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Umbrella Man
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    Appeared in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, with an umbrella during the John F. Kennedy assassination
    As JFK's limo passed, opened the umbrella and lifted it over his head
    Seen in the Zapruder film and other photos
    During hearings by the House Select Committee on Assassinations, Louie Steven Witt claimed to be the Umbrella Man (1978)
    Oliver Stone (and other conspiracy theorists) claim that he was signalling the gunmen to keep shooting because JFK had not been killed by the first shot.
    The theory ignores the fact that a shooter in an elevated position (whether the Texas Schoolbook Depository or the Grassy Knoll) with a telescopic sight would have a much better view inside the President's limo than someone at street level.
    The really loopy conspiracy theorists claim that the umbrella fired a poison dart to paralyze JFK prior to the shooting.
    Witt testified that he was heckling the president, having chosen to use an umbrella at a friend's suggestion.
    In his testimony, Witt was rather vague about what the umbrella was supposed to symbolize.
    Disappointingly, Witt's friend who first mentioned the umbrella apparently was not much of a practical joker. ('You know, Witt, if you really want to cheese off JFK, you should wear a tutu while waving the umbrella about.')
    Witt claimed, '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.'
    Inevitably, conspiracy theorists said that Witt is not the 'true' Umbrella Man.
    The most plausible theory for why an umbrella would be a useful item to heckle the President: a black umbrella was a symbol of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, whose appeasement policies had been supported by Ambassador Joseph Kennedy, JFK's father.
    Witt said that after realizing something had happened to Kennedy, his heckling felt 'like a bad joke that had gone sour.'
    If it makes Witt feel any better, I suspect that being heckled by a dude with an umbrella quickly fell pretty far down Kennedy's list of things to worry over.
    He was referred to in the X-Files episode 'Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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