"One of the biggest mistakes made in the creation of the film was the depiction of the driver of the presidential limousine, Secret Service agent William Greer." -- John Costella (TGZFH P. 193)
So begins John Costella in the section of his article "A Scientist’s Verdict: The Film is a Fabrication" where he deals with the twin head turns of Bill Greer. It is a short section, comprising of only four pages. There is no analysis of the images concerned and Costella’s main reference is Noel Twyman’s book "Bloody Treason" pages 127-129 and Twyman’s Exhibts C2 + C3.
In the section of this article, entitled "Replicating the Twyman experiment at home" he says:
"I decided that it would be simple enough to replicate this experiment for myself – and, indeed, it is not too difficult for most people to perform." TGZFH P.194
John Costella’s main contribution to the book is entitled "A Scientist’s Verdict: The Film is a Fabrication". Within this article Costella develops a section within which he comments on, and supports, an observation that is contained within Noel Twyman’s book "Bloody Treason"; that twice in the Zapruder film driver Bill Greer turns both back and forward at a speed that is not humanly possible. John Costella might suggest, within his title, that his contribution to TGZFH is that of a scientist, however this "scientist" did not do the most elementary item of research: to check whether infact Twyman was correct in his initial hypothesis regarding these turns. The simple answer is that he (Twyman) is not correct and what is interesting is that the very images of the Zapruder film which Twyman includes in his book demonstrate that he is wrong. If the reader looks at the colour plate on which Twyman has a copy of Z 317 which he (Twyman ) also annotates and comments on how by this frame Bill Greer is facing forward, as well as indicating how impossible it would be for him to do so, it will be seen that at this frame Bill Greer is not facing forward. How Noel Twyman ever concluded from this frame [ which he included in his book ] that his subject ( Bill Greer ) is facing forward at this point is beyond this writer’s comprehension. As pointed out, this elementary item of research [ checking whether the hypothesis was indeed accurate to begin with ] was evidently not carried out by John Costella, however he did continue to describe this error not only as a truth but a further proof that the Zapruder film had been fabricated.
The basic hypothesis which Twyman expounded and which John Costella appears to completely support, is that between two Zapruder film sequences:
i. Z 302 – Z 303
ii. Z 315 – 317
Bill Greer’s head turns by approximately 120 -140º. There is dispute between researchers as to how great this turn actually is. Approaching a third of John Costella’s comment on these turns is taken up with some complex mathematical calculations that underline just how impossible it would be to the human body to make either of these turns within the time he specifies. It is a pity this scientist did not take an equal, or even greater time, to analyse whether the hypothesis, he is now supporting, stands up to serious scrutiny.
What follows is a description of the twin turns Bill Greer made just before and just after the fatal head shot. Within the description I will illustrate and comment on the errors that John Costella both made himself and failed to detect within the work of Noel Twyman.
There are two sets of images used in this description.
One set of images that are used are John Costella’s own "Combined Edit Frames" which can be found on Jim Fetzer’s Assassination Research website.www.assassinationresearch.com
They are listed as:-
Image 1 is the clear set detailing Z 300 - Z 308.
Image 1b is the set Z 300 - Z 308 which is commented on.
Image 2 is the clear set detailing Z 314 - Z 320
Image 2b is the set Z 314 - Z 320 which is commented on.
The frames John Costella uses are the complete frames and as a consequence it is not always easy to detect that what this writer describes in the commentary below is indeed correct. This is because by using the full frame, some of the details of Bill Greer are not sufficiently precise. As a consequence a second set of the same frames is included to allow the reader to compare the points made with a close-up version of the said frame. This set comes from the MPI DVD and is taken from the medium version of the film. There appears to be a degree of magnification on this version and with a consequence greater details can now be gained from the features of Bill Greer that were not possible in John Costella’s version. Significant brightness and contrast has been added to these frames to make the essential features of Bill Greer more clear. This set is not significantly annotated, and are labelled as follows:-
Image 1a is a clear set detailing Z 300 – Z 308.
Image 2a is a slightly annotated set detailing Z 314 – Z 320.
Images 1, 1a & 1b:-
The Images on Image 1b have arrows attempting to depict the direction Bill Greer is looking. The point of the arrow is focused on Bill Greer’s nose and the stem of the arrow attempts to demonstrate the direction the direction his head is looking.
In the commentary I will suggest the quantity I feel Bill Greer’s head has turned. These are purely suggestions. If anything, they are impressions from examining the frames.
At Z 300 Bill Greer is facing forward. The first turn is begun from this point.
It is clear that Bill Greer has begun his turn by this point. The reason why that can be stated is that we can see his nose as well as the point of the nose, neither of which is visible in Z 300. Further the angle of his right ear has changed. In Z 300 it is opposite the camera. In Z 301 it has now moved in a clockwise direction. Conclusion: between Z 300 and Z 301 Bill Greer has begun to turn to his right. Between Z 300 and Z 301 I suggest Bill Greer has turned by around 15º.
Between Z 301 and Z 302 Bill Greer appears to have turned to his right by approximately a further 30-40º. It would appear that he has turned, in total by this point, by around 50-60º. The evidence that makes that clear is that we see both the eye sockets of Bill Greer. That suggests the direction in which he is looking. It also means, if we can see both eye sockets, Bill Greer is not looking forward: it means he is looking towards his right. In Z 301 we could see Bill Greer's ear. In Z 302, the ear is much more difficult to see. We can see area where the ear should be, but we can't see the shape of the ear that we can see in both Z 300 and Z 301. That suggests that between Z 301 and Z 302 a further movement by Bill Greer has been made to his right. John Costella, Jim Fetzer and Noel Twyman would have everyone believe that, at this frame (Z 302) Bill Greer is facing forward. John Costella’s own "Combined Edit Frames" makes it clear that such a claim is pure nonsense. At this point Bill Greer is facing towards his right by around 50 - 60º.
It is true that the largest turn that Bill Greer makes is between Z 302 and Z 303. During this sequence Bill Greer appears to have turned to his right by somewhere around 50 - 60º. The evidence that makes that clear is also the eye sockets of Bill Greer. In Z 302 we could see both eye sockets, in Z 303 we can only really see the right eye socket. The left eye socket is blocked by the crown of Roy Kellerman's head. Further the position of Bill Greer’s nose and the direction which it is pointing indicates the direction that Bill Greer is looking. In Z 302 Gree's nose is pointing in the direction of the right hand windscreen frame. In Z 303 his nose is pointing towards the bubble top frame over the car. In addition, in Z 303 we can see the parting of Bill Greer's hair. To be able to see that means that we are also seeing the left hand side of his head. In Z 302 we can see where the parting would be on his head, but we don't see the parting itself. All these points suggest that between Z 302 and Z 303 a further movement has been made by Bill Greer to his right.
These two frames ( Z 302 and Z 303 ) are the critical frames for this part of theory that John Costella supports. Costella’s argument is that he ( Bill Greer ) is facing forward at Z 302 and that he turns between frames ( Z 302 and Z 303 ) by between 100 – 120º. Both propositions are wrong. Bill Greer is not facing forward at Z 302 and he does not move between Z 302 and Z 303 by anything like 100 – 120º. Also, implied in this theory is the notion that the turn is completed by Z 303. That also is nonsense, there are a further five frames to go before this turn is complete. At this point Bill Greer is around half way through his turn, he has quite a bit to go before he stops turning.
Between Z 303 and Z 304 there is most likely to have been a further slight movement to the right. However the amount of the movement is so slight, it might also be an error and between Z 303 and Z 304 Bill Greer may have made no further movement to his right.
Between Z 304 and Z 305 Bill Greer appears to have made a further movement to his right of approximately 10º. The evidence that makes this clear is again the eye sockets. In Z 304 we hardly see Bill Greer's left eye socket. It is hidden by the crown of Roy Kellerman's head. However in Z 305 we can clearly see Bill Greer's left eye socket. It is tempting to suggest that we can see this socket because Roy Kellerman has moved. Indeed Roy Kellerman has moved, but not forward: he has moved backward. So the fact we can see this left eye socket means that Bill Greer has significantly moved to his right. In Z 304 Bill Greer's nose is pointing towards the window behind Roy Kellerman. In Z 305 his nose is pointing towards the general direction of John Connally. Both the position of the left eye socket and his nose tell us, that between Z 304 and Z 305 Bill Greer has made a further turn to his right.
Z 306 – Z 308
Between Z 306 and Z 308, Bill Greer settles into his final position. In Z 306 and Z 307 he appears to sit back into the corner of his seat. In these two frames we see his body getting closer to windscreen frame behind him. The angle and direction of his face appears to be very similar to that seen in Z 305. There may be a further movement of the head, but it is difficult to say. In Z 308 he completes his settling position and also makes a further turn from of his head to the right from where it was in Z 307. The direction and position of his nose is different from that seen in Z 307. The position that Bill Greer takes up at Z 308 is approximately the same position we see him later in Z 314. There may be slight body changes, but essentially it is the same position.
In summary, therefore, Bill Greer's turn is not made ( as John Costella would like to have us believe ) between the two frames Z 302 & Z 303. Nor is it made between Z 302 & Z 304. The turn takes place between Z 300 and Z 308. In an internet posting John Costella suggested that the complete turn would require four or five frames to be humanly possible. This turn actually takes nine frames to complete ( Z 300 – Z 308 ). It is true that the largest movement is indeed between the disputed two frames ( Z 302 & Z 303 ). I have read some suggest this movement is in excess of 100º. It is a large movement, but it is not 100º, it would appear to be approximately between 50 – 60º. Also it needs to be borne in mind that this movement does not come at the beginning of the turn, it comes during the middle of the turn. Major movement of the head has already taken place before this particular movement takes place.
Images 2, 2a & 2b:-
The Images on Image 2b have arrows attempting to depict the direction Bill Greer is looking. The point of the arrow is focused on Bill Greer’s nose and the stem of the arrow attempts to demonstrate the direction the direction his head is looking.
In the commentary I will suggest the quantity I feel Bill Greer’s head has turned. These are purely suggestions. If anything, they are impressions from examining the frames.
During this frame we see Bill Greer in essentially the same position he was in when we last saw him in Z 308.
Between Z 314 and Z 315 there is a slight movement by Bill Greer to his left. It looks like it is somewhere between 5-10º.
In this frame we see a major portion of Bill Greer’s left hand turn to face forward. Between Z 315 and Z 316, Bill Greer appears to have turned to his left by around 40º. Where in Z 315 we could see the left hand side of Greer’s face, in Z 316 that is now hidden behind Roy Kellerman’s head. Bill Greer appears to be facing, more or less, in Abraham Zapruder’s direction and his nose is pointing to the frame of the right hand side window behind Roy Kellerman. We can see neither Bill Greer’s left or right hand ear, nor can we see the area the ears would be. However in Z 315, we can see Bill Greer’s left ear. Therefore there has been a significant turn by Bill Greer to his left.
Between Z 316 and Z 317 there has been a further turn by Greer of somewhere around 40 - 50º. Where the right hand of Greer’s face was visible in Z 316, all of his face is now blocked by Roy Kellerman’s head. However although we cannot see now see Greer’s left ear, we can see his right ear. His face appears to be pointing in the direction of the right hand windscreen frame beside Roy Kellerman. Since this Zapruder frame has both Kellerman and Greer looking in the general direction of the other, it has been speculated that either, or both, may be speaking to the other at this point.
However that is not the essential point of this frame, Z 317. To John Costella during this frame Bill Greer is now facing forward and has, since Z 314, made a turn to his left of around 100 – 120º. John Costella is in error in two ways.
i. By Z 317 Bill Greer would have turned by around 90º and not the 100 – 120º.
ii. Most damming of all, at Z 317 Bill Greer is not facing forward. He is still facing to his right by around 40 – 45º. That, after all is the whole point that John Costella is making. He ( John Costella ) states that between Z 314 and Z 317 Bill Greer turned so that he is facing forward by Z 317. Like Noel Twyman, before him, Costella suggests that no human being can turn 120º in such a number of frames. We get half a page of mathematics telling us why it is humanly impossible and what the "G" force would be if we actually did attempt it. And yet when we look at Z 317 we see that Bill Greer is not facing forward: he is still facing towards his right. He will not be facing forward for another three frames.
And if all that is not enough, John Costella’s own "Combined Edit Frames" show that Bill Greer is not facing forward. If he ( John Costella ) had done nothing else, all he had to do was look at his own frames to see that at Z 317 Bill Greer is not facing forward. That ought to have been enough to make him question four pages of his article.
Z 318 – 320
Two of these frames are very blurred and it is very difficult to be certain of what movement Greer is making. Z 318 would suggest that Greer has made some further movement to his left. Image 2a give the suggestion of Bill Greer’s right ear. I deliberate use the word "suggestion" because these two frames Z 318 + Z 319 and are considerably blurred and detailed descriptions are difficult to see. By Z 319, it is still clear that Bill Greer has not yet got into a position where he is facing forward. Again Image 2a gives the suggestion of his right ear and it’s position has certainly moved from that seen in Z 318. However by Z 320 Greer is back facing forward. During this sequence shots appear to have been fired and, by Z 320, we see Roy Kellerman has ducked behind the windscreen. These shots may well have slowed Greer’s movement to the left, we just can’t tell. All that can be said is that it takes until Z 320 for Bill Greer to again be facing forward. This turn takes a maximum of six frames ( Z 315 – Z 320 ) to complete. It is quicker than the first turn. That is to be expected, because there is now an urgency that appears not to have been present in the first turn.
Entitling his article "A Scientist’s Verdict: The Film is a Fabrication" it would be natural to expect that some sort of scientific approach had been applied to this work. That, sadly, appears not to be the case. It would appear John Costella has not examined the work of Noel Twyman, whose argument he both supports and champion’s.
The Zapruder frame Z 317 seen in Image 3 is used by Noel Twyman in his book, to demonstrate that Bill Greer is now facing forward at this point. The problem, as can be seen, is that this frame does not have Bill Greer facing forward by this point. How Noel Twyman could not see, in the very image that he placed in his book, that Bill Greer was actually facing towards his right at Z 317 when he ( Noel Twyman ) at the same time devotes pages to mathematical proof to why Bill Greer should not be facing forward, is beyond this writers comprehension. Twyman even went so far as to get two people to demonstrate how impossible it would be to do this and yet the very frame that Noel Twyman placed in his book shows that at this point Bill Greer is still facing to his right and is not facing forward. Just as important, John Costella’s own images demonstrate that this section of his article simply is wrong and does not stand up to scrutiny. John Costella’s own edit cut demonstrate that at Z 317 Bill Greer is not facing to his front but to his right; yet he devotes four pages of his article to demonstrating the impossibility for Bill Greer to be facing forward by Z 317.
John Costella starts this section of his article with the comment "One of the biggest mistakes made in the creation of the film was the depiction of the driver of the presidential limousine, Secret Service agent William Greer. TGZFH P.193" Actually the biggest mistake was not checking to see if this theory stood up to scrutiny.
If John Costella is so wrong in this part of his article, and indeed he is, it does not bode well for the rest of his article.