Umbrella Man (JFK assassination)

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Assassination of JFK aftermath at Dealey Plaza; The Umbrella Man is sitting next to the road sign (the man on the right side)

The Umbrella Man, identified as Louie Steven Witt, is a man who appears in the Zapruder film, and several other films and photographs at the Stemmons Freeway sign during the JFK assassination within Dealey Plaza.



A person popularly dubbed "The Umbrella Man" has been the object of much speculation, as he was the only person seen carrying and opening an umbrella on that sunny day. As President John F. Kennedy's limousine approached the umbrella man, the man opened up and lifted the umbrella high above his head, then spun or panned the umbrella from east to west (clockwise) as the president approached and passed by him. In the aftermath of the assassination, the umbrella man sat down on the sidewalk before getting up and walking towards the Texas School Book Depository.

Some[who?] have claimed that the Umbrella Man was involved in the Kennedy assassination. One commonly held theory is that the Umbrella Man was signaling the shooter or shooters, and he is depicted this way in both Oliver Stone's film JFK and an episode of the The X-Files. A less common theory, held by L. Fletcher Prouty and others, is that the umbrella contained a poison dart fired at Kennedy to immobilize President Kennedy's muscles (his movements are seen to freeze and cease within two seconds of Z-225).[1]


After an appeal to the public by the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations, Louie Steven Witt came forward in 1978 and claimed to be the Umbrella Man[2] . He claimed he still had that umbrella and did not know he had been the subject of controversy. He said that he brought the umbrella to simply heckle Kennedy whose father had been a supporter of the Nazi-appeasing British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. By waving a black umbrella, Chamberlain's trademark fashion accessory, Witt said he was protesting the Kennedy family appeasing Adolf Hitler before World War II. An umbrella had been used in cartoons in the 1930s to symbolize such appeasement, and Chamberlain often carried an umbrella.[2][3][4] Kennedy, who wrote a thesis on appeasement while at Harvard, Why England Slept, might have recognized the symbolism of the umbrella. Black umbrellas had been used in connection with protests against the President before; at the time of the construction of the Berlin Wall, a group of schoolchildren from Bonn sent the White House an umbrella labelled Chamberlain.[5]

Testifying before the HSCA, Witt said "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."[2]



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