkingly a conspiracy culture. We embrace conspiracy far quicker than we're willing to weigh facts. The Kennedy assassination has become the granddaddy of all conspiracies, and it saddens me. I wonder, really, if we'll ever get beyond it."
Presumably, just as he insisted that he misled people about the position of the jump seat "for clarity," Myers' additional misrepresentation of the facts has been designed to help people get beyond their unwillingness to weigh facts. Hopefully we can still "get beyond" the "tremendous damage" caused by his deliberate presentation of a "false history," but I have my doubts. I mean, when was the last time a major television network admitted that one of their award-winning programs was a deliberate deception? It just doesn't happen.
Dale and the Dal-Tex In April 2008, in the middle of my flame war with Myers, one of Myers' supporters argued online that Myers has the jump seat in its proper location on an image on his website. Naturally, I took a closer look at this image. I concluded he was wrong. As shown on the slide above, the top of the jump seat is in line with the right side of Kennedy's neck, and the top part of Connally's arm. This would be unlikely if it was only 2 1/2 inches from the door.
While looking at this image, an overview of Dealey Plaza, showing Myers' trajectory cone of possible error projected back from the limo, with an insert of the overview within the limo, however, some additional deceptions by Myers became apparent.
Deception #1 is that the angle of trajectory on the inserted close-up does not match the 10 degree R-L angle Myers admits was the actual angle. The angle of trajectory appears to be more like 4 degrees. While the image appears to have been taken from slightly right of the limousine, the resultant distortion would make the angle appear greater than its actual angle, not significantly smaller. When one inserts a 10 degree line of trajectory onto this image, furthermore, the bullet striking Kennedy's back from 10 degrees to its right, impacts on the middle of Connally's back, and not his armpit. By now, this should hardly be surprising.
Deception #2 is that the angle on his over-view of the plaza starts off from the middle of the limousine, not its far right side, which Myers holds is the location of Connally's armpit
Deception #3 is that, not unlike Court TV before him, Myers has the limo swerving to its left just as the shot is fired. This swerve is not apparent on the Zapruder film, nor was it reported by any of the witnesses.
When one corrects the position of the limo within its center lane, and begins the trajectory from Connally's right armpit and not the center of the limo, the trajectory points back to the Dal-Tex Building. This is not surprising, and is precisely as concluded previously. (While some will no doubt claim I'm distorting the facts to push my own agenda that this shot came from the Dal-Tex, I don't believe that the bullet creating Kennedy's back wound and the bullet creating Connally's back wound were the same bullet, so the alignment of these wounds is relatively unimportant.)
Let's recall here that Myers, in his online defense to my criticisms, wrote:
Incidently, the critic never offers any facts to support his claim that positioning Kennedy properly in the limousine would result in a trajectory that traced back to the Dal-Tex building.
That's right, Dale. I let you do it for me.
The Head Snap That Never Was
Since Myers had admitted his lack of interest in accurately depicting the bullet holes on Kennedy's clothes, it occurred to me that he would ignore other aspects of the shooting as well, should they not fit in with his agenda. This led me to wonder what these might be.
And so, as a response to our flame war, I decided to watch his animation in slow mo to see if it depicted Kennedy's head snap between frames 193 and 198 of the Zapruder film. Not surprisingly, it did not. The sequence of the film of which HSCA photographic panel spokesman Calvin S. McCamy had noted "At this point there is considerable blur, and by here, it appears as though his head is beginning to turn quite rapidly to the left. His head is now to the left. That is only one-eighteenth of a second from one frame to the next" was left off Myer's animated version of the shooting, and replaced by Kennedy smoothly waving to his right and calmly turning to face straight ahead just before being shot.
That's right. I wrote "smoothly waving." While one might try to explain Myers' excising the head snap by claiming he failed to notice it, and was convinced Kennedy's right ear in frame 198 was his nose, one cannot possibly defend his failure to note that by frame 198 Kennedy's right wrist and shirt have shot up out of his jacket. (This is readily apparent on the slide above.)
I re-read Myers' website to see if this incredibly obvious omission had an explanation. Like most people, I'd assumed he'd created his animation by drawing over the frames of the Z-film, and had meticulously compared his animation to the film in order to spot any inaccuracies. In his award-winning program Beyond Conspiracy, Peter Jennings had, after all, spouted that "Myers has generated an exacting computer simulation of the Zapruder film. He began by constructing a 3-Dimensional scale model of Dealey Plaza...On top of the Zapruder film, he then animated the movements of President Kennedy and Governor Connally, frame by frame." Computer Graphics World, in January 2004, had, after all, said much the same thing, reporting: "After building the models and the background, Myers worked frame by frame" and then quoting Myers' claim that, once he determined the precise positions of Kennedy and Connally in the car, and enlarged the portion of the film showing both men in center frame, "we had a frame-for-frame digital match of the Zapruder film."
And these were not the only claims the film was re-produced frame for frame and was exact. In March 2004, Broadcast Engineering jumped on board, informing its readers that, as early as 1995, Myers' wire-frame models "matched each frame of the only real-time visual record of the event"...the Zapruder film. The importance of this "exactness" to the popular acceptance of Myers' work, and the programs in which it's been featured, moreover, can not be overstated. To this day, Tivo summarizes the program Beyond Conspiracy as "An exact computer simulation of the famous Zapruder film offers surprising results."
Well, it turned out that this "exactness", like so much of the hype about Myers' animation, was not exactly true. On his website, Myers admits:
"The clearest frames of the Zapruder film were sought for positioning JFK and JBC in order to minimize any errors. Key frame positions were generally placed at half-second intervals throughout the recreation, although tighter keying patterns (1-5 frame intervals) were employed during Zapruder frames 220-238, and 312-330.
The resulting animation was spot checked against the original Zapruder film to insure an accurate representation. Where "drifting" was detected, additional key frames were used to nail down the action.
It took six weeks to complete the key frame process, after which a test render was produced. The resulting animation was a computer generated "hand-held" version of the Zapruder film. In essence, the key frame process had created a motion file of Zapruder's camera in 3D space. Stepping through each frame of the animation revealed how Zapruder held his camera while trying to follow the limousine as it moved down Elm Street."
Yes, you got that right. Myers' supposedly precise re-creation was only compared against the film every nine frames (or "half second") prior to frame 220! My, ain't that convenient! The HSCA photographic panel said they believed Kennedy was hit just before he went behind the sign, well before frame 220, but Myers either never saw fit to intensely study this part of the film or deliberately avoided studying it because it would destroy the illusion he'd tasked himself with creating.
It's not as if Myers was unaware of the HSCA's conclusions. As pointed out by Milicent Cranor in her excellent essay on Myers entitled Lies for the Eyes, in 1994 Myers wrote an article for a magazine called Video Toaster User, and claimed "The House Select Committee on Assassinations interpreted the blurry images between Z-189 and Z-197 as an indication that JFK had been shot... It appeared... that JFK's right hand 'froze' at this point. However, the computer re-creation reveals something else -- a sharp, abrupt continuation of JFK's turn to his right... it is clear that the president was tracking the women at curbside."
This is not only hard-to-believe, it is truly disgusting. Apparently Myers was so intent on studying individual frames of the film--Kennedy's right ear in frame 198 can indeed be confused with his nose--that he forgot to study the pictures in motion--which make it abundantly clear Kennedy suddenly turned to his left (and NOT right) at this point. That Myers attributed this non-existent turn to the right to Kennedy's womanizing is, furthermore, suggestive of a dislike for JFK, and indicative that perhaps this dislike had clouded his vision and led him to conclude the HSCA photography panel had simply been seeing things.
Speaking of seeing things... Myers' discussion of his methodology makes it clear that he picked out a frame from sometime before Kennedy went behind the sign, and then another as Kennedy emerged, and created a nice, flowing, COMPLETELY IMAGINARY depiction of what happened in between. He then convinced the media that this depiction, pulled straight from his imagination, somehow debunked the HSCA's conclusion that Kennedy was hit before he went behind the sign. Simply incredible!
Follow the Bouncing Pink Hat
While discussing Myers' use of shadow in his animation, and noting that Myers depicted shadows that he admittedly did not see, I mentioned that it was a bit curious that Myers would include unseen shadows in his animation, and unimportant trees and bushes, while failing to depict Jacqueline Kennedy. An article about Myers in the January 2004 edition of Computer Graphics World reflects that he left the other limousine occupants off his animation for "visual clarity and to streamline the modeling/animation process." One might wish to believe him.
After giving this some thought, however, I came to believe that Myers' omission of Mrs. Kennedy was no accident. When one studies the movements of the first lady as she heads behind the sign, including her behavior in frames 208-211, removed from the original film by Life Magazine, it is clear that she turns her head to look at her husband. This is, according to Myers, BEFORE Kennedy has even been shot.
In the October 1971 Journal of Forensic Sciences, Don Olson and Ralph Turner noted Mrs. Kennedy's movements during this period, and correlated it to the testimony of four witnesses.
They quoted Mrs. Kennedy herself (5H180): "I was looking this way, to the left, and I heard these terrible noises...So I turned to the right. And all I remember is seeing my husband, he had this sort of quizzical look on his face, and his hand was up...I used to think if I had only been looking to the right, I would have seen the first shot hit him." (Hmmm..."His hand was up." Is it a coincidence that Kennedy's hand--singular--is up as he heads behind the sign, but not after he comes out from behind the sign, when both hands are rising up to his neck?)
They then quoted three supporting witnesses. First, Phil Willis (7H496): "Mrs. Kennedy was likewise smiling and facing more to my side of the street. When the first shot was fired, her head seemed to just snap in that direction..." (This snap can be seen between frames 188 and 207.) Second, S.M. Holland (6H243): "about that time he went over like that and put his hand up, and she was still looking off...His right hand; and that was the first report I heard...she turned around facing the President and Governor Connally. In other words, she realized what was happening." (Again, with Kennedy's hand being up.) And then Third, Kenneth O'Donnell, riding in the follow-up car (7H449): "she appeared to be immediately aware that something had happened. She turned toward him."
In light of Mrs. Kennedy's recorded movements on the Zapruder film, and the eyewitness statements correlating these movements to the aftermath of a first shot hit, then, it seems mighty convenient that Myers left the first lady off his animation. Her appearance, after all, may very well have led some to think Kennedy was hit before Connally, and that his single-bullet "fact" is a sham.
I have great difficulty, then, believing the omission of Mrs. Kennedy's actions in the frames before Myers says Kennedy was first hit is just a coincidence. This omission by Myers, along with his omission of Kennedy's head snap in these frames, reeks of a deliberate deception, IMO. While I regularly argue against conspiracy theorists purporting that someone is a disinformation agent or some such thing, I find it incredibly hard to believe Myers never noticed Kennedy's head snap, or Jackie's looking at Jack, or that his animated back wound location is inches above the back wound location on the autopsy photo, etc.
And that's not even to mention that Myers' depiction of the view from the sniper's nest at Z-223/Z-224 is grossly at odds with the Warren Commission's 5-24-64 re-enactment photograph of the view from the sniper's nest at Z-225...1/18 of a second later. Here, see for yourself:
Note that in the WC's re-enactment, Connally's right armpit is a foot and a half or so to the right and above the location of Kennedy's back wound. Now note that in Myers depiction Kennedy is further to the right and Connally is further to the left. and Kennedy is leaning forward while Connally is turned to the side. Now note that this magically brings Connally's back wound location in line with the crosshairs marking Kennedy's back wound location.
Well, this is a scam, a sham, a fraud, you name it. And we know this because...well, just look at the Warren Commission's photo, and compare it to Myers' animated depiction. The President's limo was a foot longer than the Secret Service limo used in the re-enactment. And yet, even so, the passenger compartment is far more compressed in Myer's depiction of the President's limo than in the WC's photo of the SS limo. Now look at the driver's side of the limos. The driver's mirror is visible in Myers' animation but not in the WC's photo. It's almost as if the invisible driver of the limo in Myers' animation has driven the left side of the limo up an embankment.
Well, it's clear, then, that the limo in Myers' depiction of the SBT is not as it would have been viewed from the sniper's nest at Z-223/Z-224, and that, instead of trying to match up his animation with the Zapruder film, along with the commission's photos from the sniper's nest, Myers reverse-engineered his animation, and conjured up the positions of Kennedy and Connally in the limo, along with the view from the sniper's nest, to help sell the single-bullet theory.
On his website, Myers boasts:
"It is important to note the distinction between this computer study and other similar work done in this area. Past computer studies - produced by PBS/Nova and Failure Analysis Associates (FAA) - were illustrative renderings of various theories about the assassination. In other words, they demonstrate what might have happened in Dealey Plaza. This is the first computer study to examine Abraham Zapruder's filmed record in three-dimensions, allowing precise measurements of the motion recorded on film. In essence, this computer study allows us to examine the actual event with an incredible degree of accuracy never before possible. In addition, the dimensional nature of this project presents the opportunity to test various theories against the facts of the shooting as revealed by this study."
I find my standard response of "Hogwash!" to be grossly inadequate. I find my more active response of "Bullshit!" nearly as inadequate. Words simply fail me in the face of such toxic malarkey.
Yes, I find that Myers' animation and his assertions of its accuracy are truly BEYOND BULLSHIT.
In the interest of fairness, however, I'll let Myers have the last word. From his May 8, 2008, response to this website:
Forget about convincing Mr. Speer that one cannot draw a rational conclusion from an irrational premise; I’ve tried. Suffice it to say that Mr. Speer prefers to live in a land of illusion where physical realities don’t hold a candle to obsessive conspiracy theories.
Door to Door
And so it rested...until April 2012, when conspiracy theorist Anthony Marsh tried to convince me Kelley and Myers etc were not lying when they said the jump seat was 6 inches inboard of the door, but were simply incorrectly representing the reality that the door by the jump seat intrudes into the passenger compartment alongside the jump seat, and that, as a result, the right side of Connally's seat was 6 inches to the left of the right side of Kennedy's seat.
Well, this caught me by surprise. This wasn't how Myers had defended himself when this was all fresh in my mind. Myers had as much as acknowledged that Connally's seat was but 2 1/2 inches to the left of Kennedy's, but had insisted that Connally had slid to the left in his chair, so that he was sitting 6 inches to the left of Kennedy at the time of the shooting.
Still, curious, I just had to go back and take another look at HSCA Figure II-19, in which the measurements for the limo were provided. Well, for a second I was concerned. As demonstrated and explained on the slide above, the measurement across the jump seats is 6.75 inches less than the measurement across the back seat. This led me to briefly conclude that the door does in fact intrude into the passenger compartment to the degree claimed by Marsh. I then took another look, and realized I was comparing apples with oranges. The measurement across the jump seats measures the distance to the inside of the door, while the measurement across the back seat measures to the trim on the outside of the limo, several inches outside the inside of the door.
This led me to conclude that the right side of Connally's jump seat, while being but 2.5 inches from the inside of the door, was about 3.75 inches to the left of the right side of the back seat.
While I briefly considered going back and changing all the slides in which I presented Connally's seat as being 2.5 inches to the left of Kennedy's seat to reflect this more accurate assessment, I soon decided against it. While I now believe Kennedy's seat extended 3.75 inches to the right of Connally's seat, I have never been convinced Kennedy availed himself of every last inch of this space. In fact, it's counter-intuitive to assume such a thing. I don't know anyone who sits in a car, of any type, with their butt slid all the way up against the side of the car. And I bet you don't either.
As a result, we can only assume this extra inch or two of space along the right side of the back seat was...dead space, unoccupied by the lower half of Kennedy's body, at least while he was alive.
Skeptic and the Magic Bullet
It seems clear, however, that the myth of Myers' accuracy is destined to live on, at least in certain circles. Skeptic Magazine, in its Fall 2013 issue, featured JFK Conspiracy Theories at 50: How the Skeptics Got It Wrong and Why It Matters, an article written by single-assassin theorist Dave Reitzes. While this article was clearly biased, it was probably no worse than most written for the 50th anniversary of the assassination, that is, until it reached its section of the single-bullet theory. It then devolved into one of the most deceptive articles ever written on the assassination.
Reitzes repeated the old bit about Connally's back wound being ovoid, and this suggesting the bullet had hit something before hitting Connally. Reitzes failed to acknowledge, however, that the entrance wound on the back of Kennedy's head was equally ovoid.
Reitzes cited HSCA photographic consultant Calvin McCamy's support for the single-bullet theory, but failed to note he'd concluded Kennedy had been hit well before Reitzes (and Myers) contend Connally was hit.
Reitzes cited HSCA trajectory consultant Thomas Canning's support for the single-bullet theory, but failed to note he'd similarly concluded Kennedy was hit seconds before Reitzes (and Myers) claim he was hit, when the limousine was at a different angle to the sniper's nest, and that Kennedy was leaning forward before getting shot in the back, and then sat up in the car before getting shot in the head. (Yes, you read that right. This is the exact opposite of what is shown in the Zapruder film--not to mention Myers' animation. It will be discussed in detail in Chapter 15.).
Reitzes cited the re-enactments performed by Dr. Lattimer as support for the single-bullet theory, but failed to note that Lattimer both 1) rigged his tests by removing the bones from his simulated necks, and 2) claimed the location of the back wound presented no problem for the theory, seeing as Kennedy was actually a hunchback.
Reitzes cited the re-enactment performed for the BBC program The Secret KGB JFK Assassination Files as support for the single-bullet theory, but failed to note that the dummy used in the program's re-enactment had to be bent sharply forward in order to get the laser on its back to point back towards the sniper's nest.
Reitzes cited the re-enactment performed for the Discovery Channel program Beyond the Magic Bullet as support for the single-bullet theory, but failed to note that the bullet in this re-enactment exited "Kennedy's" chest and struck "Connally's" back 6 inches or so lower than the actual locations of their wounds, and that the bullet used in their re-enactment was far more damaged than CE 399.
Reitzes cited the 3D animation created by Failure Analysis Associates as support for the single-bullet theory, but failed to note that FAA had created this animation for a mock trial, and had created contradictory exhibits for Oswald's defense.
Reitzes cited, and featured, Dale Myers' animation as evidence for the single-bullet theory. Incredibly, however, he featured the overhead depiction of the bullet's trajectory Myers had long since admitted was inaccurate, and deceptive. And he did so while claiming Connally's seat was a few inches to the left of Kennedy! Well, this was more than slippery. It undoubtedly fooled most of those reading the article into thinking Myer's overhead depiction presented the seat in its proper location, when Reitzes knew full well it did not.
But it gets worse. The bullet trajectory on Myers' depiction travels right through Kennedy's spine. Such a trajectory is at odds with both the autopsy report describing Kennedy's wounds, and the condition of the bullet Reitzes claims traveled on this trajectory. Reitzes failed to explain this, of course. Instead, he presented an overhead depiction of the single-bullet theory in which the shot doesn't line up with Kennedy's and Connally's wounds, and then presented Myers' deceptive depiction below it, along with the claim it's "more accurate." No discussion of the flaws in this depiction was presented.
Reitzes finally concluded his section on the single-bullet theory with a quote from Vincent Bugliosi. Now, this was far from surprising. Reitzes presented 163 footnotes for his article--32 of them pointing to Bugliosi's book, and another 23 pointing to the book and/or website of Professor John McAdams. Now, this should have been a red flag. Bugliosi did very few original interviews or research for his book. And McAdams did next to none for his book and website. Reitzes' footnotes didn't refer to original material, then, but to conclusions Bugliosi and McAdams had reached from reading original material, most of which was available online. Well, Reitzes knew that Bugliosi's presentation of this material was unreliable, because I had proved it, and posted this proof online in chapter 9b of this website. And he knew McAdams was one-sided because, well, anyone ever spending more than a day reading McAdams' newsgroup (where Reitzes has been a frequent contributor for a decade or more) knows McAdams is incredibly one-sided, so much so that he's redefined the word "liar" so that it only applies to conspiracy theorists. So why quote Bugliosi and McAdams ad nauseum? A true skeptic would have read the source material himself, correct? So why, in a supposedly scholarly article, did Reitzes simply quote his heroes? Well, the thought occurs that the writing of this article was for Reitzes more an act of devotion to his chosen faith than an honest examination of the facts. in an any event, Reitzes quoted Bugliosi as follows: “‘the single-bullet theory’ is an obvious misnomer. Though in its incipient stages it was but a theory, the indisputable evidence is that it is now a proven fact, a wholly supported conclusion.”
So, wow, from his presentation of Myers' animation in the same article with Bugliosi's quote, Reitzes had effectively told Skeptic's readers that a theory holding that a high-velocity bullet passed through the location of the spine, but did not damage the spine, nor incur even a scratch on the nose of the bullet, was a "proven fact, a wholly supported conclusion."
Now this was magical thinking in its purest form, wouldn't you say? Or perhaps I should say "Magical thinking on a magical bullet, in its purest form...
Still, Reitzes was not the only one responsible for this travesty. No, he had help, and encouragement.
Skeptic vs. Skeptic
In January 2016, Michael Shermer, the publisher of Skeptic, spoke at a high school near my home. He was, at turns, provocative and entertaining. He met with the audience afterwards. Well, this provided me an opportunity to talk with him, and see what he was thinking when he not only published Reitzes' deceptive article, but tweeted that it was the "Best article ever on JFK assassination conspiracy theories." I stood in line with those buying his book, and when my turn arrived, I shook his hand and introduced myself. When I told him I agreed with most of what he had said that evening, but had disagreed with his claim a conspiracy in Kennedy's assassination was "ridiculous", he immediately asked me if I'd read Bugliosi's book. I told him that I had, and had actually written an article in which I compared what Bugliosi had written to what his supposed sources had actually indicated...and that I had found Bugliosi's book to be deliberately deceptive. This didn't faze Shermer at all. He then asked me who did it, if not Oswald. I said I had no idea. I then quoted back to him something he'd said in his talk--that someone shouldn't hesitate to say "I don't know" when there's not enough evidence to come to a conclusion. I then asked him if he'd like to develop a dialogue about the assassination, to which he responded by saying he was "open-minded" about what had happened. He gave me his email address. We shook hands and I moved aside so he could sign a few more books.
When I wrote to Shermer, however, it was clear he had no desire to learn anything new about the assassination, or be challenged about it in any way. He observed that there was a "a lot" of information on my website, and implied that this was a bad thing. (And this from a man who confronts those expressing disagreement with his position re the assassination by asking them if they'd read Bugliosi's book, "a lot" of information, if ever there was "a lot" of information.) Shermer then said my position--that I didn't pretend to know who did it, but was fairly certain the official story was wrong--was a sign I'd been distracted by the "minutia." Well, this sounded familiar. This was the very word Dale Myers had used when he finally admitted he'd placed the jump seat in the wrong location: he said I'd been "focusing on inconsequential minutia". It seemed clear, then, that Shermer had been playing a game with me so that he would never have to re-think his position on the Kennedy assassination. It seemed likely that he routinely dismissed those focusing on who they thought did it as being blinded by confirmation bias or some such thing, whilst simultaneously dismissing those focusing on the flawed case against Oswald as being obsessed with "minutia" and being distracted by the inconsistencies or "noise" which inevitably arise in cases involving a large amount of evidence, and a large number of witnesses, etc.
So I decided to throw him a curve. Instead of rehashing the assassination, I decided to send him some rarely-seen material regarding the cover-up. I emailed him links to seven or eight slides, which would take him all of perhaps ten minutes to study and absorb. I told him these slides demonstrated a "convergence of evidence" (one of his favorite expressions) around the fact those supporting the single-bullet theory have lied about the location of Kennedy's back wound in order to make it "work".
And I never heard back.
After a week or so, I started to feel self-conscious. Perhaps the slides I'd sent him were less-than-convincing. So I double-checked. Nope. They were the real deal. The kind of evidence people like Shermer claim doesn't exist, but claim they'd love to see if it did exist.
My paranoia then got the better of me, and I decided to see what Shermer had published on the assassination prior to Reitzes' article. I knew that he had, back in 1998, published an article by Art and Margaret Snyder, in which they'd criticized Gerald Posner's book Case Closed. Heck, this was one of the reasons I thought he might be interested in my work.
I soon discovered, however, that the Snyders' article was not the only article on the assassination in that issue, and that an article by frequent Skeptic contributor (and presumed Shermer pal) Nick Gerlich entitled Tragedy on Elm Street had been published alongside the Snyders' article as a kinda point-counterpoint. I found this article online and began to read.
And, man, was it dreadful--one of the worst pieces on the assassination I'd ever read. Not only was it short on reason, it was flat out wrong on a number of facts.
Here are some highlights (not "high" as in "up" but "high" as in "Are you freakin' high?":
"If ever there were a person of questionable character or background, it was Oswald." (Well, wait a second. Oswald was no rapist or baby-killer. If you take away the presumption Oswald killed Kennedy, he was no worse than millions of other Americans who have trouble holding down a job and who occasionally fight with their wife.)
"After 35 years, there is little that's new to be added." (Hubba-wha? Gerlich's article was published just as the ARRB was concluding its work. As Gerlich failed to mention the ARRB in his article, it seems clear he assumed there was nothing new in the hundreds of thousands of documents they'd released, even though he'd never looked at them.)
"As Posner (1993) points out, though, it was not only possible for Oswald to fire three shots in under six seconds, it was also a quite manageable feat." (Yikes. Just as Reitzes would later rely upon the unreliable Bugliosi, Gerlich had previously relied upon the unreliable Posner. And yet somehow Posner forgot to tell Gerlich that the tests performed for the Warren Commission actually cast great doubt upon Oswald's purported feat...to such an extent even that commission counsel J. Wesley Liebeler pumped out a famous memo suggesting Oswald had just gotten "lucky". Go figure.)
"But Posner, analyzing both ear-witness reports and an enhanced Zapruder film, shows that Oswald fired his first shot at frame #160, before the President's car was obscured by the large tree. Furthermore, Posner shows that the first shot entirely missed Kennedy, but that the second and third shots hit their target." (Yes, we know already. Gerlich's hero Posner, along with his hero Dr. Lattimer, answered all his questions. Oh wait. Posner and Lattimer claimed the first shot hit the tree--the very tree Gerlich has just acknowledged would not have blocked the first shot. Oh well, so much for heroes!)
"The pro-conspiracy proposition suffers from a number of serious shortcomings. Foremost among them is that the burden of proof is on those who allege a conspiracy to name the individuals responsible for the conspiracy and to present their evidence for making that charge. The burden of proof is on the plaintiff as TV's Judge Wapner was wont to say. Instead, the C-buffs try to deflect attention away from their lack of proof onto problems they detect with the Warren Commission findings. But nitpicking through 23 volumes in search of errors to be able to discredit the lone assassin theory is no different from sifting through the 66 books of the Bible for historical or spiritual inconsistencies so as to vilify Christians. While there are errors in the Warren Commission report (and in the Bible, for that matter), this alone does not signify conspiracy or cover-up." (Oh, my. Where should we begin? First of all, the burden of proof in any criminal case is on the prosecution, not the defense. Apparently, Gerlich failed to realize that for the purposes of his article HE was the one accusing Oswald of acting alone, and that even his beloved Wapner would agree that Oswald was to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and found not guilty if one studying the case can come to a reasonable doubt he performed the crime for which he is accused. Period. One need not PROVE someone else guilty of a crime before coming to a conclusion a defendant is not guilty. Period.
And from there the paragraph gets worse. The Warren Commission released 26 volumes of supporting testimony and evidence, not 23. That's a JFK 101 kind of mistake--the kind of mistake that tells us that Gerlich, along with his editor and publisher, Shermer, were relative know-nothings regarding the assassination, and should probably have kept their ill-informed opinions to themselves. And yeah, I know it could have been a typo, but read on. This is but one of a number of factual errors in the article.
But before you read on, refresh. Gerlich has just compared the Warren Commission's volumes to the Bible, and has said that it's equally unfair to sift through these books looking for mistakes. Now, this is an obvious appeal to emotion from the Christians in his audience. But it's worse than that. The Bible is purported to be a perfect book, written by men but inspired by God. Pointing out its inconsistencies and/or errors is central to the argument the book was really written by men and inspired by men. In attacking those who would do such a thing, then, Gerlich appears to be arguing that those believing the book is perfect are entitled to their faith. And perhaps he's right. But how can one extend that courtesy to those who choose to accept the findings of the Warren Commission? Oswald's guilt, or lack thereof, is not supposed to be a matter of faith; it is supposedly demonstrated by the mountains of evidence compiled and published by the Warren Commission. This makes hiking these mountains a civic responsibility, for some, and a time-consuming curiosity, for others. Whether Gerlich likes it, or not.)
"Another serious blow to the pro-conspiracy devotees is that there is division in the camp. About the only thing they can agree on is that they do not agree with the Warren Commission. After that, everyone goes their separate ways with the disparate targets and agendas. Scheim (1988) thinks the Mafia did it. Blakey and Billings (1981) contend that the CIA was in on it. Zirbel (1991) promotes his "Texas Connection" hypothesis that Vice President Lyndon Johnson was somehow involved (and had the hubris to pull off the crime in his own state!). And Garrison (1988), his theories championed in film by Oliver Stone, felt that criminal elements in his own New Orleans were responsible." (While that last paragraph was awful, this one is probably even worse. I mean, why is it incumbent upon the vast majority of those doubting a dubious proposition to agree on their theory as to what actually happened? How is that logical? If the government says the cow jumped over the moon, and a hundred million people can make a strong case it didn't, how is the truth of their assertion undermined by the fact some guy in Albuquerque thinks it actually jumped over the sun...and some guy in Los Alamos thinks it was nuclear-powered?
Let's approach this from a different angle... Gerlich regularly defers to Posner... Well, Posner pushed that a bullet entered the back of Kennedy's head near the crown of his head--when the autopsy surgeons and Warren Commission pushed that it really entered four inches lower--and Posner pushed that Kennedy and Connally were hit by a single bullet as they emerged from behind the sign in the Zapruder film--when the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded they were hit almost two seconds prior to this time, before they went behind the sign in the film. So how can Gerlich reasonably assert that those doubting Oswald acted alone should have consistent theories about what happened, whilst simultaneously embracing the inconsistent theories--and inconsistent facts--of the government's investigations and Posner? And speaking of facts... Here, in this paragraph, Gerlich presents two more facts that aren't facts. For one, Blakey and Billings did not contend the CIA was in on it; they said the Mafia was behind the assassination, and were widely criticized for giving the CIA a free pass. For two, Garrison did not ultimately blame "criminal elements" from New Orleans for the assassination; he said the CIA was probably behind it, and was criticized for giving local crime boss Carlos Marcello a free pass.)
Perhaps the most telling part of the article wasn't its uncaught mistakes, however, but its depiction of an overhead view of the single-bullet theory. This depiction was created by Failure Analysis Associates in the early 1990's. It was featured in Posner's book Case Closed. Much as Dale Myers' depiction of the single-bullet theory pushed by Reitzes in 2013, this depiction presents the jump seat in the wrong location. But that's where the similarities end. The relative proportions of the 3D models to the seats are quite different in FAA's depiction when compared to Myers' depiction. The bullet passes on a different route through Kennedy. And the bullet passes on a different route through Connally.
So why is this so telling? Well, the Gerlich article and Reitzes article were written 15 years apart. The only constant between these articles was the editor and publisher, in this case one-in-the-same, Michael Shermer. And yet, these two depictions of a supposed fact were grossly at odds with another, united only by a common mistake.
Now, this wouldn't be so bad if in the second article Shermer and/or Reitzes had disavowed Skeptic's earlier depiction of the theory. But they had not. In fact, quite the opposite. In the second article Reitzes described FAA's depiction of the single-bullet theory as "highly accurate"!
Well, how can this be? How can two noticeably different depictions of the same event both be accurate? And, more to the point, doesn't someone's claiming as much indicate he is not thinking critically? It would be one thing, after all, if Reitzes had claimed FAA and Myers had created intriguing exhibits reflecting a possible scenario, or some such thing. But he didn't. He pushed a clearly inaccurate depiction of an event as a fact, whilst simultaneously pushing a radically different depiction of this same event as being highly accurate.
This is fuzzy thinking at its fuzziest. And no this isn't just the claim of a wacky conspiracy theorist obsessed with minutia, a minutia maniac, so to speak. Or maybe it is. Let's put it to a test.
Let's pretend this argument has nothing to do with the Kennedy assassination... Let's pretend, instead, that the argument is over an historical event, say, the Battle of the Bulge. Let's pretend a controversial writer has written a book claiming Hitler's tanks drove down a secret road in the middle of the night, without witnesses, and that this book includes a map showing the exact route they took. Let's pretend further that, a few years later, another book published by the same publisher and edited by the same editor has come out claiming this earlier book was highly accurate, and that the tanks' traveling down this road can now be considered an historical fact. Now, let's pretend that this second book features a brand new map, in which this secret road is depicted in a different part of the forest than the road on the earlier map, and actually heads right through a mountain which has no known tunnel.
This smells, right? The second book, if not the whole secret road theory, has credibility issues.
Well, this brings us back to what Gerlich wrote in his 1998 article, about how damaging division can be to a "camp." I mean, not to harp on Gerlich's comments (okay, okay, to harp on Gerlich's comments) but how can Skeptic publisher Michael Shermer and his "camp" expect millions of unrelated people to present a consistent and coherent theory, when a magazine published and dominated by one man--Shermer himself--can't even present a consistent depiction of a theory he considers a "fact"? (Yes, yes, it isn't just Reitzes who considers the single bullet theory a fact, but Shermer. While googling Shermer's name I found that on 11-2-13 he posted a link to a video of Dale Myers' Beyond Conspiracy animation on Facebook, and described it as the "Best debunking of the JFK 'magic bullet theory' with 'single bullet fact'.")
And it's actually worse than that. Not only did Shermer publish Reitzes' nonsense in his magazine, but he made radio appearances promoting Reitzes' article where he said stuff only a true believer (in Vincent Bugliosi and Dale Myers) would say. When interviewed on Michael Medved's radio show the week after the 50th anniversary of the assassination, for example, he not only agreed with Medved when Medved said Oliver Stone hated America, but that, when looking down on Dealey Plaza from the sniper's nest "It was really close, You could not miss." He then agreed with Medved when Medved complained about a line delivered by Walter Matthau in Stone's film that indicated Oswald got a lot of Maggie's drawers (red flags indicating he'd missed his target) when engaged in target practice in the Marines. Well, this is one of those situations where Medved and Shermer's having a little information is worse than having none at all; Oswald qualified as a sharpshooter (with a score of 212) after first joining the Marines in 1956, but did not stay in practice. As a result he barely qualified as a marksman (with a score of 191) in 1959, when it was subsequently reported by one of his Marine Corps buddies, Nelson Delgado--not Oliver Stone--that he received a lot of Maggie's Drawers. (In everyday schoolkid terms, this amounts to his getting a B plus in math after transferring to a new school and receiving a lot of tutoring, but then getting a D the next semester when left on his own. In bowling terms, this amounts to his having a 195 average while bowling in a league and taking lessons, but a 165 average when left on his own.) In any event, Shermer then offered encouragement while Medved said Oswald's shooting feat had been duplicated "dozens of times," including by Specialist Miller in tests performed for the Warren Commission, and that Miller had actually bested Oswald's purported feat by hitting a moving target all three times in less than seven seconds while using Oswald's rifle. Well, this was bullshit with a capital B, seeing as the expert rifleman Miller--after taking a couple of practice shots, mind you--hit but two of three shots on his two tries using Oswald's rifle and scope (after shims had been added to it to bring it back into alignment with the rifle)--while firing on stationary targets.
And from there the interview swirled round and round, headed for the drain, with Medved and Shermer singing the praises of Posner and Bugliosi, etc, and Medved's going on about the "well-credentialed" autopsy surgeons. They then harmonized on that old canard that "thousands" of people would have to have been involved for Kennedy to have been killed by a conspiracy, and that people refuse to believe Oswald did it because people can't fathom that a "real loser" like Oswald could successfully kill someone like Kennedy. They then took calls from Medved's listeners, whereby Medved got to mock a seemingly unhinged conspiracy theorist, call the creators of shows like "The Smoking Gun" liars and "conspiracy entrepreneurs", and even call Oliver Stone a drug addict. It was theater, pure theater.
And then it got worse. As his closing remark, Shermer sought to debunk the widespread belief that Oswald's working at a building on the parade route was no accident by citing Gerald Posner and then claiming Oswald was hired "six months before Kennedy even decided to go to Dallas." Uhh, no. Kennedy had been planning a trip to Dallas since June 5 of that year, while Oswald was not hired 'til October 15, barely five weeks before the assassination.
Now don't get me wrong, I still have hope for Shermer. When one reads about Shermer, after all, one comes across a surprising fact--that he is one of the few public figures to admit he's changed his mind on an issue of any importance. And not just one issue. By Shermer's own admission, he was a one-time believer in fundamentalist Christianity, pyramid power, and other fringe ideas, such as the health benefits of acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy, negative ions, and rolfing (a holistic system of soft tissue manipulation--I had to look it up), before seeing the light and becoming an atheist and skeptic. And since his conversion he's still been slow at times. He remained a global warming skeptic, for example, long after most critical thinkers felt the science was in.
So, yeah, there's hope Shermer will come around on this issue as well. Perhaps he'll wake up one day and decide to publish (or even write) a well-reasoned article on the assassination. It's not impossible. With a skeptic like Shermer, one never knows.
Looking Forward, Looking Backward
Not that there's really much hope, I'm afraid. Yes, incredibly, Reitzes' and Shermer's propping up of Myers' deceptive animation was the rule and not the exception in coverage of the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination, as the 50th was awash in even more deceptive animation than the 40th.
Which was itself awash in even more deceptive animation than the 30th...
Yep, that's right. The deceptive animation parade that really got rolling with Dale Myers and Beyond Conspiracy had actually been chugging along for the decade before that. Here, for example, is the single-bullet trajectory as presented by CBS News in its 1993 program Who Killed JFK: The Final Chapter?...
Notice anything? Connally's seat is 6 inches in from the door instead of its actual 2 1/2. The Connally model is at the left edge of its seat. If the seat was slid back 3 1/2 inches toward the door, that is, back to its actual location, and the Connally model stayed in place, the Connally model's left butt cheek would be hanging off the seat. Well, this is exactly what I came to conclude from studying Myers' animation...
In any event, come the 50th, things continued to roll downhill. In November 2013 program after program presented purportedly state of the art animation depicting what purportedly really happened...that were really second rate cartoons depicting what someone behind the "seen"s wanted people to think happened...
Deja Vu, All Over Again
One of the worst examples of this was presented in JFK: The Smoking Gun, which premiered on November 3, 2013. This program, broadcast in the U.S. on the ReelzChannel, included a re-enactment of the single-bullet theory, in which the bullet entered Kennedy's back higher than the back wound shown in the autopsy photos, and in which Connally's seat was once again presented in the wrong location. From this it became clear that the wound locations and positions of Kennedy and Connally in the car were reverse-engineered, so that what needed to happen for the single-bullet theory to work was presented as what happened. The program even had its lead investigator, Colin McLaren, recite, as if from a book on German propaganda "The bullet penetrated the lower region of the President's neck, just below the collar line, at the shoulder. JFK's neck wound was very neat. The entry wound was only 7 mm in diameter." It then compared the "neatness" of this wound to the shape of Connally's back wound, which was purported to have been oval, and then extrapolated from this that Connally was hit by a bullet that had already hit something, namely Kennedy.
Well, this was as bad as it gets. It hid that 1) the wound was on Kennedy's back, not neck; 2) this wound as measured was 7 mm by 4 mm, smaller than the size of the bullets fired in Oswald's rifle, and more consistent with a low velocity impact than a high-velocity impact; and 3) that Connally's back wound, according to a drawing made by Connally's doctor, measured 1.5 by .8 cm, nearly identical to the 1.5 by .6 cm measurement given for the entrance wound on Kennedy's head, which no one, least of all McLaren, presumes to have been created by a tumbling bullet.
State of the Art...of Lying
But if the animation of the single-bullet theory on the ReelzChannel was God-awful, it was destined to be outdone by the animation of the theory on Public Television the next week. On November 11, 2013, the PBS program NOVA's most recent attempt at using computer animation to prove the single-bullet theory was previewed on CBS' morning news program, CBS This Morning.
I was both disappointed and overjoyed. I was disappointed that NOVA was involved in such deception, and overjoyed that the deception would be so easy to prove.
You see, they'd pretty much thrown in the towel. Rather than distorting the figures and playing games with angles to make the trajectory appear to work, a la Myers, they simply presented a cartoon of the single-bullet theory's "working." They didn't even tell us what Zapruder film frame this corresponded to, or was at least purported to correspond to.
And they didn't even try to make their cartoon accurate. They failed to show a bullet entering Kennedy's back, more than four inches below his collar. No, they showed it enter the back of his neck, at the level of his collar. The narrator then said "The single-bullet theory is all about what happens after the bullet leaves Kennedy's neck."
Well, I'll be. They'd skipped the deception and went straight to the lie. "These are not the droids you're looking for." "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."
Of course, the single-bullet theory was about the location of the back wound. It always was. It always will be.
If not, why do those pushing this nonsense keep lying about it?
The Lie That Won't Die
And why do they keep lying about the seat location? Yes, for JFK's 100th birthday, in 2017, CNN unearthed its 50th anniversary special on the assassination, which was quite clearly based upon Vincent Bugliosi's book Reclaiming History. This program imitated Dale Myers' admittedly inaccurate animation, and slid Connally's seat inches inboard from its actual location in order to make Kennedy's and Connally's wounds align. So that they could claim Oswald fired all the shots...
CNN had thereby promoted a lie...designed to conceal evidence proving the identity of Kennedy's murderer or murderers remains unknown...on Kennedy's birthday...
Happy birthday, Mr. President!
And that was not the end of it.
The next year, for the 55th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination, the Travel Channel unleashed a special episode of Mysteries at the Museum devoted entirely to the Kennedy assassination. Predictably, the program spent much of its time countering arguments for more than one shooter. Predictably, it relied upon such sources as Bugliosi's Reclaiming History and The Sixth Floor Museum. And sadly, museum curator Stephen Fagin embarrassed himself and the museum by countering drawings suggesting Kennedy and Connally's wounds didn't align with the following claim: "Connally was three inches lower and six inches further in than President Kennedy, and that totally changes the trajectory."
While one might rightly wonder why Fagin claimed something barely 2 1/2 inches is really 6 inches, the truth is that he's just the latest in a long line of men to do so.
Still, he really should have known better.
Here is how Fagin and host Don Wildman demonstrate the single-bullet theory in the program.
Notice that the Connally stand-in is not 2 1/2, 3 3/4, or even 6 inches inboard of the JFK stand-in, but more like 10 inches. (I mean, come on, "Connally's" head and neck are to the left of "JFK's" left shoulder. And not only that, he's so far to the left he takes up almost all of the space between the two jump seats! And that's not even to mention that, as we've seen, Connally swore he could not see Kennedy by looking to his right, and was turning back to his left when hit. Well, heck, Fagin's "Connally" was sitting so far to Kennedy's left he would have had no trouble seeing Kennedy by looking to his right.)
This depiction of the single-bullet theory is patently absurd, and totally at odds with the Zapruder film, to which the Sixth Floor Museum owns the patent.
Now isn't that ironic...
P.S. In 2020, yet another defense of the single-assassin theory oozed to the surface, this one focusing on the staff of the Warren Commission, entitled "Truth is Our Only Client." Well, to no one's surprise, this documentary copied Dale Myers' six-inch inboard position for Connally's seat. Here it is:
What was eerie about this newest incarnation of the big lie, however, was not the lie itself as much as the narrator and presenter of this big lie. It was Vincent Bugliosi, who'd been dead for five years. So, yeah, in order to keep the lie alive, the producers of this program had reached back to the world of the dead...