• Email
  • Single Page
  • Print

The Second Oswald: The Case for a Conspiracy Theory

The FBI report does appear to support Mrs. Odio’s account that a meeting took place. One wonders then, gnawingly, what did they find out next? Was the man “similar in appearance” acting as a double for Oswald? Did he use Oswald’s name? What was he involved in when he went to see Mrs. Odio? Was he connected with the other double-Oswald episodes? As far as I know, nothing more has been said about this. The public should demand that the Commission or the FBI tell us whether this turned out to be significant, or if it somehow had an innocuous explanation.

IF THE ODIO EPISODE STRONGLY indicated that duplication and conspiratorial activities involving Oswald were going on, two items connected with Oswald’s return from Mexico to Dallas seem further suggestive. A Mexican bus roster shows the name “Oswld,” written in a different hand from the other names. It is known that Oswald was not on that bus, yet no satisfactory answer was ever found for his name being put on the roster, though it apparently happened after the trip on October 2 (22:155; 24:620; 25:578 and 25:852). On October 4, when Oswald was back in Dallas, the manager of radio station KPOY in Alice, Texas, reported that Oswald, his wife and small child, visited him for twenty-five minutes, arriving in a battered 1953 car. The Report diligently points out that (a) Oswald didn’t drive, and (b) he could not have been in Alice at that time (Report, p. 666). The incident is the first of several in which it appears that Oswald and his family may have been duplicated. Instead of seeing it as part of a possibly significant pattern and considering it further, the Commission was satisfied once Oswald had been disassociated from the event.

In October there seems to have been little double-Oswald activity. This may be explained by the facts that Oswald was looking for a job at the time and that his second daughter was born on October 20. But a second group of incidents can be traced from early November until November 22, almost all in the Dallas-Irving area. (Irving is the Dallas suburb where Marina lived with Mrs. Paine.) These begin to occur at about the same time as Oswald’s resumption of conspiratorial activities. Having settled down in Mrs. Johnson’s rooming house and having obtained a job, Oswald attended two meetings, one on October 23 to hear General Walker, the other on October 25, a meeting of the ACLU. On November 1, he rented a post office box and listed as users the New Orleans bunch; that is, himself, Marina, Hidell, the FPCC, plus, of all things, the ACLU. (Was he getting ready to set up a fake branch of that organization for some dark purpose?) On the same date he wrote the Communist Party in New York (an air mail letter delivered, incidentally, after Oswald was dead), asking for advice on infiltrating the ACLU (20:271-73). On November 4, he joined the ACLU and asked its national office how he could get in touch with “ACLU groups in my area” (17:673) (although he had attended a meeting and knew well that Michael Paine was a member).

On November 6th or 7th, another interesting episode occurred. Someone looking like Oswald, of course, came into a furniture store in Irving, Texas, looking for a part for a gun. (The store had a sign indicating it was also a gun shop.) This person then went out and got his wife and two infants out of a car, returned and looked at furniture for a while. The children turned out to be exactly the ages of the Oswald children. Two people saw and talked to this Oswald and later identified him and Marina as the people in question. The “Oswalds” then drove off, after getting directions as to where to find a gun shop (22:524, 534-36, 546-49). This may well have been the day an Oswald took a gun into the Irving Sports Shop (right near by), an episode that occurred in early November. A clerk in the shop found a receipt on November 23 that he had made to a man named Oswald for drilling three holes in a rifle. (Yet Oswald’s rifle had two holes and they were drilled before Oswald got the gun.) An anonymous caller told the FBI about this episode on November 24 (so as to make sure it was known?). The receipt seems genuine; the clerk is sure he ran into Oswald somewhere, and the clerk seems reliable. His boss was convinced, but the Commission dismissed the case since there was no evidence that Oswald owned a second rifle (22:525 and 531; 11:224-40, 245-53). Incidentally, all other Oswalds in the Dallas-Fort Worth area were checked, and it was found that none of them was the Oswald who had had his gun repaired.

NOVEMBER 8 SEEMS to have been a crucial day in the development of whatever conspiratorial activities Oswald and the second Oswald were up to. The Report blandly states that “the following Friday, November 8, Oswald as usual drove to the Paine house with Frazier” (p. 740), but there is no evidence for this. The footnote reference is to Wesley Frazier’s testimony, where he says nothing of the kind. And Marina has unequivocally stated that Oswald did not come home on. November 8, that he claimed he was looking for another job, and that he came to Irving around 9 A.M. on the 9th, without explaining how he got there (23:804). (This is a not-untypical example of the sloppy documentation in the Report, in which potentially interesting leads were overlooked.)

On November 8, two marked cases of double Oswaldism took place in Irving, Texas. A grocer, Hutchison, reported that on that day Oswald came in to cash a check for $189, payable to Harvey Oswald (26:178-79 and 10:327-40). He claimed that Oswald subsequently came to the store once or twice a week in the early morning and always bought a gallon of milk and cinnamon rolls, items that Oswald probably would not have purchased, according to Mrs. Paine and Marina. Such an event as the attempt to cash a check is no doubt memorable (and, as Marina wondered, where would Oswald get $189?). Also, a barber, right near the grocer, reported Oswald came into his shop on the 8th with a fourteen-year-old boy, and they both made leftist remarks. The barber said Oswald had been in his shop on previous occasions (although it seems most unlikely that Oswald could have been in Irving at any of these times) and had indicated he had been in Mexico (10:309-27). The barber had even seen Oswald driving, and going with Marina into the grocery store (though the real Marina insists she was never in the store). And, of course, both the barber and the grocer immediately identified the photos of Oswald as their customer. The Commission dismisses all these reports on grounds that Oswald could not have been present or that they are denied by Marina.

Second Oswald became more active on the 9th. The real Oswald spent the day at the Paine house, writing a letter to the Russian Embassy strongly implying he was a Russian agent. The letter was probably unintelligible to them, in that it referred to all sorts of events they presumably knew nothing about. It also contained a good many false statements concerning a conversation with FBI agent Hosty that never took place. Oswald thought the letter important enough to draft by hand, and then to type (16:33 and 443), a unique event, since Oswald always sent anybody and everybody handwritten, misspelled documents. He then left the draft lying around, partly exposed, and made no effort to rush his letter off. It is postmarked November 12th. Mrs. Paine saw it, was startled by what it contained, and made a copy to show the FBI (3:13-17). The FBI intercepted it, and its report on the matter showed no interest at all in Oswald’s statements portraying himself as a man who had used a false name in Mexico, had “business” with the Soviet Embassy in Havana, and had been threatened by the “notorious FBI” for pro-Castro activities. The FBI report concluded that Oswald’s letter merely indicated he wanted a Russian visa (17:803).

WHILE OSWALD WAS WRITING his strange letter, two second Oswald cases occurred. One was the Bogard incident, which I have already mentioned, when an Oswald tested a car, driving over 70 miles per hour, dropped hints about receiving lots of money in a couple of weeks, and told the credit manager that if he were not given credit, he would go back to Russia and buy a car (26:450-452, 664, 684-85, 687 and 702-03).

This memorable performance at the Ford-Lincoln agency was coupled with one of the first appearances of a second Oswald at a rifle range. (There are indications of an earlier appearance during his Mexican trip.) From November 9th onward someone who looked just like Oswald was noticed at the Sports Drome Range, by several witnesses, always at times when the real Oswald could not have been there, either because he was at work, or was with his family. The second Oswald was an excellent shot, who did a number of things to attract attention to himself, firing odd weapons (some of whose descriptions fit Oswald’s rifle), shooting at other people’s targets, etc.

From November 12 (the end of a long holiday weekend) until November 21, Oswald himself did not go to Irving. The weekend of the 16th and 17th he was reported to be at his room almost all of the time. He worked every week day. We know of no letters he wrote during this period, and of no extra-curricular activities at all. But a second Oswald is reported on November 13, at the grocery store in Irving with Marina; and on the rifle range on the 16th, 17th, 20th, and 21st. The only information about Oswald’s own activities is from merchants in his Beckley Street area in Dallas: he went to a grocer (one also used by Jack Ruby); he made calls (apparently long distance) at a gas station (26:250); he was in a laundromat at midnight on the 20th or 21st (if the latter, it has to be second Oswald again); he took coffee at the Dobbs House restaurant on North Beckley in the early morning. One very suggestive sign of a second Oswald is a report by a waitress (26:516) that he had come into the Dobbs House on November 20 at 10 A.M. (when real Oswald was at work) and had become very nasty about the way his order of eggs was prepared. At this time, Officer J. D. Tippit was there “as was his habit” each morning at this hour, and glowered at Oswald. (The FBI, in this report, rather than being excited at this sign that Oswald and Tippit had encountered each other before November 22, merely commented that Oswald was reported to have worked from 8 until 4:45 on November 20. They also showed no interest in why Tippit stopped on North Beckley each morning when it was not in his district or near his home.)

  • Email
  • Single Page
  • Print