A PHOTOGRAMMETRIC ANALYSIS OF
MOORMAN PHOTOGRAPH No.5
OF THE JFK ASSASSINATION
By Dale K. Myers
© 2004 Dale K. Myers All Rights Reserved
In October, 1982, assassination researcher and broadcaster Gary MACK, noticed the figure of a man in the background of a Polaroid photograph taken by Mary MOORMAN of the assassination of President John F. KENNEDY. MACK enlisted the help of researcher and photo technician Jack WHITE who enhanced the image photographically. The figure appeared to be dressed in a uniform similar to those worn by Dallas police officers and thereafter was dubbed, 'Badge Man.' The Badge Man figure appeared to be located behind the stockade fence atop the grassy knoll in a position that resembled a classic "firing stance." A white highlight which obscured a portion of the figure's face was interpreted by MACK and WHITE as a "muzzle flash" or "puff of smoke." MACK and WHITE theorized that Badge Man may have fired a shot from the grassy knoll fatally wounding President Kennedy.
In 1988, MACK and WHITE's theory was featured in The Men Who Killed Kennedy, a television program which aired in Great Britain. The program eventually made its way to the United States where it has been broadcast on the A&E Cable Network since 1991.
Since 1982, MACK has made diligent and documented efforts to have WHITE's photographic work reviewed and the original MOORMAN photograph examined by a number of prestigious scientific teams including those at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and ITEK Corporation. The general consensus of the various teams was that the photograph was not sharp enough to definitively resolve the question of whether the Badge Man figure was in fact a human being.
The only scientist to reportedly confirm the existence of Badge Man was Geoffrey CRAWLEY, a renowned British photographic expert hired in 1988 by television producer Nigel TURNER for The Men Who Killed Kennedy. The program claimed that CRAWLEY "verified and duplicated" the work conducted by MACK and WHITE that placed the Badge Man figure immediately behind the stockade fence and that measurements taken in Dealey Plaza "confirm that it was possible for the Badge Man figure to have fired the fatal headshot." In the years that followed the program’s initial airing, MACK and WHITE have often referred to CRAWLEY's work as supportive of their theory.
I conducted a series of scientific tests using epipolar mathematics, computer models, and photography to check the validity of the claim that the Badge Man figure was a human being standing immediately behind the stockade fence. The results show that the Badge Man figure, if truly a human being of average height and build, was located 32 feet behind the fence line and elevated 4.5 feet above the ground - an unreasonable and untenable firing position.
Additional research shows that eyewitness Lee BOWERS, Jr., who had a clear, unobstructed view of the area in question said that no one was standing behind the fence in the area described by MACK and WHITE or the area indicated by the computer study. It was also determined that the L-shaped concrete retaining wall on the grassy knoll would have blocked Badge Man's line-of-sight at the moment of the fatal shot. For these reasons, I concluded that the Badge Man figure was not a human being, but a misinterpretation of background and foreground elements that make up the original photograph.
In November 2001, British photographic expert Geoffrey CRAWLEY was contacted in London, England. Through a series of interviews it was learned that CRAWLEY did not support MACK and WHITE’s theory, as claimed in The Men Who Killed Kennedy program, but came to the same conclusion I had 13 years later. In a two-page written report submitted to Nigel TURNER in 1988, CRAWLEY concluded that if in fact the Badge Man figure were a human being of average height and build he was standing 12 to 18 feet behind the fence line and elevated 3 to 4 feet off the ground. CRAWLEY also believed that the fatal head shot wasn’t feasible from that position and line-of-sight. It was CRAWLEY's belief that MACK and WHITE had misinterpreted background elements that were inherent in the original photograph. According to CRAWLEY, Nigel TURNER ignored his report because he "seemed to think that anything that could cast a doubt on the official view of the assassination would help toward getting the whole thing reopened and reappraised."
The claims by MACK and WHITE that three figures appear in the MOORMAN photograph and that one of those figures - Badge Man - was in a position to fire the fatal shot do not stand up under scientific scrutiny. In fact, the eyewitness account of Lee BOWERS, Jr., which has been used to support the allegation of a grassy knoll gunman, eliminates the possibility that anyone was standing behind the fence in the Badge Man position at the time of the shooting.