A deceased Toronto man’s photo may hold the key to the JFK assassination because it is said to show two shooters in the sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository.
But the photo, taken by Canadian Beverage Review reporter and photographer Norman Similas, mysteriously disappeared after it was left with a photo editor at the Toronto Telegram, where Similas hoped it would be published.
“It just went missing,” Similas’s son Kirk told CBC News. “And ever since, everyone’s been looking for that photo.” Norman was on assignment for the magazine when Presidentwas shot 50 years ago today, Nov. 22, 1963.
Kirk was in public school in Toronto and said when his father returned home, his dad said he took a photo at Dealey Plaza that showed two people in the sniper’s nest at the book depository.
It would be convincing proof that a conspiracy had occurred, as believed by 61 percent of Americans who according to a Gallup Poll conducted for today’s 50th anniversary thought there were other people besidesbehind the assassination.
Norman Similas was interviewed at the time by the Globe and Mail newspaper and he was quoted as hearing a “sharp crack” and seeing Kennedy’s skull “bathed in blood.”
The Toronto man told his tale to Liberty Magazine in 1964 and it touched off a search for the missing negative.
Kirk Similas said his father was interviewed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at the request of the FBI.
The website sport.acorn.net obtained files on Similas compiled from the RCMP/FBI, from the Canadian National Archives in Ottawa.
On Sept. 15, 1964, an internal RCMP memo from the Criminal Investigation Branch to Operations Division stated: “Kindly endeavor to obtain a copy of the August 1964 issue of Liberty Magazine. The FBI have requested that this matter be treated as urgent.”
And here is a portion of what Norman Similas told authorities, in his own words, as per the RCMP/FBI file obtained by spot.acorn.net:
At the corner of three streets intersecting Main, I could see that large crowds had already gathered.
So I walked on to a park near an overpass where the crowd thinned somewhat. I checked my setting of my 120 Japanese camera, glanced upward to verify the position of the sun and stepped off the curb to catch an early view of the presidential procession.
Time seemed to stand still as we heard the first shot. The president's car was now less than ten feet from me. Another agonizing second passed, and with the exception of this one grotesque incident, everything around me seemed so normally parade like.
By this time I was close enough to the car to have kicked the side of it. A second and third shot were fired. Still no-one seemed to have any idea as to where the shots were coming from.
My camera had methodically returned to my cheek and I flipped the shutter. The Presidential limousine had passed me and slowed down slightly. My camera was directly angled toward the Texas School Book Depository in the background.
The picture that I took on the curb of Elm Street was trained momentarily on an open sixth storey window. The camera lens recorded what I could not possibly have seen at that moment---a rifle barrel extended over the window sill. When the film was developed later, it showed two figures hovering over.
I returned to my hotel room, packed and boarded a bus for Chicago. The trip was uneventful but when I reached Chicago I was interviewed by dozens of reporters & photographers who had learned I was en route.
Upon my return to Toronto, I submitted my developed negatives to a daily newspaper. When they were not used on Monday, November 25, I phoned and asked that they be returned.
Later I received a fat cheque in the mail, but the one negative which clearly showed what I believe to be two figures in the window of the assassin's nest was missing.
When I pressed for it, I was told that this negative had somehow become lost. It has never since been returned to me.
Kirk said his father was contacted throughout his life by conspiracy theorists. He died in 2009.
But John McAdams, who maintains a website dedicated to JFK conspiracy theories and is a professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee, doubts Norman Similas’s story.
McAdams said before the photo disappeared, it was shown to an Associated Press editor in Chicago, who did not see two people in the shot.
Kirk said his father never changed his story over the years. “I’m sure that picture existed,” he said. “It’s gone missing.”