Fact Check Fact Check

By Milicent Cranor

Part One

Pat Speer has been promoting the idea that the defect in JFK’s head was only on the top right, a hole that did not extend into the back of the head. He contrasts it with an obviously false one — that the defect was low in the back of the head, to the exclusion of the top and side.

The real issue isn’t “hole-on-top versus hole-in-back,” because nearly all testimony combined describes a defect that included both the top — and the back of the head. The real issue is expert testimony versus the authenticity of the X-rays and photographs that contradict it.  Many suspect the X-rays and photographs have been tampered with, culled, or substituted in order to reflect the official story: one shot from behind.

[Editor’s note: See Dr. David Mantik’s article here and Dr. Michael Chesser’s article here in which evidence of alteration of the autopsy x-rays and photographs are discussed.]

The X-ray and photographic evidence has been authenticated by organizations deeply involved with intelligence agencies — and thus it remains suspect.


Speer and the Autopsy Report

This essay focuses on the false impression Speer creates of the autopsy findings by omitting the most fundamental information and distorting the parts that he does report. This is not about whether the autopsy report itself is accurate. It is about how Speer handles it.


PatSpeer-com-Fact Check 1 Fact Check



“You see, many conspiracy theorists are, in the words of Bono, “stuck in a moment and they can’t get out of it.” That moment, to be clear, is the one in which they first realized the majority of those observing Kennedy’s wounds at Parkland Hospital claimed to see an open wound on the back of Kennedy’s head. Such a wound, of course, is not shown in the autopsy photos, nor reported in the autopsy report, which details a number of significant scalp lacerations, but none on the back of the head. My suspicion, then, is that the majority of those experiencing this moment–an epiphany as Doug Horne calls it–have come to believe either that the autopsy photos showing no wound on the back of the head are fake, and the autopsy a lie, or that someone altered Kennedy’s body between Dallas and the beginning of the official autopsy at Bethesda.

“Many doing so claim the autopsy face sheet supports their conclusion, and note that Dr. Boswell’s description of a 17 by 10 cm wound encompassing the majority of the right side of the President’s head is far larger than the wound observed in Dallas, and suggests the wound as seen at Bethesda included the back of the head wound seen at Parkland. Those doing so, however, are engaged in self-deception. As stated, no large scalp lacerations in the occipital region of the skull were noted at autopsy….” [Emphasis M.C.’s]   (Pat Speer)


Now let’s take a look at what the autopsy report actually says:

In case the above reproduction is difficult to read, this is what item #1 says:


“MISSILE WOUNDS:  1. There is a large irregular defect of the scalp and skull on the right involving chiefly the parietal bone but extending somewhat into the temporal and occipital regions. In this region there is an actual absence of scalp and bone producing a defect which measures approximately 13 cm. in greatest diameter.” [Emphasis M.C.’s.]  (Page 3 of the Autopsy Report)


Notice this phrase:  “In this region [including occipital] there is an actual absence of scalp and bone…”

PatSpeer-com-Fact Check

So the actual damage in the back was even worse than tears in scalp! A place where scalp (and bone) are non-existent.  A hole, in other words, that extended into occipital bone in the back of the head. Fact Check


“The autopsy protocol signed by Boswell, moreover, explains: ‘Upon reflecting the scalp multiple complete fracture lines are seen to radiate from both the large defect at the vertex and the smaller wound at the occiput. These vary greatly in length and direction, the longest measuring approximately 19 centimeters. These result in the production of numerous fragments which vary in size from a few millimeters to 10 centimeters in greatest diameter.’

“Note that the large defect is at the vertex–the top of the head…” — Pat Speer


But the autopsy report does not say the defect was only at the vertex! It said fracture lines radiate from the defect at the vertex [as opposed to radiating from the lower edge of the wound], the part that was in occipital bone. Fact Check


“Note also that the ‘multiple complete fractures lines…result in the production of numerous fragments.” In other words, the right side of Kennedy’s head was smashed to pieces. The 17 by 10 measurement is therefore most assuredly the measurement of the large head wound after the scalp was reflected, and numerous bone fragments stripped from the skull. The inability of so many to grasp something so obvious is a bit maddening, to say the least.”  Pat Speer


The problem Speer finds so “maddening” may stem from researchers’ preference for facts, rather than unsupported assertions.


The big hole was created in Dallas, not during the autopsy. Here is unambiguous proof from page 4 of the Autopsy Report:

“Received as separate specimens from Dallas, Texas are three fragments of skull bone which in aggregate roughly approximate the dimensions of the large defect described above.” [And those dimensions were 17 x 10 cm.]


Those three specimens already consisted of a lot of bone combined. Add the Harper fragment, and you already have a large hole, without any additional fragmentation.


PatSpeer-com-Fact Check 2 Fact Check


Pat Speer maintains that the hole did not extend to the back of the head into the occipital region — even though the pathologists clearly said that it did several times.

Pat Speer reported the autopsy finding that no scalp was torn in the back — but did not report the statement that there was no scalp at all (or bone) in the area being called a “defect”– an area that included the lower part of the hole (occipital area).

Pat Speer asserts that there was a hole, but only on the top (vertex) of the head.

However, he took that phrase out of context. The pathologists never said the hole itself was only on the top. They explicitly included part of the occiput. The pathologists were explaining where — on the perimeter of the hole — the fracture lines radiated from.

Pat Speer maintains that the 17 x 10 cm hole was “most assuredly” the size after bone fragments were loosened during the autopsy.

Pat Speer omits critical information spelled out in the autopsy report: Bone fragments brought from Dallas (which didn’t even include the Harper fragment) nearly filled the hole — they “roughly approximate the dimensions of the large defect described above.”  The dimensions given were 17 x 10 cm.



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  1. Can someone send me the total dimensions of the 3 skull fragments received from Dallas. I
    have always thought they were found in the limo and brought to the autopsy room during the latter stages of the autopsy. I guess that did mean they were received from Dallas.

    Humes stated that the defect in the skull was 13 cm in greatest diameter, not 17 cm. I believe that the 17 x 10 centimeter dimensions came from Boswell’s diagram.

    Be nice to know the total dimensions of the 3 fragments and the Harper fragment combined.

  2. I think that the autopsy photo of the right side of the head indicates a hole in the right rear SIDE(not directly in the rear) of the head in the right temporal, parietal, and occipital regions.

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