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The Mystery of Lee Harvey Oswald's Double

Updated on July 1, 2018
Lee Harvey Oswald Arrest Photo
Lee Harvey Oswald Arrest Photo | Source

Oswald in Two Places at Once

On Nov. 9 1963, a man named Lee Harvey Oswald showed up at a shooting range and began practicing marksmanship. He caused quite a bit of consternation by firing an unusual weapon which according to witnesses shot a ball of fire out of the barrel when it was used. It was a different weapon to the one Oswald would use a week and a half later to purportedly shoot President John F. Kennedy.

A week later he returned to the rifle range and shot at another shooter's target causing an argument. He also shot bullseyes on each visit, which would put paid to the idea that Oswald was not a very good marksman. With the commotion this man caused on both visits, it seemed that this person was doing everything in his power to call attention to himself.

Shortly thereafter on Nov. 22 1963, President Kennedy would be assassinated, and the people who were at the shooting range quickly realized that Oswald had been there at the range. In fact the numerous witnesses insisted that it was him. However the whereabouts of the real Lee Harvey Oswald on those two days was already known. He was at work on one of the days when he was supposed to have visited the shooting range, and was at home writing a long rambling letter to the Russian embassy on the other day.

The Warren Commission investigating the assassination had no choice but to come to the conclusion that all the witnesses that interacted with him at the range were mistaken. This unusual discrepancy has never really been explained. If that was the only appearance of Oswald's double then it perhaps could be written off, but this person using Oswald's name had shown up elsewhere before November 22nd.

One Too Many Oswald's

Earlier on November 9th, before the first incident at the gunnery range, likely the same man showed up at a car dealership to take a test drive. Once again the man stated he was Lee Oswald. He then proceeded to drive recklessly, at one time going over 70 mph. Afterwards he chatted with the salesman, noting that he would be coming into a great deal of money in a few weeks. The salesman and numerous employees later corroborated that the man who took the test drive was Oswald.

But again the real Oswald was at home in the boarding house he lived in. Besides which, the real Lee Harvey did not know how to drive. The Warren Commission, satisfied that Oswald couldn't have been there quickly wrote it off as mistaken identity. However the witnesses were numerous and insistent that it was.

In fact, one too many Oswald's had been turning up for some time before the assassination. A Harvey Oswald appeared in Austin at the Selective Service office on September 25th, when the real Oswald was in Mexico. This person complained about finding employment difficult because of his Marines discharge. A man claiming to be Oswald drove to a furniture store with wife and children in tow because they also sold and repaired guns. Once again Oswald did not drive, and his whereabouts on that day were known, and he was nowhere near the furniture store. Neither apparently was his family. And yet witnesses came forward after the assassination to insist they had seen him with his family while they looked at furniture.

A fake I.D. with the name Alex J. Hidell found in Oswald's wallet.
A fake I.D. with the name Alex J. Hidell found in Oswald's wallet. | Source

Oswalds' Strange School Days

It gets even stranger if you note the interviews with two men that went to school with Oswald at different times. A man named Richard Warren Garrett went to 5th and 6th grade with Oswald, and then went to the same high school. Garrett told the Warren Commission that the Oswald he knew in grade school was not the same person he went to high school with. He claimed he didn’t recognize him, and that Lee Harvey was considerably shorter than he remembered him.

A similar claim was made by Edward Voebel who attended Jr. high school with Oswald, and noted that after a fight with another boy Oswald had lost a tooth. A Life magazine photograph in 1964 shows Oswald with a missing tooth. And yet an autopsy of Oswald stated that the body had no lost or missing teeth. There are literally dozens of these inconsistencies throughout the years where two Lee Harvey Oswalds seemed to be around the same areas at the same time.

An Explanation?

Is there an explanation for these odd sightings. Many researchers who have studied the JFK assassination have claimed that there were two Oswalds. There was Lee Harvey Oswald, a former marine (and possible covert CIA operative), and “Harvey Oswald”, an immigrant boy from New York who spoke fluent Russian, was also an ex-marine, and was inches shorter than the 5”11 Lee Harvey. If this is to be believed, the two boys attended schools in the same places, even switching places with each other at Beauregard Junior High School in New Orleans in the 8th and 9th grade.

It was “Harvey” that went to live in Russia for awhile, and couldn't drive. Lee Oswald meanwhile was said to speak no Russian at all, and seemingly (if he was the one showing up around the Ft. Worth area) could drive. It would have also been the original Lee Harvey Oswald who was going to the shooting range among other places to set up the patsy “Harvey Oswald”. It's an interesting theory, and there is a fair amount of evidence to support it, but it is unproven.

Since that fateful day in 1963, the arguments and accusations have flown back and forth over who had actually shot the President. Many agree with the Warren Commission's findings that a lone gunman was responsible. Others insist that it was a larger group of people that planned the assassination. Hundreds and hundreds of books and articles have been written on the subject over the years, but the conflict over the final solution still remains. At this point the final answer may never be known. The story of Lee Harvey Oswald's double is a little mystery, an oddity if you will, that has been denied but never adequately explained.

Did LHO have a Double?


Popkin, R. (2003) - The Second Oswald : Boson Books (originally published in 1966).


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    • mio cid profile image

      mio cid 

      5 years ago from Uruguay

      interesting topic i hadn't heard of it before.and we will probably never know the truth about the Kennedy assassination.good hub!


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