Fifty years ago, on November 22, 1963, US President John F.Kennedy was shot dead in Dallas, Texas. The JFK assassination is probably one of the greatest whodunits ever, with no conclusive evidence about the events of that day. There have been so many conspiracy theories about his assassination that it’s simply mind boggling. They’re a mixture of probable, impossible, paranoid and some plain crazy conjectures, and there seems no end to it, with each passing year throwing up additional theories.
When I was growing up, I often came across some of this information in books which spoke of events that changed the world, and it really had me hooked. Of course, at the time, I was too young to appreciate *all* the stories – whether his own flings and ‘sexploits’, the backroom manouevering and shenanigans of the FBI, CIA and the US military, or even the political climate at the time.
As I grew older, I began to read more books and articles about his presidency, the Civil Rights movement under Martin Luther King Jr. and the March on Washington, the Cuban Missile crisis, the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the Mafia, his equation with Vice President Lyndon Johnson and FBI chief J.Edgar Hoover, and of course, the report by the Warren Commission and other articles about his death.
I also tried to get my hands on as many books as I could that dealt with this slice of history; two of my favourites are – PT 109 about his exploits in the Second World War, and one that dealt with his death, called JFK: A Conspiracy of Silence authored by Dr.Crenshaw, who was among the doctors attending to him that day; the book also has autopsy photos which piqued my interest and shed some more light on how JFK was shot.
Then of course, there’s the Zapruder film, possibly the most watched, analysed and dissected short film in history, ever. Abraham Zapruder was among the crowd who had gathered to watch Kennedy and had taken along his 8 mm camera, little knowing how big a part his film of the motorcade was to play. It captures the moments leading up to as well as the assassination itself (shown here in a frame by frame sequence).
Much has been speculated since then about the role of the CIA and FBI and a cover-up operation, the Secret Service detail assigned to JFK and their activities leading up to that fateful day, reason behind Oswald’s killing, the lone gunman and the magic bullet theory of the Warren commission, inconsistency in the official autopsy report v/s what Parkland Hospital doctors actually saw, involvement of Cuba, Vietnam, and even the mafia, alteration of the Zapruder film, and of course, alleged involvement of LBJ himself.
Call it a myth, call it a conspiracy, but 50 years later, the mystery behind the JFK assassination continues!