Babushka Lady photos (lost photographs of John. F Kennedy assassination; existence unconfirmed; 1963)

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This article has been tagged as NSFL due to its discussion of an assassination.

Babushka lady standing image.jpg

The best-known picture of the Babushka Lady, taken just after the assassination, showing her calmly standing and apparently filming amid the chaos.

Status: Existence Unconfirmed

On November 22nd, 1963, then-American President John. F Kennedy was assassinated while in a car driving through downtown Dallas, Texas. The assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, fired at the motorcade from a nearby warehouse window and was found in the subsequent investigation to have acted alone.

However many conspiracy theories starring many possible accomplices have been proposed throughout the years since, and it is in this context that a mystery has grown up around a lady wearing a 'babushka'-style headscarf seen in photos apparently filming during the assassination. Despite the extraordinary historical significance of her footage and the intense search for all eyewitnesses, the 'Babushka Lady' has never been identified, and her film has never been released.


The images show a dark-haired, heavyset woman who appears to be in her late 30s-early 40s, wearing a voluminous tan trenchcoat, sunglasses and a scarf over her head tied closely beneath her chin. She became a person of interest shortly after the event, as all film and other images were being carefully examined for evidence of a secondary attacker or other accomplice on the 'grassy knoll' to the far side of the road in question. The Presidential motorcade had just passed this area when the assassin struck.

The 'babushka lady' was among the small crowd standing by this side of the road, hence her visibility in several different photos. She garnered particular attention not only for her unusual, unseasonal clothing - which could easily have served as a disguise - but because in many appearances she is holding her hands up to her face in a manner strongly suggestive of using a video camera. In the pictures taken immediately after the shooting began, while everyone around her has dropped to the ground, she is seen still calmly standing by and facing the roadside, something evidently still held in her hands. [1]


The identity of the woman has never been confirmed, even as to whether she was a woman at all - her face is ambiguous in this respect, and in at least one of her appearances she has adopted a wide stance that seems more masculine than otherwise.

A dancer named Beverly Oliver stepped forward in 1970, claiming that she had been recording the motorcade using a Yashica Super 8 camera and had turned over her film to two men claiming to be FBI agents. They gave her no receipts, and subsequently never returned her property despite promising to do so. Oliver claimed she did not follow the matter up further out of fears of being arrested for marijuana possession.

Oliver's story expanded with each retelling and eventually included the claim that she knew Jack Ruby (the man who killed Oswald while in custody) who in turn had introduced her to JFK himself at a party. Unfortunately, she had no corroborative evidence for any of it, and her claims must be considered dubious at best. As a tall, slim 17-year-old she would not physically have lined up with the shorter, older and more substantial woman in the photos. Additionally, the Yashica Super 8 wasn't yet being sold in the US market in 1963 (which she subsequently explained as an 'experimental' model given her by a well-connected friend).[1]


Not only have none of the 'babushka lady's photos been found, they haven't even been confirmed to exist, as there is no way to prove from the photos if she was in fact holding a camera.[2] This makes her the ideal star of the myriad conspiracies surrounding the event, with many theorizing that her camera was actually a gun (which would explain Oliver being given an 'experimental' model), or that she was there to record something that was part of the plot for later blackmail or other purposes.