THE ROSE CHERAMIE INCIDENT
1. One of the most enduring accounts among conspiracy theorists has been that of a drug addict and prostitute sometimes known as Rose Cheramie. Ms Cheramie allegedly had foreknowledge of an assassination attempt against Kennedy in Dallas and told people of the impending event while she lay hospitalized after being run over at a Louisiana tavern.
2. Gerald Posner, in Case Closed, sets out to debunk the Rose Cheramie story. In his effort to do this, he succeeds--not in discrediting the story--but in revealing his own biased approach to the issue. In this case, Posner fails to relate information of which he clearly had knowledge, but which, if honestly reported, would have SUPPORTED the Rose Cheramie allegations, instead of disproving them. As analysis of his book continues, this "research" method is becoming increasingly recognizable as Posner's hallmark.
3. BACKGROUND Rose Cheramie was apparently struck by a vehicle while at a tavern near Eunice, Louisiana, on November 20, 1963. She was carried to a private hospital nearby and then to State Hospital in Jackson, Louisiana. On the way, she allegedly told the highway patrolman who transported her that she was on the Dallas to get some money and kill Kennedy. Cheramie seemed to have minor physical injuries, but suffered from heroin withdrawal and perhaps other medicines given her. At Jackson, she allegedly told the same story to a doctor, adding that she had worked for Jack Ruby, that the underworld was going to kill Kennedy, and that the two men with whom she was traveling were going to do the hit, and then--with her-pick up drugs coming to Houston by ship. After the assassination, the highway patrolman had her held at Jackson, questioned her further and contacted Dallas police, who were not interested in the matter. Cheramie had had mental problems and serious addictions and was clearly an unstable sort, one who had provided false information to government agencies before. The matter was dropped. (HSCA, Volume X, -pp. 199-204)
4.In a lengthy footnote in Case Closed, Posner "disposes" of Rose Cheramie with this statement:"Dr. Victor Weiss, a treating physician, told investigators that he did not hear her say anything about the assassination, until November 25, the day after Ruby killed Oswald."Posner cites House Select Committee's Volume X, page 200 as a source for this, and in his analysis of "mysterious deaths" Posner wrote that Rose Cheramie "made up her story after Ruby shot Oswald." (Case Closed, p. 494)
5.Thus we know that Posner read of HSCA's interview of Dr. Weiss on page 200 of the Volume X of the HSCA report. And in doing so he must have found the following passage, which reveals his duplicity for all to see:The doctor [Weiss] corroborated aspects of the Cheramie allegations. Dr. Victor Weiss verified that he was employed as a resident physician at the hospital in 1963. He recalled that on Monday, November 25, 1963, he was asked by another physician, Dr. Bowers, to see a patient who had been committed November 20 or 21. Dr. Bowers allegedly told Weiss that the patient, Rose Cheramie, had stated before the assassination that Kennedy was going to be killed. The account then relates that Cheramie told Weiss the same story she had allegedly told Dr. Bowers.
6. Compare the actual HSCA account with Posner's selective and revealing reporting of it. We learn:(a)that Rose Cheramie didn't tell Dr. Weiss about the plans until the 25th because he didn't talk with her until then- (b)that Rose Cheramie did tell another doctor about the plans before the assassination. [For what other reason would Dr. Bowers have legitimately asked Dr. Weiss to interview Ms Cheramie?]
7. But there is more. Had Posner, the man whom U. S. News & World Report credits with reindexing all the Warren Commission and HSCA volumes, cross-referencing hundreds of sources, and compiling a "labyrinth of 3-by-5 cards," bothered to read just one page further in HSCA's Volume X, he would have found the report of Francis Fruge, the Louisiana State Policeman who carried Rose Cheramie from Eunice to Jackson State Hospital on the night of November 20. He would have found that Fruge verified to HSCA that she had spoken to him of the plan to kill Kennedy on the ride to Jackson--at least a day and a half BEFORE the event. He would have found that Fruge had Cheramie detained at the hospital for questioning, interrogated her and found that many details of her account, including the name the ship and the seaman who was bringing drugs to Galveston to be sold to Cheramie and her companions. Fruge also told HSCA that he tried without success to inform Dallas police officials of Cheramie's allegations.
8. Whether Rose Cheramie's allegations were true or not may never be known. There is corroborative evidence, but Cheramie's lifestyle and the circumstances of the case tend to make any statements suspect. That is not the issue here. The issue is Posner's dishonest manipulation of the evidence. Here, as throughout his book, a distasteful, ugly stench hangs over his evidence. Wasn't it U.S. NEWS itself which said ten new assassination books would arrive this fall, "with a smell about them, including one [Posner's] with the smell of truth." It appears the news weekly misinterpreted the smell.
9.In light of Posner's persistent methodology, I suggest a new word for our language:
Posnerize. v. To ignore, distort and manipulate evidence in order to achieve a desired goal. See MISLEAD.
Return to Table of Contents
Return to Home Page