Remember the scene from the original Naked Gun movie, when Leslie Nielson as Lieutenant Frank Drebin talks to a crowd who was watching massive explosions at a fireworks warehouse after a doctor rode a missile into it? Nielson deadpans to the crowd, "Nothing to see here".
That scene sort of illustrates what Dave Perry has said about any and all conspiracy theories put forward regarding the JFK assassination.
Which brings us to the curious case of Perry and Mary Bledsoe. Most people in the JFK assassination research community have heard the name Mary Bledsoe and the story she told the Warren Commission. In case you don't recall, Bledsoe was reportedly Lee Harvey Oswald's landlady for a brief time in October of 1963. She was also a witness to Oswald leaving the Texas School Book Depository via a bus.
We will explore that situation, plus look into the Mary Bledsoe police report that has been debated in the research community. The report has been addressed by people like Jim Marrs and Jack White on the Warren Commission critics' side, and by Perry on the Krazy Kid Oswald side. In addition, we will talk about some other interesting information regarding Bledsoe and people close to her. Information that, oddly, Perry has not noted in any of his writings on this issue.
As a digression, let me address an important point first. Perry would probably object to me classifying him on the Krazy Kid Oswald side. The pose he has tried to maintain for himself goes like this: the Warren Commission screwed up the evidence to a point that they undermined themselves, and therefore we can never know what actually happened to President Kennedy. This was what he told Commission critics when he first moved to Dallas and tried to become friendly with the research community there. (In fact this is what Perry actually told Jim DiEugenio in a phone call right after Oliver Stone's film JFK was released.) The problem is that, almost ever since he first appeared in Dallas, he has cooperated with his good friend Gary Mack and The Sixth Floor on more than one pitiful TV special endorsing the Oswald did it thesis. For instance, according to Mack, Perry was in on that infamous fiasco Inside The Target Car. (Click here for how bad that show was )
But way before that, Perry was also involved in another phony Kennedy assassination reconstruction for Discovery Channel. It aired on November 19, 2003 as part of the Unsolved History series. This one tried to correct the allegedly false impression that, right after the shooting, Lee Oswald could not have run down from the sixth floor to the second floor in time for Roy Truly and Marrion Baker to seem him in the lunchroom. According to Perry and Mack, not only could it be done, but it could be done rather easily in the sensational time of 49 seconds. Which was hard to believe, since it would be over 20 seconds faster than what the Commission reconstructions were timed at. In other words, like what Vincent Bugliosi did with his shadowy sharpshooters in the introduction to Reclaiming History, the impression Perry was making is that the public perception on this issue was all wrong; the critics had been misleading everyone. Even though the information they used was extracted from the Commission volumes.
As Jim DiEugenio showed in "Part One" of his review of Reclaiming History, it was Bugliosi who was wrong on his sharpshooter point. Because the episode Bugliosi used was not done under nearly the same conditions as the alleged one done by Oswald. And Bugliosi did not inform the reader of that important fact. (It's no surprise that Bugliosi has kind words about Perry in his book. After all, Perry attacks the critics and condemns Oswald and that is all that matters to Bugliosi.)
Well, Sean Murphy is one of the unsung heroes of JFK assassination forums – the places where, elsewhere, Perry tries to say no real research ever goes on. Sean began his critique of the 2003 Discovery show on the forum "JFK Assassination Research" with this: "The Dave Perry 6th to 2nd floor time-trial sequence ... is one of the most dishonest pieces of television out there. The footage of the test subject strolling his way to the "lunchroom", for instance is fake. The dimensions are wrong. The test subject is a fitness instructor." (His name was Richard Black.)
Perry staged his "reconstruction" in a different building, a warehouse on Ervay Street. As revealed in the show, that building is not laid out as the Texas School Book Depository is i.e. the floor dimensions are not the same. Plus it did not have the floor landings between each stairway that the TSBD does. But that's not the worst of it. As Sean wrote: "It turns out that the footage purporting to show Richard doing the time trial ... is nothing of the sort. It is a phony montage of bits of footage that have been synced in a most misleading manner to a 'real-time' on-screen clock." It had to have been so. Because as Sean found out, there was only one camera used that day. This would have made it impossible to catch the whole flight down in one scene. (Unless one was using an expensive Steadicam.) Which means that when Perry showed the audience Mr. Black trotting across the sixth floor and down the stairs, we were actually seeing parts of other, and slower time trials, "as well as several staged shots taken from various vantage points."
In other words, the whole design was to deceive the audience with a rigged presentation. One that had no direct relation to the time clock depicted. But further, and this is crucial to our present discussion, Murphy only found out the true circumstances of the staged show through his questioning of Gary Mack. When Sean questioned Perry, Perry tried to conceal what the actual circumstances were. In other words, he was covering up the cover-up.
Murphy's exposure of Perry's ethics and his Machiavellian intent help inform us what his real agenda is and has been. But let me add another instance that dramatically illustrates the personal morals and journalistic ethics Perry maintains. After Commission critic Cyril Wecht was indicted by the local Republican DA in Pittsburgh on a slew of rather weird charges, Perry printed Mary Beth Buchanan's entire 55 page indictment on his web site. Now it is bad enough to print an indictment by a prosecutor who was part of a Justice Department at the service of Karl Rove. But what makes it worse is that Perry kept the document on his site even after the indictment, was first, drastically reduced (over half the charges were thrown out before trial), and even after the jury failed to convict Wecht of even a single charge. (It has since been removed, reportedly after Wecht's son got in contact with Perry.)
The evidence adduced above indicates that, contrary to what he himself purveys, Perry is not a Commission skeptic who doubts the Warren Report, and is therefore an agnostic on the subject of Oswald's guilt. As with his 6th to 2nd floor reconstruction, the real Perry has no problem falsifying facts and evidence in order to shore up the holes in the Warren Report made by critics. He then uses that illicit process to manufacture a 'new and improved' case against Oswald; one that actually goes beyond anything the Commission ever did. And while doing so, he tries to personally discredit the critical community by any and all possible means. As he did by printing the flawed Buchanan indictment. This should be kept in mind in the following discussion of what Perry did and did not do in the Bledsoe case.
Before we get to the Bledsoe police report, let's take a look at her testimony to the Warren Commission. (See WC Vol. VI, p. 400) We should first note the following: Bledsoe was one of the few people to testify with an attorney at her side. But as author Rodger Remington has pointed out, Bledsoe's attorney – Melody Douhit – did not just sit in a chair next to her and sip water. She intervened in the questioning in an obtrusive way. (See Remington, Biting the Elephant, pgs. 406-07)
The reader should also be advised: Bledsoe utilized written notes to remember things, and she reversed herself more than once during her testimony. In fact, in this regard she at times sounded like Marina Oswald: "I forget what I have to say." And Douhit added that the notes were prepared at the request of none other than Secret Service agent Forrest Sorrels. (James Folliard's "The Bledsoe Bust", The Fourth Decade, Vol. 2 No. 1, p. 32)
The above two facts are especially interesting in light of the content of her testimony. For Bledsoe was an important witness for the Commission. This can be indicated by the simple fact that, although she was deposed in Dallas, there were three Commission lawyers in attendance: Joe Ball, David Belin, and Albert Jenner. And Bledsoe was important in more than one way. First, she was certain that her former renter Oswald got on a bus she was on after the assassination. And that he then left the bus after it became stuck in traffic a few minutes later at Lamar and Elm streets, four blocks from the Texas School Book Depository.
Second, Bledsoe said something at odds with what, say Officer Marrion Baker or Oswald's supervisor Roy Truly – who both saw him after the shooting – said about Oswald. She said Oswald, "looked like a maniac ... he looked so bad in his face, and his face was so distorted." (ibid, p. 409)
Both Remington and Pat Speer point out the third reason Bledsoe was important: the shirt. As Remington writes, it was important to the Commission that someone testified as to the color of the shirt that Oswald was wearing at the time. And that the shirt be the same as the one he was later arrested in. Why? Because "the Commission has concluded that the fibers in the tuft on the rifle came from the shirt worn by Oswald when he was arrested ..." (Remington, p.394) In other words, the FBI needed Oswald to be wearing the same shirt continuously after he left the Depository in order to match fibers taken from the end of the alleged rifle. As Remington writes, even Bugliosi admits that the evidence is confused on this issue. But Bledsoe was not. So the Commission, and the prosecutor, use her to uphold the dubious FBI analysis about these fibers.
Before we get back to Bledsoe's testimony, let's take a look at what Dallas County Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig said he saw after the assassination, which seems to contradict Bledsoe.
"As I was searching the south curb of Elm Street, I heard a shrill whistle. I looked up, and it just drew my attention, and it was coming from across the street. There was a light green Rambler station wagon driving real slow west on Elm Street.
And the driver was leaning over to his right and looking up at a man running down the grass. So I immediately tried to cross the street to take these two people into custody for questioning. Everyone else was coming to the scene, these were the only two people leaving. This was suspicious in my mind at the time, so I wanted to talk to them.
But I couldn't get across the street because the city officer that was stationed at Houston and Elm had left his post and the traffic was so heavy, I just couldn't get across the street. But I did get a good look at the man coming down the grassy knoll and he got into the station wagon and they drove west on Elm Street.
That afternoon, after Officer Tippit was killed, they took a suspect into custody. I was thinking about this man getting away from me, the man who got into the green Rambler, and I called Captain Fritz at his office and gave him a description of the man I saw get into the Rambler. He told me, and I quote him, 'It sounds like the suspect we have in custody, come on up and take a look at him.'
I went into Captain Fritz's inner office, and a man was sitting in a chair behind a desk and there was another gentleman, who I assume was one of Fritz's people because he had the white cowboy hat on which was the trademark at the time of the Dallas homicide bureau.
Fritz turned to me and asked if this was the man you saw. And I said yes it was. So Fritz said to the suspect this man saw you leave, at which time the suspect became a little excited. And he said, 'I told you people that I did', and Fritz said to take it easy son, we are just trying to find out what happened here.
Now what about the car? He didn't say station wagon, he said what about the car? At which time the suspect leaned forward and put both hands up on the desk and said. 'that station wagon belongs to Mrs. Paine. Don't try to drag her into this.' Then he leaned back and very disgustedly said, 'Everyone will know who I am now.' This was not brag...he was disgusted he had blown his cover or has been caught." (From Two Men in Dallas, and Gil Jesus' short video, The Green Rambler.)
The man Craig was talking about was Lee Harvey Oswald.
As we know, the Warren Commission essentially disregarded Craig. But his story today has now been fortified by pictures garnered from the Assassination Records Review Board by researchers like John Armstrong and Anna Marie Kuhns Walko.
Yet the Commission vouched for the word of Bledsoe who, as we shall see, is difficult to believe. In fact, she appears to have been rehearsed. Also, notice in the exchange below, how delicate she is about her son Porter. She can't seem to decide if he was at her home or not in September, right before Oswald allegedly arrived. As we shall see, Porter may play a part in this episode.
Mr. Ball: In September of 1963, you were living there alone, were you?
Mrs. Bledsoe: No; my son was living there.
Mr. Ball: And he left?
Mrs. Bledsoe: Uh-huh.
Mr. Ball: Did you rent rooms before your son left your home?
Mrs. Bledsoe: Well, let's see, now, oh, yes; uh-huh, in September I –
Mr. Ball: Except his bedroom?
Mrs. Bledsoe: Yes; uh-huh.
Mr. Ball: When he left you rented another bedroom, did you?
Mrs. Bledsoe: Well yes; I am trying to. Haven't got it rented.
We will return to her son later. But let us first go to her identifying Oswald on the bus.
Mr. Ball. All right, now, tell me what happened?
Mrs. Bledsoe. And, after we got past Akard, at Murphy – I figured it out. Let's see. I don't know for sure. Oswald got on. He looks like a maniac. His sleeve was out here [indicating]. His shirt was undone.
(Let's jump a bit forward and continue with her identification:)
Mr. Ball. When Oswald got on, you then weren't facing him, were you?
Mrs. Bledsoe. No; but I saw that it was him.
Mr. Ball. How close did he pass to you as he boarded the bus?
Mrs. Bledsoe. Just in front of me. Just like this [indicating].
Mr. Ball. Just a matter of a foot or two?
Mrs. Bledsoe. Uh-huh.
Mr. Ball. When he got on the bus, did he say anything to the motorman?
Mrs. Bledsoe. Oh, the motorman? I think – I don't know. I don't know.
Mr. Ball. Where did he sit?
Mrs. Bledsoe. He sat about halfway back down.
Mr. Ball. On what side?
Mrs. Bledsoe. On the same side I was on.
Mr. Ball. Same side
Mrs. Bledsoe. No, sir.
(Let's jump forward again:)
Mr. Ball. Did he say anything to the motorman when he got off?
Mrs. Bledsoe. They say he did, but I don't remember him saying anything.
Mr. Ball. Did you ever see the motorman give him a transfer?
Mrs. Bledsoe. No; I didn't pay any attention but I believe he did.
Mr. Ball. Well, what do you mean he – you believe he did? Did you remember seeing him get on or are you telling me something you read in the newspapers?
Mrs. Bledsoe. No; I don't remember. I don't remember.
Mr. Ball. Did you pay any attention at that time as to whether he did, or did not get a transfer?
Mrs. Bledsoe. I didn't pay any attention to him.
Mr. Ball. Well, did you look at him as he got off the bus?
Mrs. Bledsoe. No; I sure didn't. I didn't want to know him.
Mr. Ball. Well, you think you got enough of a glimpse of him to be able to recognize him?
Mrs. Bledsoe. Oh, yes.
Mr. Ball. You think you might be mistaken?
Mrs. Bledsoe. Oh, no.
Mr. Ball. You didn't look very carefully, did you?
Mrs. Bledsoe. No; I just glanced at him, and then looked the other way and I hoped he didn't see me.
As Rodger Remington has written, Bledsoe's testimony on this issue seems confused. When asked if she might be mistaken, she says "Oh no"; but then when asked if she looked at him very carefully, she says, "No, I just glanced at him." She also says that she didn't look at Oswald as he left, because she "didn't want to know him." And she also throws in the comment that "I didn't pay any attention to him."
So why did the Commission rely on her to place Oswald on the bus? Because the other two witnesses who put him there were notably worse. They were the bus driver, Cecil McWatters, and a passenger named Roy Milton Jones. As Sylvia Meagher noted, the Commission considered McWatters' testimony too vague to put Oswald on the bus. (Accessories After the Fact, p. 76) Or as Meagher writes, "McWatters explained that he had not actually identified any man in the police line-up, contrary to the impression conveyed by his affidavit off the same day ..." When McWatters did indicate a man in a line-up, he thought he was identifying passenger Milton Jones. (p. 79) As Meagher points out, it is hard to believe McWatters could confuse Jones with Oswald since Jones was seven inches shorter than Oswald and seven years younger, actually a high school student.
Jones was a better witness than McWatters, but he still gave the Commission problems. He said Oswald was 30-35 years old, five feet eleven inches tall, dark brown hair receding at the temples, and he was dressed in a blue jacket. (ibid, p. 77) As we will see, the Commission didn't care for that last detail, the blue jacket. But there was something else Jones told the FBI that was quite interesting. He said that after the assassination, when the bus was stuck in traffic, a policeman notified the driver that "no one was to leave the bus until police officers had talked to each passenger." (FBI report 3/30/64) Jones then said that two officers boarded the bus and checked to see if any passengers were carrying weapons. Further, McWatters told Jones that he thought Oswald left the bus before this happened. Jones description is not a good one since, if McWatters was correct about the man leaving being Oswald, then Oswald had been sitting behind Jones. (Meagher, pgs. 76-77) The Commission didn't care for Jones. They did not call him as a witness "or make any attempt to test his story." (ibid p. 82)
As the reader can see, even though Bledsoe's testimony was not convincing, since she knew Oswald from before, she was the best eyewitness they had to put him on the bus. But let me add one more detail of how the Commission put Oswald there. It was supposedly because of a bus transfer found on him after he was arrested. The police maintained that the way the transfer was punched is distinctive to each driver. Thus they linked it to McWatters. (Hmm) Yet, as Walt Cakebread pointed out, it looks like someone ironed this bus transfer beforehand. For it is completely flat and unwrinkled, not even bent at the corners. Yet Oswald was supposed to be running with this thin piece of paper in his pocket, and then wrestling with the police.
Let's close this section with Bledsoe's mention of the "maniacal" look on Oswald's face. Again, no one who saw Oswald after the assassination recalls this: not Truly, Baker, or his landlady at the time, Earlene Roberts. And they all got looks at Oswald as long as Bledsoe's. But further, if Oswald had gotten on this bus and walked to his seat about halfway down, why would not one other single person notice that he "looked like a maniac ... he looked so bad in the face, and his face was so distorted"? Clearly, the impression Bledsoe is trying to convey is that he just committed some sort of heinous act, like killing somebody. Yet, no one else recalls this bloodthirsty look on Oswald's face. In fact, as shown above, no one else clearly recalls him being on that bus. But not only does Bledsoe recall him, she recalls that homicidal disturbance written all over him. Maybe because it was in her notes?
If so, perhaps the following lines were also scripted for her: "Oh, it was awful in the city ... and then all of us were talking about the man and we were looking up to see where he was shot and looking – and then they had one man and taking him, already got him in jail and we got – Well, I am glad they found him." As Folliard rather gently points out, "Such conversation about an arrested man was hardly possible at 12:45." (ibid, Folliard)
Let us address the third reason there were three Commission attorneys on the scene for the Bledsoe deposition: Oswald's shirt.
Mr. Ball. You are indicating a sleeve of a shirt?
Mrs. Bledsoe. Yes.
Mr. Ball. It was unraveled?
Mrs. Bledsoe. Was a hole in it, hole ...
Mr. Ball. Did he have a hat on?
Mrs. Bledsoe. No.
Mr. Ball. Now, what color shirt did he have on?
Mrs. Bledsoe. He had a brown shirt.
Mr. Ball. And unraveled?
Mrs. Bledsoe. Hole in his sleeve right here [indicating].
Mr. Ball. Which is the elbow of the sleeve? That is, you pointed to the elbow?
Mrs. Bledsoe. Well, it is.
Mr. Ball. And that would be which elbow, right or left elbow?
Mrs. Bledsoe. Right.
(Some testimony deleted here.)
Mr. Ball. Now, you say the motorman said something?
Mrs. Bledsoe. Motorman said. "Well, the President has been shot," and I say – so, and the woman over – we all got to talking about four of us sitting around talking, and Oswald was sitting back there, and one of them said, "Hope they don't shoot us," and I said, "I don't believe that – it is – I don't believe it. Somebody just said that.
And it was too crowded, you see, and Oswald had got off.
Mr. Ball. How far had he been on the bus before he got off? Until the time he got on until the time he got off?
Mrs. Bledsoe. About three or four blocks.
I have included the exchange towards the end about the actual shooting because, if you notice, Bledsoe says something interesting: she tries to suggest that she was not worried about being killed since Oswald got off the bus. Which is in keeping with her maniacal portrayal of him.
But let us return to the shirt. Two authors have done good work on the issue of Bledsoe's vital importance to the FBI and the Commission in identifying Oswald's shirt on the bus as the same one he was wearing when he was arrested. They are Pat Speer and Rodger Remington. But before delving into their observations, let us define the circumstances and the evidentiary situation. What the FBI is saying is that Oswald got off the bus, took a cab to a point near his rooming house, and went inside briefly. But he did not change his shirt. The FBI cannot have this happening. Why? Because Oswald was arrested wearing a dark brown shirt with no jacket or coat over it. The FBI lab said that there were certain fibers recovered from the butt of the rifle that matched the shirt Oswald had on when he was arrested. So if Oswald changed his shirt at the rooming house from a shirt of a different color, then something is wrong in the handling of the evidence. The implication being that the Dallas Police or the FBI sweetened the case against Oswald.
There were two serious problems with this finding. First, while being questioned in detention, Oswald said that he did change his shirt. (patspeer.com Chapter 4b "Threads of Evidence".) Secondly, the FBI and the Commission had a devil of a time finding any witnesses who would say they saw Oswald after the shooting with a dark brown shirt and no jacket or overcoat. Speer does a meticulous and careful job going over all the witnesses the Bureau tried to get to say that they saw Oswald with just that garb on. I don't have anywhere near the space or time to do justice to Speer's work here but let me save the reader a lot of time by saying that besides Bledsoe, only one witness agreed to testify to that description, Marina Oswald. And as Remington points out, at first Marina did not recall the color of the shirt. But as usual, Marina eventually identified it by rote. For the Commission later showed her a black and white photo of the shirt for identification purposes and this now refreshed her memory. (Remington, Biting the Elephant, p. 390, 395)
Needless to say, they needed someone else. But all the other witnesses they talked to – Howard Brennan, Robert Edwards, Marrion Baker, Earlene Roberts, Mrs. Robert Reid etc – either recalled a different color shirt, short sleeves, a t-shirt, Oswald wearing a jacket, or the witness could not recall specifically what the shirt color was. For instance, taxi driver William Whaley recalled a "dark shirt with white spots of something in it." (CD 87, p. 275. As Speer revealingly notes, the FBI report refined Whaley's testimony to make it closer to what they needed.)
Because of the above, Bledsoe became crucial on this issue. But yet, when first shown the shirt, Bledsoe exclaimed, "No, no. That is not the shirt." (Remington, pgs. 398-99) But a few days later, by December 4th, like Marina Oswald, she had her memory refreshed. She asked if the shirt had a "ragged" elbow. And when shown that there was a hole there, she now confirmed it was the right shirt. (Even Bugliosi notes that the word "ragged" does not necessarily denote there was a hole there. Remington, p. 399)
Remington points out just how problematic Bledsoe's testimony was on this issue. So much so, that even Commission counsel Ball was taken aback at points. First, she revealed that not only had the FBI been out to visit her, but so had the Secret Service. (ibid, p. 401) Remington notes that he could find no citation for this Secret Service visit in the Warren Report pertaining to Bledsoe. And Ball seemed surprised to learn of it. When asked why she thought this was the shirt Oswald had on while he was on the bus, she replied, "Well, let's see the front of it. Yes. See all this ... I remember that." (Remington, p. 402) As Remington notes, this rather generic reply is quite puzzling. One would think that she would know it was the right shirt by the color and the hole in the elbow. But when Ball tries to prompt her to do just that, this is what happened:
Mr. Ball. Tell me what you see there.
Mrs. Bledsoe. I saw the – not; not so much that. It was done after – that is the part I recognize more than anything.
Mr. Ball. You are pointing to the hole in the right elbow?
Mrs. Bledsoe. Yes.
Mr. Ball. What about the color?
Mrs. Bledsoe. Well I – what do you mean?...Before he was shot? Yes, I remember being brown. (Italics added)
I have italicized the two parts that are key to her relevancy to the FBI and the Commission i.e. the hole in the elbow and the color. The two italicized phrases again suggest that she was coached on these points. The first one indicates that she knows the hole in the shirt elbow was most likely made during Oswald's altercation with the police in the Texas Theater. Which occurred after Oswald stopped at his rooming house. So it would not have been visible to her on the bus. It seems someone told her about this problem previously. The second italicized phrase, "Before he was shot?" indicates the same. Someone informed her about the specific timeline required by the Bureau and the Commission. Namely that Oswald said he changed his shirt prior to being arrested. And as Remington also notes, there is another indication of this confusion in the timeline. When Ball asked her if the shirt was open or buttoned, she replies, "Yes; all the buttons torn off." (Remington, p. 405) But yet, since no one else noted this at that time, this most likely happened at the Texas Theater.
Let us bring up one last point about the shirt. The FBI technician who testified on the fibers found on the butt of the rifle was Paul Stombaugh. As Speer points out, Stombaugh made all kinds of excuses for an apparent flaw in his analysis: there was a problem in his supposed "match". (Remington also notes this problem.) Stombaugh said that he found "the shirt was composed of dark-blue, grayish-black, and orangish-yellow cotton fibers, and that these were the same shades of colors I had found on the butt plate of the gun." (ibid, p. 397) When Remington looked up the colors that composed the color of brown, they were a combination of red, black, and yellow. (ibid) Or to paraphrase Speer, I guess there is "no brown in brown."
After calling her testimony "incredible" (p. 406), Remington suggests that the person who may have coached her on it was her attorney Ms. Melody Douthit. He points out that Douthit was allowed to do something quite rare for the Commission: to take over the questioning of the witness for 53 questions, three pages in the volumes. (WC Vol. 6, p. 422) And she clearly was allowed to ask a leading question of Arlen Specterish length and complexity about Bledsoe's first meeting with Oswald. But the question that was never really answered about this whole Oswald/Bledsoe renting situation is this: Why did she ask Oswald to leave? Why did she never give him his full refund? Was it because of the ruckus described in the arrest report? Because the date of the arrest report incident, October 11th, was the day before she evicted Oswald.
When I asked Roger Rainwater, the head of the Special Collections division of TCU's Burnett Library, about the Mary Bledsoe arrest report, he would only say, "Although I am aware that this is part of the "folklore" of the department, I have no direct knowledge or recollection of this situation." However, the Marguerite Oswald TCU collection DOES contain another very interesting document. It is a UPI story that mentions a man named H.H. Grant, who is also mentioned in the Bledsoe police report. The report describes a tussle between one "Alek Hidell" and J. R. Rubinstein, obviously Oswald and Ruby. Bledsoe was complaining because during the scuffle, some furniture in the room she rented to Oswald was damaged. But there was a fourth person named on the report. He was listed as a witness. His name was H. H. Grant. Here is the UPI story:
Dallas, Nov. 21-UPI-"A DALLAS BUILDER TODAY DENIED THAT HE HAD BEEN ARRESTED IN 1963 WITH LEE HARVEY OSWALD AND JACK RUBY IN AN OAK CLIFF ROOMING HOUSE – AFTER A REPORTED ALTERCATION.
H.H. GRANT, 35, SAID HE WAS TAKEN TO THE DALLAS POLICE STATION "SOMETIME IN OCTOBER" OF THAT YEAR FOR QUESTIONING. BUT THAT HE AND TWO OTHER MEN ALSO QUESTIONED WERE RELEASED "WHEN IT BECAME OBVIOUS THAT THE REPORT WAS A MISTAKEN ONE."
DALLAS POLICE CHIEF CHARLES BATCHELOR SAID DALLAS POLICE RECORDS SHOWED NO RECORD OF SUCH AN ARREST.
GRANT'S STORY CAME TO LIGHT RECENTLY WHEN SEVERAL DALLAS NEWS-MEN GOT WIND OF THE POSSIBILITY THAT RUBY AND OSWALD MIGHT HAVE BEEN SEEN TOGETHER AT THE DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT. THE WARREN COMMISSION, REACHING THE CONCLUSION THAT BOTH APPARENTLY ACTED ALONE IN THEIR NOVEMBER, 1963 ACTIONS, INDICATED THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE THAT LINKED OSWALD TO THE FORMER NIGHTCLUB OWNER.
GRANT, FORMERLY OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION IN DALLAS, DETROIT AND OTHER CITIES, NOW OPERATES A BUILDING FIRM IN DALLAS.
IT IS REPORTED THAT GRANT HAS RECENTLY VISITED NEW ORLEANS FOR QUESTIONING BY DIST. ATTY. JIM GARRISON, WHO IS CURRENTLY INVESTIGATING PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY'S ASSASSINATION, ALONG WITH RELATED EVENTS THAT WERE SUPPOSED TO HAVE OCCURRED IN THE LOUISIANA CITY IN MID-1963. GRANT DENIED THAT HE HAD EVER MET GARRISON AND THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY WAS NOT AVAILABLE FOR COMMENT.
GRANT DENIED HE HAD EVER MET RUBY, BUT SAID HIS WIFE..."_
The UPI story does not give a year as to when the story was written. But if the report is genuine, it was probably done around 1967 or 1968, when Jim Garrison was doing his investigation._Notice, according to this report, a version of the incident did happen. And parties were questioned about it. (In this regard, when John Armstrong tried to find the matching report at DPD HQ, he was told that since no action was taken – no one was booked or prosecuted – the original was probably routinely destroyed. Folliard, p. 32) Further, Grant does not deny being there during the incident, he just denies being arrested. Notice too that, according to the story, Grant was in the FBI at one time. Oswald and Ruby were both believed to have been FBI informants as well.
In addition to this, we also have some interesting family connections with the Bledsoes. When Mary Bledsoe died in 1969, Penn Jones wrote an obituary and a brief story was done about her in The Midlothian Mirror. Jones wrote that her son Porter was in the Louisiana Civil Air Patrol with Oswald when David Ferrie was a Captain there. Where and how Jones garnered this information is not revealed. So it cannot be certified as being accurate. (See Michael Benson's Who's Who in the JFK Assassination, pgs. 42, 133) In addition, I have learned that in 1963, Porter Bledsoe lived with his mother Mary. I have also learned that Porter went to the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. In addition, the H.H. Grant who was also named in the infamous police report never denied that he was there and had been in the FBI at one time.
If the police report is legitimate (and I stress the word 'if') then all three men in the report – Oswald, Ruby and Grant – could have been FBI informants at the time. And the rightwing Mary Bledsoe – she was reportedly a member of the Daughters of the Confederacy and the Dallas Navy Mothers Club – and her intelligence oriented son, would be willing to cover it all up. As, for obvious reasons, the Dallas Police would be after the fact. After all, they had two people involved in the JFK case in their hands over a month before Kennedy was killed.
Let me add one more possible point. It is these connections that may have allowed Bledsoe to be such a pliable and cooperative witness for the FBI and the Commission.
It is necessary to lay out all this before discussing the controversy over the Bledsoe police report. Why? Because in his writing on the subject. Perry tells you nothing about any of the above. That's right. Not a word about any of it. He doesn't tell you how important Bledsoe was to the FBI and the Commission. He doesn't tell you that Bledsoe was the eyewitness the Commission relied upon to put Oswald on the McWatters' bus. Perry doesn't tell you how she added that "homicidal look" on his face, which no on else recalled. He doesn't tell you how she was the key witness in keeping the brown shirt constantly on Oswald after the murder, and how this helped the FBI in the matching of the fibers. (Which may not have matched anyway.) He doesn't tell you how her testimony has hints of being rehearsed, how she brought her own notes, and how her attorney played an unusual role in the proceedings.
The net effect of all these deletions is this: the whole controversy he details lacks any real context. Because he erases Bledsoe, and the troubling questions about her, from the picture. This allows him to perform his usual routine. That is to conceal and camouflage the failings of the FBI and the Commission, and second, to go after the critics. To the point of eliminating an alternative scenario as to the provenance of the report i.e. someone on the DPD or FBI might have faked the document to detract attention from how weak a witness Bledsoe was and how she was used to prop up the official story.
Now let's look at the Bledsoe police report that has been argued to be both real and fake.
This report was found in 1994 by JFK assassination researchers Jack White, Jim Marrs and John Armstrong while browsing through the personal files of Marguerite Oswald at the Special Collections division of TCU's Burnett Library. White and Marrs issued a press release that was printed in Probe, which, at the time was being edited by Dennis Effle. It was this press release that Perry used to attack the document as a forgery planted by mysterious conservative Dallas citizens disgruntled by how Mark Lane had made their city look silly. Perry's theory – if it can be called one – was that the forgers wanted to make Lane look stupid when he publicized it. Apparently the plotters were not too smart. They got Lane's address wrong somehow and the envelope containing the report was returned address unknown. An interesting point about Perry's "research" is that although he was arguing for a conspiracy, he would never name anyone involved, or the date when the letter to Lane was sent. This is rather surprising since Perry actually said that he talked to one of the conspirators. (See, Perry's "The Bledsoe Document Resurfaces") In that article he does not say if he asked the nameless man how he could have gotten Lane's address wrong. Lane was quite accessible at the time since he was traveling the country and also giving lectures in New York on a regular basis. Many, many people had access to him e.g. Ray Marcus, Marjorie Field etc. All that was necessary was to give the arrest report to one of them or ask them for Lane's mailing address. Another way to have gotten him the report was through his publisher. A very common practice, both then and now. It's odd that, apparently, Perry did not ask those questions.
Perry also reports as fact that the arrest report first surfaced back in the sixties, and that it was then not investigated again until 1994. The first statement is really an assumption he makes; the second statement is false. And, as we will see, it is hard to believe that Perry did not know it was false when he wrote it.
Concerning the first: How did Perry determine that the report first surfaced back in the sixties? He says he called Mary Ferrell. She had heard of it around the time of the Garrison inquiry and it was dismissed as a fraud. In fact, Perry wrote that the report actually got to Jim Garrison, he had a copy in 1967, and according to Ferrell, Garrison considered the report a fraud. This is a not completely warranted deduction. For two reasons. First, contrary to what Perry implies, Mary Ferrell never worked for Garrison. (ibid) You can scan through his extant files, you can interview anyone who worked for him at the time. They will tell you the same. So how is she a good source for this information? Secondly, as we have seen, there is evidence that Garrison actually interviewed a person named in the police report. Both Ferrell and Perry either were unaware of this or deliberately left it out.
The other main source Perry uses to convey the information that the document was around for decades is a man named Randy Chapman. He also connects to Ferrell on this issue. For Mary said that she thought she got a copy from the late Al Chapman, Randy's father. In other words, Perry was relying on the son's memory for a document the father had in his possession about 27-28 years ago. Perry does not tell the reader what Randy's age would have been at the time, or if he had such a strong interest in the JFK case back then to recall such a document. (Interestingly, Perry chose not to interview Marrs or White about this point. Because neither one of them, who have been in the area and interested in the case since the sixties, heard of the report back then.)
But here is the most important point to recall about what Perry adduced from his call to Randy Chapman. Randy told him that "his father was very friendly with Marguerite Oswald and that Al did give her a copy of the report." (See Perry's "A CTKA Story") The never curious Perry apparently did not ask Randy, "How would you recall such a thing? Were you there when the transfer happened?" Perry never asked another obvious question: "If the word was that the document was a hoax, why would your father give it to Marguerite if he was friendly with her?"
Perry ends his "inquiry" into the report's provenance with a huge understatement. He writes that his Arthurian quest has not completely resolved how the arrest report came to be found at the TCU archives or if indeed it had been fabricated. (ibid)
But there is something that Perry may have left out of his report about his interview with Ferrell. For Ferrell told Folliard that, as she recalled it, Chapman was given the document by Lt. J. C. Day. (Folliard, p. 35) If true, this is rather important information. Because it would seem to vouch for the document's authenticity. But if the document was forged, then it was possibly forged by someone on the Dallas Police.
Let us address Perry's second point: the arrest report had not resurfaced since Garrison had discarded it. This was wrong. For in February of 1992, the FBI had interviewed one Frank O. Mote about the document. What makes this interview interesting is a point that Perry ignores completely. The interviewing agent was Farris Rookstool. In Jim DiEugenio's essay, "How Gary Mack Became Dan Rather", he revealed that Rookstool was the FBI agent who became the Bureau's beat cop in Dallas on the JFK case around the time that Oliver Stone's film JFK was released. (Click here for the essay.) Further, that Perry also moved into the Dallas-Fort Worth area just prior to that time from his previous home back east. Perry had been lifelong friends with Gus Russo. Russo had ostensibly been a former Warren Commission critic who at this same time was now switching sides. (Click here for the story on Russo.)
According to more than one Dallas based researcher, Rookstool's job was to garner any new information coming out of the JFK research community there. One of the ways he did this was to occasionally drop in at the late Larry Howard's JFK Assassination Information Center. By way of Gus Russo, who no one suspected of turning at the time, Perry also began to do his reconnaissance job on the JFK research community in Dallas. It appears they were both doing the same function. Except Perry was doing it in an unofficial capacity.
If this is so, how could Rookstool have not alerted Perry to his interview with one Frank O. Mote in 1992 about the Bledsoe arrest report? And how could Perry have known what he did about Rookstool's story, as he revealed in his article on the subject? Mote volunteered almost no information about the document. But how Rookstool discovered Mote, the document, and how Perry treats this episode is of the utmost interest.
Rookstool says that Mote provided the document to his father! (See Perry's, "The FBI's Report on Frank Mote") How Rookstool knew this, or precisely when he discovered it, is never mentioned by Perry. Neither is it explained why Mote would do such a thing. (And since Perry doesn't reveal the Dallas Police giving the report to Chapman, he doesn't have to explain why Rookstool never investigated the police angle.) Perry could easily shed light on those queries through his longtime acquaintance with Rookstool if he wanted to. And to detract from the importance of Rookstool and the Mote interview, Perry actually writes that the FBI did not make the discovery of the document in 1992, Rookstool did. This is a distinction without a difference. Rookstool was an officer of the FBI in 1992. His job was reconnaissance on the research community in Dallas. So if he found this out about his father, then the FBI found it out also.
Let me make one other observation about this 1992 strange interlude: If one questions – as I do – Perry's past attempts at moving the document's provenance back to the sixties, this is the first time word of the document surfaced. Right after the furor over Stone's film began.
As previously noted, Perry tries to ridicule JFK forums and newsgroups. He titled one of his essays "Newsgroups – What Newsgroups?" The subtitle left little doubt where Perry stood on the issue: "Is there really any news on the JFK newsgroups?" Perry may want to discourage people from visiting these forums, since people like Sean Murphy are hard at work exposing some of his scams. And so is Joe Hall.
Hall is another Kennedy researcher who frequents a newsgroup. He posts at the forum for the JFK Murder Solved site. Unlike others at more popular sites like John Simkin's Spartacus, Hall didn't buy Perry or his spin on the Bledsoe arrest report. So he took the report to the Dallas Police Department. He showed it to a police officer and a police secretary at headquarters. Both thought the report was genuine. Both thought the report was very indicative of a standard police report of that period, with the errors in the report common in a petty case of this nature.
The police officer examined the report and said he felt about 90% sure the report was for real. The secretary was even more positive. And more interesting in her comments. She said she felt 100% that the report was a genuine one. She said the only thing false on it was the numbers running across the top. And she observed that these were typed on a different typewriter. There were indications of that because the dash shifted to the left on every number. But besides that, she felt the report was authentic.
This is quite interesting. Why? Because a major way that Perry disputes the authenticity of the report is through those very numbers! (Which, according to Folliard, should not even be there. Folliard, p. 36) Yet, as the secretary told Hall, everything about the document looked real except those numbers. As Perry wrote, the numbers across the top, when matched to their numeric correspondence in the alphabet, spell out U-R-A-Fink. Yet as the secretary said, these were typed on a different typewriter. Therefore, if the document was a hoax, then it is very likely that someone else got hold of it and added this onto it to make it seem more of such. If the document is genuine, then the ersatz numbers were added to a real document to make it appear to be a false one.
Mr. Hall talked to a librarian at the Special Collections division of TCU's Burnett Library. As noted, this houses the Marguerite Oswald Collection. She had a fascinating tale to relate. For the librarian was very helpful to Hall. She got him everything he asked for. During their conversation she revealed that he was one of the very few people who had been there to inspect the Marguerite Oswald collection over the years. In fact, she said she only recalled three previous visits in her ten-year tenure.
When Hall asked her about the Bledsoe police report, she had a curious response. The woman said it was not in the files, because it was not entered in the original Oswald index list. Therefore it was not a part of the donated collection. She then stopped for a moment, and said, "Wait a minute.. . I recall something else." She then brought out another folder that held the disputed police report inside. Hall discovered from the woman that on one of the previous viewings, someone had tried to slip this report into the Marguerite Oswald collection. However the substitution was detected. Which is why she gave the inserted document to Joe in a different folder.
Let me add why this last detail is important. First, it casts even more doubt on Perry's "inquiry". For if Chapman had given it to Marguerite back in the sixties, why was it not turned over to TCU? Especially since Marguerite apparently did include the UPI story about Grant. Second, when Marrs, White, and Armstrong made their visit in 1994, the report was there in a file folder. So it was not they who inserted the report. (Interviews with White and Marrs, 3/30/10) Someone else did so prior to that visit. The questions then become: Who? When? Why?
As the reader can see, genuine or not, there is a lot more to the Bledsoe arrest report than Dave Perry ever let on. Perry's writing is so incomplete, so one-sided, so agenda-driven as to be misleading. Which, as we have seen with Discovery Channel, is par for the course with him. I began this article with a comparison of Perry to the Naked Gun's Lt. Frank Drebin. Specifically to his famous line, "Nothing to see here." If you really want to investigate Mary Bledsoe and the arrest report, there is a lot to see here. And Perry won't give it to you.