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Humes 'Lincoln's Chair' FairyTale

Henry Clay Ford, the treasurer of Ford's Theatre, testified at the Lincoln Conspiracy Trial that the "furniture placed in the box consisted of one rocker brought from the stage and a sofa, a few chairs out of the reception-room, and a rocking-chair which belonged to the same set, I had brought from my bed-room. This rocker had been in the reception-room, but the ushers sitting in it had greased it with their hair, and I had it removed to my room, it being a very nice rocker. The only reason for putting that chair in the box was that it belonged to the set, and I sent for it to make the box as neat as possible."

Humes ARRB 1999

"Q Could you explain or describe briefly the process that you went through in drafting the autopsy protocol? So explain the number of drafts that you wrote, for example.
A The decision was made somebody had to take responsibility to write it. We couldn't do it as a troika. So I took the notes home with me, these, I presume, and the notes that I had made, some of which I had made were stained with the President's blood. I wrote a little bit about this in that AMA article. Around that time, we had in the government what was called the People to People Program, and the Navy Medical Department's part of that was to bring medical officers from foreign countries to the United States to teach them how the Navy Medical Department functions with the Marine Corps,with the submarines and so forth. These people
would be in Washington for 10 weeks. Five weeks they would visit activities in the metropolitan Washington area, and five weeks they would go on field trips. They would go to New London, Connecticut. They'd go to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. They'd go to Pensacola, Florida, all kind of places, Great Lakes Naval Training Center. I occasionally was asked to be an escort for these people. There'd be 18 to 20, 25 doctors from foreign countries. Sometimes we had Greeks and Turks at the same time, for instance. They weren't always the greatest plans in the world, I tell you. But you would escort these guys around. You'd get them on airplanes. You'd get them in buses. It was a real--it was real interesting.

On one trip, we took them to Pittsburgh to show them industrial medicine at steel mills and the medical department of a steel mill. We took them to Detroit and took them to the Ford Motor Company so they could see how the medical department of a large car company functioned.
While there this particular trip, we took them to Greenfield Village. I don't know if any of you have been to Greenfield Village. It's a very fascinating place where Henry Ford acquired all sorts of buildings and structures from around the United States, and in Europe, to some extent, and had them physically moved to Detroit. For instance, Edison's Menlo Park Laboratory was totally taken apart and brought to Greenfield Village, including the trash pile that was in the back yard.
Also in Greenfield Village, there is an old Illinois courthouse where Lincoln used to preside when he was circuit-riding judge. And in that courthouse was a chair that was alleged to be the chair in which Lincoln sat when he was assassinated in Ford's Theater. And the docent, in describing this chair, proudly spoke that here on the back of the chair is the stain of the President's blood. The bullet went through his head. I thought this was the most macabre thing I ever saw in my life. It just made a terrible impression on me."

[Note that is has apparently been known since the trial of the Lincoln Conspirators that the stain on the chair is in fact merely hair-dressing]

"And when I noticed that these bloodstains were on this document that I had prepared, I said nobody's going to ever get these documents. I'm not going to keep them, and nobody else is ever going to get them."

[The 'documents' were in fact due to be handed over to Admiral George Burkley, Kennedy's personal physician, at the White House, not the local freak show or a passing circus. Humes is asking us us to believe that he really thought Burkley, & by implication the Kennedy family themselves, were not to be trusted with this'bloodstained' material. This despite the fact that Humes later announces that he delivered JFK's brain to Burkley. And despite the fact that he did not destroy the Boswell 'face sheet'. In my opinion this yarn is simply a transparent lie.]

" So I copied them--and you probably have a copy in my longhand of what I wrote. It's made from the original. And I then burned the original notes in the fireplace of my family room to prevent them from ever falling into the hands of what I consider inappropriate people. And there's been a lot of flack about this, that they're all part of a big conspiracy that I did this because I was involved in I don't know what I was involved. Ludicrous. That is what I did."

[Humes 'longhand copy' is actually rough draft of the autopsy protocol itself.]

Q When you made reference to the notes that you copied out, were you referring to the document that's marked Exhibit 2, or is that something different?

A Now, this is the product of--yeah. It's the product of those notes.

Q The question would be whether there were notes that you copied down as one document and then you used the notes in order to draft the document that's in your hand.

A The only thing that was retained was this.

Q Exhibit 2?[The handwritten draft of the autopsy report]

A Right.

Q Now, I presume that the notes that you took during the autopsy did not resemble in any way the document that you have in your hand now, Exhibit 2.

A Well, they did, yes. I mean, I didn't dream this up out of whole cloth.

Q Certainly I understand the content, but I'm just referring to the text that is written in Exhibit 2 tracks reasonably closely the language of the final report. And what I'm interested in is what the two to three pages of notes looked like.

A I can't recall. I mean, I--they would have been my shorthand version of what you're looking at here, basically, in my own shorthand manner, whatever it may have been.


Q You would agree, I assume, that the document you're holding in your hand, Exhibit 2, is a basically completed autopsy protocol that tracks the language of the final autopsy protocol that's Exhibit 1?

A Yes.

Q And I assume that the notes that you made while you were at Bethesda during the autopsy were not written in sentence and paragraph form.

A No. They were shorthand.

Q So what kinds of things, then, were written on it? Measurements?

A Measurements, yeah, sure. Primarily measurements. That's where these measurements came from.

[see where the measurements actually came from]

Q So when you drafted--well, first, was there any other draft of the autopsy protocol other than the one that you're holding in your hand now--

A No.

[compare with his WC testimony:

"In privacy of my own home, early in the morning of Sunday, November 24th, I made a draft of this report which I later revised, and of which this represents the revision. That draft I personally burned in the fireplace of my recreation room." Humes is tied in knots by this time.]

Q --Exhibit 2?

A No. There was not. [see above]

Q So when you wrote down the information-- well, when you were drafting what is now Exhibit 2, would it be fair to say that you had in your hand two or three pages, approximately--

A Right.

Q --of handwritten notes--

A And I converted the shorthand information there to that document.

Q When you say "that document," you're referring to Exhibit 2?

A Yes, exactly.

Q Was there any information that was contained on the handwritten notes that was not included in the document that's now Exhibit 2--

A I don't believe so.

Q Did you ever make a copy that--a copy of the notes that contained the same information as was on the original handwritten notes that was in any form other than the form that appears in Exhibit 2?

A No.

Q Have you ever observed that the document now marked Exhibit 1 in the original appears to have bloodstains on it as well?

A Yes, I do notice it now. These were J's. I'm sure I gave these back to J. I presume I did. I don't know where they came from.

Q Did you ever have any concern about the President's blood being on the document that's now marked Exhibit 1?

A I can't recall, to tell you the truth.

[So much for the 'terrible impression' bloodstained artifacts are supposed to have had on poor squeamish Dr. Humes.]

Q Do you see any inconsistency at all between destroying some handwritten notes that contained blood on them but preserving other handwritten notes that also had blood on them?

A Well, only that the others were of my own making. I didn't--wouldn't have the habit of destroying something someone else prepared. That's the only difference that I can conceive of. I don't know where these went. I don't know if they went back to J or where they went. I have no idea. I certainly didn't keep them. I kept nothing, as a matter of fact.

[This again presupposes that each autopsist had his own private & personal set of notes. Boswell's existing notes were certainly not made by Boswell alone.]

Q I'd like to show you the testimony that you offered before the Warren Commission. This is in Exhibit 11 to this deposition. I'd like you to take a look at pages 372 to the top of 373, and then I'll ask you a question.

A All right.

Q I'll read that into that record while you're reading it yourself. Mr. Specter asked the question: "And what do those consist of?" The
question is referring to some notes. "Answer: In privacy of my own home, early in the morning of Sunday, November 24, I made a draft of this report, which I later revised and of which this represents the revision. That draft I personally burned in the fireplace of my recreation room." Do you see Mr. Specter's question and your answer?

A Yes.

Q Does that help refresh your recollection of what was burned in your home?

[The fact that Humes has been perjuring himself is now out in the open. Humes can't avoid it.]

A Whatever I had, as far as I know, that was burned was everything exclusive of the finished draft that you have as Exhibit--whatever it is.

Q My question will go to the issue of whether it was a draft of the report that was burned or whether it was--

A I think it was--

Q --handwritten notes--

A It was handwritten notes and the first draft that was burned.

[Ah! It was BOTH!!!!!!!]

Q Do you mean to use the expression handwritten notes as being the equivalent of draft of the report?

A I don't know. Again, it's a hair- splitting affair that I can't understand. Everything that I personally prepared until I got to the status of the handwritten document that later was transcribed was destroyed. You can call it anything you want, whether it was the notes or what, I don't know. But whatever I had, I didn't want anything else to remain, period.
This business, I don't know when J got that back or what.

[J never did get it back. It ended up as a Warren Commision exhibit.]

Q When you say "this business," you're referring to Exhibit 1?

A Exhibit 1, right.

Q Dr. Humes, let me show you part of your testimony to the HSCA. Question by Mr. Cornwell-- I'll read this into the record. It's from page 330, and it is Exhibit 21 to this deposition.

"Mr. Cornwell: And you finally began to write the autopsy report at what time?"

"Dr. Humes: It was decided that three people couldn't write the report simultaneously, so I assumed the responsibility for writing the report, which I began about 11 o'clock in the evening of Saturday November 23rd, having wrestled with it for four or five, six hours in the afternoon, and worked on it until 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning of Sunday, the 24th."

"Mr. Cornwell: Did you have any notes or
records at that point as to the exact location of
the -

"Dr. Humes: I had the draft notes which we had prepared in the autopsy room, which I copied."

Now, again, the question would be: Did you copy the notes so that you would have a version of the notes without the blood on them but still notes rather than a draft report?

A Yes, precisely. Yes. And from that I made a first draft, and then I destroyed the first draft and the notes.

Q So there were, then, two sorts of documents that were burned: one, the draft notes, and, two, a draft report?

A Right.

Q Is that correct?

A That's right. So that the only thing remaining was the one that you have.

Q Why did you burn the draft report as opposed to the draft notes?

A I don't recall. I don't know. There was no reason--see, we're splitting hairs here,......

[This must have been about the most uncomfortable moment of Humes hours at the ARRB]

I'll tell you, it's getting to me a little bit, as you may be able to detect. The only thing I wanted to finish to hand over to whomever, in this case Admiral Burkley, was my completed version. So I burned everything else. Now, why I didn't burn the thing that J wrote, I have no way of knowing. But whether it was a draft or whether it was the notes or what, I don't know. There was nothing left when I got finished with it, in any event, but the thingmthat you now have, period.

Q Well, the concern, of course, is if there is a record related to the autopsy that is destroyed, we're interested in finding out what the exact circumstances--

A I've told you what the circumstances were. I used it only as an aide-memoire to do what I was doing and then destroyed it. Is that hard to understand?

Q When I first asked the question, you explained that the reason that you had destroyed it was that it had the blood of the President on it.

A Right.

Q The draft report, of course, would not have had the blood of--

A Well, it may have had errors in spelling or I don't know what was the matter with it, or whether I even ever did that. I don't know...

[Humes in exasperation may finally be telling the truth here. He had no other notes to burn.]

......... I can't recall. I absolutely can't recall, and I apologize for that. But that's the way the cookie crumbles. I didn't want anything to remain that some squirrel ........

[The 'squirrel' being Admiral Burkley, by implication]

.......would grab on and make whatever use that they might. Now, whether you felt that was reasonable or not, I don't know. But it doesn't make any difference because that was my decision and mine alone. Nobody else's.

Q Did you talk to anyone about your decision to--

A No, absolutely not. No. It was my own materials. Why--I don't feel a need to talk to anybody about it.

Q Did the original notes that you created have any information with respect to the estimated angle in which the bullet struck the President?

A Nothing different than what's in the final version.

Q Did the original notes that you took identify the location of the posterior thorax entrance wound with respect to which of the vertebra of the President the wound was closest to?

A No. The measurements were taken from bony landmarks. As I recall, one was a mastoid process, the bottom of the--behind the ear, and the other was a midline of the vertebral column, not how many vertebrae down it was. So the up-and-down measurement would be the distance from the mastoid process down.

Q When you recorded it a being from the right mastoid process, was it your understanding that the right mastoid process was a fixed body landmark?

A Oh, sure. It doesn't move around in most people. You're really in trouble if it does.

Q Well, is it a fixed landmark, fixed body landmark with respect to the thoracic cavity?

A It's fixed with regard to respect anything you want it respected to.

Q Well, if your head turns to the right or to the left, does the mastoid process distance vary with relationship to--

A Well, maybe a millimeter or two. Not significantly. Are we getting into a big debate as to whether I did anything properly here or not? It's not a debate I want to get involved in."

One can understand why.

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