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The Mystery of the Babushka Lady

Priyanka Athavale Mar 22, 2020
This is one of the most eluding mysteries of all time. The Babushka Lady has long been a topic of discussion due to her unknown identity, and the fact that she witnessed and filmed the Kennedy assassination very up-close, but never came forward.

Did You Know?

Beverly Oliver, the self-proclaimed Babushka Lady, wrote a book titled Nightmare in Dallas, wherein she recounted the events of the assassination and also penned down her claims of having handed over her camera, which had recorded the assassination, to some officers. There was even a reference to her in Oliver Stone's movie, JFK!
It was 12:29 PM on the Friday of November 22nd, 1963. The venue was the Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas. President John F. Kennedy's limo, which also seated his wife Jackie, Texas Governor John Connally, and his wife Nellie Connally, was passing through.
The parade was meant for the locals to 'see the President'. The security detail was very tight. There were cheers everywhere as a big crowd had gathered to catch a glimpse of JFK. It seemed like a glorious, sunny day; but it was all about to take a nightmarish turn.
Minutes later, three shots were fired from a nearby building; one of them ending up killing the President. Investigators later confirmed that the murder weapon was a high-power rifle.
The entire nation was in a state of shock, mourning, and uproar; the secret service and police forces acted fast. As many citizens were filming the procession that day, the cops took their cameras and recorders into custody, hoping to unearth some clues.
The three recordings that helped investigators gather substantial evidence were those shot by Abraham Zapruder, Marie Muchmore, and Orville Nix.
There was a lot of talk about the whole thing being a conspiracy, and many strange events turned up on those confiscated films; one of them being a queer lady wearing a bright coat and a headscarf, who filmed the entire assassination. She was nicknamed the 'Babushka Lady'.

The Mystery Of The Babushka Lady

The Babushka lady was captured in some films, standing quite close to the motorcade when the President's limousine passed, with what appeared to be a recording camera in her hand.
She seemed like just another spectator, until she did this - even after the President had died, and panic-stricken people had started running for cover, she continued to stand there and film the events in the limo. After a few moments, she started walking and joined the rest of the crowd.
There have been many attempts to determine the identity of this mysterious woman, who never came forward in all these years. The captured images of her are not clear, and can at best aid in providing a rough description. There are also no known photos or films of the tragedy from the point where she was standing.

Beverly Oliver

In 1970, the 20-something Beverly Oliver stepped into the media light when she claimed that she was the real Babushka Lady. She stated that some officers from the FBI or Secret Service (she can't be sure) took her camera, saying that it would be returned to her in a few days, but it never was.
However, a lot of her claims were proven to be untrue, and many people were quite convinced that she was lying. One of the reasons was that she said she was using a camera model which was not in the market at the time. Some others claimed that she was lying because she was a teenage exotic dancer at the time, and probably on drugs.
Many others swear that she was not standing at the place that she claims she was, and no one remembers seeing her. Also, according to the acquired footage, the Babushka Lady was a brunette, and appeared to be much older than Oliver, who was blonde.

Another Sinister Twist

In the 1990s, during the course of a hearing regarding the entire tragedy, conducted by the Assassination Records Review Board, an assassination expert testified that someone from Dallas' Kodak office informed him, that a 30-something woman claiming to have a recording of the actual event had visited the office.
She even gave an explanation of how she ran near the limo and ended up capturing the footage. However, the Kodak employee also said that the developed film was too blurry, and that there was no way to decipher it, so it was never used. There is also no record of the lady's name.

So Who Is The Babushka Lady?

Nobody has ever come forward with any information about the Babushka Lady. This is one of the biggest mysteries till date. There have been many theories surrounding her, one saying that she actually shot JFK with a poison dart through the 'camera'.
Some have speculated that she was holding a pair of binoculars and not a camera, and hence did not know that she was being sought. Either way, this is a baffling puzzle that nobody has been able to piece even after over 50 years!

Some More Speculations

Apart from the Babushka Lady, there were many more mysteries surrounding that afternoon; one of them is about the 'umbrella man'.
Some people claim that there was a man standing on the grass, close to the motorcade, with an umbrella over his head. He seemed out of place because the day was a pleasant one, not really requiring an umbrella. The events which followed were even more queer.
When the limo came closer to where he was standing, he apparently opened the umbrella and twirled it in his hand. At that exact moment, the limo driver slowed down the car. That was when the fatal shots were fired, killing JFK. Some have also gone so far as to say that the driver had been told to slow down at that moment, and that he too was involved.
What really happened on that fateful day of November 22nd, no one knows. There have been many accusations of a conspiracy, a cover up, and a great deal of muddling up by the authorities, but again, these are all just hearsay.
One thing is certain though; the Babushka Lady was real, and she was there. But the footage that she may have taken of the entire tragic incident, might remain forever unfound.