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Author Topic: Lincoln Assassination Status: a Still Open or Reopenable FBI Investigation?  (Read 482 times)

Online Tom Scully

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Why did the FBI investigate John Wilkes Booth more than 75 years after his death?
Jan 10, 2019
Jack El-Hai

...Admit it ? if you?re a lover of history, you probably believe that reading something especially intriguing can transport you through time. I have that experience almost every time I browse FBI files on notable people and events....
......A few years ago I learned that John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Abraham Lincoln in 1865, is the subject of another bulky FBI file, which is surprising because the FBI did not come into existence until six decades after Booth?s crime and death. What could possibly be in a file compiled so long after Lincoln?s assassination?

Did Booth elude capture?

The oldest pages of the file discuss the possibility that Booth escaped capture after he shot Lincoln. A Missourian who wrote to Bureau of Investigation director William J. Burns in 1922 claimed that his neighbor either was Booth or was in correspondence with the assassin. Burns replied skeptically that the agency was ?inclined to believe official records in the case of John Wilkes Booth, and do[es] not feel that any investigation is necessary? to follow up.

Yet the following year, when another letter writer suggested that Burns read a book promoting a theory that Booth successfully fled his captors, the director seemed to have changed his mind. ?The work
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"The Escape and Suicide of John Wilkes Booth" by Finis L. Bates of Memphis, Tennessee.
contains very strong evidence in support of the old belief that Booth did escape and live many years after the assassination of President Lincoln,? Burns wrote. Was the agency?s director really among the believers? The file offers no further details.[/b]

The FBI gets the boot

The agency?s next encounter with Booth, as documented in the file, came in 1948, when the superintendent of the National Park Service?s U.S. capital properties sent the FBI an odd artifact in his charge: a boot that Booth was wearing when Dr. Samuel Mudd treated the left leg that the fugitive injured when he leapt from a theater balcony after shooting the president. Inside the boot was some faint writing. Could the FBI?s experts make out what it said?

Booth?s wanted poster
The short answer, laid out in a report that director J. Edgar Hoover prefaced and signed, was that despite examining the boot?s interior with ultraviolet and infrared light, the FBI could not determine what the writing said beyond giving the name of the boot maker. The agency then returned the boot, and it has been displayed at Ford?s Theatre Museum in Washington D.C.

Diary of an Assassin

Most of the FBI?s file on Booth concerns an analysis of a pocket diary that Booth carried with him when he was tracked down and killed in 1865. In 1977, yet another administrator with the National Park Service?s National Capital properties asked the FBI to examine this little book ?in order to rest any question about the possibility of invisible writing in the diary,? he wrote. (The concerns of the Park Service grew from the release that same year of The Lincoln Conspiracy, a film that alleged the secret involvement of Secretary of War Edwin Stanton in the president?s death.) In addition, the Park Service hoped that the FBI would authenticate Booth?s handwriting by comparing the handscript in the diary with the handwriting in letters known to have been composed by Booth.

The FBI exposed the historical artifact to a variety of light frequencies, including ultraviolet, fluorescence with ultraviolet excitation, infrared, and x-ray. No hidden notations appeared. The agency judged the handwriting to be Booth?s and also confirmed that 27 sheets were missing from the diary. The absence of these pages had been known since 1867.

Unfortunately, Washington newspaper columnist Jack Anderson erroneously reported that the FBI was also analyzing these previously missing pages. The FBI denied having them, and the pages have never turned up. Like the boot, the diary has been exhibited at the Ford?s Theatre Museum.

That?s plenty of investigative intrigue for one file.....



Was Gen. Lafayette C. Baker poisoned?
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Lafayette Curry Baker (October 13, 1826 ? July 3, 1868) was a United States investigator and spy, serving the Union Army, during the American Civil War and under Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson.

.....
constitutional rights of those he pursued. He is also reported to have employed brutal interrogation techniques in order to obtain information."[4]

Baker owed his appointment largely to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, but suspected the secretary of corruption and was eventually demoted for tapping his telegraph lines and packed off to New York.

Lincoln assassination investigation
Baker was recalled to Washington after the assassination of President Lincoln in 1865. Within two days of his arrival in Washington, Baker's agents in Maryland had made four arrests and had the names of two more conspirators, including the actual presidential assassin John Wilkes Booth. Before the month was out, Booth along with David Herold were found holed up in a barn and Booth was himself shot and killed by Sgt. Boston Corbett. Baker received a generous share of the $100,000 reward offered to the person who apprehended the president's killer.[5] President Andrew Johnson nominated Baker for appointment to the grade of brigadier general of volunteers, April 26, 1865, but the United States Senate never confirmed the appointment.[1] Baker was mustered out of the volunteers on January 15, 1866.[1]

Firing and death
The following year, Baker was sacked from his position as government spymaster. President Johnson accused him of spying on him, a charge Baker admitted in his book which he published in response. He also announced that he had had Booth's diary in his possession which was being suppressed by the Department of War and Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. When the diary was eventually produced, Baker claimed that eighteen vital pages were missing. It was suggested by Otto Eisenschiml in his book, "Why Was Lincoln Murdered?," that these would implicate Stanton in the assassination.[6] However, this notion has been proven as speculation by author Edward Steers Jr. and based on non-reputable sources.[7]

On July 3, 1868, Baker retired to home complaining of soreness from a gun wound during a hunting trip. He had been out drinking with Wally Pollack, his brother-in-law, and came home feeling sick, passing away later that night, reportedly from meningitis.[1]

A widely criticized 1977 book, The Lincoln Conspiracy by conspiracy theorists David W. Balsiger and Charles E. Sellier, alleges that Baker was poisoned by high-placed conspirators, including Stanton, who supported John Wilkes Booth's plan to kidnap Abraham Lincoln in 1864 and early 1865. The conspirators supposedly planned to have Lincoln impeached in his absence. The authors speculate that the conspirators were concerned that Baker could link them to the planned kidnapping, which might lead to accusations that they were conspirators in Lincoln's assassination. The authors believe the conspirators did not support Booth after March 1865. Academic historians have treated the book with hostility and derision, having many objections based on errors and misuse of sources in the book.[8]....
1961 Associated Press nationally distributed reporting of 1957 Ray Neff of Gibbsboro, NJ discovery of Lafayette Baker confession allegedly found in old book in
a Philadelphia bookstore.:
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San Bernardino Sun, Volume 67, 31 July 1961

Continued in article image below:

question about the message and
« Last Edit: January 22, 2019, 05:30:20 AM by Tom Scully »

Offline Mark A. Oblazney

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contains very strong evidence in support of the old belief that Booth did escape and live many years after the assassination of President Lincoln,? Burns wrote. Was the agency?s director really among the believers? The file offers no further details.[/b]

The FBI gets the boot

The agency?s next encounter with Booth, as documented in the file, came in 1948, when the superintendent of the National Park Service?s U.S. capital properties sent the FBI an odd artifact in his charge: a boot that Booth was wearing when Dr. Samuel Mudd treated the left leg that the fugitive injured when he leapt from a theater balcony after shooting the president. Inside the boot was some faint writing. Could the FBI?s experts make out what it said?

Booth?s wanted poster
The short answer, laid out in a report that director J. Edgar Hoover prefaced and signed, was that despite examining the boot?s interior with ultraviolet and infrared light, the FBI could not determine what the writing said beyond giving the name of the boot maker. The agency then returned the boot, and it has been displayed at Ford?s Theatre Museum in Washington D.C.

Diary of an Assassin

Most of the FBI?s file on Booth concerns an analysis of a pocket diary that Booth carried with him when he was tracked down and killed in 1865. In 1977, yet another administrator with the National Park Service?s National Capital properties asked the FBI to examine this little book ?in order to rest any question about the possibility of invisible writing in the diary,? he wrote. (The concerns of the Park Service grew from the release that same year of The Lincoln Conspiracy, a film that alleged the secret involvement of Secretary of War Edwin Stanton in the president?s death.) In addition, the Park Service hoped that the FBI would authenticate Booth?s handwriting by comparing the handscript in the diary with the handwriting in letters known to have been composed by Booth.

The FBI exposed the historical artifact to a variety of light frequencies, including ultraviolet, fluorescence with ultraviolet excitation, infrared, and x-ray. No hidden notations appeared. The agency judged the handwriting to be Booth?s and also confirmed that 27 sheets were missing from the diary. The absence of these pages had been known since 1867.

Unfortunately, Washington newspaper columnist Jack Anderson erroneously reported that the FBI was also analyzing these previously missing pages. The FBI denied having them, and the pages have never turned up. Like the boot, the diary has been exhibited at the Ford?s Theatre Museum.

That?s plenty of investigative intrigue for one file.....




Was Gen. Lafayette C. Baker poisoned?1961 Associated Press nationally distributed reporting of 1957 Ray Neff of Gibbsboro, NJ discovery of Lafayette Baker confession allegedly found in old book in
a Philadelphia bookstore.:
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San Bernardino Sun, Volume 67, 31 July 1961

Continued in article image below:

question about the message and

Fantastic findings, Tom.  You're not the first on deconstructing Lincoln's assassination conspiracy, nor shall you be the last.  I, for one, would far rather see this case 're-opened' in Congress first than the other four that are in the 'news of the day'.  It's like the busy deli line at Safeway (or Vons, wherever your geography places you.  Ours is Carrefour, Lidl, et. al.)..... take a number and WAIT !!!

  Keep digging, sir.  I can see this can of worms re-opened in the fullness of time and history.  The past is truly prologue.  Stars in your Crown, Henry !!  And a joyous, fruitful 2019 to you as well !!

p.s.- RIP, Cookie (aka Fat Justin) +
« Last Edit: January 23, 2019, 02:03:14 AM by Mark A. Oblazney »

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Offline Jerry Freeman

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Samuel James Seymour (March 28, 1860 ? April 12, 1956) was the last surviving person who had been in Ford's Theatre the night of the assassination of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865.
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Online Tom Scully

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Fantastic findings, Tom.  You're not the first on deconstructing Lincoln's assassination conspiracy, nor shall you be the last.  I, for one, would far rather see this case 're-opened' in Congress first than the other four that are in the 'news of the day'.  It's like the busy deli line at Safeway (or Vons, wherever your geography places you.  Ours is Carrefour, Lidl, et. al.)..... take a number and WAIT !!!

  Keep digging, sir.  I can see this can of worms re-opened in the fullness of time and history.  The past is truly prologue.  Stars in your Crown, Henry !!  And a joyous, fruitful 2019 to you as well !!

p.s.- RIP, Cookie (aka Fat Justin) +
Am I correctly comprehending this? This museum maintains the greater public interest is not to make a tiny sliver of
bone in its collection available for DNA testing which will destroy the bone sample, for the purpose of confirming for all
time whether John Wilkes Booth was indeed captured and killed in 1865?

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Kin of Lincoln's assassin agree to brother's body ID tests
By Edward Colimore
.......
Their best option now is to compare DNA from Edwin Booth, buried in Cambridge, Mass., with a specimen from the man shot at the barn, who experts agree is buried in Baltimore. Three cervical vertebrae from that body are in the collection of the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington.

Philadelphia's Mutter Museum has cervical tissue from the man, but the DNA was degraded by formaldehyde and alcohol.

The Booth escape "is a story that never seems to die," said Jan Herman, chief historian for the Navy Medical Department and special assistant to the Navy surgeon general in Washington.

"I have always been disturbed by the opposition from recognized Civil War historians" to uncover the truth, he said.
"We have the means, and it's certainly worth solving an age-old mystery. Why wouldn't you want to do that?"

Probably no one wants to get to the bottom of it more than Nate Orlowek, a Maryland educator and historian who since age 15 has doggedly pursued Booth through the yellowing pages of books and period documents.
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JULY 1, 1976
A Conspiracy Theory to End All Conspiracy Theories: Did John Wilkes Booth Act Alone?
The starling revelations of young Nathaniel Orlowek: Did Andrew Johnson help kill President Lincoln?

By TIMOTHY CROUSE   
...Sounds like a certifiable nut theory, all right, and so far the kid?s been dismissed by every right-thinking Lincoln expert in the country. But the kid is absolutely sure that the evidence is out there ? somewhere ? if only that, damn mummy would turn up.

The kid?s name is Nathaniel Orlowek, a history whiz and freshman at the University of Maryland. I first heard of his theory a few months back and was just about to dismiss it myself until I heard about the mummy. I decided to check it out. After all, it was a pretty grim story, but a whole lot less depressing than everything else going on in Washington....
"If the man who killed our greatest president got away and a giant hoax was perpetrated on the American people, then we should know about it," he said.

Orlowek, 53, has trailed Booth through the reports of witnesses who claimed another man was shot at the farm: James William Boyd or John William Boyd, who bore a striking resemblance to the assassin and by some accounts was sought for the murder of a Union captain.

He's followed the trail of carnivals that exhibited the mummified body of a man the barkers claimed was John Wilkes Booth. And he's sought clues from descendants and interviewed forensic pathologists, authors and lawyers.

His conclusion? Booth escaped 145 years ago to live in Granbury, Texas, as John St. Helen, then changed his name to David E. George and moved to what is now Enid, Okla. He worked there as an itinerant painter before poisoning himself.

George's mummified remains were allegedly last seen at a carnival in New Hope in 1976.
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Outliers: Bones of contention key to John Wilkes Booth mystery
By Modern Healthcare  | August 17, 2013
The National Museum of Health and Medicine could hold the key to answering a controversy that's nearly 150 years old: Is President Lincoln's assassin actually buried in the historic Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore?
.....
....One way to answer the question would require exhuming the body in Baltimore. Booth's descendants?supported by the Smithsonian Institution, which said it thinks the Booth escape theory is worth a closer look?filed a court case to exhume the body, but that request was denied in 1995. The judge's decision cited possibly severe water damage to the plot, evidence that siblings were buried on top of Booth, and the ?less than convincing escape/coverup theory.?

So, how does the National Museum of Health and Medicine fit in? The Silver Spring, Md., museum holds three of Booth's cervical vertebrae, which were kept by the U.S. Army after an autopsy. Given advancements in technology, DNA from the bones of Booth's thespian brother, Edwin, could be compared with DNA from the museum's bones to end the controversy. And a direct descendent has agreed to the exhumation of Edwin Booth, who was buried in Boston.

However, earlier this year, the U.S. Army Medical Command, which is in charge of the museum, denied the request, since a proposed DNA test would require using less than 0.4 grams of the bones. In a letter to Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who helped submit the request, the museum said ?the need to preserve these bones for future generations compels us to decline the destructive test.?


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RAY NEFF  A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY
Ray Allen Neff, an emeritus faculty member of Indiana State University passed away on Sept. 29, 2011 in Marshall, Illinois. He was born on January 23, 1924 in Prince William County, Virginia.

In his 87 years, Dr. Neff was involved in many activities, including service in the Navy during World War II, where he earned the rank of pharmacist mate third class. He was accomplished as an inventor, holding several patents. His taught courses at Indiana State University in the area of health, physical education, and recreation. A lifelong passion was the study of history. Over the years through accident and design, he became immersed in the Civil War, acquiring several collections pertaining to John Wilkes Booth. He wrote a book on the Neff family in the Civil War and was continuing his research on Booth when Leonard Guttridge and he joined forces to eventually produce Dark Union, a book which is boiled down from a much longer work which was never published but is housed in the Neff-Guttridge Collection.

Dr. Neff began donating his collection to Indiana State University in 2000. He was concerned that the materials he had acquired, such as the Kate Scott Papers, the Potter Papers, the Turner-Baker Papers, and the Lincoln Assassination Suspect Files, be made available to researchers and maintained in perpetuity.

His and Mr. Guttridge's conclusion that the assassin Booth had survived and escaped captivity after murdering President Lincoln is controversial and has been largely dismissed by mainstream historians. Neff and Guttridge allowed that they could never completely prove their beliefs correct from documents alone and hoped that DNA tests of Booth family members and "Booth" remains available in public repositories in Washington and Philadelphia could be used to determine the accuracy of their interpretation of documents and other findings. Dr. Neff frequently made requests over at least two decades to officials, including sitting U. S. presidents, that such tests be conducted, but was unsuccessful.

Others have taken up Neff's cause. It will be interesting to see what transpires.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2019, 06:32:12 AM by Tom Scully »

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