David Mantik


David W. Mantik received his doctorate in physics from the University of Wisconsin and was a member on the physics faculty (as assistant professor) at the university before leaving for medical school. He completed his internship and residency in radiation oncology at LAC/USC Medical Center in Los Angeles.

He has also completed fellowships in physics at the University of Illinois and in biophysics at Stanford University, and a junior faculty clinical fellowship with the American Cancer Society.

Mantik has carried out extensive research into the assassination of John F. Kennedy. This includes detailed studies of Kennedy autopsy X-rays and the Zapruder Film. In 1993 Mantik disclosed that after examining the autopsy X-rays at the National Archives they had been altered and "that there were 2 shots which struck the head, and that the magic bullet is anatomically impossible".

Mantik, along with Robert Livingston, Charles Crenshaw, Ronald F. White and Jack White, contributed to Assassination Science (edited by James H. Fetzer). Mantik also contributed Paradoxes of the The Medical Evidence Decoded, The Zapruder Film Controversy and The Silence of the Historian to Murder in Dealey Plaza (2000) and The Dealey Plaza Home Movies to The Great Zapruder Film Hoax (2003).

Primary Sources

(1) David W. Mantik, statement (10th November, 1993)

Just before Halloween this year, I visited the National Archives on four separate days to examine the autopsy X-rays and photographs. While there I used a technique called optical densitometry - to study the X-rays. This technique has been available for many years but has never been applied to the JFK autopsy X-rays. It measures the transmission of ordinary light through selected points of the X-ray film. If I had measured thousands of points I could have constructed a three dimensional topographic map of the X-rays. The higher points on this map would represent the blackest areas of the X-ray film and would correspond to areas in the body where the most X-rays had passed through to strike the film. In a way, therefore, the information contained in the X-ray film is converted from two dimensions into three dimensions and is that much richer in detail. The range of peaks and valleys on such a topographic map would be expected to fall within a well defined range for a normal human skull. Any values which lie outside of this range - and especially those which lie unnaturally far outside - would not be consistent with ordinary skulls and would raise questions of authenticity...

I discovered... new evidence that the autopsy X-rays of President John F. Kennedy have been altered, that there were 2 shots which struck the head, and that the magic bullet is anatomically impossible.

(2) David W. Mantik, The JFK Assassination: Cause for Doubt, included in Assassination Science (1998)

One of the most amazing and serious oversights was the pathologists' failure to coronally section the brain. The brain was examined nearly two weeks later, thus giving Humes ample time to review standard protocols for this. With this much time to prepare, ignorance can hardly be the explanation. Is it conceivable that Humes would have undertaken such a momentous task without reviewing in detail standard protocols, especially since, by his own admission, he was not experienced in gunshot autopsies?

On one occasion Humes stated that the shot to the head came from above and on another he claimed that the anatomic data could not answer this question. The critics naturally wonder how the evidence could possibly have changed during this interval, or if Humes' memory were defective, how it could fail him on such a major question....

Dr. Michael Baden, who chaired the HSCA Forensic Pathology Panel, described the autopsy as "woefully inadequate" and noted that neither Humes nor Finck had ever done an autopsy involving a gunshot before! Although Finck was the designated expert, he had only sat in an office and reviewed records of US military personnel who had died of gunshot wounds. In view of the judgment required to reconstruct the reported two skull wounds, the pathologists' lack of actual experience with gunshot wounds seems germane.

(3) David W. Mantik, How the Film of the Century was Edited, included in Assassination Science (1998)

For photographic information to be accepted as evidence in court, the images must be vouched for; and their whereabouts ascertained at all times. The legal principle is that eyewitness testimony has priority over photographs. The principle was turned upside down by the battalions of lawyers who worked for the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) and for the WC. For them, against all legal precedent, the assumption was always the reverse: if the witnesses disagreed with the official view, it was assumed that they were in error or even lying. On the other hand, the photographs (and the X-rays, too) were assumed to be immutable monuments to truth. In a real trial, no competent judge would have permitted this illegal approach. In view of the astonishing absence of elementary record keeping for possession of the film, it is likely that no data obtained from the film could have been used in a trial. The paradoxes of the first two reenactments raise tangible concerns about the validity of the Zapruder film as evidence (timing issues, specifically). An attorney for either side could have emphasized that point in addition to the lack of custody if he (or she) wanted to keep the film out of court.

(4) David W. Mantik, How the Film of the Century was Edited, included in Assassination Science (1998)

A strong case can be made for extensive editing of the Zapruder film. In fact, the conclusion seems inescapable - the film was deliberately altered. No other explanation is in the same league, in terms of explanatory power, for the myriad of anomalous characteristics that are seen everywhere in this case. Many frames were excised, some individual frames were extensively altered, others were changed only enough to fill in for missing frames, and others were left alone. Frames that were excised were simply too embarrassing for the official story or contained troublesome edge prints. What is perhaps most remarkable, though, is that, even in the past several years, to say nothing of the past several months, yet more evidence has accumulated - all of it pointing toward alteration. One can only wonder what still remains to be discovered.

What can be made of the absurd paradoxes of (supposed) camera tracking errors that are totally inconsistent with what actually appears in the relevant frame? When the frame contents shift by enormous amounts, corresponding blurs must be seen. There is no cinematic magic that can avoid such realities. And what can be said about intersprocket magnifications

that are grossly different in two frames, particularly when tracking nonsense surfaces in the same frames? And now, thanks to Noel Twyman, we have the image of The Soaring Bird and of The Black Hole. These could have provided precisely the kind of reference points for pin registration that would be essential for frame to frame editing.

(5) David W. Mantik, The Silence of the Historians, included in Murder in Dealey Plaza (2000)

Between 1994 and 1998, the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) processed for release approximately 60,000 JFK assassination documents. Its staff also conducted new depositions and interviews with many medical witnesses, some completely new to the case. This wide panorama of fresh sources amassed a compelling case for a post-assassination cover-up in the medical evidence, an area heretofore almost totally ignored by historians. Inasmuch as the assassination is a major event of the twentieth century, and may well represent a turning point in American history, it is incumbent upon historians to understand and explain this event - as well as those that surround it. To date, however, a deafening silence has reigned on these matters, as historians have preferred to tolerate the harvest of The Warren Report rather than to cultivate their own fields.

Possibly inquisitive historians, naturally enough, have no craving to be tainted as balmy by the media paintbrushes, as well might befall them were they to admit publicly to such curiosity. The plain fact, though, is that this controversial issue frightens historians: most genuinely fear for their own professional prestige, and many fear subconsciously at what would gaze back at them from the subterranean depths of this case were they to peer too intently into the well of history. Given the unique nature of these events, and their profound impact on America, this fear is understandable. Ultimately, however, these issues must be faced honestly and responsibly. It is no longer sufficient merely to quote a lawyer turned journalist on these serious questions, nor can the matter be left to the most amateur of professions - the media.

Given the manipulation of the autopsy materials (which were controlled by the Secret Service), the post-assassination cover-up necessarily required the assistance of key government personnel, probably at a high level, possibly even the highest. The growing body of evidence for this conclusion is now simply too great to ignore. Heretofore, the historians' tacitly donned mantle of innocence radiated an aura of genteel credibility, but that mantle has become threadbare. If historians continue to deny the deceitful reality underlying the post-assassination cover-up, they, too, risk becoming accessories after the fact. The bar of history is even now calling them to the stand. The time for a response has come.

If you have ever been tempted to believe that President Kennedy was killed by a lone, demented gunman named Lee Harvey Oswald, then Assassination Science is the one book which will convince you, beyond any reasonable doubt, that there was indeed a conspiracy and a cover-up. Completely lacking the wild speculations that have marred some books on the shooting of Kennedy, Assassination Science sticks to the hard facts, interpreted by medical and scientific expertise. (James H. Fetzer, Catfeet, ISBN 0 8126 9366 3, £9.00)