JFK: Confirming the London Sunday Times Actuary’s 100,000 Trillion to One Odds
The actuary’s 100,000 trillion to one odds against 18 JFK material witnesses dying in the three year period ending in Feb. 1967 were first displayed in the 1972 film “Executive Action”.
“In the three-year period which followed the murder of President Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald, 18 material witnesses died – six by gunfire, three in motor accidents, two by suicide, one from a cut throat, one from a karate chop to the neck, three from heart attacks and two from natural causes”.
The actuary’s 100,000 trillion to one odds are matched assuming 454 witnesses, very close to the number who testified at the Warren Commission. There were 13 unnatural deaths among the 18 material witnesses. We will ignore the five suspicious natural deaths. For example, Ruby’s sudden 29-day throat cancer occurred immediately after he was granted a new trial. He claimed he was injected with cancer cells to cure a cold. He never smoked.
The calculation has been the source of much controversy. Assuming the data and calculation methodology were essentially correct, then it was clear proof of a conspiracy and refuted the Warren Commission conclusion that Oswald was the lone assassin.
In 1977, the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) declared that the calculation was invalid, claiming that the universe (number of witnesses) was unknowable. Warren Commission defenders (Bugliosi, McAdams, Posner, etc.) have questioned the relevance of witness connections to the assassination.
The HSCA made a number of errors in coming to that conclusion:
1. It did not mention unnatural witness deaths – the key statistic in the analysis.
2. It did not mention the known universe of 552 Warren Commission witnesses
3. It did not mention 500+ called to testify by Garrison, Church and HSCA.
4. It did not specify the identity of the actuary.
5. It did not specify the methodology used by the actuary.
6. It did not include 100+ suspicious deaths; but mentioned only 21.
7. It did not include mafia/govt/cia Oswald, Ruby, de Morenschildt, Ferrie, etc.
8. It did not mention that 7 FBI officials due to testify at HSCA died in a 6 month period in 1977.
The reference Who’s Who in the JFK Assassination contains information on 1400+ JFK-related suspects, victims, witnesses,Law Enforcement officials and investigators. Approximately 100 died suspiciously in 1964-78 and are listed in the JFK Calc spreadsheet database.
There are 122 suspicious deaths listed in JFK Calc (78 officially ruled unnatural): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjAk1JUWDMyRdDFSU3NVd29xWWNyekd2X1ZJYllKTnc#gid=1
The Simkin JFK Spartacus Education website contains biographies of 500 JFK-related individuals. http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKindex.htm Approximately 60 died suspiciously and are listed in JFK Calc.
Historical mortality rates are from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005124.html
Expected unnatural deaths
In order to calculate the probability of a given number of unnatural deaths in a given group, we must first determine the expected number (E) of unnatural deaths. It is just the simple product of the size of the witness universe (N), the time period under study in years (T) and the average unnatural mortality rate (R):
Let H = the number of homicides, A = accidental deaths, S = suicides.
The corresponding mortality rates are HR, AR and SR, respectively.
The 13 unnatural deaths consist of:
H=8 homicides, A=3 accidents and S=2 suicides.
The corresponding average mortality rates for the period from 1964-66:
HR= 0.000061, AR= 0.000658, AS = 0.000130
The total unnatural rate (unweighted) = RT = .000842
The total number of expected unnatural deaths ET = 1.06 = 454*3*0.000842
Only one unnatural death would be expected!
But there were 13 unnatural deaths.
The weighted average mortality rate is calculated as follows:
R = (H*HR + A*AR + S*SR)/ (H+A+S)
The average weighted unnatural rate:
R = .000209 = (8*0.000061+ 3*0.000658+ 2*0.000130)/13
Now calculate the expected number of unnatural deaths in three years based on the weighted rate:
E = 0.285 = 454*3*0.000209
Finally, we use the Poisson function to determine the probability of 13 unnatural deaths in three years from a group of 454. The actuary’s calculation is confirmed.
P = Poisson (13, 0.285, false)
P = 9.83E-18 = 1 in 100,000 trillion
If the 3 accidents and 2 suicides were actually homicides, then applying the 0.000061 average homicide rate,
E= 0.083= 454*3*0.000061
P= Poisson (13, 0.083, false)
P = 1.33E-24= 1 in 750 million trillion
Note that there were at least 42 unnatural deaths of JFK-related individuals in the three years following the assassination. Assuming 1400 witnesses, the probability is E-50 or 1 in a trillion trillion trillion trillion!
HSCA Witness Death Investigation and Testimony
The HSCA investigated the allegation that a statistically improbable number of individuals with some direct or peripheral association with the Kennedy assassination died as a result of that assassination, thereby raising the specter of conspiracy.
The committee’s chief of research, Jacqueline Hess, testified:
“Our final conclusion on the issue is that the available evidence does not establish anything about the nature of these deaths which would indicate that the deaths were in some manner, either direct or peripheral, caused by the assassination of President Kennedy or by any aspect of the subsequent investigation.
One, to compute valid actuarial statistics, one must be able to determine to a reasonable degree of specificity, the universe of individuals to which the specific group is being compared. In other words, we would have to determine the total number of individuals who exist in each of the categories into which those individuals who have mysteriously died, fall. This means that we would need to establish the number of individuals who in any manner could be considered witnesses to the assassination of President Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald, the number of individuals who had any contact with Oswald or Ruby or with Ruby’s nightclubs, the number of individuals who professed to have material knowledge of the case or of the major figures in the case, all news reporters who had expressed interest, taken interviews or investigated the case, and all Members of Congress who sought to introduce legislation concerning the investigation of the case. >This, as you can imagine, would have been an impossible task.
This was an incorrect statement. The universe of witnesses are the four investigations in which over 60 died suspiciosuly from 1964-78: See HSCA errors 2 and 3 above.
Two, in addition, for each of the individuals identified in the groups I have just listed, we would have to establish age, sex, race, occupation, geographical location, and any other extraordinary factors which have to be taken into consideration in order to compute mortality rates. Again, this was judged to be an impossible job.
Another incorrect statement. Natural mortality rates (heart attack, cancer, etc.) are age adjusted; unnatural rates by definition are not age-related.
Three, we would need to determine the number of individuals in these categories who have, in fact, died and the number of individuals who, according to actuarial mortality rates, should have died.We had thus established the impossibility of attempting establish through the application of actuarial principles, any meaningful implications about the existence or absence of a conspiracy. Despite the fact that an inference of conspiracy, as here postulated by the critics, did not exist, we nevertheless decided not to dismiss the cited deaths out of hand, but rather, to look more closely at the nature of certain specific deaths to determine whether or not they could individually be considered mysterious or in some other manner a reflection of some sort of conspiracy.
To determine an approximate number who died suspiciously was not a problem. All the HSCA had to so was to view the list of over 60 individuals called to testify in four JFK investigations, including the HSCA. The HSCA ignored 100+ deaths listed in JFK Calc. There is no excuse for not mentioning the 7 FBI officials, De Morenschilt and others who were due to testify at HSCA. </strong
Note: Hess noted 23 names, including two key Mafia figures (Sam Giancana and John Roselli). Why were they not included in the detailed report requested by the HSCA interrogator. http://www.cassiopaea.org/cass/jfkdeaths.htm
Mr. EDGAR – Will you provide for the record a detailed listing of the 21 names and the evidence you have found relating to their deaths?
Ms. HESS – Yes. Do you want me to read them for the record?
Mr. EDGAR – It might be helpful.
Ms. HESS – Edward Benairdes, Albert Guy Bogard, Hale Boggs, Lee Bowers, Jr., Bill Chesher, Nicholas J. Chetta, David Goldstein, Thomas Hale Howard, William Hunter, Clyde Johnson, Dorothy Kilgallen, Thomas Henry Killam, Jim Koethe, FNU Levens, Nancy Jane Mooney, Teresa Norton, Earlene Roberts, Harold Russell, Marilyn April Walle, a.k.a. Betty McDonald, William W. Whaley, James R. Worrell, Sam Giancana, John Roselli.
Mr. EDGAR – Thank you. I think it very helpful for the record that those names be included. Can you indicate why Mr. DeMohrenschildt’s name was not included?
Ms. HESS – His was one of those which deemed further investigation and became part of a great investigative effort.
Actuary – 18 material witness deaths
M=homicide, A=accident, S=suicide, H=heart attack, O=other
* indicates critical individuals ignored by HSCA
S 6402 BETTY MACDONALD
M 6403 HANK KILLAM
H 6403 BILL CHESHER
M 6404 BILL HUNTER
M 6405 GARY UNDERHILL * CIA/Life magazine, predicted his death
M 6409 JIM KOETHE
H 6503 TOM HOWARD
M 6509 ROSE CHERAMIE * Ruby contact, anti-Castro Cubans, predicted assassination
A 6512 WILLIAM WHALEY
H 6601 EARLENE ROBERTS
S 6602 ALBERT BOGARD
O 6606 FRANK MARTIN
A 6608 LEE BOWERS
M 6610 WILLIAM PITZER * Autopsy photographer
A 6611 JAMES WORRELL
O 6701 JACK RUBY * Connected to Dallas PD, mob (sudden cancer)
M 6702 DAVID FERRIE * CIA, knew Oswald
M 6702 ELADIO DEL VALLE * anti-Castro, knew Ferrie
Convenient deaths spiked in 1964 (Warren Commission) and 1977 (House Select Committee).