There are several key theories as to the purpose of the Umbrella Man. Most believe he was part of the conspiracy and was there to signal to the shooters that Kennedy was definitely in the car and which car he was in. Other people believe that the umbrella was actually used to shoot a dart (flechette) at the President to disable him. A third group believe he was there with an umbrella so that the shooters could judge the wind direction – an essential in sniper marksmanship.
This article isn’t about whether these theories are true or not. It is about whether the presence of the Umbrella Man has ever been properly explained.
WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT?
If the Umbrella Man still hasn’t been accurately identified after 50 years then it must be assumed that his actions on that day were sinister and therefore so were those of the Dark Complected man. This would confirm that there was a far more elaborate plot behind the assassination of JFK and it is therefore probable that this has been covered up by various authorities. If the Umbrella Man has been identified then it is one less bullet in the smoking gun of the conspiracy theorists.
At the time of Kennedy’s death the media was strangely willing accepted the official story that Oswald had been a lone-shooter with psychological issues and a hatred of America. However, the general public spontaneously felt that there was something horribly wrong with the official version of events.
It is often overlooked but critically important that at the time of the assassination the CIA was very active with Operation Mockingbird – a programme designed to control and manipulate the mainstream American media. This programme was not wound down until 1965 and officially shut down until 1976 after George W. Bush was appointed head of the CIA in the same year. Still, many people including historians, government researchers, publishing houses and the news media themselves believe the programme was continued under another name.
PUBLIC OUTCRY AND THE HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON ASSASSINATIONS
During the 15 years following the assassination of JFK numerous individuals – from the public and government – tried to piece together the true story of what happened in Dallas on 22nd November 1963. The Warren Commission (1963/64) had failed dismally to convince the public that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone and The Jim Garrison investigation (1966/69) revealed so many unanswered questions that around 50% of all Americans became convinced that the death of Kennedy was the result of a wide reaching conspiracy and that Oswald, as he had claimed, was just a patsy in a greater but covert political struggle.
The House Select Committee on Assassinations was established in 1976 to deal with the public concerns over the Kennedy assassination as well as the more recent assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. The committee, based on acoustic recordings of the gunfire, concluded that Kennedy was probably assassinated as the result of a conspiracy but not by any of the groups being proposed in almost all of the popular conspiracy theories of the time.
LOUIE STEVEN WITT – THE UMBRELLA MAN?
During the House Select Committee on Assassinations pamphlets were issued asking for information about various people who had been present at the shooting. A man by the name of Louie Steven Witt was identified by his friends as the Umbrella Man and this became known to the media and then the authorities. Witt then voluntarily agreed to attend the HSCA hearings to assist the investigation and, in part, to clear his name.
He asserted he was, at the time, employed by the Rio Grande Insurance Company and had opened the umbrella as a protest against Joseph Kennedy’s policy of appeasement with regard to Germany prior to WWII. He stated that John Kennedy, who had written a paper ‘Why England Slept’ regarding Neville Chamberlin’s appeasement of Adolf Hitler while at university, would recognise the umbrella as a metaphor for political weakness.
Witt later stated: 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.”
Witt even produced an umbrella that he claimed was the same one he had opened 15 years earlier and that seemed to close the mystery of the Umbrella Man.