Meanwhile, another conspiracy theory has been gaining currency in the mainstream media, this one slightly of historical importance, even if it covers events nearly 150 years old. Specifically, it’s the idea that John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of Abraham Lincoln, didn’t die twelve days after the murder but instead lived another 38 years.
Granted, this theory isn’t completely new: it was powerfully presented in the 1975 book Jesse James Was One of His Names, by Del Schrader & Jesse James III. The book’s text used to be available online for free, but alas no more. You can get a copy of the book on CD for $39.99 by contacting L.K. Shick by email or snail mail:
3700 S. Westport Ave., #2501
Sioux Falls, S.D. 57106
Some of you may be confused by the title of this book. After all, just what the hell does Jesse James have to do with the Lincoln Assassination? (And for you younger readers out there, the Jesse James we’re referring to here is the Wild West outlaw, not the dude who cheated on Sandra Bullock with a bunch of skanky whores.)
Well, to give a Cliff Notes version of the theory, the Lincoln Assassination was part of a bigger operation, involving the Knights of the Golden Circle, a secret society that essentially was the spy network for the Southern Confederacy. Apparently, James was a member, and his bank robberies were fund-raising activities for the Confederate underground. Another alleged member of the Golden Circle was Booth, and thus the slaying of Lincoln was a job done by the Southern intelligence apparatus. JWB’s death was faked and he was given a cover identity as a reward for his deed.
(As a side note, two leaders of the Golden Circle were “respectable” Mason Albert Pike and Bedford Forrest, the man who inspired the first name of Tom Hanks’ retarded Oscar winner. The same two men founded the Ku Klux Klan. It can then be argued the KKK evolved from remnants of hardcore racists and confederates within the Golden Circle.)
This theory has been covered pretty well on the Internet, though it’s a bit hard to find now. Brian Redman of Conspiracy Nation (now called Melchizedek Communique, found at http://www.shout.net/~bigred/cn.html ) did postings on it in 1999, but they’re not to be found on his Website now. Dave McGowan of Davesweb.cnchost.com also wrote about it in 2003, and this led to his inclusion in the “bonus” documentary found on the National Treasure: Book of Secrets DVD. I had a little something to do with that, as I was unavailable to be interviewed for the DVD, but recommended McGowan for the DVD based on his interest in the subject. McGowan tells the behind-the-scenes story of the interview in this funny post:
In case you didn’t see the movie (or the documentary, which has aired on the Discovery Channel by itself) the Golden Circle as the mastermind of the Lincoln Assassination is central to the movie’s plot.
Well, along comes a new TV show, the most excellent Brad Meltzer’s Decoded on the History Channel ( http://www.history.com/shows/brad-meltzers-decoded ) and they decided to investigate the angle of whether Booth actually died or faked his death. Along the way, they learned of the grave for Edwin Booth, JWB’s brother. DNA from his corpse could be compared to the vertebrae of the alleged JWB killed in 1865 found at the National Museum of Health and Medicine to settle the issue once and for all. For some reason, the National Museum of Health and Medicine is fighting this. But the DNA test has some strong supporters including historian Nate Orlowek: “If the man who killed our greatest president got away and a giant hoax was perpetrated on the American people, then we should know about it.”
To read the CNN article on this subject:
Did Abraham Lincoln’s assassin get away? DNA could end questions
December 24th, 2010