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Unredacted Episode 3: Interview with Josiah Thompson

Welcome to Unredacted, the MFF's interview show featuring authors and experts on the Kennedy assassination and related topics. Our third episode is an interview with Josiah Thompson, author of the seminal work Six Seconds in Dallas: A Micro-Study of the Kennedy Assassination. Originally a Professor of Philosophy, he has for many years now been a private detective, participating in the investigation of a number of high-profile cases, including the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Josiah Thompson has remained an active student of "the case" over the past four decades, and a few years ago he and Gary Aguilar did further research on the provenance of CE-399, the so-called "magic bullet." What they found only deepened the mystery around this suspicious piece of "hard evidence." Thompson is also a strong advocate in the debate over possible tampering of the Zapruder film's, and argues forcefully for its authenticity. His new essay entitled Bedrock Evidence in the Kennedy Assassination (see resources below) is the first essay published directly by the Mary Ferrell Foundation on this website.

The forty-five-minute interview covers Thompson's work on the chain of possession of the "magic bullet," various aspects of the forensic and other physical evidence in the case, and general thoughts on where we stand more than forty years after the event.

Listen to the interview: (44 min)           Read Interview Transcript

New Essay by Josiah Thompson

Bedrock Evidence in the Kennedy Assassination by Josiah Thompson. In this essay published by the MFF, Thompson argues forcefully that the Zapruder film is authentic, and it and related photos of Dealey Plaza form a "bedrock" against which other evidence can be tested.

Other Essays by Josiah Thompson

The Magic Bullet: Even More Magical Than We Knew? by Gary Aguilar and Josiah Thompson. This piece describes the strange odyssey undertaken by Aguilar and Thompson in 1998 to establish a chain of possession for CE-399, the "magic bullet."

Why the Zapruder Film is Authentic by Josiah Thompson. This is the transcript of a talk at the 1998 JFK Lancer November in Dallas conference.

Books by Josiah Thompson

Six Seconds in Dallas: A Micro-Study of the Kennedy Assassination. Published in 1967, this book was the first to describe the assassination sequence in detail, using the Zapruder film.
Gumshoe: Reflections in a Private Eye - Gumshoe is Thompson's autobiographical account of his second career as a private investigator.

Starting Points

Ballistics Evidence discusses Commission Exhibit 399 and other ballistics evidence in the case.

Photos and Films presents information about the photographs and films of Dealey Plaza.

Evidence Tampering? asks whether some of the physical evidence in the case has been tampered with.

Other Essays About the Magic Bullet

Finding the Magic Bullet by Lisa Pease.

Phantom Identification of the Magic Bullet: E.L. Todd and CE-399 by John Hunt.

The Mystery of the 7:30 Bullet by John Hunt.

Other Essays About the Zapruder Film and its Authenticity

JFK Assassination Film Hoax by John Costella.

Zapruder Film by Spartacus Educational.

Evidence of Alteration in the Zapruder Film by Michael T. Griffith.

A History of the Zapruder Film by Martin Shackelford.

More debate on the authenticity of the Zapruder film can be found on the Assassination Science website - see, and scroll down to the box entitled "The Great Zapruder Film Hoax Debate."

Josiah Thompson on the Magic Bullet

Josiah Thompson discusses his 1966 visit with O.P. Wright, who took CE-399 from hospital engineer Darrell Tomlinson and handed it to Secret Service agent Johnson. Wright claimed the bullet had a pointed tip, and didn't look at all like the bullet now in evidence.
play video (running time: 4:38)
Thompson tells the story of how he and Gary Aguilar visited ex-FBI agent Bardwell Odum, who purportedly showed CE-399 to Parkland Hospital employees in June 1964, but didn't remember ever even seeing the bullet.
play video (running time: 4:43)
"I wish they'd stop putting bullets on these stretchers" - Nursing Supervisor Doris Nelson. Thompson says that this remark "might stand as a epitaph over any serious attempt to determine the provenance of Commission Exhibit 399.
play video (running time: 1:35)
Josiah Thompson describes how the Kennedy assassination case differs from the many murder cases he has investigated over the years.
play video (running time: 2:19)

(Video clip source: Into Evidence DVD)

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