• Fred Litwin

Did David Ferrie Have a Map of Dealey Plaza in his Desk Drawer?

Updated: Mar 25

This story starts with an HSCA interview of Thomas Beckham in October of 1977. He was a con man who had conned Jim Garrison (see my book, On The Trail of Delusion, for full details) and he had an amazing story for the HSCA.

You can read more about Beckham on my various blog posts:

Thomas Beckham's Book, Remnants of Truth, Part One.

Did Thomas Beckham Know Lee Harvey Oswald?

Why Did Jim Garrison Want to Speak to Thomas Beckham?

Jim Garrison's Memo to the HSCA Regarding Fred Crisman and Thomas Beckham, Part One.

Jim Garrison Exhibits to his HSCA Memo on Fred Crisman and Thomas Beckham

Here is what Thomas Beckham told the HSCA:

Now, who in their right mind would believe any of this? Well, the first incarnation of the HSCA did, and they even brought Beckham to New Orleans in May 1978 for a complete deposition. In addition, the conversation above with Beckham was recorded and word got out that there was a "confession" tape. Jim Garrison called radio conspiracy nut Ted Gandolfo in February 1978 and claimed that "I wish I could you the progress they have made. It's past conspiracy. It's past prima facie. It's solid evidence on tape. I mean there's no question about it." In the 1990s, Gandolfo and others charged that the HSCA had covered up the tapes.

The two HSCA investigators, L. J. Delsa and Bob Buras, were intrigued by the package of documents Beckham received from G. Wray Gill. They contacted Garrison and wondered if perhaps he had more information. Here is his reply:

Clara "Bootsie" Gay was a poet and artist. who also worked at a painting supply company in New Orleans, and her lawyer was G. Wray Gill. Harold Weisberg had heard a story about her, and here is the first mention of Bootsie in the Garrison files.

This lead was not followed up. The next mention was after the Clay Shaw trial in one of the Garrison memos regarding new leads:

Then, Fred Soule, head of the Vice Squad, interviewed Al Clark:

Soule then interviewed Bootsie Gay:

Soule sent this undated note to James Alcock. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a copy of the sketch:

Then Soule interviewed some of the other people in Gill's office:

It does seem strange that Bootsie Gay would just walk into Gill's office on the Saturday after the assassination, and go through Ferrie's desk. After all, she was just a client. Joan Mellen claims it was the Tuesday after the assassination - after Bootsie had heard about Ferrie being the subject of attention by the FBI and the Secret Service.

It seems equally ridiculous to think that David Ferrie would leave a map of Dealey Plaza on his desk. My guess is that Bootsie had a good imagination.

Delsa and Buras believed that Bootsie's diagram and Beckham's diagram were the same (really?) but could find no linkage between Beckham and Bootsie.

But guess who takes Bootsie quite seriously? Here is what James DiEugenio, in his book Destiny Betrayed, writes: (page 216)

"When she head about Ferrie being questioned by Garrison's office, she called up Gill and noted the tumult on the other end of the phone. One secretary said words to the effect that Mr. Gill knew nothing about this. She then went to his office. Clara looked over at Ferrie's desk and she saw what looked like a diagram of Dealey Plaza: it was a drawing of a car from the perspective of an angle above, the car was surrounded by high buildings, reminiscent of Dealey Plaza."

Gee, DiEugenio is just a tad more certain about this than I think he should be, no?

It's all not that surprising given that James DiEugenio references all sorts of non-existent evidence. Check out my blog post about Sergio Arcacha Smith and his supposed possession of a map of the Dallas sewerage system - DiEugenio discusses non-existent photos of Dealey Plaza, a non-existent recording, and the non-existent sewer system map. Enough evidence, in his mind, to convict Sergio Arcacha Smith.

But wait, there's more!

DiEugenio writes in his book Destiny Betrayed: (page 294)

"What makes all this violent witness intimidation more startling is what Robert Tanenbaum stated to the author in an interview for Probe Magazine. He said that he had seen a set of documents that originated in the office of Richard Helms. They revealed that the CIA was monitoring and harassing Garrison's witnesses. As Tanenbaum stated it, he had a negative view of Garrison up until the time he became Deputy Counsel of the Housel Select Committee on Assassinations. Then he read "all this material that had come out of Helms's office, that in fact what Garrison said was true. They were harassing his witnesses, they were intimidating his witnesses. The documents exist. Where they are now, God only knows."

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