"One theory that perhaps "takes the cake" is set forth by conspiracy author David Lifton in his book "Best Evidence". .... Out of his 747 pages, [Lifton] unbelievably devotes no more than 6 or 7 full pages, if that, to [Lee Harvey] Oswald. ....

"One could safely say that David Lifton took folly to an unprecedented level. And considering the monumental foolishness of his colleagues in the conspiracy community, that's saying something."

-- Vincent T. Bugliosi


David S. Lifton's lengthy 1980 pro-conspiracy JFK book "Best Evidence: Disguise And Deception In The Assassination Of John F. Kennedy" spells out a fantastically-absurd theory of casket-switching, body-snatching, and head-altering surgery that was supposedly performed on the badly-damaged cranium of assassinated President John F. Kennedy by a group of unnamed conspiratorial surgeons prior to JFK's official autopsy at Bethesda Naval Medical Center near Washington, D.C., on the night of Kennedy's murder (November 22, 1963).

Mr. Lifton's "body alteration" cover-up theory is so outlandish, and yet at the same time also somehow compelling enough to have prompted me to continue turning these pages until the last page was reached (if, for no other reason, to find out if I'd find the words "April Fool!" filling up the final page of this tome). Unfortunately, those words don't appear on the last page. Too bad too, because they'd have aptly applied after reading such impossible pro-conspiracy conjecture throughout the hundreds of pages that preceded that final page.

Because anyone who has closely (or even not-so-closely) studied the physical evidence in the JFK murder case will be easily able to debunk Mr. Lifton's wild theory put forth in "Best Evidence". It just simply could not possibly have happened, period.

Evidently, per Lifton's crazy theory (at least his INITIAL theory; Lifton seems to have changed some details concerning his fairy tale after his book was first published), President Kennedy's body was stolen from the bronze casket that was put on board the Presidential jet, Air Force One, at Love Field in Dallas and was then put into a cheap pinkish-gray shipping casket. This shipping casket and the President's body were then taken someplace (who knows where) so that "body-altering surgery" could be performed on JFK (to hide the fact that the fatal shot to his head had actually come from in front of Kennedy's limousine that day in Dealey Plaza).

Apparently these slick and amazing surgeons were able to totally reconstruct JFK's head, to hide the obvious wounds of a frontal gunshot blast, and this quick repair job was able to (incredibly) totally fool all of the doctors who performed the official autopsy on the President later that night at Bethesda.

This surgery (I assume) would include the ADDING IN of the small, neat bullet wound of entrance near JFK's cowlick on the back of his head. (Did these plotters actually fire a 6.5-millimeter rifle bullet into the back of Kennedy's head during this covert head-altering session? If not, how did that small entry wound get there at the official autopsy?)

Of course, this nutty scenario is not even remotely possible -- unless Jacqueline Kennedy herself was one of the main conspirators. Jackie never left her husband's casket (except for the very brief LBJ swearing-in ceremony). And other JFK aides were right there with the casket during that short period when Jackie was away from it.

Just try to picture this scenario in your mind (if you can do so while laughing hysterically at the same time):

Holding a constant vigil from Dallas to Washington, Mrs. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy -- evidently totally oblivious to everything that is occurring around her -- sits by her husband's casket while watching and completely ignoring the fact that a second casket has been loaded aboard aircraft #26000 as the Boeing 707 jetliner waits at Love Field to transport the dead President and his widow back to the nation's Capital.

A "small number of men" (per some conspiracy theorists' account of the event) have hoisted a pinkish shipping casket onto the main passenger level of the 707 aircraft. Shoving the grieving widow aside to get to the ornamental casket housing John Kennedy's body, the conspirators get down to business. As the heartless plotters open the sealed bronze casket and remove JFK's body (in full view of Mrs. Kennedy and God knows how many others aboard the aircraft), John F. Kennedy's journey into conspiracy history begins.

JFK is now transferred to the pinkish (or gray) casket so that he can be whisked away by the plotters to an unknown location for conspiratorial surgical purposes.

The band of conspirators now must load something that weighs 170 pounds into the now-empty bronze casket, to simulate the weight of JFK. This activity, too, goes completely unnoticed by the dozens of people aboard (and guarding!) the Boeing 707.

I can only hope that the conspirators were at the very least somewhat courteous toward the grieving widow as they removed her husband's body from his casket right before her eyes. An "excuse me ma'am, we have to steal your husband" would have been appropriate I think.

And evidently Mrs. Kennedy couldn't have cared less about all of this mysterious activity taking place right before her (and gobs of others). And nobody on board the aircraft says a SINGLE WORD ABOUT IT! Not one person on board the plane saw ANY of this activity take place; and yet it's actually accepted as being FACT by a number of conspiracy buffs. Literally beyond belief!

There is ample proof (via the people in JFK's party who were on Air Force One at Love Field) that Mr. Lifton's body-stealing theory never could have possibly happened.

Here's a quote from JFK aide David Powers:

"The coffin was never unattended. Lifton's story is the biggest pack of malarkey I ever heard in my life. I never had my hands or eyes off of it during the period he says it was unattended, and when Jackie got up to go to her stateroom where Lyndon Johnson was, Kenny O'Donnell went with her, but we stayed right there with the coffin and never let go of it. In fact several of us were with it through the whole trip, all the way to Bethesda Naval Hospital. It couldn't have happened the way that fellow [Lifton] said. Not even thirty seconds. I never left it." -- Dave Powers; June 1987

But some conspiracy theorists don't seem to like (or don't want to believe) the above words that were spoken by Mr. Powers. So, certain conspiracy-seeking individuals on the outer fringes of Planet Earth will simply ignore the obvious flaws in their theories and continue to put forth mindless conspiracy scenarios that never could have occurred in a million years.

After all, why bother believing the above words of somebody who was actually right THERE on the airplane on November 22nd....when conspiracists could just as easily believe David S. Lifton's sensational theory instead?

A goodly-sized portion of Lifton's insane theory concerning President Kennedy's body hinges on the observations of Bethesda medical technician Paul K. O'Connor, who assisted Drs. Humes, Boswell, and Finck at JFK's autopsy.

The late Mr. O'Connor was a very unique witness in the mosaic of the JFK assassination story, in that (to my knowledge) he was the only witness to have ever said he witnessed the following four totally-untrue things with respect to the events at Bethesda, Maryland, on the night of November 22, 1963:

1.) President Kennedy had a large, gaping wound in the BACK of his head.

2.) JFK arrived at Bethesda in a cheap "shipping" casket.

3.) The dead President was inside a "body bag" when he arrived at Bethesda for the autopsy.

4.) Kennedy's brain was almost completely gone when the autopsy began.

That fourth item above is a real doozy, especially when we consider the fact that JFK's brain was fixed in formalin and later examined and partially sectioned in a supplementary brain examination a few days after the autopsy.

So, it's a little difficult to take Paul O'Connor seriously when there's evidence to show that he was wrong about all four things mentioned in the list above. But Mr. Lifton sure seems to want to embrace O'Connor's "Fantastic Four of Fantasy". In fact, without O'Connor, a large chunk of Lifton's theory goes sliding down the drain forever.

Paul O'Connor testified at a television "Docu-Trial" ("On Trial: Lee Harvey Oswald") in July of 1986. The embedded video below contains O'Connor's testimony at that mock trial:

Apart from the massive difficulties that would have been physically encountered by Lifton's band of super-fast-working body-altering surgeons -- just good old-fashioned common sense pretty much debunks such an off-the-wall theory all by itself.

For, how on this Earth could such complicated body-altering head surgery on the dead President have possibly occurred in such a short space of time, at God knows what location (the "Conspiracy Bat Cave" perhaps?), and God knows exactly when .... AND have such a jimmy-rigged, ultra-quick head repair job to JFK's cranium end up being TOTALLY UNDETECTABLE to the team of autopsy doctors at Bethesda that very same night? Sounds like something better-suited for the script of a Saturday-morning Warner Brothers cartoon.

In short, either all three primary autopsy doctors (James J. Humes, J. Thornton Boswell, and Pierre A. Finck) are crooked, lying Governmental cover-up agents ... or: ... David S. Lifton's head-alteration theory is full of holes itself.

I can't see a third available (reasonable) option to choose from. Because the idea/theory brought out in the book "Best Evidence" that has the quickly-accomplished head surgery to JFK being done so perfectly and seamlessly so as to go unnoticed in the eyes of MULTIPLE trained pathologists who were present at Bethesda is a notion I just cannot swallow even if I were being forced at gunpoint to do so.

(Unless some theorists want to believe that all of those autopsy doctors attending Kennedy's postmortem examination were all complete and utter incompetents, who wouldn't know one end of JFK's body from the other. But is that very likely either?)

Larry M. Sturdivan wrote something in his 2005 book "The JFK Myths: A Scientific Investigation Of The Kennedy Assassination" that I would almost swear I had written myself, because it aligns so perfectly with my own thoughts regarding the JFK murder case and investigation.....

"While one of the pieces of physical evidence could conceivably have been faked by an expert, there is no possibility that an expert, or team of super-experts, could have fabricated the perfectly coordinated whole...with superhuman abilities to fake physical evidence that is in complete agreement with all the other faked evidence." -- Larry Sturdivan; "The JFK Myths"; Page 246

Mr. Sturdivan's "JFK Myths" volume is filled with valuable pieces of conspiracy-disproving information (plus doses of logical thinking like that which I emphasized with the quote above). Sturdivan is a wound ballistics expert and researcher, who testified extensively at the HSCA hearings in the late 1970s during the U.S. Government's second major inquiry into JFK's assassination.

Also on Page 246 of Sturdivan's book can be found this passage (which I agree with 100%).....

"The totality of reliable physical evidence, supported by eyewitness accounts of his doing what the physical evidence shows he did, makes the case against Lee Harvey Oswald an open and shut case. He murdered John Kennedy and Officer Tippit and gravely wounded John Connally. The [Mark] Lane myth of 'Oswald as Patsy' and all similar conspiracy myths merit no serious consideration." -- Larry Sturdivan

In my personal view, no truer words have been printed to date in any JFK Assassination publication than those written by Larry M. Sturdivan which I just typed out in the above paragraph.

It would seem that even author David Lifton has had second thoughts about his initial theory concerning the snatching of Kennedy's body. He has apparently rearranged his theory quite a bit since his large tome "Best Evidence" was published in 1980.

Here's a direct quote from Lifton on that subject:

"About two years after 'Best Evidence' was published, I in fact realized there was a much more significant moment in time for getting the body out of the coffin, and that was the brief period when the coffin was already aboard the plane, and the entire Kennedy party was down on the tarmac. And today, that is when I think that event actually occurred. How they got the body off the plane is another matter." -- David S. Lifton; November 15, 1997

So, in essence, if one theory is proven wrong -- then just move on to the next best one and see if another cat will lick this one up. It's nothing but baloney. Utter bunk.



....The "best evidence" in the JFK murder case is indeed the evidence which rests on the table today (just as it did the day it happened in 1963) -- and that PHYSICAL evidence is all pointing to Lee Harvey Oswald as the murderer of JFK (and J.D. Tippit as well).

David Lifton's 15-year-long "body alteration" odyssey makes for a heavy and impressive-looking publication, but the theory within these pages falls way short in the "Proof That It Really Happened" department .... and (above all) it falls monumentally short in the "Common Sense" department as well.

This book is a conspiracist's attempt to literally rewrite the history of John F. Kennedy's tragic death by taking the most important piece of physical evidence in the entire case -- President Kennedy's own body -- and postulating a conspiratorial cover-up scenario so full of implausibilities, complexities, roadblocks, and complications that even with God's own help from the heavens above, the plot theorized here would have still been an iffy best.

In short, anybody who would accept as true the nonsensical theory of JFK's body being stolen off of Air Force One by evil plotters should check themselves into the nearest insane asylum and seek immediate treatment for "Conspiracy Theory Overdose".

David Von Pein
January 2006
March 2006
July 2009



On July 6, 2007, I had the following exchange of words with "Best Evidence" author David Lifton. (Well, to be totally clear, Mr. Lifton wasn't really speaking to me personally when he wrote the crazy things he wrote in an Internet post on 7/6/07. He was just writing an Internet message for anybody to read. His message wasn't being directed at any single individual. But I wanted to respond anyway. So I did.) .....

DAVID S. LIFTON BELLOWED -- "If he [Vincent Bugliosi] wants to write about the JFK case, he should stick to the facts."

DAVID R. VON PEIN (THAT'S ME) THEN SAID -- "Can David Lifton REALLY not see the astounding hypocrisy that resides within the above statement. Mr. Lifton has no more been able to "stick to the facts" in his book "Best Evidence" than a snowflake could survive in Death Valley in August. Absolutely incredible. (But hilarious.)"


LIFTON -- "There is nothing honorable or nice about the way Bugliosi writes about these issues, or addresses an adversary."

DVP -- "What makes you think that conspiracy authors (such as yourself), who have distorted history and the true facts surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy for decades on end, deserve the SLIGHTEST bit of respect...or deserve to be treated "nice"?

You're living in a dream world, Mr. Lifton (and you obviously have been living in that world ever since your body-altering fantasy began in 1966).

Mr. Bugliosi isn't obligated to play "nice" when dealing with conspiracy-loving theorists who, as I said, have deliberately distorted the historical record relating to JFK's death (Jim Garrison and Oliver Stone to name but two additional examples).

In fact, I think Vince was far too polite to some of the CTers that he writes about in his book. He could have lambasted them even more than he did. And they would have deserved it (IMO)."


LIFTON -- "To put it mildly, Bugliosi has an "attitude" problem."

DVP -- "Yeah, I think so too....and that's because he didn't bash your stupid body-stealing theory NEARLY hard enough in his book ["Reclaiming History"]. You only got 14 pages, David. Stone and Garrison got 90. You should consider suing Vince for equal time. After all, your nonsense is just as good as Jim's and Oliver's, right?"







Battling David Lifton in 2007

David Von Pein Vs. David Lifton



August 17, 2006 (Part 1)

August 17, 2006 (Part 2)

May 24, 2007 (Part 1)

May 24, 2007 (Part 2)

March 11, 2014