The Undeliverable Package

by Gary Murr


What I am about to outline, briefly, is from notes regarding this issue that grew out of discussions between myself, Fred Newcomb and the late Perry Adams back in 1972.

This brown paper parcel that showed up at the "dead letter" section of the Irving, Texas Post Office, had been labeled, as described by Jerry, and it was handwritten. Originally the word Dallas had been on the ostensible address, but this had been scratched through with a pencil and Irving, Texas (gray box) was written beneath the original Dallas inscription.

The FBI agent who examined this find indicated that when he was shown the parcel, it "...was partially opened at the time of discovery [Dec. 4, 1963]." (CD 205) As Jerry's writings indicated, this "parcel" contained a brown paper bag " at both ends." The address was non-existent and, importantly, the parcel lacked any postage. Commission Document # 735 indicates that the FBI thereafter launched an investigation to determine the contents of the now-empty parcel, but that is where the trail ended. As far as I know, the results of this FBI "investigation" have never come to light. Of course, none of this was mentioned in the Warren Report.

Fred Newcomb had the parcel, bag etc. photographed at the Archives, and when he received the enlarged detail of the handwritten address label, he and Perry Adams were of the opinion that the writing was that of Lee Harvey Oswald. This is one potential lead which would be nice to pursue, with handwriting experts.

Where does this all tie in? Fred and Perry came up with a hypothesis, the nuts and bolts of which I will herein present for everyone's edification.

One of the items listed on the inventory of those articles seized during a search of the Paine residence on November 23, 1963, was the following:

1(one) notice of attempt to deliver mail, card dated November 20, 1963, to Mr. Lee Oswald, 2515 West 5th Street, Irving, Texas - a parcel to be picked up.(CE2003;24H348)

It is reasonably inferred from this entry that on November 20th, a postal official tried to deliver a "parcel" to Lee Oswald at the Paine residence. Finding no one home, he did not leave the parcel (On this date Ruth Paine, Marina Oswald and the children were at a dental clinic. CD 1546, pp 102-103). Why did the postal employee not leave the parcel? The Postal Inspection service determined that on November 25, 1963, a postage-due parcel for Oswald was in the Irving Post Office "...and was delivered about November 20 or 21."(CE1799, 23H420; also, CD296, pp 1-5)

From this information, we hypothesized that perhaps the parcel referred to by the DPD and by the Postal Inspection Service might have been the same one. As Fred Newcomb indicated to me, mailing a parcel to yourself can be useful in authenticating time and location of mail service; it is also a way to copyright and protect an idea or invention; and, it is also a way to keep important papers from unwanted hands/eyes for a short period of time.

The Dallas Postal Inspector indicated that, in his opinion, the now missing "parcel...had been determined to be a newspaper or magazine, other identity unknown."(CD 735, p. 256)However, Newcomb/Adams posited that the parcel was also the "appropriate size for a notebook or manuscript type material." It is a fact that Oswald kept, at time copious notes, notebooks and manuscripts on his past experiences.(See the testimony of Pauline Bates, 8H330-332; Bates Exhibit No. 1, 19H149) Newcomb and Adams advanced the hypothesis - and that is all it is - that perhaps Oswald, for reasons unknown, took precautionary steps to protect himself from pending events by mailing materials to himself to keep them from confiscation. The non-existent address was intentional. With the proper identification the individual to whom the parcel was addressed - "Lee Oswald" - could retrieve it from the Irving P.O. at a later date. Because the attempted delivery was on November 20, and the parcel lacked a postmark from another city, it is likely that who ever "dropped" this package into the mail system did so on or about November 19, 1963.

There may have been an unexpected twist, however, from Oswald's perspective - if he was the originator of the parcel. The Detroit Free Press reported that Ruth Paine indicated she phoned Oswald at his Beckley Street rooming house on the evening of November 20, 1963, and told him of the aborted parcel delivery.( Detroit Free Press, December 7, 1963. p.3) If it was Oswald who initiated this parcel drop in the first place, this would have been, at the very least, puzzling. Newcomb theorized that perhaps Oswald expected the parcel to end up in the dead letter section of the Terminal Annex building. After all, the parcel was originally addressed to a fictitious location in DALLAS, not Irving. Someone else changed the destination, and thus the package ended up in the dead letter section at the Irving depot. Perhaps Oswald was wary of the parcel being susceptible to delivery in Irving. Perhaps if this scenario is true it could have influenced Oswald's trip to Irving on Thursday. Who knows?
All of this is, of course, speculation, and should be rightly identified as such. There is some indication that Oswald's postal boxes were being monitored. I have always wondered why Harry Holmes was given such a prominent role in the various interrogation sessions which LHO was subjected to. Did he know more than he revealed? Was Oswald's mail being monitored? If we knew the answers to those questions, we might know the answer to the mysterious Irving parcel.

One possibility; perhaps a sharp-eyed postal clerk spotted the non-existent "Nassaus St." address and instead of immediately condemning the parcel to the dead letter section checked change-of-address forms. If that were the scenario, then he/she would have found a card dated September 24, 1963, which instructs that all mail for Oswald was to be sent to 2515 West Fifth Street, Irving. Someone stroked out the original "Dallas" designation and penciled in the "Irving, Texas" address. Did the parcel get re-routed to the Irving postal substation this way? Why was the entire Irving Street address not included? If true, is this indicative of federal knowledge of Oswald's current mailing whereabouts? It appears as though the parcel was delivered to the Paine address strictly on the strength of the name - "Lee Oswald" and the "Irving, Texas" designation.

Gary Murr / March 28, 2000

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