The Sideshow

JFK assassination “Umbrella Man” mystery explained

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

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Louis Steven Witt, right, a Dallas life insurance salesman appears before the House Assassinations Committee in …

As many of you are already well aware, November 22 marks the 48th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. And if there's one thing that goes hand-in-hand with JFK stories, it's conspiracy theories.

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris has put together a six-minute film for The New York Times that explains the mysterious truth behind the so-called "Umbrella Man," who stood under a black umbrella at the very spot where the first shots were fired that killed the former president. His presence is especially unusual because November 22, 1963 was a sunny and warm day in downtown Dallas.

A number of detailed conspiracy theories have surrounded the Umbrella Man, including one that postulates that the umbrella he was wielding actually contained a hidden gun that was used to fire the first shots at Kennedy. (If that sounds too outlandish, just recall that an umbrella also played a prominent role in an attempt on Pope John Paul II's life.)

In his short film, Morris interviews Josiah "Tink" Thompson, author of the renowned book Six Seconds in Dallas, considered to this day to be the most authoritative chronicle of JFK's assassination. Thompson was the first man to discover the image of the Umbrella Man while reviewing footage in the Zapruder film footage.

As Morris and Thompson both attest, the image of the Umbrella Man is "sinister." But there's an unexpected layer to the story. As it turns out, the Umbrella Man actually testified before the House Select Committee on Assassinations in the late 1970's and his true identity has been a matter of public record for decades. Without giving away the full saga of Umbrella Man, suffice it to say that it's like much of the stories that continue to spin out of that fateful day in Dallas: at once too strange, and too mundane, to seem entirely believable.

(Via Badass Digest)

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