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I've got a new conspiracy theory for you:
Lee Harvey Oswald did not kill John F. Kennedy. In fact, he was in Dallas to prevent the killing of the president by taking out the actual assassin. That person, who fired the fatal shots form the grassy knoll, had undergone plastic surgery so as to look exactly like Oswald.
And Oswald was driven to save Kennedy by Frank Sinatra's assassination-thwarting role in "The Manchurian Candidate."
Far-fetched? To say the least! Just the sort of high-concept that Hollywood filmmakers will be leaping at, particularly as we come up on the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination in 2013 -- just like Stephen King's popular "11/22/63."
For now, however, it's the manuscript of a fascinating novel -- delivered anonymously to me -- that purports to "get inside the head" of Oswald in the days leading up to both his and Kennedy's death with a fact-based narrative. Now, I don't do conspiracy theories, but I was intrigued by this take on Oswald taken from an entirely new perspective.
The manuscript begins with Oswald's final words: “I'm a patsy, a patsy." That's what Oswald shouted into a TV camera at 11:21 a.m. on a Sunday morning when, as he was being escorted through the basement of the Dallas county jail for transfer to another holding area. It was just before Jack Ruby stepped out of the crowd and assassinated the man who had only a few days earlier assassinated President Kennedy.
At least that's the official word. According to this manuscript, Oswald was indeed in Dallas that day, in the book tower, with his rifle. But he was not there to assassinate President Kennedy -- rather to thwart at all costs the assassination itself.
He did not fire at JFK but at the "other" shooter who was on the grassy knoll, that person being the actual JFK assassin. The person on the grassy knoll was a paid killer working for both the Mafia and CIA, the manuscript goes on. He had undergone plastic surgery in order to make him a double for Lee Harvey Oswald.
This explains why Oswald was seen in two places in Dallas at precisely the same time. As you remember, Oswald was arrested originally not for the assassination of the president but the killing of Dallas police officer John D.Tippit.
It was, the manuscript continues, the "other Oswald" who killed Tippit because his accidentally spotting of an "Oswald" far from where the "real" Oswald would have destroyed the Mafia/CIA plan to frame Oswald.
Oswald had, the manuscript says, in his early life thought about killing a president in order to achieve the fame that had eluded him. He had a lifelong love for and fascination with, of all people, Frank Sinatra and it shaped his vision of the world.
As a youth, he saw a 1954 Sinatra movie titled "Suddenly" in which Sinatra played a would-be presidential assassin. The manuscript says Oswald was inspired by that film to emulate the character and might have been Kennedy's assassin were it not for another Sinatra movie that spun Oswald all around again.
Shortly before the assassination of JFK, which Oswald was at one point to have been actively involved in, Oswald saw "The Manchurian Candidate" in which Sinatra's character thwarts an assassination. Oswald believed, as many paranoid-schizophrenic people do, that his favorite movie star was using his films and music to “talk directly to me,” according to the manuscript.
I've exchanged emails with the author, who emailed me out of the blue. He's a retired journalism professor who has written about Hollywood and film, but never a novel.
"I've known the plastic surgeon who created the double for Oswald for most of my life," he told me. "He's now long deceased, and even now I cannot or will not speak his actual name in public out of respect for what he revealed to me and me alone over the years."
The author also told me that he seen the actual photographs of the “twinning” -- the Mafia-medical term for ''doubling'' -- of the Mob assassin into an Oswald clone. The author said that whenever he asked the doctor if he could print the full story, he would say, "Not yet. The truth cannot be told until 50 years after the assassination. Then, on the eve of the anniversary, you have my permission to print it'.”
"Truth is so impossible to accept," the author says the doctor told him, quoting an ancient philosopher, “that we need fiction to make it palatable.”
I see movie written all over this. I also see conspiracy theory written all over the movie. I also see the media having a field day with this perspective on Oswald, the movie buff and Sinatra fan, when "the secret life of Lee Harvey Oswald" is revealed in November 2013.