What caused you to become interested in conspiracy theories?

Riderless horse at JFK’s funeral

Thomas, a high school student in Illinois, is writing a research paper on conspiracy theories including JFK, Area 51, and the Illuminati.

He sent along these questions.

JFK Facts answers questions for high school and college all the time.
ANY student who has questions about the JFK story should feel free to ask me via email.
1. What caused you to become interested in conspiracy theories?
I’m not interested in conspiracy theories. I don’t have a JFK conspiracy theory, never have, never will I’m interested in the facts of what happened on November 22, 1963. The facts of Area 51 are more interesting than the theories about it put together. As for the Illuminati, I think they were swell people. In general I only talk about conspiracy theories in bars and the only when somebody else is picking up the tab. 
2. Do you have any memory of John F. Kennedy’s assassination when it happened?
I do. I was in kindergarten in University City, Missouri a suburb of St. Louis. I remember a lot people watching the black and white TV at my house that weekend.
3. How did Americans respond to JFK’s death? 
Shock and amazement and grief and confusion and suspicion.
4. Why do you believe John F. Kennedy was assassinated? 
Because of his policies.
5. Do you agree or disagree that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman? Why or why not?
I find it hard to believe that Oswald alone killed the president. The fact that he was killed in police custody is the strongest evidence something else was going on. There are real questions about whether Oswald was in the 6th floor window and the chain of custody linking him to the rfile found on the 6th floor. The backward motion of the President Kennedy’s head on the Zapruder film means a shot from in front of the presidential motorcade cannot be ruled out.
6. Do you believe the government had anything to do with JFK’s assassination? Why or why not?
If the president was killed by a conspiracy, then government employees were involved. The CIA was responsible for the failure to take normal security measures around Oswald. Why Oswald received such unusual treatment by top CIA official in months and weeks before JFK’s assassination has never been explained by the CIA.
7. Based on your knowledge, who do you believe killed JFK and what was their motive? 
That question cannot be answered based on the available evidence. If Kennedy was killed by a conspiracy, the perpetrators sought to thwart his dovish policies on Cuba. They were successful.
Hope that helps,

18 thoughts on “What caused you to become interested in conspiracy theories?”

  1. S.R. "Dusty" Rohde

    I’m not a Conspiracy Theorist by nature. I’m far more interested in truth and fairness. It was the lack of the latter two in the Warren Commission that drew my and many peoples attention at the time. When the WC announced their conclusions, the majority of people I knew or saw immediately rejected those conclusions. At the time it appeared to me the biggest cause for this rejection was the governments decision to seal records and withold evidence. That, combined with the controversy between the Parkland staff and Bethesda staff created enormous suspicion.
    As to question number 5, “Do you agree or disagree that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman”?
    1st, There is no medical evidence of a bullet striking JFK in the head or throat that matches a trajectory angle from the 6th floor of the TSBD’ (in spite of what was promoted).
    2nd, the Motorcade was scheduled to arrive at the Trademart at 12:15 and LHO’s lunch started at 12:15. A Secret Service agent (in the motorcade) indicated to me that the delay of the motorcade was caused by the Secret Service in removing the bubble top from the Presidents limo, (creating the extra time needed for the 6th floor sniper nest set-up and vulnerability of JFK). How would LHO have advance knowledge of this unscheduled delay? Why would LHO plan to shoot the President during his lunch time knowing the limo would already be at Trademart? Why is there an endless supply of film footage of a supposed nobody loner nut handing out flyers, if not for aiding the DRE and CIA in promoting the false public persona of Oswald? This info alone is enough to raise suspicions. This doesn’t even begin to get into the destruction, manipulation or witholding of evidence, which can’t be blamed on Oswald. These things happened after his murder. Nor does it address the known murder of witnesses or attempted murders.
    3rd…no one can place LHO on the sixth floor at the time of the shooting.
    4th…Lt. Day (DPD) refused to give sworn testimony about finding Oswalds prints on the MC rifle.
    I could go on and on with this list…but I think this is more then enough to indicate “reasonable doubt” of Oswald’s supposed guilt. Let’s not forget “innocent until proven guilty, in a court of law”. There you have your answer, by law…Lee Harvey Oswald is “innocent”.

  2. It’s our official history that is full of lies, and the fact that it’s rammed down our throats in school, in the media and elsewhere constitutes a kind of institutional conspiracy, or a systemic deception. Those of us who are trying to uncover what really happened (at any time or place in the history of the world) are simply truth-seekers, not conspiracy theorists.


    Becoming interested in conspiracy theories decisively derives from conspiracy facts. Knowing that Oswald was impersonated, at least by phone, in Mexico City, seems to be enough for being interested in what was really going on. Oswald’s “three wallets,” the rifle and pistol transactions by mail, and everything else that appears surprising (in the sense of the Surprise Principle in logic) plants the seed for doubting the official story.

  4. 1. I was intrigued by the mystery and it was simple enough to follow.
    2. I was just a few months old.
    4. I believe he was assassinated because he was foolish enough to ride in a open car, just that simple.
    5. I agree he was the lone gunman. I believe everything The Warren Commission reported even the single bullet passing through Kennedy and Connally.
    6.I believe there could be a possibility of negligence by our intelligence community.
    7. Oswald shot and killed JFK that’s my belief after reading all the books for all these years. There is no evidence of another shooter, just theories.

  5. I would say good luck to Thomas in Illinois in his project. I’d also commend his educational environment for allowing him the freedom to think and pursue ideas beyond the confines of an approved textbook.

    When I was in high school, I thought that John Wilkes Booth, an actor, killed Lincoln on a whim. It was many years before I heard of the planned killing of the night and the attack on the Sec. of State and trial and execution of others within months.My experience was shared by probably all whom I knew.

    So Thomas – and his schoolmates – are already ahead of the game. Major shifts in government don’t happen on a whim. I hope they read Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” with that in mind as well.

  6. Ramon F Herrera

    [Jeff:] “I was in kindergarten in University City”

    University City! I lived there several years, when I went to Wash-U.

    I rented in Washington Ave., near the Tivoli Theater. At the time (1980s) it was a middle-lower class area (*), but I returned in the 2000s and it has been “yuppiecised”.

    (*) Of all the locations where Wash-U students lived, this was the least expensive AND it had the lowest crime rates.

  7. I’m also not interested in conspiracy theories and find it annoying how the JFK mystery is marginalized that way.

    My only interest in what some would classify as conspiracy theories is seeking true facts and conclusions behind “official” reports.

  8. I’m not interested in “conspiracy theories” for the most part. I’m skeptical by nature, so I don’t just believe things. Sometimes I follow false leads, but when I find them to be unverifiable, I discount them, whether they come from credentialed or non-credentialed sources, although I put more weight on those who are experts in the field, such as climate scientists who say that human activity is warming the planet, or researchers who say that cigarette smoking is heavily linked to lung cancer and other health problems.

    With the JFK assassination, I think it was the Zapruder film that got my attention, followed by my reading Mark Lane’s excellent book, “Rush To Judgement,” which I first read over 35 years ago. Prior to that, I had always thought Oswald acted alone and it there was no controversy. I had never trusted our government’s involvement in Vietnam however, and I had read about the Pentagon Papers, spoken about that with my father, who because of his career was very guarded about what he told me. Another revelation was reading Caro’s first three books on LBJ, which, even though they ignored for the most part his association with Mac Wallace and only barely touched on his mistress, Ms. Brown, showed a man much more power mad and corrupt than I had been told about or read about. I also found out how corrupt J. Edgar Hoover was, and I began to question whether everyone in our government was as “honorable” as I had once thought. Finding out about Hoover’s secret gay lifestyle was also a revelation about how dishonest the man was. All these things combined to get me looking at our post-war history in a different way, and to question things that I used to just take for granted.

  9. What caused you to become interested in conspiracy theories?

    I’m not interested in conspiracy theories per se, although I’ve learned government officials and agencies routinely lie and routinely seek to cover up their misdeeds. Consider as just two recent examples (1) James Clappers’s lies to congress about NSA activities, and (2) President Obama’s repeated assertion that under the ACA if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.

    The official story of the JFK assassination is remarkably simple: Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, killed President Kennedy and wounded Governor Connolly with two bullets. The official story was framed by the FBI and the CIA basically by the evening of 11-22-63, before any investigation of the crime had begun. The autopsy of JFK, which took place while Oswald was alive, should have been a model of medical forensics. Instead it was a model of how not to perform an autopsy. The Warren Commission began with the assumption Oswald acting alone killed JFK and scrupulously avoided pursuing any facts to the contrary.

    I’m interested in the JFK case because it so shocked me personally and the nation; and because it’s apparent to me the U.S. government, with help from the MSM, continues to withhold the truth of the assassination from the world; all of which breeds contempt for and distrust in the national government.

  10. Walt Brown, Ph.D.

    Lee Oswald could not have killed President Kennedy. Despite claims to the contrary, he lacked the weapons skills and was allegedly using a gun that was war-surplus junk and was NOT sighted in, making any accuracy impossible.
    Since Oswald was subsequently framed by authorities within the government, led by Allen Dulles of the “Dulles Commission,” that makes the US government clearly culpable in the event.
    It’s all in my JFK Chronology, @32,000 pages.

  11. Oliver Stone’s whodunit films JFK* and Nixon caused a generation to become interested in conspiracy theories? It’s amazing how Oliver Stone’s JFK has disappeared this year…

    Good whodunit documentaries like The Wizard of Oswald: JFK Assassination Documentary (2013) cause younger generations to become interested in the conspiracy:

    Brig. General Ben Partin got me interested in conspiracy theories.

    *Attack lap dogs used Col. Fletcher Prouty to discredit Stone’s JFK film. Remember Prouty was relegated to writing for skin magazine where Stone had won accademy awards. I think you got this back wards: “Prouty later served as an adviser to Oliver Stone. (The character of “Col. X” in the movie is based on Prouty.) Some people have attempted to discredit Prouty because of his association with Stone and his public criticism of the 1967 attack on the USS Liberty.”

    1. Thank you for your recommendation. The documentary “The Wizard of Oswald” is excellent and the additional resources on that site are most helpful.

    2. The official line is to this day that the attack on the Liberty was a “friendly fire” mistake.That’s a lie:


      …One reader wrote that there are “thousands of cases of friendly fire” yet the Liberty always seems to rise to the top. I think one of the reasons it does is the circumstances of the attack never fit the mold of a typical friendly fire incident. Most such assaults are over in seconds, maybe minutes, and occur at night, in inclement weather and otherwise poor conditions. In contrast, the attack on the Liberty lasted approximately an hour and happened on a clear and sunny afternoon. The attack was exceedingly brutal, leaving 821 shell holes in the ship in addition to a 39-foot torpedo hole. Those facts have made it hard – both in 1967 and today – for many to believe it could have been simply friendly fire.

      More importantly, as we now know from declassified Israeli documents, some Israeli personnel in fact knew the Liberty was an American ship. Early in the attack an Israeli pilot radioed in the Liberty’s hull number, and that information was passed to the Israeli Navy. Others inside Israel’s chain of command also later testified that they were aware of the ship’s identity before the torpedo strike. This is unfortunate, because had Israel stopped the attack at that point more than two dozen lives would have been saved. Based on this information, Israel’s ambassador to the United States in 1967, Avraham Harman, insisted that some of the attackers be prosecuted and that American journalists be invited to cover the trial, which unfortunately never happened.

    3. Thanks for the link, keeping new generations interested is very important for their future. Col Prouty is a U.S. Hero who I think had insurance.
      R.E. Jeff’s question. 1’st grade in Denver. Walked home 4 blocks 4 lunch. Transistor radio on loud, Mother on phone, excited. Back to school, no light’s on, no other kids there, teacher crying, go back home. Nothing but news on B/W TV, no Saturday morning cartoon’s. The Funeral. A riderless saddled horse, with empty backwards boot’s. Confusing to a 7 year old.
      Late 70’s, HSCA, believe it or not MSM attention. Seth Kantor, The Ruby Cover Up………..

    4. Most of the people that I know (me included)became very suspicious the seond that Jack Ruby shot Oswald. Over the next few years I didn’t read or hear much about the subject. After I read Rush To Judgement, I started looking at it with a critical eye. Ultimately, my interest in in case boiled down to an inability to accept the Warren Cimmission’s investigation and conclusions. So I guess you’d say that the WC’s work forced the decision on me. I certainly wish that it wasn’t mthe case, but it is. After 20+ years as a criminal investigator, my opinion hasn’t changed.

  12. I am not interested in conspiracy theories per se. It is more a cynical view of official versions of events. Conspiracies do happen of course; examples being Watergate, Iran-Contra arms scandal, Hillsborough disaster in England, Bloody Sunday shootings in Derry, the Gulf of Tonkin incident etc. Whether through incompetence, the desire to escape responsibility and blame, or for more sinister reasons, they do occur. The old adage that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely is what it is really about I think.

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