Greatest Mysteries: Escape Artist?

Racist Murderer Booth

DATELINE: Racist Pin Up Boy

 History Channel gave its prestigious series a shot at the Booth mystery theory about his escape after killing Lincoln. It seems to be a culmination of finally legitimizing the idea that John Wilkes Booth managed to live out his life for four decades as Lincoln’s assassination.

In History’s Greatest Mysteries, a new Cadillac series, Laurence Fishburne narrates an updated look at the Booth murder/death with more cooperation from descendants of the assassin. In fact, they are prepared to use DNA to make their case that he lived for decades—and even fathered some children.

You will see again some of the familiar “expert” faces of the past few decades, though they are now aging and still dealing with the mystery. And here, Booth is described as charismatic and able to lead and to orchestrate a great conspiracy down to minute details. Yet, he is also shown as having drinks to fortify his resolve before shooting Lincoln.

In this version of events, the descendants contend Booth, married to a woman named Martha Izola, left the country with her and went to India for a time.

The great grandson of Harry is willing to be tested. There are other marriages, one discounted by handwriting and signature comparison.

The idea of exhuming Booth’s body and testing its DNA is impossible when he was buried in an unmarked grave with many other family members, under orders of Edwin Booth.

This show takes the same photos of John St. Helen and David E. George to a University of Virginia facial recognition expert who denies they can even be matched. So, they are not truly run through his program. And a handwriting expert dismisses both St. John and George as having handwriting that was not as artistic and flowery as the real Booth!

The issue of whether he shaved off his mustache is also left in obfuscation: sometimes he has one, and other times he does not.

The show does suggest that Booth, even today, has a bevy of fans—mostly white supremacists who want to hear he got away with his crime against Lincoln and the federal government.

The mystery of John Wilkes Booth is far from solved.

Lincoln & Belichick Compared and Contrasted

 DATELINE: HUMOR!

We have been resoundingly chastised for our comparison of Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” to the “Hernandez Address,” given by Bill Belichick.

You’d think people would little note, nor long remember what a blogger says.

We tried to do some homework when comparing the 150-year anniversary of the 1863 Lincoln speech with the Belichick moment in 2013.

Let’s face it: Lincoln beat the master of brevity on this one.  When Belichick speaks for more than three minutes, it is a momentous occasion.

Lincoln spoke for only three minutes. Belichick’s opening comments went over eight minutes. The contrast here stunned audiences in both cases who expected more and less.

Lincoln wrote his speech on the back of an envelope. Belichick carried a small index card to the podium. That speech in Pennsylvania was less than 300 words whereas that speech in Foxboro went on for over 800 words.

At Gettysburg people thought they could be fashionably late to Lincoln’s speech and still hear plenty. How wrong they were. Anyone figuring the Belichick speech would give them a chance to run to the bathroom in a few minutes had to hold their water.

There were over 20 live shot cameras at the Belichick speech, giving us HD images of the coach’s pores. There was only one distant camera at Gettysburg giving us a grainy photo of Lincoln in the pouring rain.

Lincoln’s address put the nation into context and spotlight of importance. Belichick noted that this is ‘real life’ to people who usually see football in fantasy terms.

Most critics at the time disdained Lincoln’s speech as not showing enough respect to the honored dead who lost their lives in a tragic battle of titantic proportions. Belichick’s speech has been lauded for showing respect for one dead murder victim.

Yet, both men showed humility and melancholy over the situations they faced.

Maybe the comparison is not so laughable after all.