In the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Babushka Lady is a nickname for an unknown woman who might have photographed the events that occurred in Dallas' Dealey Plaza at the time President John F. Kennedy was shot. Her nickname arose from the headscarf she wore similar to scarves worn by elderly Russian women (babushka – means "grandmother" or "old woman" in Russian).
Babushka Lady was seen to be holding a camera by eyewitnesses and was also seen in film accounts of the assassination (such as this Muchmore frame and Zapruder Frame 285). She was observed standing on the grass between Elm and Main streets and she can be seen in the Zapruder film as well as in the films of Orville Nix, Marie Muchmore, and Mark Bell (44 seconds and 49 seconds into the Bell film: even though the shooting had already taken place and most of her surrounding witnesses took cover, she can be seen still standing with the camera at her face). After the shooting, she crossed Elm Street and joined the crowd that went up the grassy knoll in search of a gunman. She is last seen in photographs walking east on Elm Street and neither she nor the film she may have taken have been positively identified.
The Babushka Lady never came forward. The police and the FBI did not find her, and the film shot from her position never turned up, despite a request by the FBI to local photo processors that they would be interested in any pictures or films of the assassination. Jack Harrison, a Kodak technician in Dallas, claimed to have developed on November 22, 1963, the day of the assassination, an out-of-focus color slide for a brunette in her late 30s that showed a view similar to the Babushka Lady's position.
In 1970, a woman named Beverly Oliver came forward and claimed to be the Babushka Lady. She had worked in 1963 as a singer and dancer at the Colony Club, a strip club that competed with Jack Ruby's Carousel Club next door. In 1994, she released a memoir, Nightmare in Dallas, chronicling the events of the day of Kennedy's assassination. Oliver said that after the assassination she was contacted at work by two men who she thought "...were either FBI or Secret Service agents." According to Oliver, the men told her that they wanted to develop her film and would return it to her within ten days, but they never returned the film.
Critics have noted a number of inconsistencies with her story, such as her alleged use of a model of camera that did not exist in 1963, and her claim to have positioned herself just behind Charles Brehm and his son, despite Brehm's statement that he and his son had hurried to that position at the last moment. Also, the fact that the Babushka lady appears to be a stout, middle-aged woman, whereas Oliver was 17 at the time of the assassination, tends to cast doubts on Oliver's claims.
Beverly Oliver's recollections were the basis for a scene in Oliver Stone's 1991 film JFK in which a character named "Beverly" meets Jim Garrison in a Dallas nightclub. Played by Lolita Davidovich, she is depicted in the director's cut as wearing a head scarf at Dealey Plaza and speaking of having given the film she shot to two men claiming to be FBI agents.
In the 1992 film Ruby, the character of Candy Cane, portrayed by Sherilyn Fenn, is shown in Dealey Plaza filming the motorcade and wearing a babushka scarf. Though the character is a singer and nightclub performer, there is no evidence that she is based in any meaningful way on Beverly Oliver.
One of the most amazing things is that it says the camera is seen in the video did not even exist at that time, so it was put together a theory about time travel, where a woman once came to observe more closely the fateful event. That would explain the fact that nobody knows anything about her.
Was in Dealey Plaza during the assassination
No witnesses can corroborate her claim. The
Babushka Lady in Dealey Plaza appears in
several photos, and is older and stockier than
Oliver was in 1963
Before presidential limo turned from Main to Houston, she took up a position near a man and his young son on the south side of Elm Street a reference to Charles Brehm and his son Joe who are seen near the Babushka Lady at the time of the shooting
Brehm and his son were not in this location, but rather at the corner of Main and Houston, and ran across the grass after the limo turned onto Houston
Was filming Kennedy with a brand new
Yashica Super-8 Zoom movie camera
No such camera existed until 1967
After years of claiming to have used Super-8
Zoom movie camera, backed off that story
and denied to the Assassination Records
Review Board that she had ever said that
She in fact made the claim to several
conspiracy authors, and in the 1988
documentary "The Men Who Killed
Saw Kennedy's head explode; it was like a
"bucket of blood" thrown out the back of the
Consistent with the conspiracy-book claims
that the back of Kennedy's head was blown
out, but flatly contradicted by movies of the
head wound, and by all other Dealey Plaza
When she returned to work on Monday
evening, over 72 hours after the assassination,
FBI men were waiting on the landing of the
Colony club, and confiscated her film
Vastly implausible that conspirators would
allow her to keep the film for three days,
risking her releasing it to the press, or
investigators not part of a "coverup."
Identified FBI agent who took her film as
Kennedy was in New Orleans on Monday,
November 25th and was interviewing Dean
Andrews in the evening
Claimed to the House Select Committee that one of the men who took her film identified himself as a CIA agent
Absurd that any CIA agent in Dallas in the wake of the assassination would identify himself as CIA to someone like Oliver. Oliver dropped this element from later versions of her story
Two weeks before the assassination, in the
Carousel Club, Ruby introduced Oswald to
her as "my friend Lee Oswald of the CIA"
Of course deep cover spooks go around
telling people they are with the CIA
Dancer Jada (Janet Conforto) witnessed
Ruby's introduction of Oswald to Oliver, and
told newspaper reporters about it
Not only do newspapers show no such claim
by Conforto, she explicitly denied that she
had seen Oswald in the Carousel Club when
asked by Eddie Barker on KRLD radio on the
evening of November 24th
Claimed to have talked to Jada at Carousel Club, where she was performing on the eve of the assassination
Jada had not worked at the Carousel since October 31st, and was not there on November 21st.
Oliver saw David Ferrie around the Carousel
Club so often that she assumed he must be an
None of the many Carousel Club employees
corroborates this. Given Ferrie's bizarre appearance, it seems certain they could had he been there. Ferrie lived in New
Orleans, and could hardly commute to Dallas
Oliver had dinner with Jack Ruby on the eve
of the assassination, and he gave her a
Ruby had dinner with friends on the eve of
the assassination, and none of them
mentioned Oliver in sworn testimony
Jack Ruby frequently expressed hatred of JFK
Flatly contradicted by several witnesses who
knew Ruby. Seems to be the result of
Oliver's assumption that Ruby was a mobster
and mobsters hated JFK
Claims to have seen "Raoul,"shadowy figure supposedly part of a conspiracy to kill Martin Luther King, at the Carousel Club
No evidence that "Raoul" ever existed. He appears to have been invented by James Earl Ray, King's killer.
Claimed that an English researcher had obtained frames from her film, which vindicated her story.
Frames were from the Nix film, shot from a perspective radically different from that of The Babushka Lady.