What was David William Ferrie’s role in the conspiracy to kill President Kennedy? Did he play a role to maneuver Lee Oswald into place, so that he could be set up as patsy, and take the fall for a wider-web of conspirators most sinister? How could Ferrie have managed to totally fool the FBI in his interview from November 25, 1963? And why did David die in a shroud of mystery (on February 22, 1967) a mere two week after Jim Garrison broke ‘The New Orleans Connection’ wide open?
You can rest assured, I don’t know the answer to any of these questions, but this is why I’m penning a few words, to break the shroud of ineffable dubiousness that continues to haunt Mister Ferrie’s shadow of a persona, 44 years after his death. David’s only equal in mysteriousness is, of course, Lee Harvey Oswald. In light of this observation, the possibility that these two men hung out together in New Orleans (during the summer of 1963) makes a good deal more sense to me. ‘Birds of a feather, flock together.’
Knowing full and well, I will never get anywhere with my efforts to unveil the truth about David Ferrie, his identity and motives behind his extraordinary behavior, without laboring in meticulous research. Therefore, I devoted 8 hours of my precious time in reading and studying about Ferrie this morning, starting at 4 AM CST. There’s a great deal of information (about DWF) on the internet, the Wikipedia entry is quite good, and I now have my very own copy of Me and Lee by Judyth Vary Baker.
So I’m attempting to gain a command of what is factual about Ferrie’s life. I will say, however, the amount that’s in dispute must run at around 90 %. Okay, so maybe I exaggerate somewhat to make a point, but just about anybody in the know (regarding Ferrie) recognizes the ‘quizzical quagmire of indignation’ that comes across from those who want to isolate David Ferrie as a nobody, who really didn’t have anything to do with Oswald or with JFK’s assassination, for that matter.
I must confess, and this is an act of faith on my part, but I find myself to favor the Jim Garrison camp, where they unraveled so many tangled threads of connivance (to kill the President) right on their home turf of New Orleans, some 3-4 years postdating that Dark Day in Dallas. With this leap of faith (Ferrie himself was a devout Catholic) in what Garrison uncovered in 1967, I also find Judyth Vary Baker’s story to be credible. In Me and Lee she really colors in the picture that Jim Garrison only begins as an outline.
Naturally enough, it would be nice if we could verify what Ms. Baker says about Lee and David in that hectic summer, but most of her account has to be taken on her word as truthful. I’m able to do this, because what she says never contradicts what Garrison has already told us, but (Jim’s version contains) slightly less detail. Oswald and Ferrie worked for the CIA. Ferrie worked for the Mafia also. Lee did so more indirectly.
After it was all over with, Ferrie called Judyth, and warned her to maintain absolute silence. “If you want to stay alive, it’s time to go into the catacombs. Promise me you will keep your mouth shut!” This is just speculation, but I suspect that once David saw what happened to Lee on the 24th, he too must have feared for his own safety. Especially, if we consider the possibility that Ferrie’s perceived role (as he imagined it) was to fly Lee out of harm’s way, conceivably to Mexico or Central America.
But this wasn’t the case. Lee had to go, since he knew way too much. Lee had even met Carlos Marcello one time at the 500 Club on Bourbon Street. It must have dawned on David ‘that Sunday,’ he knew even more than Oswald did. He must have realized then and there (when visiting Houston to examine the Winterland Skating Rink), his days were numbered. As luck would have it, Ferrie managed to live for 39 more months free of the Grim Reaper’s icy sickle!
I will call your attention to a paper titled David Ferrie’s Suicide Notes (and will link it for you as well) by John McAdams. Two notes written by Ferrie, and found in his apartment after his perplexing death, are reproduced in full in John McAdams piece. The first one doesn’t particularly raise suspicions of suicide, but the second note leans in that disturbing direction. Four theories are presented to explain David’s death, but none explain what happened with any conviction or proof.
I tend to believe that Ferrie had a stroke (which is summarily deemed as natural causes) out of sheer fear that he would be eliminated at any moment. He was so utterly paranoid he’d be killed by Marcello and his bunch, which includes rogue elements of the CIA (a vehement faction of anti-Castro agents), that he had a stroke from chronic worry and doses of fear that we’ll never even begin to fathom.
Okay, so Joe Pesci is a little over the top in interpreting this scene in JFK, but I wouldn’t imagine he was too far off the mark in what really occurred just two weeks before Ferrie actually perished. How could knowing you’re gonna get it soon not be dramatic! If these telling documents surrounding Ferrie’s peculiar demise is not enough to tickle your curiosity, then take a close gander at a FBI report, where David tells a million lies, and the FBI never seems to notice!
One shocking thing is for sure, how could the FBI not have raised a red flag when David openly intimates that he is working with crime boss Carlos Marcello, as an ‘adviser’ to his deportation trial? How is Ferrie helping Marcello, by flying him out of exile in Guatemala after Robert Kennedy had him deported from the United States? Come on, FBI! Moreover, David openly connects himself with Sergio Arcacha Smith (allegedly contracted by Marcello to overthrow the Castro regime, so that the Mob could reclaim their rights to gambling and vice in Cuba).
How could the FBI fail to see these startling correlations, when interviewing Ferrie just three days after the assassination? They couldn’t even begin to connect the dots and see the contours of a vast plot, a web of intrigue that transfers from New Orleans with ease and grace. Unbelievable! But Jim Garrison brought it out into the light of the sun in February of 1967.
Jim also was pulverized by the critics, became paranoid (and rightly so!), and lost his focus once Clay Shaw was acquitted. Even today we know so little about what DWF was up to. This is due to the impeccable training he acquired from the CIA, that taught him how to conceal his comings and goings, and to made certain he had a cover story to throw over the top of what he was really up to.
FBI Interview of David Ferrie 11/25/63