Josiah Thompson

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Josiah "Tink" Thompson is an American writer, professional private investigator, and former philosophy professor. He wrote Six Seconds in Dallas: A Micro-Study of the Kennedy Assassination (ISBN 0394445716). He also wrote a biography of the early 19th-Century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (ISBN 057501718X) (ISBN 0394470923) in 1974, and a well-received book about his own, post-academic life as a private detective, Gumshoe: Reflections in a Private Eye (ISBN 0316841757) in 1988.

Early life[edit]

Thompson was born and raised in East Liverpool, Ohio.[1] As of November 2013, he lived in Bolinas, California.[2]

Thompson graduated from Yale University in 1957. He entered the Navy, serving in Underwater Demolition Team 21. Then he returned to Yale for his M.A. in 1962 and Ph.D. in 1964. After receiving his doctorate, he taught at Yale as Instructor of Philosophy and then moved on to teach at Haverford College, where he remained until 1976, resigning to begin a career as a private detective. In 1967 he published The Lonely Labyrinth (ASIN B0006BQ5G6), a study of Kierkegaard's thought, and in 1972, Kierkegaard: A Collection of Critical Essays (ISBN 0385019785). In 1973 he published, Kierkegaard (ISBN 0394470923), a biography of the Danish thinker.

Six Seconds in Dallas[edit]

In Six Seconds in Dallas: A Micro-Study of the Kennedy Assassination, Thompson argued that the available physical evidence, corroborating eye-witness accounts, showed that multiple shots were fired at President Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963, strongly implying the existence of an assassination conspiracy.[3] Based on an examination of the Zapruder film, Thompson's book contends that three individuals fired four shots at Kennedy in Dealey Plaza: the first shot was fired from the Texas School Book Depository and struck Kennedy in the back; the second shot was fired from the Dallas County Records building and struck Governor John Connally; the third and fourth shots were fired from the Texas School Book Depository and the "grassy knoll" respectively, and almost simultaneously struck Kennedy in the head.[3]

In November 1967, prior to the publication of the book, Fred Winship of the AP wrote that "some of Thompson's conclusions are based on original research in the National Archives, documents and photos not seen by the Warren Commission and interviews with eyewitnesses."[4]

In 1991, Bob Hoover of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote that Six Seconds in Dallas "remains one of the most plausible explanations for the line of fire in Dealey Plaza."[1]

Thompson and his publisher were sued by Time, Inc. for infringement of copyright because of Zapruder frames sketched in the book. A federal court gave summary judgment to Thompson and his publisher ten months later in a landmark decision stressing fair use rights (Time Inc. v. Bernard Geis Assoc., et al., 293 F. Supp. 130, S.D.N.Y. 1968)[5]

The Umbrella Man[edit]

In 2011, The New York Times posted a short documentary film by Errol Morris featuring Thompson's commentary about the "Umbrella Man", a man holding a black umbrella during the assassination of Kennedy.[6][7][8]


  1. ^ a b Hoover, Bob (December 28, 1991). "Turning the page on JFK". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. p. 16. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  2. ^ Noyes, Dan (November 13, 2013). "JFK researcher: "Oswald did not fire fatal shot"". San Francisco. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Kleiner, Dick (February 1, 1968). "3 Fired at Kennedy". The Times-News. Hendersonville, North Carolina. NEA. p. 3. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
  4. ^ Winship, Frederick M. (November 17, 1967). "Study Of Assassination Claims Conspiracy By Trio". The Bryan Times. Bryan, Ohio. UPI. pp. 1–2. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  5. ^ Cases, Copyright. "Time Inc. v. Bernard Geis Assocs". Legal Information Institute. Cornell University. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  6. ^ Morris, Errol (November 21, 2011). "'The Umbrella Man'". The New York Times. New York. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  7. ^ Morris, Errol (director); Josiah Thompson (interviewee) (November 22, 2011). The Umbrella Man (documentary film). New York: The New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  8. ^ Michaud, Jon (November 22, 2011). "Updike, J.F.K., and the Umbrella Man". The New Yorker. New York. Retrieved May 11, 2015.