JFK: A Few of Our Favorite Batshit Crazy Conspiracy Theories

Categories: Texas

Why isn't there a conspiracy theory that involves Bigfoot? That would rule.
One of the greatest disservices Jack Ruby did when he killed Lee Harvey Oswald was to unleash a never-ending stream of conspiracy theories ranging from insane to slightly-less-insane. Most of these are benign, and in their own way entertaining; some, like deranged Orleans Parish District Attorney Jim Garrison's belief that respected businessman Clay Shaw conspired in the act, ruined lives.

If we were in charge of the world (we're still waiting to hear back about our application), we'd force all the loonies to read Vincent Bugliosi's exhaustive dissection of conspiracy theories in Reclaiming History, a work that, at 1,600 pages, also doubles as a barbell. Here are some of the kookiest conspiracy theories out there:

David Lifton and the Ol' Switcheroo

In his 1981 book Best Evidence, unhinged "researcher" David Lifton advanced his theory that, following the President's death, conspirators removed the corpse from the bronze casket aboard Air Force One and slipped it into a shipping casket. Why? Because the bullet entrance wounds would have shown that JFK was shot from the grassy knoll, and not from the rear. They needed to alter the wounds in order to frame their patsy, Oswald.

Upon landing at Andrews Air Force Base, the body was sneaked out of the side of the plane away from the television cameras focusing on the "decoy" casket. The body was then transported via helicopter to an unidentified location where evil doctors went to town, poking here and prodding there, sculpting the wounds to jibe with their plan.

Of this theory, Bugliosi writes, "One could safely say that David Lifton took folly to an unprecedented level. And considering the monumental foolishness of his colleagues in the conspiracy community, that's saying something."

Howard Donahue and Bonar Menninger and the Oops! Theory

Firearms expert Donahue is the one who came up with the cockamamie theory; Menninger is the dude who wrote Mortal Error, about said theory, which is: a Secret Service agent in the car following JFK's accidentally shot the President in the back of the head. Here's the deal: Oswald fired two shots from the Texas School Book Depository, but only one hit his target -- the bullet that struck both JFK and Governor John Connally. That's when agent George Hickey grabs the AR-15 on the floor of the follow-car and stands up to take aim at where he thinks the shots are coming from. But then he loses his balance -- it's unclear if this is because of all the stray banana peels in the car or a gust of wind huffed by a big bad wolf -- and Hickey falls over and accidentally fires the fatal shot to the President's noggin.

Amazingly, Hickey never responded to Donahue's request to be interviewed for the book. Was this because Donahue's theory is batshit crazy, or because Hickey had something to hide? YOU be the judge!

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Like it or not, the Oops theory, as you put it, provides the most likely explanation and has the weight of a ballistics expert behind it. Through this lens the bizarre behavior of the Secret Service, even before they knew anything about a Lee H. Oswald, makes perfect sense: they were protecting one of their own. Oswald undoubtedly saw JFK's head explode through his scope and if he didn't fire that round then he'd certainly say he was a patsy. Agent Hickey picked up a "ready to go" AR-15, which unlike Oswald's weapon, very likely was loaded with frangible rounds, and looked backwards towards the Book Depository by all accounts. The car lurched forward. It isn't at all goofy to imagine the weapon pointing towards the front at that time as he was scanning the scene behind him. The gun went off. A very low probability event but one that clearly was possible. Oswald's rifle contained full metal jacket rounds too small for the 6mm entry wound as measured by Dr. Hume. The .223 in the AR-15 fits nicely. The bullet didn't leave just a larger exit hole it left a gigantic opening. Frangible round, pure and simple. Hickey only had to flip off the safety as he brought it from the floor and pulling the trigger would fire a round. I really question how anyone can refer to this theory as "batshit crazy." I've seen all the theories, including the Warren Commission's, and believe this one to be correct.


Marilyn Monroe wasn't the only diva to sing "Happy Birthday" to President Kennedy at his extravagant 45t birthday party at Madison Square Garden on May 19, 1962. Maria Callas, the Greek-American soprano assoluto, and mistress of Aristotle Onassis was also present. Maria and Marilyn hit it off and both left with the President They partied deep into the night. Jacky was off touring India with her sister, at the time.  As later revealed by the FOI Act, JFK, Marilyn Monroe and Maria Callas did not come out of his suite at the Waldorf until late the next morning. When Callas discovered she was pregnant with JFK's child. she returned to Onassis who was livid and forced her to get an abortion. Onassis ordered a hit on JFK by a team of professionals from the Marseilles underground with help from members of the Dallas Hellenic Cultural Society (some of whom were Birchers and Mormons) With his rival dead, Onassis completed his revenge in Greek tradition; he married his rival's widow.  Jacky met Onassis through her sister, Princess Lee Radziwil, who he was currently rogering, and went cruising on the "Christina" with Onassis in Autumn 1963 after the loss of her baby. Onassis tried to arrange for Marilyn Monroe to marry Prince Rainier of Monaco. When Jacqueline Bouvier was only recently married to John Kennedy, she slept with William Holden in the same bed where JFK made love to Marilyn. When Bobby Kennedy called Onassis to urge him to stop seeing Jackie’s sister, Lee Radziwill, the Greek snapped, "Bobby, you and Jack fuck your movie queen [Monroe] and I’ll fuck my princess." Believe it or not.

johnnybench topcommenter

The "Umbrella Man" was waving an umbrella to protest Joseph Kennedy's alleged pro-nazi appeasement strategy before and during WWII.  A black umbrella was Neville Chamberlain's signature accessory.  


Gerald Posner's book, "Case Closed," wasn't as weighty, ahem, as Bugliosi's but it put a nice cork in the bottle for me.

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