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A review of popular JFK conspiracy theories, from a pair of enthusiasts

Craig Hlavat, Houston Chronicle
Updated 3:41 pm, Thursday, November 21, 2013

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The past month has been rough on JFK assassination buffs like myself and my co-author here, Chron photog Cody Duty. When I found out that Duty was also a JFK assassination theorist, it was like watching those guys in the Sonic commercials talking about banana splits, only instead of ice cream, it was the Zapruder film.

Being a cog in the media machine makes being a buff even worse, since we see almost every report, essay, and slideshow there is on the planet. You can't read and ingest everything, and 75 percent of it we've been aware of for years. Assassination fatigue is what I presume it is. Coupled with the fact that we've spent years bathing in conspiracy theories, it's even harder to pick and choose what to spend any time on.

Even Fidel Castro thinks Oswald was a part of a conspiracy, man. Talk about being in rare air.

If you subscribe to a specific theory on who was behind the assassination and the satellite events around it, you find yourself throwing your shoes at the TV and arguing with perfect strangers at bars about what you think know happened. Sadly, I've found people my own age and younger don't seem to even care about what happened, or even what Kennedy meant to the country.

Thankfully, most of the coverage surrounding the 50th anniversary has been heavy on recollective history and not the hardcore dredging of conspiracy theories, like for the 40th anniversary milestone in 2003, or the 1993, Oliver Stone-fueled parade of articles and documentaries.

Each year, though, on Nov. 22 and the week leading up to it, you could stay awake for days taking in every cover story, History Channel special, and new hardback book on the market. That's not even including every assassination theory video on YouTube. For a time, I heard author Jim Marrs' voice in my head on a constant loop.

This year will also be my ninth annual visit to Dealey Plaza and the Grassy Knoll in Dallas on the anniversary. I've missed family Thanksgiving dinner twice in that time. They just accept it now. I saw the film JFK when I was 9 years old and never looked back after the scene with Mr. X. I remember my mother making me leave the room when the autopsy pictures were coming up, but I still peeked into the living room.

Flawed, yes, but I did always have interesting reading material on the school bus.

Cody and I teamed up to gather some of the most prevalent conspiracy theories out there this week, along with a few that are downright mind-boggling. We both have our own theories as to what happened that day, I would be lying if I said that I didn't tense up when someone points to a lone gunman as the end all, be all solution.

Truthfully I don't think that we will ever have a definitive answer as to what happened, at least one that will sate the theorists once and for all. Once you've believed one thing for so long it's hard to deviate. It's not like Scientology or something.

"There is money to be made in peddling the various conspiracy theories," a wise Internet commenter once said, and I tend to agree.