I firmly believe there is no corner of American history as fascinating and absurd as the preponderance of John F. Kennedy conspiracy theories. The shocking death of a president is sure to dredge up rumors, but JFK in particular was a hotbed for them. Perhaps it's because Kennedy may have been more celebrity than politician — the young, handsome son of a political dynasty who charmed America with his glamorous wife and socialized with the Hollywood elite. Gossip and rumors would naturally follow him, but when you add in a grisly assassination, it's too much. Americans desperately sought an explanation.
While there are thousands of government cover-up stories out there, the JFK assassination is like the Holy Grail of conspiracies. Now, more than 50 years since his death, people are still spending hours of their time and energy toward cracking the case, tracking down clues, and writing hundreds upon hundreds of books.
The facts of Kennedy's life don't particularly help to dispel the paranoid masses, either. We're still constantly learning new things that shift our perception of the beloved Kennedy administration, like his long line of notorious extramarital affairs that would make Bill Clinton blush. And there's still more information to come — in 2017, unreleased CIA papers about the Kennedy assassination are due to be made public.
No detail of Kennedy's life is too small to avoid scruple. Everything is examined. And admittedly, some of these theories may hold water. But some of these put the President Obama birth certificate theories to shame. Here are some of the most persistent of the JFK rumors, ranging from highly plausible to extremely unlikely.
Kennedy Was A Polygamist/Bigamist
Even before his death there were rumors that Kennedy had been married before. Rumor has it Kennedy got very drunk at a party in 1947 and ran away to marry his then-girlfriend socialite Durie Malcolm. Joe Kennedy, the forceful patriarch of the Kennedy clan, was apparently furious and had the marriage scrubbed clean. Kennedy and his brother Robert then used their political leverage to hide the records.
It's totally plausible this actually happened and that Kennedy was divorced when he married Jacqueline Bouvier in 1953. But conspiracists claim there is no record of divorce, so the only logical solution is that Kennedy married both Malcolm and Bouvier. Or did he ever marry Bouvier at all?
Kennedy Had An Affair With Marilyn Monroe — And Then Killed Her
This affair is probably definitely true. Though there's no official record or consensus, it's almost universally accepted Kennedy and Monroe had sex at least once at actor Bing Crosby's house. They were close after that, and given her notorious "Happy Birthday Mr. President" performance, no one in the country could really doubt it.
The killing part, however, is unlikely. Monroe died in 1962 of an overdose, and her alcoholism and dependency on drugs were no secret. However, conspirators believe Kennedy was worried Monroe would spill all his secrets, so he tasked his brother Robert with getting rid of her. The theory is Robert and some associates gave Monroe a lethal injection and posed her body to make it look like her death was an overdose.
Lee Harvey Oswald Had Help (Possibly From The KGB) In Kennedy's Death
The most popular theory is there was more than one shooter, and Oswald had help. A popular deviation of this idea is Oswald was hired or aided by the KGB and Soviet Russia. Oswald was a communist sympathizer, who had a pro-Cuban stance and even defected to Soviet Russia for a short while in 1959.
Kennedy Was Killed By Lyndon B. Johnson
Almost the entirety of this claim was made by a woman named Madeleine Brown, who claimed she was Johnson's longtime mistress and mother of his child. The Johnson family vehemently denied this claim, as well as the accusation that Johnson conspired to have Kennedy killed while visiting the vice president's home state of Texas. Some also accuse Johnson of aiding in the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.
The U.S. Military Killed Kennedy And Covered It Up
Some conspiracists believe the military ordered the hit on Kennedy because he had announced a desire to pull troops out of Vietnam, while military leaders wanted to increase troops. All of this is false. Kennedy was in favor of pulling out of Vietnam, but he never officially declared his intent or made any attempts to bring troops home.
The Mob Killed Kennedy
This one is a little bit more convincing when you consider the rumors that Kennedy made deals with mob leaders in order to get elected. But the best argument in favor of this theory involves Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who killed Oswald. Ruby had known mob ties and was possibly asked to clean up some loose ends and make sure Oswald was never able to incriminate the mob.
The CIA Killed Kennedy
As creepy as the CIA is now, through the 1960s and '70s, the CIA were incredibly mysterious and actually kind of spooky. It's no secret Kennedy was annoyed with the CIA and its failed efforts to kill Cuba's Fidel Castro. After Kennedy's death, CIA head Allen Dulles was appointed to a panel to investigate Oswald. Maybe the CIA framed Oswald because he was a Cuban sympathizer. Or maybe he was on their payroll.
Aliens Killed Kennedy
Maybe they didn't want him to find out what they were hiding on the moon.