As one of the shrinking number of witnesses to the John F. Kennedy assassination in 1963 still standing, I have become acccustomed to the endless parade of conspiracy theories that persist, often ‘”revealed” in conjuction with a new book or movie. But I was not prepared for a phone call received this week from a Texas “researcher” who has been on the trail of  truth for more than forty years. I was struck by his earnestness and apparent sincerity.

After confirming that yes, I did know former Texas Governor and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury John B. Connally, and yes, I was in the Dallas motorcade that fateful day, he shared with me alleged new evidence from sworn affidavits of a whole new scenario of what happened in Dallas.  He claims a convincing case that (a) the regular driver of the presidential limousine was replaced by another man, who turned and shot president Kennedy from the front seat as they passed the School Book Depository; (b) Connally pulled a pistol from a leg holster and shot the driver dead; (c) Parkland Hospital unloaded three, not two bodies from the limo; and (d) the third body–presumably the mysterious replacement driver, was placed in Trauma Room Two with Connally. And the researcher still was working on what became of that body.

The researcher wanted to know my reaction. I told him that for starters, I had been around John Connally almost incessantly for nearly two years prior to that date, along with friends who had known him for a a lifetime, and I never witnessed nor ever heard of his wearing a pistol holster. I also told him that I was with Mrs. Connally outside his room at Parkland shortly after he arrived in the company of Texas Department of Public Safety officers and the scene certainly never included a second body.

If you find this yarn hard to swallow, be forwarned that it may be a harbinger of what is to come as the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy and grave wounding of Governor Connally approaches next year.  And by the way, my informer gravely also shared that than-Vice President Lyndon Johnson was involved in the conspiracy. Which reminds of a similar wild tale that made the rounds a few years ago: that Johnson had met with right wing extremist H.L. Hunt at his home in Dallas the night before to plot the president’s death. The only problem with that story was that Johnson was at the time in plain view of thousands of  Texans at a mammoth Houston rally for the President.  But the stories never go away…

-Julian Read