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Who Did She See?

Vicki Adams denied seeing William Shelley and Billy Lovelady on the first floor when she arrived there. Sandra Styles provided strong corroboration that those two men weren’t around. Additional evidence backs up and is consistent with the truthfulness of Miss Adams. But what about the “black man” Miss Adams said she observed on the first floor? That’s the one she said she spoke to — asking if the president had been shot — not  Shelley or Lovelady. This is the same “black man” Sandra Styles also noticed. And it was the “black man” Marrion Baker said he was about to confront, until Roy Truly stepped in to say the guy was an employee who happened to be “slightly retarded.” The identity of this figure is a mystery. Could it have been Jack Dougherty? Check out the description of Dougherty in this Secret Service report dated December 7, 1963. Pay particular attention to how Truly describes him in the document below.




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The Missing Link

The Warren Commission took testimony from Victoria Adams in Dallas on April 7, 1964. Her later words to me, plus other corroborating evidence, seemed to indicate she was right when she said a key element in her testimony had been altered in order to discredit what she was saying. In an effort to find out, I searched for the original stenographic tape of her deposition. I figured while copies of her testimony could possibly “evolve,” so to speak, as they made their way to publication, it would be much more difficult to change the coded and continuous train of paper produced by a stenographic machine and typed that afternoon by court reporter Helen Laidrich. I discovered there are 16 boxes in the National Archives containing the original, accordion-style steno tapes, plus notes and other related material, of the 552 witnesses officially questioned by the Commission. The boxes — most of the tapes inside still unopened — are cataloged by the dates the depositions were taken, not by the names of those deposed. Below is a list furnished by the National Archives of the boxes in question. Notice that April 7, the date depositions were taken of Vicki Adams, as well as controversial witnesses Billy Lovelady and William Shelley, is missing. And below that is another document, also from the National Archives, that may explain why. Comments anyone?

ProceedingsCover Page

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And the beat goes on…

Attorney Flip de Mey is the author of “Cold Case Kennedy: A New Investigation into the Assassination of JFK” (2013), and the more current “The Lee Harvey Oswald Files: Why the CIA killed Kennedy” (2016). Recently, he penned a detailed analysis of the infamous “trip down the stairs” made by Vicki Adams. Titled “Oswald’s Alibi,” it’s worth the time to read. I’d be interested in your comments once you do. Because of the article’s length, please go to his webpage at:

Martha Jo Stroud


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On Not Giving Up

So, here I am reading “Giving Up: The Last Days of Sylvia Plath.” A good book, for sure, with a strikingly evocative title. Then I’m thinking, what would my own hardback heroine have said about a heading such as that, maybe one like, “Giving Up: The Last Days of Vicki Adams”?

Without question, she would have hated it. And I know why.

Because Vicki Adams was not a quitter. Period.

My Way

“The only difference between us,” she would say to me in her last days, “is I have a basic ETA and can’t get around much anymore. But other than that, I am still your old ornery, never-give-up-until-forced-to friend.”

Both Sylvia and Vicki were writers, of sorts, offering their readers different content through different venues with different levels of ability. In each case, however, you had to go deep – really deep – into their respective words in order to get a handle on the message they were trying to convey.

But the bell jar never descended to trap Vicki Adams within its distorted glass. She would not have allowed it. And unlike Plath, who caved in to the way things were and chose to end her life, life was rudely taken from Vicki.

Attuned as I now am to Plath’s unfortunate misery, I can understand the reasoning behind her death; I have yet to understand that of Vicki’s.

“I am actually not sure what I believe about death,” she wrote on September 21, 2007. “Heck, it was hard enough trying to figure out what I believed about life.”

Vicki passed away peacefully on November 15, 2007. Less than six weeks prior, on October 7 and while in great pain, she pecked out a 3100-word essay on personal bravery, a then-sensitive subject brought to her attention by a well-meaning friend. “Perhaps it is really brave of the listener to listen to the dying talk about death,” Vicki offered early in her manuscript, as if to say, pay attention, folks, because this is important.

Take a moment and read what she had to say by clicking on the My Way tab above. Look deeply into her final words, written during the last days of Vicki Adams.



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Seems Others See It Too


What’s wrong with the JFK research community?


1.  Social Media Groups-  While social media has helped this case, it has also created an issue.  Behind our keyboards we are able to make whatever claims we want so we have to be careful not to make them unless they’re solid.  Also, social media can allow us to not see someone as a human being.  It’s easy to get online and argue with someone about the facts of this case and then demonize them if we don’t agree with their theory.  We need to be careful not to go there because it doesn’t do anything except create drama for the JFK community.

2.  Gossip and Slander-  This is a huge issue in the research community. I’ve met a lot of good researchers who have wanted to help in this case, only to see them fall victim to the jealousy and back biting that so often accompanies the JFK community.  Not everyone is like this.  I know a lot of researchers who are genuine to the bone. However, not everyone is in this with a pure motive.  Just ask yourself this….what in the world does the gossip and slander of other researchers do to help solve the murder of President Kennedy?

3.  Lies-   As hard as it seems to believe, certain researchers will bold faced lie about the facts of this case.  They do this because there is something inside them that desperately wants their theories to be accepted as truth.  They have tactics for this deception.  One of them is to take things out of context.  For example, they will take a statement of an eyewitness and present it to you as the only thing this witness said in their entire testimony.  Meanwhile, the researcher knows this is false.  They refuse to acknowledge the entire text because if they do that it will destroy their  theory. Another tactic they employ is denial.  If you stub a false researcher with the facts they will deny those facts and claim you’re apart of the conspiracy to kill President Kennedy as well. They don’t mind saying such outlandish things because they know no one will hold them accountable for their accusation.  Honesty is the best policy when it comes to historical research.  We have to be careful to not put our bias above where the evidence takes us, and if we do that we will be okay.

4.  Statesmanship-  JFK was the best statesman we ever had in the White House.  Yes, he wasn’t perfect in his character, but he usually showed class…even to his enemies.  I hope we can strive to be statesman in our research as well.  As JFK told us in his American University Speech…we all are mortals…we all breathe the same air… In the spirit of that speech, I also hope we can treat one another with class and respect.

5.  A Lack of Younger Students-  I don’t want to be to harsh on this point.  I realize it’s not easy to get my generation involved in much of anything.  However, I hope the older researchers realize that their work will need to be passed on to the younger researchers in order for it to survive.  This means that it’s crucial to reach younger people about the importance of JFK’s assassination…no matter how difficult it may be.   Besides, we don’t have to raise up an army of researchers.  Even if we’re able to reach one, that’s better than none.

In closing,  I’m not accusing a particular person in this blog.  I’m simply pointing out the things that are holding us back as a research community in hope that we can move forward in solving this case together.  No man is an island to themselves.  We all need each others experience and expertise.  Until next time, keep pursuing the truth.

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The Loss of Accountability

“Contrary to widespread belief, not all JFK researchers endorse faked 9/11 attacks, chemical trails, flying saucers, counterfeit Southern snow, a government-run Ebola outbreak, Area 51, a non-existent Shakespeare, crop circles, bogus moon landings, or Elvis look-sees.”

That was a post I recently made on Facebook. It meant that membership in the first group did not necessarily constitute endorsement of or affiliation with all – or even any one – of the others. In other words, and like a lot of my serious-minded colleagues from the first group, I don’t care to be lumped in with looneys.

Within minutes it led to a firestorm of replies:

–“The WTC attacks were contrived by our government as a reason to go to war.”

As a source for this claim, one emailer cited comments made by Tim Commerfold, a self-described conspiracy theorist and member of the band Rage Against the Machine. I never heard of him. When I checked him out, I determined Tim could go naked yet still look like he was adorned in colorful attire. Who can dispute the ramblings of a guitar player from a defunct rap metal band on record as saying ISIS isn’t a real terrorist group and the beheading videos are merely performances staged by our own government “so we can go drop bombs.”

This country certainly doesn’t need to kill 3,000 of its own citizens to justify going to war. If it wants to go to war…it just goes.

–“The moon landing was faked.”

All six of them? Who left behind the equipment and other human artifacts still seen on the lunar surface in photos by NASA flybys and those snapped by


Japanese, Chinese and Indian space probes? Not to mention the Russians, who would absolutely love to uncover such shenanigans. And what about those man-made laser reflectors on the lunar surface, the ones still being used today by world-wide scientific and academic communities? Whoever could have put them there?

–“Aliens DO exist. Right now they are in secret bases on the far side of the moon, plotting the overthrow of our world leaders.”

I am at a loss for words on this one.

–“JFK was killed because he demanded the release of classified documents from NASA regarding secret alien visitations to our planet.”

Now we’re getting somewhere. Presumably, those visits were made by the same sneaky Joes comfortably living on the side of the moon that appears to be in perpetual darkness from our viewpoint, a similar level of illumination for those who support such an idea.

Have we always been this wild-eyed and stupid in our views?  Or has Facebook, Twitter and other technologies that expound on social silliness made it more visible?

Take, for example, “Prayer Man,” unquestionably one of the most popular and highly pixelated figures in modern-day photographic analysis. “Prayer Man” is a fuzzy, indistinct figure who stands atop the steps leading to the front entrance of the infamous Texas School Book Depository as JFK’s limo passes. He is cast in permanent shadow, shrouded in a spectrum of blacks and grays. Distant pictures of him amidst the crowd have been enlarged to the point of so much blurriness, even his gender is now in dispute. (He may be wearing a dress, some suggest, an area I will leave to the reader’s imagination.) Nevertheless, you can guess who many claim this mystery…uh…person really is.

In further support, countless overlays have been placed onto “Prayer Man,” the overlays, of course, all being of Lee Oswald in much the same pose. And of course there appears to be a match, at least in the eyes of those who want that kind of counterpart.  (I personally have put a transparency of Justin Bieber on top of “Prayer Man” and, had it not been for the fact the kid wasn’t even born back then, he appeared to be a reasonable candidate.)

After many years of discussion, research, and the aforementioned scrutiny in pursuit of “Prayer Man’s” true identity and sex, what is the claim of most who have studied it? One adherent offered the consensus:

“Prayer Man is most likely Oswald,” he wrote.

With all due respect to the initiative, efforts and enthusiasm shown over the decades, “most likelys” won’t cut it. It would be like me saying after 35 years of research and 300 pages of book text, Victoria Elizabeth Adams “most likely” came down the back stairs of the Depository when she said she did.

What possible value would that hold?

If the WTC attacks were government sponsored, if the moon landings were faked, if aliens do in fact live on our satellite and JFK was murdered because of that, if “Doorway Man,” Prayer Man,” Badge Man” or the “Boogey Man” really do exist within the guise being fostered…then present the hard stuff. Give me the substantiation beyond mere thoughts, guesses, speculations or opinions of others. Give me more than just misinterpretations or biased words taken out of context, more than just photo-shopped pictures or an amateur’s dissection of course gritty images worse than those taken initially by a handicapped Hubble.

Just show me the proof.


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The Error of Pigeonholing

Lately, supporters of the Warren Report have begun a campaign to lump Victoria Adams in with other witnesses who have either, 1) changed their stories over the years or, 2) suspiciously waited decades before revealing their long-held sensational tales.

In both cases, those witnesses (oddly enough, only the ones who dispute the Warren Commission’s version of events), are quickly dismissed due to a perceived lack of credibility on their part, or what is thought to be their sudden attempts to attain literary stardom.

Ironically, these supporters often cite as being reliable Warren Commission star witness Howard Brennan, whose official statements are fraught with inconsistencies, and who wasn’t able to more profoundly nail Oswald as the lone assassin using his 20/20 hindsight until his book “Eyewitness to History” came out 24 years after the fact — in 1987.


I can understand the point of view of the supporters and have occasionally found myself in their corner — only, however, when their criticisms are legitimate and accurate rather than mere generalizations without factual foundations.

But their claims against Victoria Adams could not be farther from the truth.

First, she is on record as being very consistent with what she told authorities from the day of the assassination through her April 7, 1964, official testimony before Warren Commission staffer David Belin. There is documented evidence that the details she related concerning the timing of her trip down the stairs remained the same throughout all of those recorded interviews. Her comments were just as unswerving during my lengthy and probing discussions with her from when I found her in 2002 until she passed away five years later.

Second, she was the last person who would have wanted publicity. In fact, she often told me that if my book about her was ever published, she preferred not to be a part of any speaking engagements, appearances, or media attention.

She did not come to me with the background to her story; I’m the one who sought her out. Until I came along, she had remained silent, admitting to me that even her best friends didn’t know of her past, and that she had accepted the fact she was going to die with the truth.

As to the assumption that what Miss Adams reveals in “The Girl on the Stairs” is somehow diminished by the lapse of 48 years, that opinion is equally wrong.

What she reveals in my book about her actions and observations on November 22, 1963, is certainly nothing new. It is, in fact, the same as what she provided to authorities back in 1963 and 1964. It’s just that back then, no one believed her or wanted to do anything about it if they did.

What is new in my book are the two C’s: the clarification to and the corroboration of her story, both of which were never sought. And because the story of Victoria Adams was never fully investigated as it should have been and when it should have been, the truth of the matter is only now emerging.

What remains startling is, why did it take so long?


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From A Ham

The question posed by Val from Romania was a common one: If it wasn’t Oswald on the sixth floor, then how did the person who was up there escape?

What was uncommon about his inquiry was the method he used to send it.

Most of the correspondence I receive from readers comes predominately by email, occasionally by telephone, and only rarely by postal carrier. Val’s arrived by way of the 15-meter band, specifically 21.270 MHz at 16:10 hours Zulu.

Wait! It gets better.

As an avid amateur radio operator (aka ham radio), I enjoy dialing through the various HF (high frequency) bands. When I heard his CQ DX transmission (meaning he was searching for long-distance stations), I responded. The normal procedure for each operator is to then check an online call-sign database (every operator world-wide must be licensed) to get details about who it is who answered the CQ. Val was surprised to read my bio, since he had only recently finished my book while sitting in his villa outside Bucharest.

We had a rather nice QSO (conversation), even though there was a lot of QRM (atmospheric interference) between our QTHs (station locations). In the end, Antennahis name and other radio-related information joined the list of contacts penciled into my logbook.

Oh yeah. Back to his question. Not wanting to keep the frequency tied up (and risk possible FCC sanctions), my answer to Val’s question about a fleeing assassin was succinct. But in general, my response was this:

Those who dispute the idea that someone other than Lee Oswald was on the sixth floor often cite for support a collection of statements made by Depository employees saying that no strangers were observed in the building on the morning of the assassination. These statements, amassed by the FBI from 73 men and women who were at work there on November 22, can be found in Commission Exhibit 1381.

Each employee was asked the same handful of rudimentary questions such as, What is your name and age?; Where were you when the shots were fired?; What did you see and do?; and a self-revealing query, Did you see Lee Oswald at the time of the shooting? A final question asked whether the employee had noticed any strangers in the building that day.

All who responded to that last one replied, no.

We must first assume those employees, working away in their enclosed offices or work spaces on multiple floors, were capable of noticing such trespassers, not to mention separating them from the normal business traffic that routinely entered the Depository on any given day.

It also seems obvious from an objective reading of the statements that the overall intent of the FBI agents was not to conduct further investigation, but simply to complete a routine assignment given them by J. Edgar Hoover, who was in turn responding to a request for such information made earlier by the Warren Commission. To Hoover, the ho-hum effort was like everything else in this regard since, in the director’s eyes, the case already had been solved by his agency.

In contrast to the implication that the Depository was secure and immune from interlopers, we have manager William Shelley saying in 1964, “Any one of a thousand different people could have entered or left the building and nobody would have known it.”

We have employee James Jarman telling the HSCA that a stranger could “very easily” have entered the rear of the Depository and made his way to the sixth floor because “…that day the dock door was up and the side door was open.” This same easy access was observed by the Secret Service when an agent arrived there nearly a half hour after the shooting.

It is clear, then, that an unauthorized individual had the means to enter the building unnoticed and make his way to a higher floor. Let’s say someone did. How then could he have escaped?

Defenders of the Warren Report are quick to point out that if Vicki Adams didn’t hear Oswald on the stairs, then why didn’t she hear the assassin who replaced him?

The error in their logic is glaringly obvious, for the question presupposes that any other shooter would have made his escape down the stairs at the exact same time Oswald was to have done so. But this person would not necessarily have had to come down the stairs when Oswald supposedly did.

The timing of Oswald’s escape from the sixth floor was based on a speed that would get him to the second-floor lunchroom in advance of when Marrion Baker and Roy Truly saw him there. That time frame was established at under 90 seconds, a figure resulting from on-site tests duplicating the actions of an Oswald stand-in, and both Baker and Truly. Oswald had to get to the lunchroom before they did, which therefore put him on the stairs at a specific time.

The fact Victoria Adams was on those stairs at the same time was the thorn in the Commission’s side.

But if someone other than Oswald was on the sixth floor, his escape would not have been governed by any such time constraints. He could have come down later, since the sixth floor remained vacant and was not searched for some 35 minutes after the assassination. (This, oddly enough, even though that floor was pointed out almost immediately as the source of the shots.)

Uniformed cops, plain-clothes cops, the news media, workers and others were swarming throughout the Depository in the meantime. The delay in searching the sixth floor would have provided plenty of opportunity for someone to depart in the confusion. Unlikely as it sounds, this person might even have remained on the sixth floor and then blended in with those who eventually arrived there.

The point is, alternatives exist and should not be readily dismissed.

73 (best regards)!


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On Research

I can remember a time when research into the JFK assassination was fulfilling. That was back when those conducting the research were polite, respectful, level-headed, intelligent—and especially mature.

This was not long after the Dallas horror show, when examiners of the official inquiry were more objective and more careful with the evidence. They routinely shared personal notes and the results of their most recent efforts by way of mail and phone. Some, for instance, often did the leg work for others unable to travel to Dealey Plaza or the National Archives. It was done with trust. It was done with courtesy. It was done that way because everyone had the same goal in mind – discovering truths.

My, how times have changed.

Recently it was announced that one of the better-known and long-standing JFK online forums will be shutting down. Why? “It [has] deteriorated into … bullying and personal abuse,” its administrator said. Not long ago, one of the more prodigious adherents to this group (the A to Z member list runs a whopping 106 pages) was booted for name-calling. Then a moderator charged with controlling such childish acts was kicked out too—for himself verbally attacking the administrator.

What is going on here?

The platform for all this, in my opinion, was ushered in by Vincent Bugliosi. His book, “Reclaiming History,” introduced us in 2007 to a most lamentable lexicon, which unfortunately is now being parroted by his ardent followers. Words like “nut,” “fool,” “crackpot,” “unprincipled,” “fraud,” “silly,” “fantasy-minded,” “uneducated,” “kooky,” “delirious,” and “disturbed” were launched throughout the 1500+ pages to describe critics of the Warren Report. Fueled by such epithets and equally tasteless refrains of ridicule (in an attempt at humor, I suppose, Bugliosi suggested that Vicki Adams was one of JFK’s assassins), this horde of hangers-on now repeat his tirades much like a Hollywood actor reading from a poorly written script.

Face it. There is no reward in arguing with people like this. I found that to be true when, naively thinking another of these online JFK-related forums was open to intelligent discussion, I noticed a Bugliosi supporter who had clearly misrepresented the facts in his attempt to bolster Oswald’s guilt. When I pointed out the actual evidence was contrary to his account and invited him to examine that evidence for himself, I was called a “$*#&!%.” Two days later, I saw the same guy in the same forum making the same errors to an unsuspecting newbie of the subject.

It is difficult to tell whether people who consistently spread untruths are stupid or just pretending to be stupid. They may in fact label themselves as researchers, historians, experts, or, ironically, those deeply concerned over what they perceive as the abuse of facts. But they are none of those. They are instead close-minded and stubborn purveyors of misinformation, non-information and disinformation.

And the kicker is, those kinds of people occupy both sides of the fence. Believers as well as non-believers of the Warren Report often display identical behavior. They may separate themselves by their opinions and stated goals, but the Bugliosi blather and accompanying derision usually embrace all involved. You can easily spot them; their nit-picking arguments and derogatory comments persist post after post after post, ad infinitum, ad nauseam. Truth and relevance–even credibility–become lost in the translation.

One who places ego ahead of evidence is just as bad as one who hand picks that evidence to support only his own beliefs. Those who boast of holding “solutions” or “definitive answers” to the crime or any aspect of it are not providing a service. They are simply diminishing what’s left of legitimate research and causing apathy within the general public. That, folks, is the real shame to this.

The resulting damage is inexcusable. It is intolerable. And it has become tiring.



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On The Steps

Altgens 6

Was it Lovelady or was it Oswald peeking around the corner from the Depository’s front steps as the victim rode by? Fifty years later, the controversy continues. Here are two more twigs to throw on the embers of a still smoldering fire: a note from Lovelady’s wife, and a picture snapped after the shooting showing Lovelady on the steps in his infamous shirt.


The Shirt


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