Where did it happen?
As demonstrated in the previous section the white mark visible in Altgens 6 is visible in the Zapruder film immediately after the limousine emerges from behind the Stemmons Freeway sign. We also established that Altgens photo was taken further along Elm Street. Obviously therefore if the white mark is a bullet hole made milliseconds before the President was struck, he was struck before either of these two records of the event.
I shall now detail how the Zapruder film shows that the shot JFK received to the throat happened whilst the Presidential limousine was behind the Stemmons Freeway sign (from Zapruder's viewpoint). The President shows no obvious reaction to being hit by a bullet before he disappears behind the sign. By contrast, he is quite obviously reacting to the shot the very instant he is visible after passing behind the sign. The first thing we must do therefore is establish the area on Elm Street that the shot struck, using the frames of the film as markers. This is important because without a precise location we cannot establish the trajectory and thus the position of the shooter.
In the sequence above the arrows indicate the position of JFK's head, just visible between the top of the sign and the front fender of the furthest police motorcycle. Only at Zapruder frame 216 is it no longer visible. Furthermore, his head is stable relative to Jackie, who is visible for longer before she too disappears behind the sign. From this observation it is reasonable to assume that he has not been hit before he disappears from view.
In stark contrast, his reaction beginning the very first frame we see him emerge from behind the sign indicates quite clearly that he has now been struck.
Although seemingly obvious, the glare of the sun reflecting off the shiny upholstery of the limousine makes it necessary to highlight individual features within each frame in order to establish exactly what we are seeing. This is because that reflected sunlight makes parts of the vehicle - the seat - indistinguishable from parts of the President's clothing, his shirt cuffs. If these two things can be easily confused, so can our estimate as to when we see JFK emerge from behind the sign. Although only an infinitesimal difference in time it is nevertheless a difference in distance travelled. Whilst we are estimating that distance, we must do so as accurately as the evidence allows us.
In the six frames shown above the area circled in red is the reflection of sunlight off the shiny leather upholstery between Jackie and the President. The area circled in yellow is JFK's left arm as he raises it to his throat. This somewhat elaborate procedure is necessary because JFK's shirt cuff looks very much like the white seat reflection and it is important that we recognise which is which. Only in this way we can be sure which frame we first see JFK emerging from behind the sign and not confuse his left arm with the reflection from the seat. In Z223 the seat reflection is clearly visible. It is again in Z224, (the first frame in which JFK emerges from behind the Stemmons Freeway sign) although at the extreme left lower edge of the red circle JFK's shirt cuff and part of his left arm is just becoming visible. In Z226 JFK's arm all but hides the seat reflection. Z227 is shown twice to highlight the difference between his arm and the seat, firstly the seat circled red, then his arm circled yellow.
By distinguishing the reflection off the seat from the similarly distinct left shirt cuff of the President I can therefore demonstrate that JFK emerges from behind the sign in Zapruder frame 224. What's more, he is reacting immediately upon doing so, if not before, as is evidenced by his continued movement frame by frame after that.
Having established that JFK emerged at frame 224 (and not before) we have therefore established that he was was out of sight for a maximum 8 frames of film (Z216 to Z223 inclusive). Zapruder's Camera was estimated to run at 18.3 frames per second which means JFK was out of sight to that camera for fractionally less than half a second. JFK's reaction to the shot which struck him appears in apparent synchronicity with his emergence from behind the sign, yet lack of any discernible movement prior to disappearing behind it means we know where on Elm Street he was shot as depicted in the Zapruder film. Further use of video and photographic imagery will now allow us to determine that actual spot on the street itself. It is a stretch of tarmac which took the limousine 0.5 seconds to traverse and who's length can be determined by reference to background reference points in the film.
Using Photographic Image Overlays to estimate the location JFK was hit.
Z215 /Z216 showing the instant JFK disappears from view and Z223/Z224 showing the instant he reappears
This is an image showing Z216 and 224 overlaid. It shows the distance travelled on Elm between the two frames
The following sequence of 6 images shows how the Z216/Z224 Composite Image was made
In 2013 I visited Dallas for the first time. On the morning of 24th November I awoke early and made my way to Dealey Plaza. It was an ideal opportunity for photography and filming as there was little to no traffic. I stood on the abutment used by Zapruder and shot my version of his film as a keepsake. In 2016 I began this study after I realised that with the known location of a bullet hole and the fixed location of the President we had two of the four variables necessary to plot the shot trajectory. The two missing were the location of the limousine and it's orientation on Elm Street. After reviewing my (digital) film of 2013 I realised that within acceptable parameters what I had filmed could be used as a backdrop for individual frames from the Zapruder film itself.
My "base" video is on the left above. I have included another I took a little later just to illustrate how slowly the Presidential Limousine was travelling as Zapruder filmed it. The black car in my video covers the same distance in much less time yet is not itself travelling particularly fast.
The following sequence of images show how I was able to superimpose guidelines onto a still frame from my base video enabling me in 2016 to stand on Elm Street in the position I believed at that time that the shot had occurred.
In November 2016 I visited Elm Street very early on Sunday 20th November (06:30 - to beat the traffic). I photographed from the exact position on Elm that I had established in the previous sequence of graphics. I am indebted to the small group who volunteered to help me at that insane time of day. I will explain the evidence I gathered and the conclusions I have drawn from it later, but first another selection of composite images. Using the composite of Z216/224 seen earlier, superimposed onto a base image of myself standing on Elm Street photographing for my research, I realised that I was not quite in the exact spot that I have now determined the period behind the Stemmons Freeway sign in the Zapruder film to physically be on Elm Street itself using the above Z216/224 composite. I therefore needed to establish that spot on a new image of Elm Street and use it as a reference for a return visit to Dallas in November 2017 to refine my findings. The following sequence explains in detail how I did this.
Taking the location estimate derived in the preceding sequence it is then a simple matter of using known reference points in the images, along with the perspective they provide, to produce markers on any image of Elm Street which can be used to determine the approximate area in which the limousine was situated at the moment the throat shot struck. In the following sequence I demonstrate how I have used permanent fixtures of Elm Street itself, present since the day of the assassination, to do this. The fixtures are simply the paving slabs on the sidewalk. Because several have been replaced, they are easily distinguishable. Using two of these distinct slabs I have superimposed lines of perspective onto images of Elm Street, using the edge lines of the slabs as the perspective required to draw them onto a two dimensional image. The final result is an image which may be used as onsite reference for further refined study.
In the image to the right I have tidied up the Sprague Survey diagram in the area relating specifically to the "Kill Zone". The Stemmons Freeway sign is shown in red and I have simply overdrawn it so that it is more visible. Although the red "sign" is broader than the real thing, the length is still to scale as determined by the original diagram. I have drawn two blue lines to indicate the area behind the sign that would be invisible at street level to Zapruder's camera due to the interposition of the Stemmons Freeway Sign. I have then drawn two yellow lines to compensate for height - Zapruder was above the sign and the centre lane of Elm Street would be visible at either edge for slightly longer because of that. Using the vehicle in red (opaque, next to the mames Hill and Moorman) on the original Google Earth image over which I have superimposed the Sprague Survey as an indicator I have reduced the size of the image of my scale model and placed a copy of it with JFK's head intersecting the upper and lower yellow lines. This is an approximation therefore of the location of the limousine at Z216 and Z224 respectively. Finally, using the approximate location of the red line zone I mapped out above I have drawn red lines to represent that area. The final image is simply a method of verifying whether the other methods I have used thus far to establish the zone in which the shot took place are accurate. I believe this shows that they are.