JFK: A Few of Our Favorite Batshit Crazy Conspiracy Theories
The Umbrella Man
The mad genius behind this one -- which happens to be one of our faves -- may be lost to history, but somehow this tall tale has managed to stick around. This could be because this individual (or portions of his umbrella) appears in the Zapruder film and in still photos, so, whether he liked it or not, he's inextricably part of the case file. And why is this fellow so appealing to some of the theorists? Because he's the only person who can be seen holding an umbrella on what was a clear, sunny day.
As the President's car passed him, the Umbrella Man ("Brella" to his friends) opened his eponymous awning, held it above his head and waved it about. Theorists have interpreted this to mean he was either signalling unknown shooters or -- because the umbrella was really a James Bond-like gun -- firing a tranquilizer dart into JFK in order to make him a more stationary target.
Apparently tired of hearing this nonsense, the House Select Committee on the Assassination in 1978 set out to find this most spectral of figures. Turns out the U.M. was a former insurance company supervisor named Louis Witt, a staunch Republican who was using the umbrella to heckle the President. Dude could've spared himself some infamy if he'd just flipped off JFK instead.
James Fetzer and the Zapruder Zig-Zag
Fetzer, a University of Minnesota-Duluth professor, has written extensively about how the famous Zapruder film was supposedly altered in furtherance of a conspiracy. He edited the unbelievably engrossing compendium of coo-coo, The Great Zapruder Film Hoax, in which he and other film fanatics dissect Zapruder's clip frame-by-frame, geometrically extrapolating the positions and angles and height of every person and their relationship to every blade of grass, deducing that, if the film is authentic, certain people would have to be over seven feet tall. We seriously cannot recommend this book enough.
Those are just a few of the kookier theories out there. Feel free to share yours, especially if they involve Bigfoot.