J. Thornton Boswell

J. Thornton Boswell

J. Thornton Boswell was educated at the College of Medicine, Ohio State University. He joined the United States Navy before taking pathology training at St. Albans Naval Hospital in New York. He was certified by the the American Board of Pathology at the National Naval Medical School in 1957. He was later appointed Chief of Pathology.

When John F. Kennedy was assassinated on 22nd November, 1963, his body was taken to Bethesda Naval Hospital. Boswell joined Joseph Humes and Pierre Finck with the autopsy of Kennedy.

Boswell was interviewed by the Warren Commission where he testified that he agreed with the testimony of Joseph Humes and Pierre Finck.

In 1996, Boswell was interviewed by the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) about the autopsy of John F. Kennedy. Boswell's testimony conflicted with that of Pierre Finck. As one newspaper pointed out: "Two doctors, J. Thornton Boswell and James Humes, told the review board that the brain exam occurred two or three days after Kennedy's death. Initially, Humes told the Warren Commission that he, Boswell and a third pathologist, Dr. Pierre Finck, were present when the brain was examined. But when he testified to the review board in 1996, Humes did not list Finck among those present. Boswell maintains Finck was not there. On the other hand, Finck says the brain exam did not occur until much later."

The conflicting testimony caused Douglas Horne, chief analyst for military records, to conclude in a 32-page memo that two separate brain exams may have been conducted, "contrary to the official record as it has been presented to the American people... If true, Dr. Finck's account of a brain exam separate and distinct from the first one would mean that Drs. Humes and Boswell were present at two different brain exams".

Primary Sources

(1) J. Thornton Boswell was interviewed by Arlen Specter on behalf of the Warren Commission (1964)

Mr. Specter: Have you been present here today during the entire course of Doctor Humes testimony?

Commander Boswell: I have, sir; yes.

Mr. Specter: Do you have anything that you would like to add by way of elaboration or modification to that which Doctor Humes has testified?

Commander Boswell: None, I believe. Doctor Humes has stated essentially what is the culmination of our examination and our subsequent conference, and everything is exactly as we had determined our conclusions.

Mr. Specter: And are you one of the three coauthors of the autopsy report which has been previously identified as a Commission Exhibit?

Commander Boswell: Yes; I am.

Mr. Specter: All the facts set forth therein are correct in accordance with your analysis and evaluation of the situation?

Commander Boswell: Yes.

Mr. Specter: And specifically, as to the points of entry and points of exit which have been testified to by Doctor Humes, do his views express yours as well?

Commander Boswell: They do, yes.

Mr. Specter: Doctor Boswell, would you state for the record what your conclusion was as to the cause of death of President Kennedy?

Commander Boswell: The brain injury was the cause of death.

Mr. Specter: And in the absence of brain injury, what, in your view, would have been the future status of President Kennedy's mortality, if he had only sustained the wound inflicted in 385?

Commander Boswell: I believe it would have been essentially an uneventful recovery. It could have been easily repaired, and I think it would have been of little consequence.

Mr. Specter: Those are my only questions, Mr. Chief Justice.

The Chairman: Does anyone have any questions of the Commander? If not, Commander, thank you very much, indeed. You have been very helpful to us.

(2) Associated Press, JFK Documents Raise Questions (9th November, 1998 )

Three military pathologists agree they conducted an autopsy of Kennedy's entire body at Bethesda immediately after it was flown back from Dallas. But the doctors offer conflicting recollections about the timing of a subsequent brain exam.

Two doctors, J. Thornton Boswell and James Humes, told the review board that the brain exam occurred two or three days after Kennedy's death. Initially, Humes told the Warren Commission that he, Boswell and a third pathologist, Dr. Pierre Finck, were present when the brain was examined. But when he testified to the review board in 1996, Humes did not list Finck among those present. Boswell maintains Finck was not there.

On the other hand, Finck says the brain exam did not occur until much later. In a memo he wrote to his commanding officer 14 months after Kennedy was assassinated, Finck said Humes did not call him until Nov. 29, 1963 - seven days after Kennedy's death - to say it was time to examine the brain. In the memo, Finck said all three pathologists examined the brain together and that "color and black-and-white photographs are taken by the U.S. Navy photographer."

The conflicting testimony caused Douglas Horne, chief analyst for military records, to conclude in a 32-page memo that two separate brain exams may have been conducted, "contrary to the official record as it has been presented to the American people."

"If true, Dr. Finck's account of a brain exam separate and distinct from the first one would mean that Drs. Humes and Boswell were present at two different brain exams," he writes.

Humes was ill and could not be interviewed. In a telephone interview, Boswell reiterated that the brain was examined at the initial autopsy of the body and only once more at a separate brain exam a few day later.

"I doubt very much that we would have called him (Finck) back over for that," Boswell said.

Boswell added that the only photos of the brain were taken at the autopsy.

This conflicts with testimony the board obtained from Navy photographer John Stringer, who said he took pictures of the brain two or three days after the autopsy. Stringer also testified that official photos of the brain preserved at the archives do not match those he remembers taking. He cites discrepancies in the angles from which they were shot and the type of film used.

In addition, former FBI Agent Francis O'Neill Jr., who watched doctors remove Kennedy's brain the night he died, told the review board that the archives' photos do not resemble what he saw. "I did not recall it (the brain) being that large," O'Neill said.

Throughout the years, doctors who treated Kennedy in Dallas said his head wound was about the size of a large egg at the back of the head, behind his right ear. The Dallas doctors told reporters then that they believed Kennedy was shot from the front -- a belief that conflicted with the Warren Commission's later conclusion of a single shooter firing from behind.

Humes, chief pathologist for the autopsy at Bethesda, agreed there was a wound to the right rear of Kennedy's head, but he told the board that it was a small entry wound, not an egg-sized exit wound. In contrast to observations in Dallas, Humes said there also was massive damage to the top of Kennedy's skull and right side forward of the ear.

(3) Douglas Horne, press statement (15th May, 2006)

I served on the staff of the Assassination Records Review Board for just over three years, from August 1995 through September 1998. During that period of time the Review Board granted permission for the staff to take the depositions of 10 persons involved in the autopsy on President Kennedy: as a result, today any American citizen can go to the “Archives II” facility in College Park, Maryland and obtain copies of the transcripts of the sworn testimony of the 3 autopsy pathologists; both of the official Navy photographers; both Navy x-ray technicians; a Navy photographer’s mate who developed some of the post-mortem photography; and both of the FBI agents who witnessed the autopsy.

The Review Board’s charter was simply to locate and declassify assassination records, and to ensure they were placed in the new “JFK Records Collection” in the National Archives, where they would be freely available to the public. Although Congress did not want the ARRB to reinvestigate the assassination of President Kennedy, or to draw conclusions about the assassination, the staff did hope to make a contribution to future ‘clarification’ of the medical evidence in the assassination by conducting these neutral, non-adversarial, fact-finding depositions. All of our deposition transcripts, as well as our written reports of numerous interviews we conducted with medical witnesses, are now a part of that same collection of records open to the public. Because of the Review Board’s strictly neutral role in this process, all of these materials were placed in the JFK Collection without comment.

I have been studying these records for 10 years now. The reason I am here today is because contained within our deposition transcripts and interview reports is unequivocal evidence that there was a U.S. government cover-up of the medical evidence in the Kennedy assassination, yet most members of the public know nothing about this. Let me sound a cautionary note here: no single statement of any witness stands alone. Before it can be properly evaluated, the recollections of each witness must be compared to all of his own previous testimony, and to that of other witnesses—before the Warren Commission, the House Select Committee on Assassinations, and even with independent researchers—as well as all available documentary evidence.

Having said this, after considerable study of all of these records, I am firmly convinced that there is serious fraud in the medical evidence of the Kennedy assassination in three areas:

(1) The autopsy report in evidence today, Warren Commission Exhibit # 387, is the third version prepared of that report; it is not the sole version, as was claimed for years by those who wrote it and signed it.

(2) The brain photographs in the National Archives that are purported to be photographs of President Kennedy’s brain are not what they are represented to be; they are not pictures of his brain, but rather are photographs of someone else’s brain. Normally, in cases of death due to injury to the brain, the brain is examined one or two weeks following the autopsy on the body, and photographs are taken of the pattern of damage. Following President Kennedy’s autopsy, there were two subsequent brain examinations, not one: the first examination was of the President’s brain, and those photographs were never introduced into the official record; the second examination was of a fraudulent specimen, whose photographs were subsequently introduced into the official record. The pattern of damage displayed in these ‘official’ brain photographs has nothing whatsoever to do with the assassination in Dallas, and in fact was undoubtedly used to shore up the official conclusion that President Kennedy was killed by a shot from above and behind.

(3) There is something seriously wrong with the autopsy photographs of the body of President Kennedy. It definitely is President Kennedy in the photographs, but the images showing the damage to the President’s head do not show the pattern of damage observed by either the medical professionals at Parkland hospital in Dallas, or by numerous witnesses at the military autopsy at Bethesda Naval hospital. These disparities are real and are significant, but the reasons remain unclear. There are only three possible explanations for this, and I will discuss these possibilities today.

The Autopsy Report

The evidence that a draft autopsy report—as well as a first signed version—existed prior to the report in evidence today is both easy to understand, and undeniable.

The First Draft

On November 24, 1963 the chief pathologist at President Kennedy’s autopsy, Dr. James J. Humes, signed a typed statement he had prepared that read as follows:

“I, James J. Humes, certify that I have destroyed by burning certain preliminary draft notes relating to Naval Medical School Autopsy Report A63-272 and have officially transmitted all other papers related to this report to higher authority.” [Author’s emphasis]

On two occasions before the HSCA, in March of 1977 and in September of 1978, Dr. Humes maintained that he had destroyed notes. He repeated this claim in an interview published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in May of 1992. The reasons given in each case were that the notes were destroyed because they had on them the blood of the President, which Dr. Humes deemed unseemly.

The ARRB General Counsel, Jeremy Gunn, had reason to suspect that an early draft of the autopsy report had also been destroyed, based upon an analysis of inconsistencies between Dr. Humes’ previous testimony about when he wrote the draft report, and existing records documenting its transmission to higher authority. After extremely thorough and persistent questioning by the Review Board’s General Counsel in February of 1996, Dr. Humes admitted, under oath, that both notes from the autopsy, and a first draft of the autopsy report (which had been prepared well after the autopsy’s conclusion and had no blood on it), had been destroyed in his fireplace.

The First Signed Version

A simple study of the receipt trail for the transmission of the autopsy report reveals that the first signed report is missing as well.

On April 26, 1965 the Secret Service transferred the autopsy photographs and x-rays, and certain vital documents and biological materials to the custody of the Kennedy family at the request of Robert F. Kennedy. That receipt lists, among other things:

“Complete autopsy protocol of President Kennedy (orig, & 7 cc’s)—Original signed by Dr. Humes, pathologist.”

Evelyn Lincoln, secretary to the late President Kennedy, signed for receipt of all of the items the same day.

Incredibly, on October 2, 1967 the head of the Secret Service signed a letter transferring the original of CE 387, the autopsy report placed in evidence by the Warren Commission, to the National Archives; the National Archives signed a receipt for CE 387 the next day, October 3, 1967.

Warren Commission Chief Counsel J. Lee Rankin, in a declassified transcript of a January 27, 1964 Executive Session of the Commission, discusses details of the content of “the autopsy report” which are not consistent with the details of the report in evidence today, CE 387, thus confirming that the first signed version contained different conclusions.

The dilemma presented here can best be summarized by the following rhetorical question: How could the U.S. Secret Service transfer the original JFK autopsy protocol to the National Archives (or to anyone else, for that matter) on October 2, 1967 when they had previously given it to the Kennedy family on April 26, 1965? The answer, of course, is that there were two separate reports. The first smooth, or signed version, was given to the Kennedy family at the specific request of Robert Kennedy, and has disappeared. The second signed version is in the National Archives today.


The destruction of both the first draft and the first signed version of the autopsy report are clear evidence of the ongoing malleability of the autopsy report’s specific conclusions during the initial 2 weeks following the conclusion of the post mortem examination. Furthermore, it is clear that when Dr. Humes testified under oath to the Review Board that there was only one autopsy report, and that he only signed one autopsy report, he committed perjury.

[For those interested in obtaining copies of the relevant documents in the receipt trail, or in studying the likely content of the first two versions of the autopsy protocol, I will make copies of the relevant research memo available at the end of the press conference.]

Two Brain Examinations

My most remarkable finding while on the Review Board staff, and a totally unexpected one, was that instead of one supplemental brain examination being conducted following the conclusion of President Kennedy’s autopsy, as was expected, two different examinations were conducted, about a week apart from each other. A thorough timeline analysis of available documents, and of the testimony of autopsy witnesses taken by the ARRB, revealed that the remains of President Kennedy’s badly damaged brain were examined on Monday morning, November 25, 1963 prior to the state funeral, and that shortly thereafter the brain was turned over to RADM Burkley, Military Physician to the President; a second brain examination, of a fraudulent specimen, was conducted sometime between November 29th and December 2nd, 1963—and it is the photographs from this second examination that are in the National Archives today.

Pertinent Facts Regarding the Two Examinations are as follows:

First Brain Exam, Monday, November 25th, 1963

Attendees: Dr. Humes, Dr. Boswell, and Navy civilian photographer John Stringer.

Events: John Stringer testified to the ARRB that he used both Ektachrome E3 color positive transparency film, and B & W Portrait Pan negative film; both were 4 by 5 inch format films exposed using duplex film holders; he only shot superior views of the intact specimen—no inferior views; the pathologists sectioned the brain, as is normal for death by gunshot wound, with transverse or “coronal” incisions—sometimes called “bread loaf” incisions—in order to trace the track of the bullet or bullets; and after each section of tissue was cut from the brain, Stringer photographed that section on a light box to show the damage.

Second Brain Exam, Between November 29th and December 2nd, 1963

Attendees: Dr. Humes, Dr. Boswell, Dr. Finck, and an unknown Navy photographer.

Events: Per the testimony of all 3 pathologists, the brain was not sectioned, as should have been normal procedure for any gunshot wound to the head—that is, transverse or coronal sections were not made. The brain looked different than it did at the autopsy on November 22nd, and Dr. Finck wrote about this in a report to his military superior on February 1, 1965. The color slides of the brain specimen in the National Archives were exposed on “Ansco” film, not Ektachrome E3 film; and the B & W negatives are also on “Ansco” film, and originated in a film pack (or magazine), not duplex holders. The brain photos in the Archives show both superior and inferior views, contrary to what John Stringer remembers shooting, and there are no photographs of sections among the Archives brain photographs, which is inconsistent with Stringer’s sworn testimony about what he photographed.

Further indications that the brain photographs in the Archives are not President Kennedy’s brain are as follows:

Two ARRB medical witnesses, former FBI agent Frank O’Neill and Gawler’s funeral home mortician Tom Robinson, both recalled vividly that the major area of tissue missing from President Kennedy’s brain was in the rear of the brain. The brain photos in the Archives do not show any tissue missing in the rear of the brain, only in the top.

When former FBI agent Frank O’Neill viewed the Archives brain photographs during his deposition, he said that the photos he was viewing could not be President Kennedy’s brain because when he viewed the removed brain at the autopsy, the damage was so great that more than half of it was gone—missing. He described the brain photos in the Archives as depicting a ‘virtually intact’ brain.

Finally, the weight of the brain recorded in the supplemental autopsy report was 1500 grams, which exceeds the average weight of a normal, undamaged male brain. This is entirely inconsistent with a brain which was over half missing when observed at autopsy.


The conduct of a second brain examination on a fraudulent specimen, and the introduction of photographs of that specimen into the official record, was designed to do two things:

(1) eliminate evidence of a fatal shot from the front, which was evident on the brain removed at autopsy and examined on Monday, November 25th, 1963; and

(2) place into the record photographs of a brain with damage generally consistent with having been shot from above and behind.

Until I discovered that the photographs in the Archives could not be of President Kennedy’s brain, the brain photos had been used by 3 separate investigative bodies—the Clark Panel, the Rockefeller Commission, and the House Select Committee on Assassinations—to support the Warren Commission’s findings that President Kennedy was shot from above and behind, and to discount the expert observations from Parkland hospital in Dallas that President Kennedy had an exit wound in the back of his head.

In my opinion, the brain photographs in the National Archives, along with Dr. Mantik’s Optical Densitometry analysis of the head x-rays, are two irrefutable examples of fraud in this case, and call into question the official conclusions of all prior investigations.

[For those who wish detailed verification of this hypothesis, the 32-page research paper on this subject that I completed in 1998 will be made available at the end of this press conference.]

The Head Wound in the Autopsy Photographs

I would like to conclude with some brief closing remarks about the autopsy photographs at the National Archives.

The images of the President’s head wound are inconsistent with both the Parkland hospital observations, and the Bethesda autopsy observations of almost every witness present in the morgue, as follows:

Parkland Hospital

The blowout, or exit wound in the right rear of the head seen in Dallas is not present in the autopsy images, which show the back of the head to be intact except for a very small puncture interpreted by the HSCA as a wound of entry. Furthermore, the autopsy photographs of the head show extensive damage to the top of the head, and to the right side of the head, which was not seen in Dallas during the 40 minutes that the President was observed in trauma room one at Parkland hospital.

Bethesda Naval Hospital

Most witnesses from the autopsy also recall a very large wound at the back of the head, which, as stated above, is not shown in the autopsy photographs. The additional damage many autopsy witnesses recall at the top of the head, and on the right side, is present in the photographs—but not the damage they remember at the rear. One prominent witness, Dr. Ebersole (the radiologist at the autopsy), testified under oath to the HSCA Forensic Pathology Panel in 1978 that the large head wound in the autopsy photos is more lateral and more superior than he remembered, and said that he recalled the back of the head being missing at the autopsy.

Three Possible Explanations

There are 3 possible explanations for these inconsistencies:

(1) Photographic forgery—i.e., “special effects”—to make the rear of the head look intact when it was not;

(2) Major manipulation of loose, and previously reflected scalp from elsewhere on the head by the pathologists, so as to make it appear that the back of the head was intact when it was not; or

(3) Partial reconstruction of the head by the morticians, at the direction of the pathologists, followed by photography that created the false impression that there was no exit defect in the back of the head.

Many JFK researchers have long suspected photographic forgery, but extreme caution is warranted here because all analyses of the autopsy photographs done to date have used “bootleg” materials, and not the original materials in the Archives. The “bootleg” photographs do represent the actual views of the body in the Archives collection, but they are badly degraded, suffer from contrast buildup, and are photographic prints—whereas any true scientific study of these images for authenticity should use the color positive transparencies and B & W negatives in the Archives as subjects, not multi-generational prints of uncertain provenance.

I personally examined magnified and enhanced images of the Archives autopsy photographs at the Kodak lab in Rochester, New York in November of 1997, and I saw no obvious evidence of photographic forgery; but I am the first person to admit that I am not an expert in photographic special effects techniques circa 1963.

I am of the opinion that it is likely that the back of the head appears intact in the autopsy photographs either because the loose scalp was manipulated for photographic purposes, or because the photos in question were taken after a partial reconstruction by the morticians. I was steered toward this opinion by the ARRB testimony of the two FBI agents who witnessed the autopsy. Both men found the images of the intact back-of-the-head troubling, and inconsistent with the posterior head wound they vividly remembered. Frank O’Neill opined under oath that the images of the back-of-the-head appeared “doctored,” by which he meant that the head had been put back together by the doctors. James Sibert testified that the head looked “reconstructed” in these images—he actually used the word “reconstructed” at his deposition.

No final conclusions can yet be drawn about exactly why a large defect in the rear of the head is not shown in the autopsy photographs, when one was seen by so many witnesses. It is sufficient to say that something is terribly wrong here, and that it is an area that requires more study with the original materials. Thank you for your attention.

(4) William Matson Law, In the Eye of History (2005)

Law: How were the doctors acting when you were alone with them? What was their manner?

Rydberg: They were quite comfortable. Boswell's always been like a cat in a room full of rocking chairs with its tail on the floor. Boswell's always been jumpy and quiet. Doesn't want to talk about anything. And Captain Humes saw me at Chapel Hill, because I had released another article. I looked up from my desk and here's Captain Humes. He's a civilian at this time, wanting to go to dinner. So, we went to dinner, and I had made sonic mention in another article about doing the drawings verbally, and that he had burned the notes and retyped them because he didn't want blood on the autopsy report.

Law: Did you believe that story?

Rydberg: I know Dr. Humes, and yes, I do. I believe Dr. Humes did retype them and his rationale was because they were messy And if you've been in an autopsy, you know that it is quite messy. But l really think Colonel Finck was definitely was the forensic ballistics expert. He was the only forensics expert who was there at the autopsy, wanted to make sure that that was an exit and an entrance wound (on the head). And not like I drew later...

Law: Give me a little personal profile on Dr. Boswell as you knew him.

Rydberg: Dr. Boswell was a very good pathologist, a very good doctor. But not one who wanted the limelight, or any confrontation.

Law: He wanted to stay out of everything?

Rydberg: Very quiet, yes. I was not as friendly with him, but I knew him. Dr. Humes was very laughing, joking, jovial. I had to go through Humes so I could teach anatomy in the autopsy room in the morgue. I've seen many autopsies. At least three hundred. And he was the head of the department, so, of course he gave me permission to bring my class into the autopsies. All the autopsies. Except that one.

Law: It's been stated before that Dr. Boswell and Dr. Humes were basically pencil pushers.

Rydberg: Well, Dr. Humes was the head of pathology and would be the one who would do the autopsy on Kennedy, because he was the department head. He was basically in the administrative part, but he was a doctor. Boswell was head of the labs, but also assisted Humes. They were the heads of the departments, and then there was the head of medical illustration. They didn't want just the-they wanted the heads-literally (laughs).

Law: Do you feel that these fellows knew very well where those head wounds were?

Rydberg: Yes.

Law: Because, even before the Records Review Board, they seemed confused as to where the wounds on the head were.

Rydberg: So was Dr. Perry at Parkland.

Law: Is it credible in your estimation, knowing these people the way you did, that, even all these years later, they were so uncertain as to where bullets either entered or exited Kennedy's body?

Rydberg: I really believe honestly that if you go to where the Warren Commission started, LBJ started the Warren Commission, Hoover fed the Warren Commission every bit of information, and Dr. Humes and Dr. Boswell, Dr. Perry all the rest of them who might know what really happened-know that the evidence that was saved could not be backed up by anybody. And Dr. Humes and Dr. Boswell were facing retirement. They didn't want to lose their retirement. They both gained another rank, too.

Law: Do you think they were the type of people who would just go with the flow?

Rydberg: I think it was a chess game and they were checkmated. I think that always sat wrong with Dr. Humes, that he had to knuckle under.

Law: In essence, there was no choice?

Rydberg: No choice.

Law: So take me back to the dinner that you had with Dr. Humes.

Rydberg: We ate at the Carolina Inn. The UNC owned it. The UNC owns all of Chapel Hill, or did at the time. He wanted to make sure that I knew, from his viewpoint, that those autopsy reports were accurate. He burned them because there was too much of a mess on them. Too much blood. He was trying to back up without causing more clouds over him than I had caused in the article.

Law: So, you wrote this article basically giving the story of him burning the notes, and at some point after that, he looked you up?

Rydberg: He just showed up and just came right in the office.

Law: So how was the atmosphere at the dinner?

Rydberg: Oh, it was fine. We laughed and joked, had a drink and had dinner, in fact we had roast beef. He picked up the tab.

Law: Did he seem sincere?

Rydberg: I knew Dr. Humes well, and we laughed and joked a lot. We didn't go out drinking together, we just didn't do that, but on a professional level he was very open, very warm, very real. But playing a game of chess, sometimes, one gets checkmated. The better part of valor is to do what he did.

Law: In a best-selling book on this case, twenty something years ago it was stated that Dr. Humes would try to get information to people through subtle use of the language. You had to read the language carefully to understand what doctor Humes was saying. Would he be that kind of person?

Rydberg: Yes. And he'd know you knew if he was using that kind of language.

Law: So you knew him as a person who would do this?

Rydberg: Yes.

Law: That's interesting because he made that curious statement-when he was asked by the House Select Committee to describe where the bullets entered and exited [the head l, he said: "It is impossible for the bullet to either have entered or exited from other than behind." And that's a strange statement to make hearing that it couldn't have done anything but go in the back of the head or come out the back of the head.

Rydberg: Exactly

Law: So, this would be a Op-off to you in essence, that Dr. Humes was implying something without coming out and saying it?

Rydberg: Yes. He was saving his name and face for the people he knew would know what he was [doing]. If you knew Dr. Humes, you'd know that he could speak that way. And you'd know what he was saying. I talked with him that night at dinner. There was nothing in that cerebral vault or the brain cavity to turn that bullet if it came in from the back and came out the right side. Brain matter has the consistency of scrambled eggs. There's nothing to turn the bullet, Why would it have come out the right side?

Law: Did you discuss this with Humes?

Rydberg: Yes.

Law: What was his reasoning?

Rydberg: That the findings were that the entrance was at the rear and the exit was at the front.

Law: Have you read either of the doctors' testimony before the Records Review Board?

Rydberg: Yes.

Law: Do you find it strange that both had trouble finding the entrance wounds?

Rydberg: No. I don't find that. If you know Colonel Finck - we'll have to plan on his factoring in on this one-usually, an exit wound is tile larger of the two. But when you've got a bullet coming in from the right, and you've seen that on the Zapruder film - where Kennedy flies back, his head flies back-it really fragments. The bullet-it was like a dumdum bullet.

Law: Well, according to history, Lee Harvey Oswald used a 6.5 millimeter.

Rydberg: Lee Harvey Oswald didn't hit him from the front.

Law: According to history, the shot didn't come from the front and it wasn't a fragmenting bullet.

Rydberg: Read my book (Head Of The Dog). I've placed everything where it belongs. First of all, that quote-unquote "pristine" bullet they found from the neck wound that went through Connolly - I'll put it that way-was not a bullet fired at the time. It was part of Oswald's but it was Ruby who put the bullet on the gurney, which was even the wrong gurney.

Law: That would seem to be how it is to me. Give me a little bit of the feeling for the personalities of these doctors.

Rydberg: Humes was an honorable man. Boswell was also honorable, but he was very-if you want the weak link, that would have been Boswell. He would have buckled.

Law: He would have caved in to the pressure, in essence?

Rydberg: He would have. But Humes would not.

Law: As you've read the testimony before the Records Review Board the doctors had trouble pinpointing the entrance wounds in the head.

Rydberg: And that's another way of speaking. They're saying the same thing"It really wasn't there, it was really in the back, but I'm not going to say that, so I'll have to say it this way." And read between the lines.

Law: These were qualified doctors in your opinion.

Rydberg: All the doctors - any doctor that goes through medical school has about a month of forensics.

Law: So, basically, this double-speak is just that. Trying to tell you something without telling it to you?

Rydberg: Exactly And I know exactly what Dr. Humes was doing. I've read that testimony, and I know exactly what he was saying. You get a bunch of confused old men on the Warren Commission, which they all were, plus the other assistants they had Jerry Ford - that would be enough to confuse anybody. And they're going to come out by not saying it.

Law: So, you feel that when Humes was testifying before the Warren Commission he was trying to leave the true record without coming out and hitting them in the face with it.

Rydberg: Exactly. Because he couldn't jeopardize his retirement, he couldn't jeopardize knowing full well that Hoover was the one feeding the Warren Commission, and Johnson was watching. They only got the information that Hoover wanted them to have. And they also knew, by the time the Select Committee started, that hall of all the evidence was missing, including the brain. Humes would say: "Let me review the evidence." And they would have stated, "We no longer know where it is." In other words, you're on a floating boat on thin ice. So they had to go in just about like I did. Verbally reconstruct it.

Law: When you were having the dinner, did he say anything about the autopsy?

Rydberg: We touched lightly on the autopsy, and it was just a typical Y autopsy. An incision from the shoulder down to the sternum, straight down to the pubic area. A lot of minutiae, so to speak. They did a full autopsy on Kennedy, not a partial-it says in some of the books I've read that it was a partial. Jacqueline only wanted a partial. But it was a full autopsy, or they never would have found out about his adrenal glands, which had nothing to do with the assassination. But the more rhetoric they could throw into the report the less likely you are to single out the important parts. Now, I've seen that "death face" on Kennedy in the morgue in Litton's book, which is another funny thing how he got all that information and I was never allowed to see it. But Humes was an honorable man and he was not going to go down quiet. He was going to leave messages for other people to see what he wanted to say but couldn't.