Hey, everyone. I wrote this post a year ago, but held it when I decided to take a blogging break for NaNoWriMo. I found it in my archives, so this month, you get two Mystery Monday posts.
Yesterday marked the fifty-seventh anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. On November 22, 1963, as the presidential motorcade drove through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, shots rang out from the Texas School Book Depository.
JFK, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, Texas Governor John Connally, and his wife Nellie were riding in the presidential limousine. An assassin mortally wounded JFK. He was later pronounced dead at Dallas’s Parkland Memorial Hospital. Governor Connally was seriously wounded, but recovered.
Seventy minutes later, police arrested former marine Lee Harvey Oswald and charged him with the murder of Dallas policeman, J. D. Tippit. He was eventually charged with Kennedy’s assassination.
Conspiracy theories surfaced almost immediately. Many claimed other shots came from an area known as the grassy knoll.
Dallas businessman Abraham Zapruder had a perfect vantage spot to watch the presidential motorcade. By chance, he brought his 8mm Bell and Howell movie camera. His film became an essential piece of evidence in the investigation.
Among the many persons present at Dealey Plaza was a mysterious woman known as the Babushka Lady. The nickname came about because of the headscarf she wore, which was similar to those worn by older Russian women.
Eyewitnesses claimed this woman held a camera as she stood on the grass between Elm and Main streets. She is visible in the Zapruder film and in some taken by other witnesses. In one film made by a man named Mark Bell, she is holding a camera to her face. This was after the shooting, and most of the surrounding witness had taken cover.
Afterward, she crossed Elm Street and blended in with the crowd on the grassy knoll. In the last photographic account of her, she is walking east on Elm Street. Neither she nor the film she may have taken, have ever been identified.
In 1970, a woman named Beverly Oliver claimed to be the Babushka Lady. She stated she used a Super 8 film Yashica camera, and she turned the undeveloped film over to two men who told her they were FBI agents. According to Oliver, she didn’t get a receipt and claimed they promised to return the film to her within ten days. She did not follow up with an inquiry.
However, Oliver never proved she was in Dealey Plaza on the day of the assassination. Yashica didn’t make the Super-8 camera until 1969. When confronted with that fact, Oliver stated she received the “experimental” camera from a friend and was not even sure the manufacturer’s name was on it.
It’s doubtful Beverly Oliver was the Babushka Lady since she was only seventeen years old in 1963. The woman wearing the headscarf appeared to be older. Oliver was also thinner and taller than the woman in the photos.
It’s highly unlikely the Babushka woman is still alive these days. Whoever she was, the secret died with her, leaving more room for speculation and conspiracy theories.