One of the most frequently asked questions regarding witnesses to the Kennedy assassination concerns a mysterious young woman who became known as The Babushka Lady. She can be seen clearly on the Zapruder film and also on various other movie films and still photographs taken in Dealey Plaza on 22nd November 1963. She was one of the few witnesses who was not immediately identified - thus the rather odd nickname which she acquired due to the 'babushka' or triangular headscarf which she was wearing that day.
The question which The Babushka Lady provokes has become much more than just: "Who is she?" It has become much more positive: "Are The Babushka Lady and Beverly Oliver one and the same person?" Undoubtedly, the most important aspect of The Babushka Lady is the fact that she appears to be filming the motorcade. Her position on the south side of Elm Street close to eyewitnesses Charles Brehm, Jean Hill, Mary Moorman, etc. means that her film would almost certainly be a mirror image of the Z-Film. Perhaps more important than the presidential limousine itself would be what could be seen behind it. The background to The Babushka Lady's film would inevitably include the Texas School Book Depository (perhaps including the so-called sniper's nest window) and the grassy knoll.
The question of The Babushka Lady's identity remained a total mystery following the death of the President. Nobody came forward to claim that they were the mysterious eyewitness and furthermore, nobody could suggest who the lady may have been. There it remained, and perhaps would have continued to remain, were it not for a chance meeting between renowned assassination researcher J Gary Shaw and a young lady called Beverly McGann shortly after a church service at the First Baptist Church of Joshua (a small Texas town 20 miles south of Fort Worth) in November 1970.
The aftermath of this meeting is widely known and has been well-documented in many books. Beverly McGann (nee Oliver) related to Gary Shaw how she had filmed the motorcade and the assassination from a point on the south side of Elm Street. As anybody who knows Gary would be aware, he did not just accept this stranger's story without question. No - being aware that she had not had an opportunity to see the Zapruder film (and The Babushka Lady), he took her to Dealey Plaza and asked her to indicate exactly where she had been standing on the fateful day. To Gary's amazement, she did not hesitate but went straight to the point where The Babushka Lady can be seen on the Z-Film.
The controversy over Beverly Oliver's claim to be The Babushka Lady has raged unabated from that day to this - and remains one of the most vehemently debated aspects of the Kennedy assassination mystery. Whilst there are parts of Beverly's account which I find difficult to understand, I firmly believe that Beverly Oliver and The Babushka Lady are one and the same person. Like many researchers of my acquaintance, on both sides of the Atlantic, I have frequently become involved in heated discussions (arguments?) concerning this question. I am delighted to report that no matter how involved some of these discussions have become, I have not yet ended up exchanging blows with anybody.
I have something of an advantage over many researchers, particularly those outside the United States, in that I have had the pleasure and privilege to meet Beverly Oliver and her husband Charles Massegee on several occasions. I like to think that we trust and respect one another and I am proud to call Beverly Oliver my friend. Perhaps it may be thought that this tends to colour my opinion that Beverly was The Babushka Lady. I would refute that and stress that by speaking with Beverly regularly over the past couple of years I have come to know someone who is, in my opinion, one of the most open and honest people I have ever encountered.