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  » Appendix X
  » Appendix XI
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  » Appendix XIV
  » Appendix XV
  » Appendix XVI
  » Appendix XVII
  » Appendix XVIII
Warren Commission Report: Page 638« Previous | Next »

(APPENDIX XII - Speculations and Rumors)

strain that tended to affect their recollections of what they thought they saw or heard. Consequently, the presentation of the news from Dallas included much misinformation. This, to some extent, was unavoidable, but the widespread and repetitive dissemination of every scrap of information about the President's assassination and its aftermath has helped to build up a large number of erroneous conclusions. The manner in which local authorities released information about. the investigation, sometimes before it could be verified in all detail, has further contributed to the fund of ill-founded theories. Typographical mistakes in the press and failure to transcribe sound accurately from tapes resulted in errors, some of which have remained uncorrected in print at the time of the publication of this report.

Much of the speculation that has persisted in one form or another since November 22-24 came from people who usually spoke in good faith. Some of the errors have resulted simply from a lack of complete knowledge at the time of the event. In this category are the statements attributed to doctors at Parkland Memorial Hospital who attended the dying President and described his wounds to the press afterward. It remained for the autopsy in Washington, completed early the next morning, to ascertain the full facts concerning the wounds. The correction of earlier assertions of fact on the basis of later and fuller analysis or investigation is a normal part of the process of accumulation of evidence. But. it is not often that the process is conducted in such an intense glare of worldwide publicity, and later corrections have difficulty overtaking the original sensational reports.

There is still another category of speculation and rumor that complicated and broadened the work of the Commission. Numerous people claimed to have seen Oswald or Ruby at various times and places in the United States or abroad. Others insisted that during the days following the assassination, they had detected significant actions on television that- were witnessed by no one else. Still others assumed from a widely published picture that Oswald was standing on the steps of the entrance to the Texas School Book Depository at the time the President was shot. Throughout the country people reported overheard remarks, conversations, threats, prophesies, and opinions that seemed to them to have a possible bearing on the assassination. More than a few informants initially told their speculations or professed firsthand information to newspaper and television reporters. Later, many of them changed or retracted their stories in telling them to official investigators.

The U.S. investigative agencies expended much valuable time and effort inquiring into these leads. Investigations of a vast number of rumors and speculations reached into almost every part of the United States and to most of the other continents of the world.

The Commission's work was also handicapped by those witnesses and other persons connected with the investigation who sold for publication evidence pertinent. to the investigation. These persons sold pictures and documents and even recollections, sometimes before the

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