People love conspiracy theories, but none loom larger in the American consciousness than the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, 50 years ago on Friday.
Phrases from the event are embedded in our cultural DNA, like “lone gunman” and “the grassy knoll.” We never seem to tire of stoking the mystery — Did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone in the 1963 murder of President Kennedy in Dallas? Was the mob involved? The Cubans? The CIA? LBJ? All of the above?
According to a Gallup poll taken earlier this month, 61 percent of Americans today believe Kennedy was killed as a result of a conspiracy. Only 30 percent said they believe that Oswald acted alone, the official explanation handed down by the authoritative Warren Commission a year after the assassination.
“Conspiracy theories remain popular because, let’s face it, they’re fun. Everybody loves a mystery, and simple solutions ain’t sexy,” Dr. Tom Stone, who teaches courses in the Kennedy assassination at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, told TIME. “Some people find them more comforting than the idea that one little man with a mail order rifle could bring down a big man and change the course of history.”
Among the 61 percent of Americans who think Oswald was a patsy are some famous faces. Here are seven famous JFK conspiracy believers.
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