A person popularly dubbed "The Umbrella Man" has been the object of much speculation, as he was the only person seen carrying and opening an umbrella on that sunny day. As President John F. Kennedy's limousine approached the umbrella man, the man opened up and lifted the umbrella high above his head, then spun or panned the umbrella from east to west (clockwise) as the president approached and passed by him. In the aftermath of the assassination, the umbrella man sat down on the sidewalk before getting up and walking towards the Texas School Book Depository. Some[who?] have claimed that the Umbrella Man was involved in the Kennedy assassination. One commonly held theory is that the Umbrella Man was signaling the shooter or shooters, and he is depicted this way in both Oliver Stone's film JFK and an episode of the The X-Files. A less common theory, held by L. Fletcher Prouty and others, is that the umbrella contained a poison dart fired at Kennedy to immobilize President Kennedy's muscles (his movements are seen to freeze and cease within two seconds of Z-225).
After an appeal to the public by the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations, Louie Steven Witt came forward in 1978 and claimed to be the Umbrella Man. He claimed he still had that umbrella and did not know he had been the subject of controversy. He said that he brought the umbrella to simply heckle Kennedy. John Kennedy's father had been a supporter of the Nazi-appeasing British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. By waving a black umbrella, Chamberlain's trademark fashion accessory, Witt claims he was protesting the Kennedy family appeasing Adolf Hitler before World War II. An umbrella had been used in cartoons in the 1930s to symbolize such appeasement, and Chamberlain often carried an umbrella. Kennedy, who wrote a thesis on appeasement while at Harvard, Why England Slept, might have recognized the symbolism of the umbrella. Black umbrellas had been used in connection with protests against the President before; at the time of the construction of the Berlin Wall, a group of schoolchildren from Bonn sent the White House an umbrella labelled Chamberlain.
Testifying before the HSCA, Witt said "I think if the Guinness Book of World Records had a category for people who were at the wrong place at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing, I would be No. 1 in that position, without even a close runner-up." Some conspiracy theorists[who?] have noted a number of inconsistencies with Witt's story, however, and do not believe him to be the true "Umbrella Man."
Some[who?] claim that a dark skinned man standing very close to the Umbrella Man between the Umbrella Man and President Kennedy was an assassination accomplice. At Zapruder film frame Z-202 this dark-skinned man was photographed facing the on-coming president with both arms down. By Z-225 (slightly over one second later) the same dark-skinned man shot his right hand upward quickly and extended in an apparent wave (even though his hand remains un-waving, suggesting a "Nazi salute"). In photos afterward, some[who?] theorize that the same dark-skinned man was photographed speaking into a walkie-talkie, and other photos seem to show something bulging noticeably from his back pants pocket. Witt claims he never noticed that the dark-skinned man near him was holding anything.
- ↑ "The Umbrella Man Shooting Darts in Dealey Plaza". Mcadams.posc.mu.edu. 1960-07-29. http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/prouty_tum.htm. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
- ↑ "Example of umbrella used in a 1930s appeasement cartoon". http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/umbrella.gif. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
- ↑ "The Umbrella Man’". New York Times. November 21, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/22/opinion/the-umbrella-man.html?_r=1&src=ISMR_AP_LO_MST_FB. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
- ↑ Tusa 1997, p. 297.
- The Umbrella Man: Evidence of Conspiracy, by R. B. Cutler, The Conspiracy Museum, Incorporated, 1975/95.
- Tusa, Ann (1997). The Last Division: A History of Berlin, 1945-1989. Addison Wesley.
- The JFK 100: The Umbrella Man
- JFK Assassination Home Page: The Umbrella Man in Dealey Plaza
- JFK Assassination Home Page: The Umbrella Man Shooting Darts in Dealey Plaza