Saturday, November 29, 2008

JFK Assassination Conspirators in Kentucky

Something that comes up again and again in JFK conspiracy-theory texts, but is never detailed to my satisfaction, is a report that David Ferrie and Jack S. Martin spent time living in Louisville in the 1950s, ostensibly doing detective work for the Federal Government to investigate and infiltrate a "phony religious order".

But when exactly were they here? Where in Louisville did they stay? And exactly what religious order were they spying on?

Complicating the matter is Jack Martin's later assertion to Jim Garrison that Ferrie had once been a member of a "phony church". Supposedly, Martin was in on the Federal investigation that Ferrie was working on, so why would he try to paint Ferrie as a bonafide member of that same "phony church", years later?

Still complicating it further: we know that Ferrie was openly a priest in the Louisville-based Old Roman Catholic Church of North America (ORCCNA). This is an unapproved offshoot from the Roman Catholic Church, and back in the 50s and 60s was considered by some to be wildly radical for their liberal views and lack of total acceptance of papal infallibility. JFK researcher Peter Wronski called them "a shadowy and highly factionalized heretical sect", which I think is rather unnecessarily dramatic and over-the-top. There are many independent Catholic schism groups out there, and there's nothing wrong with that as far as I can see.

The Catholic Church and the Vatican considered the Old Roman Catholic Church of North America a false church and Ferrie therefore a false priest. Ferrie was later defrocked and kicked out for reasons that are sketchy. A devout Catholic in the conservative 1950s would have certainly have referred to any schism group as a "phony" church, so could the Old Roman Catholic Church of North America indeed be the church Martin spoke of to Garrison? And if so, was this the same church that Ferrie was supposedly infiltrating in Louisville?

Like all JFK-conspiracy matters, it just keeps spiralling off into endless loose threads the more you pick at the fabric:

In 1967, at the request of the New Orleans district attorney's office, the Toronto Police went through Ferrie's old phone records and determined that Ferrie had made seven long distance phone calls from New Orleans to an unlisted number in the 416 area code, which is Toronto. The police traced the number to Earl Anglin Lawrence James, who was - wait for it - a bishop in the Old Roman Catholic Church of North America!

Earl Anglin James vehemently insisted he knew no one in New Orleans, and in fact, had only ever received one call from New Orleans in his entire life: "in March 1965 and it was from Mr. J. S. Martin. It was personal." J.S. Martin? As in Jack S. Martin himself, Ferrie's partner in the Louisville investigation?

Bishop James, incidentally, has been removed from the line of apostolic succession on the official ORCCNA site's list, but the original lineup can be found here and here.

(If you don't know what the heck any of this means, or who David Ferrie, Jack Martin and Jim Garrison are, jump in here or check out Oliver Stone's film JFK, in which Ferrie is played masterfully by Joe Pesci.)

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