Predicting Prayer Man’s body height using the 7 1/2 rule.

The body height and location of Prayer Man, the unknown man standing at the western wall in Darnell film, are a matter of continuing debates. If Prayer Man was a tall person 5’9”, he could only be a male, and the very likely candidate for Prayer Man would be Lee Harvey Oswald. If it was Lee Harvey Oswald posing as Prayer Man in Darnell film, he could not be on the sixth floor to shoot at the President.

In my previous blog article [1], a hypothesis pertaining Prayer Man’s location and body height has been outlined. The hypothesis postulates that Prayer Man was a man 5’9” and stood with his right foot on the second step and his left foot on the top landing. This blog article addresses the problem of Prayer Man’s body height using a simple method known as the 7 1/2 rule.

The 7 1/2 rule refers to the ratio of the head height and the overall body height. In simple terms, the body height in a normal human person corresponds to the height of 7 1/2 heads stacked on each other. This rule has been elaborated by visual artists to aid in sketching natural looking human bodies even if a body would be depicted in a complicated posture [2]. The 7 1/2 rule also allows estimating the lengths of different body parts such as arms.

Fortunately, the height of Prayer Man’s head can be determined in Darnell’s stills. Therefore, the 7 1/2 rule for body proportions can give another clue on how tall Prayer Man was and where did he stand.

Figure 1 shows a front view of Lee Harvey Oswald in one of the mug-shot photographs taken by the New Orleans Police Department on August 10, 1963. Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested on Canal Street in New Orleans for an altercation occurring during his leafleting of pro-Castro sheets. The photograph was mildly processed by adding light into dark tones. The vertically arranged grey rectangles refer to the 7 1/2 rule applied to Lee Harvey Oswald’s body. The top rectangle and every other full rectangle match the height of Lee Harvey Oswald’s head. Figure 1 confirms that the 7 1/2 rule would be applicable in estimating Lee Harvey Oswald’s body height if only his head would be visible.


nola_7_5

Figure 1: The 7 1/2 rule applied to Lee Harvey Oswald’s body. The top and every other full rectangle correspond to the height of Lee Harvey Oswald’s head. 7 1/2 rectangles cover the height of the body.

 


The original Darnell still with Prayer Man in the shadow is shown in Figure 2. The stack of 7 1/2 rectangles, which covered Lee Harvey Oswald’s body in Figure 1, was copied onto Darnell still and the rectangles have been adjusted in such a way that the top rectangle would match Prayer Man’s head. Prayer Man’s head is delineated by two horizontal lines to illustrate the match with the top rectangle. The lowest of the rectangles in this simple analysis indicates the platform on which Prayer Man had to stand given his head size and the plausibility of the 7 1/2 rule. The edges of the first and second steps are highlighted in Figure 2 with a pair of horizontal orange lines. The 7 1/2 rule predicted that Prayer Man’s body would reach as low as the tread of the second step.


 darnell_7_5

Figure 2: The 7 1/2 rule applied to Prayer Man’s figure in Darnell film. The pair of yellow lines are the vertical limits of Prayer Man’s head. The pair of orange lines corresponds to the edges of the first and second step. The purple rectangles were copied from Figure 1 and adjusted vertically in such a way that the top rectangle matched the height of Prayer Man’s head.


The present analysis supports the view that Prayer Man was a tall person measuring 5’9” and that he stood on the second step of the Depository doorway in Darnell film. The exact body posture can only be reconstructed using 3D modeling. However, the 7 1/2 rule analysis provides another independent verification of Prayer Man’s location and body height, and it strengthens the case for Prayer Man being a man 5’9” which was the body height of Lee Harvey Oswald.

Revision notes:  This is the original article.

Footnotes:

[1]  Prayer Man in Darnell’s film. TheJFKTruthmatters.wordpress.com, April 19, 2016.

[2] https://www.artistsnetwork.com/art-techniques/drawing-proportions-human-body-ameral/

 

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Mrs. Sanders, Mrs. Stanton, where are you?

One of the most puzzling problems in the course of events in the Texas School Book Depository during the assassination of President Kennedy is the location of two ladies who worked in the Depository building and who both reported standing on the top landing of the Depository doorway. The names of the two ladies are Pauline Sanders (*8.11.1908 – †12.14.1996) and Sarah Stanton (*6.9.1922 – †8.21.1992). This article demonstrates for the first time the presence of two previously unaccounted persons in the Depository doorway. Evidence presented here suggests that these two newly discovered persons were Mrs. Stanton and Mrs. Sanders. Part of this research was posted on the Educational Forum [1].

Both ladies were questioned by the FBI on the 24th November 1963, and again in March 1964 [2-5]. Mrs. Sanders stood in the east part of the doorway, on the top step and “in the last line of spectators”. Mrs. Sanders confirmed that Mrs. Stanton stood next to her. Mrs. Sanders stayed in the doorway for about five minutes before returning to the building. Mrs. Stanton said that she has stood next to Mr. Shelley, Mr. Williams, Mrs. Sanders, and Mr. Lovelady. She returned to the building immediately after the shots with the intention to view the scene from the second-floor window. The reason for her quick departure from the doorway might have been that Mrs. Stanton was not satisfied with her view while standing in the doorway and hoped to have a better view from a second-floor window.

The presence of Mrs. Stanton and Mrs. Sanders on the top landing of the Depository doorway was corroborated by four Depository employees who happened to stand on top steps while Presidential motorcade was passing in front of the Depository doorway. We know from Buell Wesley Frazier’s testimony that a heavyset lady named “Sara” stood “right there beside me” [6], and since Mr. Frazier’s location is well known, e.g. from Darnell’s stills, it can be assumed that Mrs. Stanton stood somewhere within in a circular zone of about 1 m (3′ 4”) diameter and centred at Mr. Frazier. Further, since Mrs. Stanton stood next to Mrs. Sanders who stood in the east part of the top landing, Mrs. Stanton was most likely standing to the left of Mr. Frazier. Buell Wesley Frazier conferred that he had changed words with Mrs. Stanton about the source of gunshots right after a lady, presumably Mrs. Gloria Calvery, came up the steps and told them that the President had been shot [7]. The presence of Mrs. Stanton in the doorway, most likely on the top landing of the doorway, was confirmed by Billy Lovelady [8] and Bill Shelley [9]. The presence of Mrs. Sanders in the top part of the steps was corroborated by Mr. Molina in his testimony for the Warren Commission [10].

To the best of this writer’s knowledge, the locations of both ladies, Mrs. Sanders and Mrs. Stanton, have not been demonstrated in any of existing photographs or films depicting the Depository doorway during or shortly after the shooting. This has led to speculations that perhaps Mrs. Stanton could have been the unknown and much disputed human figure standing in the western part of the doorway and known as Prayer Man. As both Mrs. Stanton and Mrs. Sanders have not be identified in any of the photographs or films taken during the assassination, it is likely that their figures were obfuscated by the tall people standing in front of them. Let us re-examine the Depository doorway pictures to check once more if there is any evidence of two unaccounted persons standing on the top landing who would fit the two missing ladies, Mrs. Sanders and Mrs. Stanton.

  1. A woman in the east corner of the doorway.

This author analysed in detail all frames of Darnell film and found evidence of an unknown person who stood on the top landing in the east part of the Depository doorway. The frame showing the clearest figure of this person is the 27th frame counted from the end of the film (frame #20130908-003922) (Figure 1). The finding itself is illustrated in Figure 2. The person of interest was a white Caucasian which can be inferred from the enlarged and brightened section of the picture (Figure 2, right panel). Furthermore, this person is very short because his/her head reaches only to the shoulders of the man in black suit standing in the middle of the doorway, just in front of the door. This person’s upper body covered by a shadow.


Figure 1: Darnell film frame #20130908-003922.


Figure 2: An unknown person standing on the top landing of the Depository doorway in Darnell frame #20130908-003922. The left panel shows a section of the original still. The larger orange and smaller yellow sections are shown enlarged in the middle and right panel, respectively.


Figure 3 shows the overlay of original Darnell’s frame and the 3D model of the doorway. The overlay shows a satisfactory alignment of all vertical and horizontal lines corresponding to doorway landmarks, such as the door frame, the central railing, the pair of white pillars on both sides of the entrance. Since the 3D model was faithfully aligned with the film frame, it was possible to estimate the body height of any human figure in the doorway by placing a manikin into the doorway and adjusting manikin’s height to match the body height of a human figure seen in the original still. To evaluate the body height of the person of interest, a human manikin was fitted to the 3D model and the error of the match between the manikin and the original figure in Darnell still was evaluated. The best match was obtained if the manikin representing the newly discovered person measured about 4’11” or 59” (150 cm). The average body height of a woman born in the 20th of the last century in 1963 was 63’2” with a 95% confidence interval of 63” – 63.4” [11]. In contrast, the average body height of men in the same age category was 68.3” with a 95% confidence interval of 68.1”-68.5”. Thus, this person was a woman of a subaverage body height. The body height of the woman in the 3D reconstructed scene is documented in Figure 4.


 

wholescene_nosanders_92

 

wholescene_nosanders_75

Figure 3: Overlays of the Depository doorway in Darnell film frame #20130908-003922 and the 3D reconstruction of the doorway. The image of the doorway in Darnell and in the Sketchup model were blended at 92% (upper panel) and 75% (lower panel). Mr. Frazier’s, Mr. Shelley’s, and Prayer Man’s figures were added for comparison purposes.


 

zoom_sanders_measure

Figure 4: The body height of the woman standing in the east part of the doorway in Darnell film. The measuring stick was added to the reconstructed woman’s figure in such a way that it crossed the crown of her head. The checkerboard rectangles on the stick indicate one-inch distances from 4′ to 6′. This woman measured 4′ 10 1/2” – 4′ 11”. Measuring sticks were also added to Mr. Frazier’s, Mr. Shelley’s, and the unknown man’s figures for comparison purposes. Their respective body heights were 6′ 1 1/2” (Mr. Frazier), 5′ 8” (Mr. Shelley), and 5’9” (Prayer Man).


While it is obvious that the woman standing in the east corner of the doorway could only be Mrs. Stanton or Mrs. Sanders, the identity of this lady remains unclear until the other of the two ladies is found.

2. A woman in the center of the doorway.

The next part of this article refers to the search for the other of the two ladies standing on the top landing of Depository doorway during the assassination of President Kennedy.

A face of a so far unaccounted person can be best demonstrated in Robert Groden’s enhancement of Altgens6 photograph (Figure 5, upper panel). The origin of this photograph is discussed in footnote [12]. The enhanced Groden’s version of Altgens6 shows the best details in the figures of people standing in the doorway. A light oval object is seen next to Billy Lovelady’s left cheek. This object did not attract any attention of researchers so far, maybe because it was assumed to be a part of Mr. Lovelady’s head, possibly his ear. However, the light oval cannot be Lovelady’s ear because it is too large and extends too far out from Lovelady’s head. As shown in Figure 5 (bottom panels), the enlarged view of the object next to Lovelady’s head shows features such as nose or eyes consistent with a human face. The object does not belong to Mr. Shelley’s figure (the man in a black suit) either because it connects with the dark part of Mr. Shelley’s head. An object located at this height and not belonging to either Mr. Lovelady or Mr. Shelley can only be a face belonging to a person standing behind Mr. Lovelady.


Figure 5: Enhanced version of Altgens6 attributed to Robert Groden (top panel). A zoomed view of three faces (bottom panel): Mr. Lovelady (the left-hand face), Mr. Shelley (the right-hand face), and another face in the space between the faces of these two men. The face of the so-far unaccounted person is delineated with a red line in the right-hand panel.


The enhanced version of Altgens6 clearly shows a human face with some elementary facial features. The original Altgens6 photograph purchased from the Associated Press shows the same oval and light-colored object albeit with fewer details. This is illustrated in Figure 6. In spite of seeing fewer details in the original Altgens6 picture than in Groden’s enhanced version of Altgens6, both versions agree on the presence of a face of an unaccounted person purportedly standing between Billy Lovelady and the right shoulder of the man in a black suit. The unknown person was a white Caucasian and tall enough to be able to peek over the shoulder of the man in black suit. This person was clearly taller than the short lady (4’11”) standing in the east corner of the doorway (Figures 2-4).


Figure 6: Presence of an unaccounted person in Altgens6 photograph. The top panel shows a cropped view of the Depository doorway in the original Altgens6 picture acquired from the Associated Press. The lower left panel shows a section of Altgens6 in which a partial face was seen in the enhanced version of Altgens6 (shown in Figure 5). The middle lower panel shows the face highlighted with a red line. The bottom right-hand panel shows enhanced and enlarged view of the newly reported face. The red line follows the contour of Mr. Lovelady’s left cheek.


While the presence of an unaccounted person in Altgens6 is evident and can hardly be disputed, it is important to know if this person appeared in Darnell film in a frame showing both Prayer Man and the short lady standing in the east part of the doorway. To confirm the presence of a human figure on the top landing who was neither Prayer Man nor the lady standing in the east part of the doorway, the frame 20130908-003922 (Figure 1) showing both the short lady and Prayer Man was analysed with a focus on the region of interest just above the right shoulder of the man in the black suit. If this region of the film frame showed a human face, it would be the face of the so far unaccounted lady seen in Altgens6 picture, and it would be a different lady from the one standing in the east corner of the doorway. 

Figure 7A shows a cropped view of the short lady on the right-hand side part of the picture and the man in a black suit in the centre.  Buell Wesley Frazier stands on the left-hand side part of the picture. This enlargement shows a faint object above Mr. Shelley’s right shoulder which is close to the spot at which a face could be seen in Altgens6. The contour of a person next to Mr. Shelley can be seen better in the enhanced version of this picture (Figure 7B). Figure 7C-D shows a zoomed view of this person with different enhancement levels. The person appears to have a view of the Tripple Underpass area.


bestframe_sanders

Figure 7:  A. A section of Darnell frame #20130908-003922 zoomed at the doorway (top panel). B. Enhanced image shown in (A). A region of interest centred on the area above the right shoulder of the man in a black suit is highlighted with a yellow rectangle. C. The enhanced region of interest. D. Further enhancement of the region of interest by increasing the contrast of the image shown in (C).


The presence of another person standing behind Mr. Shelley’s right shoulder can also be illustrated using the overlay of the original still #20130908-003922 and the 3D model shown in Figure 3. A section of the doorway showing Mr. Frazier, Mr. Shelley and the short lady in the east part of the doorway overlaid with a blending coefficient of 80% is shown in Figure 8 (B). The enhanced picture is shown in Figure 8C. The bright spot to the right of Mr. Shelley’s face belongs to a person who stands behind Mr. Shelley. The bright object cannot be a part of Mr. Shelley’s face as he kept his head and body straight and it is, therefore, not possible to interpret the bright object as a continuation of Mr. Shelley’s head.


composite

Figure 8:  An overlay of a partial view of Darnell still #20130908-003922 and the 3D reconstruction of this still.  A. A section of the original frame. B. Overlay of the original frame shown in (A) and the 3D model at a blending of 80%. C. Enhanced overlay image shown in (B). Please note the bright blob above Mr. Shelley’s right shoulder that belongs to the person standing behind him and looking over his right shoulder.


 

Figure 9 illustrates the whole doorway scene from the perspective of Darnell’s camera. The overlays of the original still and the 3D model with the figure of the newly disclosed person are shown in footnote [13]. Figure 10 shows the relevant section of the doorway with a person standing behind Mr. Shelley’s right shoulder. After aligning the doorway landmarks in Darnell still with the 3D model [13], the heights of manikins representing five different figures were adjusted to give the best match. The body height of the person standing behind Mr. Bill Shelley, estimated by fitting manikins of different heights to the figure seen in the enhanced frame of Darnell film, was 5’4”.


whole_scene_cut

Figure 9: A 3D computer reconstruction of the whole doorway scene depicted in Darnell frame #20130908-003922. Notably, the scene shows the short lady standing in the east part of the doorway, another person behind Mr. Shelley’s right shoulder, and the unknown man (Prayer Man) standing in the west part of the doorway.


zoom_all_reduced

Figure 10: The estimated body height of the person standing in the shadow behind Mr. Shelley’s right shoulder. The body height of this person, purportedly a lady, was 5’3 1/2′ – 5’4”. The figures and body heights of Mr. Shelley, Mr. Frazier, the short lady standing in the east part of the doorway and Prayer Man are shown for comparison purposes.


To illustrate the locations of the two newly discovered persons in reference to other doorway occupants, four different views of the doorway are given in Figure 10.


A. Front view of the Depository doorway.

 

front_reduced

 

 

B. Southeast view.

whole_scene_front_reduced

 

C. Top view.

top_reduced

 

D. Back view.

whole_scene_back

Figure 11: The reconstructed doorway scene in Darnell film frame #20130908-003922 in front view (A), southeast view (B),  top view (C), and back view (D).


Several other frames in Darnell film showed a partial human form in the region of interest behind Mr. Shelley’s right shoulder. Two frames with the clearest views of this face are analysed in Figures 12-13. These frames show a human figure of the same body height as the frame 20130908-003922 which validates the original finding.

Figures 12A-E illustrates the presence of a human figure in frame #20130908-004004_1. The original Darnell frame is shown in Figure 12A. Figure 12B is an enlargement of the region of interest centered at the right shoulder of the man in a black suit. Figure 12C is enhanced version of the zoomed region of interest. This panel gives perhaps the best view of the human face above the person standing behind the man in a black suit. The face is highlighted with a yellow line in Figure 12D. Finally, enlarged and enhanced face, delineated with yellow line is shown in Figure 12E.


Figure 12: A. Darnell frame #20130813-004004_1. B. A cropped section of the doorway showing the man in black suit and Buell Wesley Frazier. The person seen in Altgens6 picture would have her head in the region above Mr. Shelley’s right shoulder. C. Enhanced picture shown in (B). This picture allows viewing the partial head of the person standing behind Mr. Shelley. D. The same picture as in (C). The contour of the human head is highlighted with a yellow line. E. The enlarged and enhanced human face.


Figures 13A-D present the finding of a person standing in the center of the doorway in yet another frame, #20130908-004004_2. The original frame is shown in Figure 13A. A cropped region of interest is in Figure 13B. Figure 13C shows the same image after resizing it. Figure 13D is the final enhancement achieved by increasing the contrast of the resized image in Figure 13C. This last panel gives a partial view of a human head of a person standing behind the man in a black suit.


Figure 13: A. Frame #20130908-004004_1 of Darnell film. B. A cropped region of interest zoomed at the region above the right shoulder of the man in a black suit. C. Resized image shown in (B). D. Enhanced image (C). A human head can be seen in the central region of the doorway. This person stood behind Bill Shelley (the man in a black suit) and was tall enough to be able to peek over his right shoulder.


3. Identities of two newly disclosed persons on the top landing.

This article demonstrates the presence of two so far unaccounted persons on the top landing of the Depository doorway during or immediately after the shooting of President Kennedy. One person was a short woman measuring about 4’11” and standing very close to the glass door windows. She is seen in the east part of the doorway in Darnell film.  This person cannot be seen in most of Darnell film frames because the view of her figure was obstructed by the figure of Joe Molina who just happened to step down one step only 10-11 frames before frame #20130908-003922.

The other newly disclosed person stood close to Mr. Shelley both in Altgens6 and Darnell film. This person’s body height was about 5’4” which would qualify her for a comparatively tall woman. However, her true body height could have been slightly smaller if she wore high heel shoes. The body height of 5’4” allowed her to peek over Mr. Shelley’s right shoulder. Her face was lit by a sunlight in Altgens6 and covered by a shadow in Darnell film suggesting that she may have stepped back during the period when Darnell film was shot.

In the absence of verified photographs of Mrs. Sanders or Mrs. Stanton, it is difficult to assign names to the two newly discovered persons. In spite of this uncertainty, it is very likely that the two persons were Mrs. Stanton and Mrs. Sanders:

  • The body heights of the newly disclosed persons qualify them for being females rather than males.
  • The locations of both persons matched the locations of Mrs. Stanton and Mrs. Sanders reported in their testimonies [2-5] and corroborated by other witnesses [6-10].

If we interpret the witness testimonies literally, the shorter of the two ladies standing close to the glass door in the east part of the doorway would be Mrs. Sanders. Mrs. Sanders reported that she has stood “in the last line of spectators nearest to the door”  in the east part of the doorway [3] which would suit better the shorter of the two ladies. Mrs. Sanders saw Mrs. Stanton as standing the closest to her which matches the reconstructed doorway scene (Figures 10-11). Logically, the taller of the two ladies would then be Mrs. Stanton. Her location at the center-east part of the top landing would corroborate the testimonies of Billy Lovelady and Buell Wesley Frazier. Mr. Frazier reported that Mrs. Stanton has stood next to him [6-7] and that he had changed words with her [7]. Indeed, the taller of the two ladies was Mr. Frazier’s closest neighbour on the top landing in Darnell film (Figure 11).

To conclude, this article reports on the presence of two ladies who were known to stand in the Depository doorway during the assassination of President Kennedy but who were not seen in any photograph or film for more than 54 years. The shorter of the two ladies, presumably Pauline Sanders (4’11”), was seen in the east part of the doorway while the taller of the two ladies, Sarah Stanton (5’4”), stood next to the man in a black suit in the central-east of the doorway.  Importantly, both women can be seen in the same frame of Darnell film which also shows Prayer Man in the west part of the doorway. Therefore, none of these two ladies could be Prayer Man.


Acknowledgments: I am grateful to Mr. Bart Kamp for sharing his measurements of the School Book Depository doorway, and for posting Mr. Gary Murr’s sketch of the doorway which sketch showed additional useful measures. Thanks to this data, it was possible to design a realistic 3D model of the doorway. The only dimension which was chosen empirically according to the best match between Darnell stills and the 3D model was the depth of the doorway. This was set to 3’8” in this study.

I am also grateful to ArqDir (pseudonym) for posting several low-resolution 3D human models on Sketchup 3D Warehouse. All doorway occupants except Prayer Man were modified from ArqDir’s manikins. Prayer Man was designed in Poser11 (Smith Micro Software, Inc., USA) and his figure and all other figures were sculpted and finished using Artisan 1.2.8. toolbox (artisan4sketchup.com) in SketchupPro 2017 (Trimble Navigation, Inc., USA). All graphics work including overlays were made using CorelDraw v. 17 and Corel PaintShop Pro X6.


Revision notes: this is the original version.

Revision note #1, 02/03/2018: Mr. Gary Murr kindly sent one more sketch of the depository doorway showing the depth of the doorway. The sketch was drawn by the FBI agent Brent Hughes on December 5, 1963. Gary retrieved these materials about in 2004. I am very thankful for providing this particular drawing as the depth of the doorway has always been only estimated. Gary’s contribution to research involving the Depository doorway is highly appreciated.

The sketch below shows that the depth of the top landing measured 3’9”. In the context of the present work, the estimated depth of the top landing in the 3D model (3’8”) and the measured depth (3’9”) differ too little to affect the findings.

Credit: Mr. Gary Murr, 02/03/2018

 


Footnotes:

[1] This writer’s post on Educational Forum, thread “Oswald leaving TSBD?”, dated November 10, 2017, and subsequent posts in that thread.

[2]  From Mrs. Pauline Sanders’s FBI report,  Warren Commission Exhibit 1381, 3/19/1964: “At approximately 12:20 PM on November 22, 1963, I left the lunchroom on the second floor of the building and went out the front entrance to await the arrival of the presidential motorcade which I knew was due to pass the Depository about 12:30 PM. I took up a position at the top of the front steps of the Depository building facing Elm Street. To the best of my recollection, I was standing on the top step at the east end of the entrance. I recall that while standing there I noticed Mrs. Sarah Stanton standing next to me, but I am unsure as to the others. Mrs. Stanton is likewise an employee of the Texas School Book Depository. To the best of my recollection I did not see Lee Harvey Oswald at any time on November 22, 1963, and although I knew him by sight as an employee of the building I did not know him by name and had never spoken to him at any time. I do not recall seeing any strangers in the Texas School Book Depository Building at any time on the morning of November 22, 1963. After the motorcade car carrying President John F. Kennedy passed, I remained a moment on the steps, then walked out to the concrete island in front of the Depository Building to see what had happened. I remained there a moment and then returned to the Depository Building through the main entrance. I then walked to the second floor where I usually worked.”

[3]  The FBI report on Mrs. Pauline Sanders, Commission Exhibit 1434, 11/24/1963: “She said on the morning of November 22, 1963, she went outside to watch the Presidential parade at about 11:25 a.m. She said she did not see OSWALD during this time and she stood in the last line of spectators nearest the door to the Texas School Book Depository building. She advised she could not recall the exact time but immediately after the Presidential parade passed she heard three loud blasts and she immediately realized that the shots or whatever it was came from the building above her. She said within a matter of ten seconds a uniform police officer in a white helmet ran into the building but she did not observe him any further and could not state where he went in the building. … She advised that she did not pursue the matter any further and she entered the building within five minutes of the blast. She said she did not observe Oswald in the lobby but the lobby was crowded with people at this time.”

[4]  From the FBI report (Warren Commission Exhibit, CD7, undated) on Mrs. Sarah Stanton:  “… advised that she is employed in the second floor office of the Texas School Book Depository, 411 Elms Street, Dallas, Texas, and at about 12:30 P.M., on November 22, 1963, she was standing on the front steps of the building as the President passed and shortly thereafter she heard three explosions, however, she did not know where they came from and immediately went into the building, caught the elevator and went to the second floor offices and into the office of the Southwestern Publishing Company, located there, to try to look out the window and see what was happening… She knows LEE HARVEY OSWALD by sight, being employed by the same concern, but is not personally acquainted with him and did not see OSWALD on November 22, 1963, and she never seen him with a gun.

[5]  From Mrs. Sarah Stanton’s statements for the FBI, 3/18/1964 (Warren Commission Exhibit 1381): “When President John F. Kennedy was shot I was standing on the front steps of the Texas School Book Depository Building with Mr. William Shelley, 126 South Tatum, Dallas, Mr. Otis Williams, 3429 Southwestern, Dallas, Mrs. R.E. Sanders, 4226 Delmar, Dallas, and Billy Lovelady, 7722 Hume Drive, Dallas. All of the above are employed at the Texas School Book Depository. I heard three shots after the President’s car passed the front of the building but I could not see the President’s car at that time… I did not see Lee Harvey Oswald at that time or at any time during that day.”

[6]  From Buell Wesley Frazier’s testimony in Clay Shaw trial, February 13, 1969, New Orleans, Louisiana:

Q: Mr. Frazier, do you recall who you were with during the presidential motorcade?

A: Yes, sir, I can. When I was standing there at the top of the stairs I was standing there by a heavyset lady who worked up in our office, her name is Sara, I forget her last name, but she was standing right there beside me when we watched the motorcade.

Q: Do you recall anyone else who may have been with you?

A: Right down in front of me at the bottom of the steps my foreman Bill Shelley and Billy Lovelady were standing there.

[7] From the interview with Mr. Buell Wesley Frazier for the Sixth Floor Museum, dated August 27, 2013 (33’50”):

Mr. Fagin: In the chaos that followed the shooting, did you see Oswald at all?
Mr. Frazier: I did. This was all… I do not know exactly how many minutes later, but the lady I was standing next to. Some of the people, Bill Shelley and Mr. Billy Lovelady, they went down towards the Triple Underpass because before they went down there, a lady come by, a woman came by, and she was crying and she said “Somebody has shot the President”. And so we looked bewildered. And I turned to Sarah: she said “She said somebody shot the President”, I said I doubt that’s what she said. She said that she did say that. So we stood there for a few minutes, and, and I walked down to the first step, where Billy was standing down there, by myself so I looked around. And it was just total chaos there. And then from there I started to go down to see if I could find Bill Shelley and Billy Lovelady, there was so much chaos down there. I said, well, I better go back to work, go back to the steps, so now, and I did, I walked back to the bottom of the steps, and then I walked out to the corner of the building right there where Houston comes up  beside the building. And I was talking to someone, it was a lady, and I looked to my left, and come walking along the side of the Texas School Book  building was Lee Oswald.

[8] From Mr. Lovelady’s testimony for the Warren Commission:

Mr. BALL – You ate your lunch on the steps?
Mr. LOVELADY – Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL – Who was with you?
Mr. LOVELADY – Bill Shelley and Sarah Stanton, and right behind me
Mr. BALL – What was that last name?
Mr. LOVELADY – Stanton.
Mr. BALL – What is the first name?
Mr. LOVELADY – Bill Shelley.
Mr. BALL – And Stanton’s first name?
Mr. LOVELADY – Miss Sarah Stanton.
Mr. BALL – Did you stay on the steps

[9] From Bill Shelley’s testimony for the Warren Commission:

Mr. SHELLEY – Oh, several people were out there waiting to watch the motorcade and I went out to join them.
Mr. BALL – And who was out there?
Mr. SHELLEY – Well, there was Lloyd Viles of McGraw-Hill, Sarah Stanton, she’s with Texas School Book, and Wesley Frazier and Billy Lovelady joined us shortly afterwards.
Mr. BALL – You were standing where?
Mr. SHELLEY – Just outside the glass doors there.
Mr. BALL – That would be on the top landing of the entrance?
Mr. SHELLEY – yes.

[10] From Mr. Joe Molina’s testimony for the Warren Commission:

Mr. MOLINA. Yes ; I was standing on the front steps.
Mr. BALL. With whom?
Mr. MOLINA. Right next left of me was Mr. Williams and close to there was
Mrs. Sanders.
Mr. BALL. Pauline Sand’ers?
Mr. MOLINA. Yes.

[11]  Ogden, C.L, Fryar, C.D., Carroll, M.D., Flegal, C.M.  Mean Body Weight, Height, and Body Mass Index, United States 1960–2002. Advance Data, 347: 1-20, 2004. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad347.pdf

[12] According to Mr. Barry Ernest’s account, published in his book: The Girl on the Stairs (2013) (Ernest, B., The Girl on the Stairs, 2013, First Pelican Edition, Amazon Kindle Edition, chapter 23), Barry Ernest interviewed the late Gary Mack in 1999. Mr. Mack conferred that Robert Groden has had access to the original Altgens negatives during the work of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, and has applied his original technique called “variable density cynexing” to improve the contrasts. This writer assumes that the digital copy of Altgens6 shown in Figure 5 might be the enhanced version of Altgens6 made by Mr. Robert Groden.

[13]  The overlays of the original Darnell still #20130908-003922 with the 3D model of the doorway with reconstructed locations of all 15 occupants. The top and bottom panel differ in the strength of blending which was 92% in the top an 75% in the bottom panel.

 

whole_scene_both_92

whole_scene_both_75

Prayer Man in Darnell’s film.

 

Prayer Man is the unknown man standing close to the western wall in Darnell’s and Wiegman’s films. Sean Murphy [1] has demonstrated that the most logical explanation of Prayer Man’s identity was that the man in question was Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of President Kennedy. The possibility of Oswald being Prayer Man has been opposed by several researchers arguing that Prayer Man was a woman of 5’3” or a man 5.6”; these two solutions assumed that Prayer Man or Woman stood on the top landing, in the shadow cast by the western wall.

To shed more light on the location of Prayer Man in Darnell’s film, I have reconstructed the doorway of the Texas School Book Depository in SketchupPro 15/16 (Trimble Navigation, Ltd., USA). The detailed 3D model of the doorway was encased into a schematic model of the first floor of the Depository building, and aligned with Dealey Plaza in GoogleEarth (Google Inc., USA). The alignment of the 3D model with the GoogleEarth map of Dealey Plaza allowed to reconstruct the exact doorway shadows cast by both the top and western wall on November 22, 12.31 hour.

To fit a human figure into the doorway to match Prayer Man in Darnell’s still, the spatial  landmarks have been extracted from Darnell’s still for two human figures, Mr. Buell Wesley Frazier and Prayer Man. The fitting of Mr. Frazier was important for both increasing the validity of the proposed solution and obtaining a useful landmark provided by Mr. Frazier’s figure [2].

My solution assumed the following for Mr. Frazier’s figure:

1. Mr. Frazier was 6’ tall. 2. Mr. Frazier stood on the top landing. This assumption is obvious based both on Mr. Frazier’s testimonies and interviews, and the analysis of Darnell’s still. 3. The left vertical rail of the middle door pane crossed Mr. Frazier’s body in the posterior part of his head. 4. Mr. Frazier had his head in the shadow. The shadow appeared to touch his left shoulder.

As far as Prayer Man is concerned, the following constrains have been obtained by inspecting Darnell’s still:

1. Prayer Man stood close to the western wall and had his head and trunk in the shadow. 2. The back of Prayer Man’s right hand reflected the sun light. 3. Prayer Man’s hands are flexed in elbow joints and form a prayer gesture. 4. The top of Prayer Man’s head aligns with Frazier’s neck. 5. The vertical corner rail of the door frame crosses Prayer Man’s head and body.

Solution 1. This solution assumes that Prayer Man was a man sized 5’9”, and matches Sean Murphy’s conclusion about Oswald being Prayer Man. Figure 1 shows a cropped view of the doorway in Darnell’s still (top panel) and the suggested solution matching all accepted constrains and assumption for both Mr. Frazier and Prayer Man. Figure 2 is identical to Figure 1, however, it also shows guidelines and markers allowing to check that the 3D doorway indeed matched the Darnell’s doorway.

doorways_alignes_nolines

Figure 1:  Top panel shows a cropped view of Darnell’s still zoomed on the doorway. This picture allows to check the constrains specifying Mr. Frazier’s and Prayer Man’s locations. The bottom panel shows both figures, Mr. Frazier in light colour polo shirt and Prayer Man in red-brown shirt in the doorway. The orientation and view of the doorway match the doorway in Darnell’s still.

 


doorways_alignes_lines

Figure 2: The top panel shows the cropped view of Darnell’s still, and the bottom panel shows the 3D model with figures of Mr. Frazier and Prayer Man. The vertical blue lines numbered 1-5 cross the top picture at selected points that align with five markers: 1. the vertical corner rail of the door frame, 2. the  left (when viewed from the front) vertical rail of the middle door pane, 3. the right vertical rail of the glass door, 4. the left edge of the vertical column at the eastern side of the main entrance, 5. the right edge of the vertical column at the western side of the main entrance.


After aligning both doorways, a manikin representing Mr. Frazier has been placed on the top platform to match Mr.  Frazier’s figure in Darnell’s still. This has been achieved by first observing the alignment of  Mr. Frazier’s figure with the door rail in such a way that the vertical rail crossed Mr. Frazier’s head. The distance between the top of Mr. Frazier’s head and the horizontal rail in Darnell’s picture has been measured by filling the gap with  a yellow vertical bar; this bar has been then copied to the model doorway in the lower panel. This step allows to check that the vertical landmarks in both doorways also matched well. Finally, the shadows seen on Mr. Frazier’s head and shoulder in Darnell’s still and in the 3D model were compared.

In the next, the figure of Prayer Man was fitted.  A number of preliminary solutions involving placing Prayer Man on the top landing have been tested and rejected because Prayer Man always appeared too tall relative to Mr. Frazier’s neck line (please see Solutions 2-3). A solution in which Prayer Man would stand with both his feet on the first step was unsatisfactory because his body would not align with the western wall. Eventually, the solution  in which Prayer Man stood with his right foot on the first step and with his left foot on the top landing (Figures 1 and 2) has been accepted as the only solution fulfilling all accepted constrains: 1. Prayer Man stands in the shadow cast by the western wall in such a way that his head and trunk are in the shadow. 2. A small part of Prayer Man’s right hand reflects the sun light. 3. Prayer Man’s arms in the 3D model form a prayer gesture comparable to the gesture seen in Darnell’s still. 4. The top of Prayer Man’s head aligns with Mr. Frazier’s neck and left shoulder.  A horizontal green line connects the top of Prayer Man’s head and Mr. Frazier neck line in both pictures to demonstrate the match. 5. The corner rail of the door frame crosses Prayer Man’s head and body at the entry point in Prayer Man’s left part of the head. To document further the match between Darnell’s still and the 3D model, two additional vertical yellow bars have been placed into Darnell’s still (Figure 2, top panel). These bars stand for the height of the horizontal pane and the distance between the top of Prayer Man’s head and the horizontal rail, respectively; both rectangles were copied and pasted at homologous places in the 3D doorway. The yellow bars of identical lengths at equivalent locations in both doorways provide further assurance that the figure of Prayer Man in the 3D model matched accurately. Finally, the red square next to Prayer Man’s right elbow joint and defining the distance to the edge of the red brick column has been first placed into Darnell’s still and then copied and pasted at equivalent location in the 3D model. Please note that Prayer Man in Darnell’s still has his sleeved rolled up which creates an impression that his elbow was further away from the red brick column in Darnell’s still than in the 3D model.

Detailed views of the preferred “one-foot-down-one-foot-up” solution are illustrated in Figures 3-6.

 detail_darnellsview

Figure 3:  A detailed view of Darnell’s doorway scene with Prayer Man and Mr. Frazier.


 

front_detailedview

Figure 4:  A close-up view of Prayer Man and Mr. Frazier from a front view.


 

fullfrontview

Figure 5: Full front view of Prayer Man and Mr. Frazier at their locations seen in Darnell’s film.


 

backview

Figure 6:  Prayer Man and Mr. Frazier viewed through the transparent glass door.


 

Solution 2. This solution assumes that Prayer Man was a man 5’9” and stood on the top landing. Solution 2 matched all accepted constrains but one:  the relative height of the top of Prayer Man’s head and Mr. Frazier’s neck line. Figure 7 illustrates this solution in detail. Prayer Man was placed at a similar location as Prayer Man in the “one-foot-down-one-foot-up” solution but moved one step upwards. Placing a man 5’9” anywhere within the shadow area close to the western wall faced the same problem (not shown).

solution2

Figure 7:  Solution 2 assumes that Prayer Man was a man 5’9” and stood on the top platform. The horizontal green line crosses Mr. Frazier’s neck and left shoulder; this line aligns with the top of Prayer Man’s head in Darnell’s still (Figures 1 and 2) but not in Solution 2.


Solution 3  Prayer Man was a man 5’6” and stood on the top landing. This solution encountered a similar problem as Solution 2 – the man of this height would still be too tall relative to Mr. Frazier’s neck line (Figure 8).

solution3

Figure 8:  Prayer Man as a man measuring 5’6” and standing on the top landing. Similar to Solution 2, Prayer Man would be too tall relative to the line crossing Mr. Frazier’s neck and left shoulder. Thus, Solution 3 does not explain  Prayer Man’s location in Darnell’s still.


Solution 4:  Prayer Woman measuring 5’3” stood on the top landing. For the sake of comparison with previous solutions, the same manikin that was used in previous solutions was also used in this solution. The manikin was proportionally reduced to match the body height of 5’3”. Reducing proportionally the manikin’s figure entailed a reduction of the antero-posterior size of manikin’s body which meant that his arms have not been exposed to the sun light. To achieve the bright reflection on his hand, this manikin had to be moved slightly outwards.

solution4

Figure 9:  Solution 4 which assumes that the human form seen in Darnell’s still was a woman measuring 5’3”. Note that this solution also failed the height criterion which stipulated that the top of Prayer Man’s head would be aligned with Mr. Frazier’s neck line.


Four different solutions each attempting to explain the location of Prayer Man in Darnell’s film have been examined in this article. None of the solutions assuming Prayer Man (Woman) standing on the top platform of the Depository doorway fulfilled all four criteria which are evidenced in Darnell’s stills. All three solutions placing Prayer Man on the top landing failed the height criterion which required that the relative height of Prayer Man’s head was at the level of Mr. Frazier’s neck line. The only solution which met all criteria including the height criterion was the “one-foot-down-one-foot-up” solution (Solution 1). Please note that Prayer Man could not stand with both his feet on the first step as his body would be orientated in parallel with the plane of the glass door rather than with the plane paralleling the western wall. Further, should Prayer Man stand with both feet on the first step, his left shoulder would be exposed to the sun light.

My analysis shows that Prayer Man was most likely a man measuring 5’9”, which was the body height of Lee Harvey Oswald. Further, my analysis suggests that the “one-foot-down-one-foot-up” solution explains Prayer Man’s location better than any alternative solution. Does this mean a proof for the claim that Prayer Man was Oswald? A 3D model remains a model – an approximation of reality. The value of the model is in the visualisation and evaluation of alternative solutions, and highlighting the most likely solution. However, every model needs to be validated empirically before it is accepted as a truthful representation of reality. Empirical validation would entail shooting Darnell’s scene with a camera of identical or similar focal length and from the exact point at which Darnell had stood whilst filming the doorway. People matching the height of Oswald, Mr. Frazier and perhaps a man 5’6” and a woman 5’3” should pose in the doorway at locations suggested by the 3D model. If the reenactment pictures would accord the predictions of the 3D model, the validity of the proposed solution would be strengthened beyond any doubts.

Limitation.

The position of the left forearm in the 3D model appears to differ slightly from the one seen in Darnell’s still. It is possible that Prayer Man held another object in his left hand and his hands did not touch each other as alluded to in my model. I will investigate this point further, and would update the solution if new evidence would emerge allowing to decide about the object(s) in  Prayer Man’s hands.

Footnotes:

[1] Sean Murphy published a number of original research notes in his posts at Spartacus Educational Forum, thread “Oswald leaving the TSBD? in 2013.

[2] This research appeared earlier at Spartacus Educational Forum, thread “Prayer Person-Prayer Man or Prayer Woman? Research Thread.”, post 137, dated April 5, 2016. I am grateful to Mr. Sandy Larsen and Mr. Ray Mitcham from the Spartacus Educational Forum for their comments which helped, in an important way, to refine the preferred solution.

Deletion of my previous posts

Dear Visitor:

I decided to delete my previous two posts dated December 23 and 25, 2015,  which analysed the doorway of Texas School Book Depository in Altgens6 picture. After posting both articles I started to reconstruct the doorway scene using 3D modelling, and realised that the critical figure of Doorman could have been located either on the top landing or on the first step. My theory presented in the article “From Doorman to Prayer Man and Back” would only be valid if Doorman stood on the first step. As there is some  degree of uncertainty in my methods, I decided to withdraw both articles and to re-post them after the 3D analysis of all doorway scenes (Hughes film, Altgens6, all Wiegman film frames)  would unequivocally confirm the location of Doorman in Altgens6.

 

1500 g.

1500 g. This was the weight of President Kennedy’s brain during the pathological examination made at the Bethesda Naval Hospital on December 6, 1963 [1]. The brain weight figure allows to infer on the weight of President’s brain at the time of autopsy. Unfortunately, the Bethesda pathologists did not weigh President’s brain during the autopsy in spite of this procedure being a routine part of every autopsy [2].

A three week formalin fixation has been shown to increase the brain weight by 50 g on average [3]. More recent data suggest a variable percent increases in brain weights due to the formalin fixation with an average weight increase of 8.8% over the period of few weeks [4]. If we apply the swelling factor of 8.8%, the estimated weight of President Kennedy’s brain at the time of autopsy was 1373 g.

This figure appears to be too large relative to the amount of damage to the President Kennedy’s brain. The damage to the right hemisphere and the associated loss of brain tissue has been estimated by Mr. David Lifton to be as much as 70% in the right hemisphere [5]. If a normal brain would suffer such loss of tissue, it could not weigh 1373 g. To provide some approximation of the weight of intact and injured Kennedy’s brain, normative data obtained in large cohorts of people can be used. The study by Debakan et al. (1978) [6] analysed the post-mortem brain weights in 2773 males and 1963 females in 23 age categories. The mean weight of a male brain in the age range of 40-50 years was 1430 g (standard deviation 20 g). As President Kennedy was tall (72.5 inches, 184 cm), and since brain weight correlates with body height and weight [6], it is reasonable to estimate that the weight of Kennedy’s brain would be in the upper range of the normal distribution of brain weights in his age category. The upper weight value corresponding to the top 5% brain weights for males aged 40-50 years, estimated using the Z-scores method, would be 1496.2 g (rounded to 1496 g). If Kennedy’s brain sustained a loss of 70% of brain tissue in one hemisphere [5], his brain at the time of autopsy weighed only 972 g. However, even if we accept a smaller than 70% loss of brain tissue of 50% in one hemisphere, the brain weight at the time of autopsy would be only 1122 g. After correcting these brain weight estimates for swelling due to immersing the brain into a formalin solution, Kennedy’s brain during the pathological examination on December 6 was expected to weigh 1058 g or 1221 g for a 70% and 50% loss of tissue in one hemisphere, respectively.

These calculations suggest that the brain examined on December 6, 1963 was different from the brain removed from President Kennedy’s skull during the autopsy on November 22, 1963. Further, this finding sheds a new light on the omission to weigh the brain during the autopsy [2]. The following two explanations need to be considered:

  1. The pathologists were stressed out and confused during the autopsy itself and forgot to measure the brain weight. This would be an unlikely but honest error.
  1. The pathologists intentionally skipped weighing the brain during the autopsy either to conceal the real loss of brain tissue, and/or to be able to use a different brain in further examinations. The correct brain weight data at the time of autopsy might have prevented the use of a different brain as the other brain would have been weighed during the follow-up pathological examination of the fixated brain, and the discrepancy in the autopsy and post-autopsy weights would be evident. If this explanation is correct, it is also conceivable that the generals and some unknown civilians present in the autopsy room [5] couched or ordered Dr. Humes and Dr. Boswell not to weigh the brain.

As my calculations suggest that other than President Kennedy’s brain was examined on December 6, I am inclined to accept the latter explanation. The calculations and the conclusion accord a previous note by Mr. Doug Horne (2006) that the weight of 1500 g would be too large for the brain showing extensive tissue loss [7].

Footnotes:

[1] Appendix IX. Commission Exhibit 391. Supplementary report of autopsy number A63-272. https://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/warren-commission-report/appendix-09.pdf

[2] During his deposition for the ARRB, the interviewers asked Dr. Humes about the lack of the weight figure in the autopsy form. Dr. Humes had a difficult time to explain (ARRB deposition 1996, pp. 74-75):

  1. I’d like to draw your attention to a few items on the first page of this document. Right next to the marking for brain, there’s no entry of a weight there. Do you see that on the document?
    A. Yes, I see that it’s blank, yeah.
    Q. Why is there no weight for the brain there?
    A. I don’t know. I don’t really–can’t really recall why.
    Q. Was the fresh brain weighed?
    A. I don’t recall. I don’t recall. It’s as simple as that.
    Q. Would it be standard practice for a gunshot wound in the head to have the brain weighed?
    A. Yeah, we weigh it with gunshot wound or no. Normally we weigh the brain when we remove it. I can’t recall why–I don’t know, one, whether it was weighed or not, or, two, why it doesn’t show here. I have no explanation for that

[3] Frýdl V, Koch R, Závodská H. The effect of formalin fixation on several properties of the brain. Zentralbl. Allg. Pathol. 135:649-55 (1989)

[4] Itabashi, H.H., Andrews, J.M., Tomiyasu, U., Erlich, S.S., Sathyavagiswaran, L. Forensic Pathology: A Practical Review of the Fundamentals. Academic Press & Elsevier, 2007, p. 22.

[5] Lifton, D. Best Evidence. Disguise and Deception in the Assassination of John F. Kennedy. Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., New York, Fourth Edition, 1989, pp. 470-472.

[6] Debakan, A.S., Sadowsky, D. Changes of brain weights during the span of human life: relation of brain weights to body heights and body heights. Ann. Neurol., 4: 345-356, 1978.

[7] Spartacus Educational Forum, thread: Cover-up of medical evidence. Post by Doug Horne, dated May 16, 2006, No. 3. http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=6849&hl=