The question of who killed U.S. President John F. Kennedy (1917–1963) on November 22, 1963, has been a subject of controversy. Conspiracy theorists dispute allegations that Lee Harvey Oswald was able to accurately hit a moving target at that distance with the bolt-action rifle allegedly in his possession. They insist one person could not have fired so many shots so quickly from this type of rifle.

In 1964, the Warren Commission, a group of government officials investigating the assassination, concluded that a single bullet passed through Kennedy's body and struck Texas governor John Connally. A fatal second shot hit the president in the head, and another bullet missed the presidential automobile altogether.

Conspiracy theorists dismiss the so-called "magic bullet" that passed through Kennedy and through the back, ribs, right wrist, and left leg of Connally. Governor and Nellie Connally believed that two bullets had struck the president and that a third and separate bullet had wounded the governor.

On July 3, 1997, former U.S. president Gerald Ford, the only surviving member of the Warren Commission, admitted he had altered the commission's description of the gunshot. According to Ford, the original text said that a bullet had entered Kennedy's back at a point slightly above the shoulder and to the right of the spine. Ford changed the bullet's entrance point from Kennedy's upper back to "the base of the back of the neck." Such a seemingly minor change would support the commission's single-assassin hypothesis that was based on the "magical" path of a single bullet that could pass through Kennedy's neck and leave another six wounds on his body before striking Texas governor John Connally's back, ribs, right wrist, and left leg. Ford told the Associated Press, "My changes were only an attempt to be more precise. I think our judgments have stood the test of time."

A poll conducted by the University of Ohio and Scripps Howard News Service in 1997 revealed that 51 percent of Americans dismissed the "magic bullet" theory. Twenty percent believed federal government agents killed Kennedy. Another 33 percent, while not accusing government agents, felt that a conspiracy was "somewhat likely."


"Ford Faked JFK Report." Tabloid News Services. [Online]

Lane, Mark. Plausible Denial. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 1991.

Summers, Anthony. Conspiracy. New York: Paragon House, 1989.

Vankin, Jonathan, and John Whalen. The 60 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1996.

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