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Monday, April 27, 2015

150 Years Ago: Did John Wilkes Booth Get Away? Yes.

It was 150 years ago Sunday that Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth was killed. Or was he?

In the 2013 book John Wilkes Booth: Beyond the Grave, the author, W. C. Jameson, makes the amazing claim that Booth was not killed at Garrett's Farm in Virginia, 12 days after killing Lincoln, as all the history books tell the story.

Unfortunately, the book is not footnoted, but there is an extensive list of over 150 sources in the bibliography.

As a child, the author was told that Booth was a relative on his father´s side of the family and that there was a family tradition that Booth did not die as officially reported, but lived to be an old man. When Jameson grew up he decided to research whether this could be true.

He found out all the source records related to the capture and trial of the Lincoln assassination conspirators were sealed away for 70 years, so no histories written before 1935 would have the sources to question the official version.

Jameson makes a credible case that it was another man who was killed at Garrett´s Farm and it was covered up to look like Booth. Among the facts noted that cause him to claim this are the following.
  1. Booth was a healthly, well-fed 26 year old. The dead man as a skinny man in his forties.
  2. Booth had dark black hair and had shaved his mustache after killing Lincoln. The dead man had red hair and a full mustache.
  3. Booth had a broken left leg. The dead man had a broken right leg.
  4. The man captured with the dead man, David Herold, called the man that was killed by the name of Boyd, not Booth. 
  5. The government allowed no one who knew Booth to view the body before it was buried. David Harold, who may have been able to tell people that the dead man was not Booth, was not allowed to testify at the trial of the conspirators and was hung with the rest of them. 
  6. One photo of the dead man was taken and given to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. It has never been found. The diary of John Wilkes Booth, found by detectives during the search for Booth, was also given to Stanton and was not used as evidence in the trial. When is was rediscovered a couple of years after the assassination, 18 pages were missing. Could it have included some information Stanton wanted to keep secret?
Some people claim that Stanton and other radical Republicans wanted to see Lincoln kidnapped by Booth so they could come up with impeachment plans while he was gone, with the goal of stopping Lincoln's plan to go easy on the post-war South. When Booth changed the kidnapping to an assassination, Stanton had to cover his tracks. 

If you are a student of history, it is interesting to find out the the official version of history may often be false, or at least challenged.

Here are a few other examples were history may have gotten it wrong:

Franklin Roosevelt knew about the Japanese attack on Pearly Harbor in advance: Roosevelt's Advanced Knowledge of Pearl Harbor Attack

Franklin Roosevelt did not die of cerebral hemorrhage, but the end effects of brain cancer that started as skin cancer: 70 Year Cover Up - FDR Died of Cancer

This one is a stretch, but at least one author is making a claim that Adolf Hitler escaped from Berlin and lived in Argentina until the 1960´s. Grey Wolf: The Escape of Adolf Hitler.

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