Zapruder Film: Fact or Fiction

While the many JFK research experts who have extensively studied the Zapruder film vary in their assessments of the extent of alteration that has taken place and the techniques employed, virtually all with the possible exception of  Josiah Thompson [1]  agree that the Zapruder film (Z-film) is a fraudulent depiction of the events which occured in Dealey Plaza during the assassination. 

Josiah Thompson clearly represents an outlier which may be due to the fact that his theory of the case is critically dependent upon the Z-film being authentic. Thompson has always considered it an actual clock of events from which gun-shot sequences, timing issues and so forth could be calculated. That is clearly no longer the case, in effect invalidating much of what Thompson published several decades ago. Suffice it to say, the Z-film home movie is a fraud a fiction and nothing depicted on it can be taken as factual unless
it can be independently varified by several different means.

Arguably the most fraudulent Z-film alteration involves mutiple frames depicting the alleged GSW to JFK's head (from behind) which are totally incompatible with the wound documented at Parkland Hospital in Dallas several minutes later. It has now been demonstrated that the so-called shocking and hideous "blob" which appears on the right, anterior side of JFK's head is actually art-work which has been painted-on and that the resultant jet of apparent bloody material which sprays in the forward direction is also fraudulent in that it violates the known laws of physics. It dissipates too quickly to be real.

Moreover, another violation of physical laws involves the too rapid head turning of SSA Greer from front to back to front again. It has been proven to be physically and anatomically impossible to duplicate Greer's alleged feat in the alloted time.

The opposite of what is depicted in the Z-film, was actually reported by multiple witnesses including motorcycle policeman Bobby Hargis positioned to the left rear of the Kennedy limousine. Hargis reported a large amount of bloody material exiting JFK's head to the left rear of the limousine after he was shot in the head from the front.  In fact the force with which it struck Hargis' face led him to believe he had been hit by a bullet. The extant Z-film does not contain the bloody spray which struck officer Hargis however meaning, it shows something that clearly did not happen and fails to demonstrate something that did.

Additionally, the large baseball sized posterior occipital "blow-out" documented by multiple physicians at Parkland Hospital has been proven to be "blacked-out" that is, disguised in the frames where it would otherwise be apparent.[2]

Another insurmountable problem in the Z-film is the now proven fraudulent insertion of the Stemmon's freeway sign into the extant version of the film. For a detailed discussion of this issue see the chapter in The Great Zapruder Film Hoax by Dr. John Costella for a convincing presentation of the proof.[3]

It cannot be overemphasized that any one of the alterations discussed here is enough on its own to render the Z-film a fraudulent depiction of the events in Dealey Plaza as it is apparent that they were purposefully done in order to disguise what really transpired.

More than anything else, the Zapruder film represents clear and convincing evidence of a massive conspiracy to cover-up what actually happened in the murder of JFK. Whether it is a total fabrication constructed from multiple motion pictures including films shot from either before or after the assassination as alleged by physicist John Costella PhD or something less such as a marked fraudulent alteration of what was once a home movie as Douglas Horne[4] and others allege, is to some extent beside the main point and perhaps of interest only to Zapruder film experts. Nevertheless, any research which can help in ascertaining the total truth of what happened to the 35th President of the United States is of value.

For a description of Fetzer's The Great Zapruder Film Hoax see this: http://www.assassinationscience.com/bookthree.html
which is reproduced after the NOTES section below.


[1] Thompson, Josiah. Six Seconds in Dallas: A Micro-study of the Kennedy Assassination Proving that Three Gunmen Murdered the President (New York: Bernard Geis Associates, 1967).

[2] For an excellent treatment of this topic see Fetzer, James H., Editor. The Great Zapruder Film Hoax: Deceit and Deception in the Death of JFK (Chicago: Catfeet Press, 2003) or the extensive summary in Horne, Douglas P. Inside the Assassination Records Review Board: The U.S. Government’s Final Attempt to Reconcile the Conflicting Medical Evidence in the Assassination of JFK, Volume IV, (self-published, 2009) last half of chapter 14.

[3] Fetzer, James H., Editor. The Great Zapruder Film Hoax: Deceit and Deception in the Death of JFK (Chicago: Catfeet Press, 2003), beginning on page 145, the start of a chapter entitled; "A Scientist's Verdict, the Film is a Fabrication."

[4] Horne, Douglas P. Inside the Assassination Records Review Board: The U.S. Government’s Final Attempt to Reconcile the Conflicting Medical Evidence in the Assassination of JFK, Volume IV, (self-published, 2009) last half of chapter 14 and the following  http://insidethearrb.livejournal.com/4078.html from Doug Horne's blog in which he addresses the critique of his Zapruder chapter published by Dr. John Costella http://assassinationscience.com/johncostella/jfk/costella-horne.pdf  at the Assassination Research web site.

The Great Zapruder Film Hoax
Book Description
Perhaps no greater debate has raged in the history of the study of the death of JFK than over the authenticity of a 27-second home movie of the assassination, known as "the Zapruder film". This footage has been described as "the most significant amateur recording of a news event in history". It is surely one of the most controversial. Some students of the crime take it as the absolute foundation for understanding what actually transpired. Others are not so sure.

This book brings together leading experts on the film, including Jack White, the legendary photoanalyst; David Healy, an expert on film production and post-production; John Costella, Ph.D., a physicist with specialization in light and the properties of moving objects; David W. Mantik, M.D., Ph.D., the leading expert on the medical evidence and another authority on the film; David Lifton, a noted student of the assassination and author of BEST EVIDENCE; and James H. Fetzer, Ph.D., a professor of logic, critical thinking, and scientific reasoning.

The evidence that is presented in this volume provides proof that the film has not simply been edited by removing a few frames or by altering the contents of specific sequences (which has indeed been done in this instance) but that the whole film has been created by the use of sophisticated techniques relying upon optical printing and special effects, whereby any foreground can be merged with any background, any specific unwanted events can be removed and any wanted events can be introduced.

The Preface begins by dismantling the arguments of proponents of the film's authenticity, especially Josiah Thompson, who authored a work, SIX SECONDS IN DALLAS (1967), based upon the presumption that the film is authentic. Thompson has argued that the chronology of the film's possession precluded its alteration; that the publication of frames in LIFE magazine's issue of 29 November 1963 made it very difficult to fake; and that the synchronicity of the film relative to other photographs and films disproves it.

But a more complete version of the film was in the hands of the National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC) run by the CIA already Friday night, where Homer McMahon watched it more than 10 times and observed the impact of six to eight shots fired from at least three directions. If there were copies around other than the official "original", then his chronology does not track them. The frames that appeared in LIFE were few in number (31 out of 486) and poor in quality, excluding the most crucial sequences. And the recreated Zapruder film may have been used as a guide for changing other photographs and films.

So it appears to have happened the other way around. Indeed, the evidence amassed here includes the unresponsive spectators, an impossible frame 232, inconsistencies with the Stemmons Freeway sign, differences in lamppost verticality between the film and DPD photographs, the missing limousine stop, the Greer backward head-turn in frames 302-303, the disappearning blood spray in frames 313-314, the "blob" of gushing brains, the Greer forward head-turn in frames 315-317, the absence of tissue debris on the limousine trunk, and the missing Connally left-turn. That the film has been fabricated is established beyond reasonable doubt on the basis of internal anomalies, physical impossibilities, eyewitness testimony, and other forms of proof. In conjunction with other available evidence, however, authentic features of this film can be identified, including frame 225, which shows a hole in the windshield; frames 313-316, which show the motion of the President's body (back and to the left); frame 330, which displays a "solar flare" from a shot that hit the chrome strip; and frame 374, which shows a blow-out to the back of the President's head.

Frame 313 requires extensive consideration insofar as it may have been fabricated by merging two shots--one from behind, the other from in front--to reduce the number and conceal the origin of impacts on JFK. There is ample evidence that the driver brought the limousine to a halt, that the President was hit in the head from the rear and fell forward, then was hit again from the front after Jackie had eased him upright, which may be the most complex deception in the history of the case.

This volume emerged from The Zapruder Film Symposium, which was organized and moderated by James H. Fetzer on the Duluth Campus of the University of Minnesota, 9-11 May 2003, and may well prove to have been among the most important conferences in the history of the study of the death of JFK. Certainly, the discoveries reported here remove any question about the film's authenticity and reveal the lengths to which the conspirators were willing to go to cover up the true cause of death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.