Friday, November 27, 2009

"Hey"-- Those Signatures Sure Look Familiar!!

You know, with such good samples of authentic Bonnie and Clyde signatures now available to view-- I guess I'm surprised it took so long, for what are likely new bogus signatures of the iconic Depression Age outlaws to surface. Unfortunately these days, so many autograph mills, seemingly have no shame and hesitation in offering suspect signatures-- often with the backing of suspect "authenticators". Apparently this is so often the game played today, in the autograph biz. "Hey, we don't really know if signatures are real-- but we'll sell 'em anyway, since we can pay someone who'll say they think they could be real."

Well with that mentality, I suppose almost anything goes-- which unfortunately appears to be the case now. "Certificates of authenticity" seem as common now, as the bathroom tissue which lines the shelves in the back room of some autograph concerns-- and unfortunately is often worth just about as much. In fighting this scourge of non-professionalism, and what many might feel is a not so veiled attempt at thievery-- the old adage holds true-- "buyer beware". Now there "are" many reputable dealers, where you can purchase verified historical signatures. But as mentioned last time, even entities such as Christies seem now to be more about the money, in "hedging"-- when it comes to diligence in assuring that authenticity rules-- within signatures transactions. I was going to provide an outline of B&C signature analysis, as well as a detailed history concerning this latest case for this post-- however as it's turned out, I don't feel I need to.

Long story shorter, I was recently made aware of the existence of purported dual signatures of B&C (the signatures on purple paper shown above)-- which others have commented and I agree, look remarkably like the dual signatures of Bonnie and Clyde I possess. These scripts are located in Las Vegas-- and have been offered for sale by a memorabilia outlet called The Art of Music. Upon obtaining an image of these dubious scripts, I spent much time and energy detailing to The Art of Music's management-- why the signatures they are selling, logically are not authentic.

Of course I was pleased, when TAOM seemingly acted with caring and diligence-- in pulling the signatures from sale and view, based on my concerns and pending analysis which I suggested be performed. They initially agreed that scrutiny was needed, but based on the scrutiny conducted-- apparently agreed only to a point. This shortfall became evident, when their good will gesture, quickly turned from caring to insult-- when they rolled out "authenticator" Christopher Morales, who's reputation seems anything but clear. Instead of providing any sort of comprehensive forensic analysis for The Art of Music's B&C signatures, Morales issued a cursory at best, one page certificate. Without providing a "shred" of detail concerning a true forensic analysis, regarding these alleged B&C signatures-- Christopher Morales simply stated that "The individual characteristics and writing habits are consistent with the known writings of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker".

A fox in the chicken coop??-- My response to this supposed authenticators jumble of noncommittal and less than meaningful words-- was that by definition, any forger would be happy to have the backing of Mr. Morale's comments. A careful read of this one line certification (which lacks the benefit of "any" forensic documentation)-- reveals it would indeed support any good forgery-- as well as authentic signatures. Let's see if I can make up a "convincing" statement of my own?? The signature's examined, possess an uncanny similarity to known B&C exemplars-- found within various sources thought reliable. I like my "certification" better-- but neither statement really says anything concrete from a forensic perspective.

More than a slight issue-- Upon examination, there's quite a bit of written criticism available of Mr. Morales and his techniques or lack of them. Indeed from reading quoted statements concerning Morales, his reputation as a document examiner seems questionable at best. Principals at a number of auction and memorabilia houses have expressed opinions in this regard, such as Rob Lifson of Robert Edward Auctions who stated "we will never use Morales". In commenting on Christopher Morales, Mike Hefner of Leland's is quoted as saying "I can't tell you that I've ever seen anything he's authenticated that is actually real". Not exactly glowing words of praise.

Morales was also apparently caught in an HBO "Real Sports" investigation sting, when HBO sent several forged pieces to Mr. Morales-- who authenticated all the forgeries provided him. Concerning his part in HBO's investigation into a number of "authenticators"-- Morales has said he felt he was "set up". My response to that would be, what difference does it make where forgeries come from-- a trained forensic examiner should be able to identify them. Most recently Morales has been involved in a Beatles memorabilia controversy, involving his certification of an alleged Beatles signed guitar-- which some Beatle experts are disputing.

Within his credentials, Morales lists among his experience-- being a Faculty Adviser and Adjunct Faculty Member, of the Forensic Science Department of George Washington University. However according to an article published by
concerning self styled authenticators, they quote M. Schanfield, Phd Professor and Chair, Department of Forensic Science (GWU) as somehow needing to clarify Morales' affiliations with the University.

Upon learning of Mr. Morales, one quote of his really caught my eye. He has apparently said that as long as he has an exemplar, he can determine the authenticity of any signature-- "handwriting is handwriting". I find that to be as cursory as statement, as his forensic analysis seems to be. From working with Forensic Document Examiner Emily Will, I can tell you-- there are often good reasons not to be so cut and dry when examining signatures. A person's signature can change over time. Also human factors such as age, alcohol or drug use, sickness and stress can often come into play within a person's signature. As far as having an exemplar to work with, I guess-- as long as the exemplar chosen isn't fake itself. More on this later.

My take concerning Mr. Morales from what I've seen reported on him, is to state that if these revelations are so, then as Ricky Ricardo once said-- it seems this "authenticator" may have some 'esplainin' to do. As far as I'm concerned, with all the negative comment and controversy apparently swirling about concerning Mr. Morale's reputation as a document examiner, for me the conversation is over-- The Art of Music can stand down, and their "authenticator" can have a seat.

As I've been witness to some of the best forensic professionals and their techniques, in discerning the authenticity of my signatures-- I've come to expect an exceptionally high level of forensic professionalism and skill, in dealing with B&C signature matters. I suppose some of the seemingly self styled authenticators I've run into lately-- can only "wish" to dream of having such skills. As this is the 2nd in a series of expose's, concerning a flurry of alleged and unverifiable Bonnie and Clyde signatures-- which seem to be popping up within trendy memorabilia stores and internet signature sites, let me state my opinion concerning the Art of Music's B&C signatures.

Above you will find 4 examples of B&C signatures. The top 2 are considered authentic. The "Your son" salutation and signature, is from Clyde's Nov 18th, 1931 letter to Cumie Barrow-- written from The Eastham Prison Farm. The dual signatures below that Clyde signature, are the dual signatures of Bonnie and Clyde-- which I've owned since 2006. As many are familiar with the quality of forensic signature analysis and material science testing performed on The B&C Signatures-- I don't feel I need to re-state that wealth of analysis here. For those unfamiliar with the testing performed on my signatures, please review the signatures link>> blog right. Needless to say, the real dual signatures of B&C, have "legitimately" been tested 9 ways to Sunday, with impressive results.

The other scripts shown above, are not thought to be genuine. The yours truly example, hails from the purported Clyde letter to Henry Ford, which at this point-- most seem to believe is not authentic. Please note the striking similarity of the purple signatures-- (as I find myself calling them now) to both my signatures and the purported Clyde signature from the Henry Ford letter. After 4 years of intensive research into the signatures of Bonnie and Clyde, I'm so used to looking at B&C signatures, I can usually pick out which genuine or fake B&C signatures were used to create ones thought bogus.

To me, the purple signatures, appear to be a cross between both real and fake B&C scripts. The positioning of these signatures seems to mimic my signatures. Also Bonnie's signature seems a close recreation of the Bonnie Parker script within my authentic dual B&C signatures. However Clyde's signature appears to employ 2 distinctly different elements-- a very close recreation of the Henry Ford letter signature (minus Clyde's pseudo middle name)-- combined with the unique and completely distinctive "Dallas, Texas" tag which appears within only "one" verified B&C artifact. In fact, the inclusion of this Dallas, Texas addendum-- likely reveals these alleged signature's falsity. As noted within The B&C Signatures investigation, the "only" true example believed to exist of this most unusual Clyde Barrow trait-- appears within my B&C Star Filling Station signatures. As L.J. "Boots" Hinton has provided an affidavit, detailing the source of knowledge concerning this "incredibly" rare personal Clyde Barrow trait (Ted Hinton who knew Clyde)-- it's my belief to copy this trait in a virtually identical way within TAOM signatures-- is a dead giveaway, to these signatures almost surely being recreations.

Indeed, the Dallas, Texas tag beneath Clyde's name, is a "key" element-- and one which those who wish to profit, from offering non-authentic signatures need to wary of. Prior to 2006, it's apparent that only "one" living individual (L.J. "Boots" Hinton)-- likely knew of this "uniquely" rare Clyde Barrow trait, which until now appears only within the authentic B&C signatures. Little did those know, who purport the Las Vegas B&C signatures to be authentic-- that they were walking head long into the teeth of a buzz saw, concerning that element within their signatures. Also note, that the lines of both "purple" signatures appear to be of similar manner and writing pressure-- as if written by one individual. This was not true of my dual B&C signatures, where a discernible depth differential in writing pressure was noted between Bonnie and Clyde's signatures. Indeed in real life, and knowing the slight physical stature of Bonnie Parker when compared to Clyde Barrow-- this would make perfect sense.

When I first saw the image of these alleged B&C scripts, I thought it apparent, that someone had attempted to copy The Bonnie and Clyde Signatures-- but with the twist of blending copies of both authentic "and" non-authentic known B&C signatures. It should be obvious, that it's important to know which B&C signatures are considered real-- before stating any are consistent with known examples. Shouldn't it be the goal to compare only "authentic" signatures to a purported signature?? Within a "very" loose sense, I suppose some could say that any B&C scripts mimic any known exemplars, whether real or forgeries. But that doesn't prove anything. Without detailing "which" known and authentic signatures are being compared to an alleged one, and exactly how-- in my view you cannot portray any judgment short of that as having merit. Then I would say inks, writing instruments and paper analysis needs to be conducted-- as part of material science testing-- to eliminate forgery. To me, creative semantics does not an authentication make.

During my many years in studying the signatures of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, I've come to terms with a few indisputable facts. One of those facts is-- that real Clyde and Bonnie signatures are as rare as all get out. In the 75 years since their deaths, I believe just 9 Clyde Barrow signatures have come to light which are believed authentic-- and just "3" complete Bonnie Parker signatures are thought to be genuine. Indeed an authentic Bonnie Parker signature, may be one of the rarest scripts "ever" sought-- perhaps as rare as William Shakespere's script, which is generally considered the rarest signature on earth. As far as B&C's signatures together are concerned, to my way of thinking-- there's one additional dual set I've seen only an image of, which "could" have a shot at being real. These scripts appear on what seems to be, an old drug store lid of some sort, which was imaged a few years back. If only this example could be located, it could be tested for authenticity. But without this example being found, we can only go with what we know for now-- concerning authenticated signatures.

Some additional facts concerning the Art of Music's purple or rose colored Bonnie and Clyde scripts, which should be known are-- that "no" provenance has been offered concerning any reported source of these signatures. I have asked politely numerous times for this provenance-- but without a response. At first I was told, if I were to purchase the signatures-- I'll learn the provenance. I believe that statement to be unethical. There's no way any responsible and discriminating signature collector, would pay nearly $7500. for signatures they didn't know the provenance of in advance. My belief is as no provenance has been offered, that no provenance is known-- concerning the alleged B&C scripts written on purple paper.

Speaking of money, the asking price of these signatures $7350.-- flies in the face of reality concerning both previously offered and currently available authentic B&C scripts. There are 2 verifiable Clyde Barrow signatures available now for purchase-- Clyde's letter to D.A. Winter King, which is being offered for $95,000. and Clyde's November 18th, 1931 letter to Cumie Barrow which is available for $35,000. Those are of course singular Clyde signatures without Bonnie's signature. For those interested, no matter where my dual B&C signatures travel to be viewed-- they are required to be insured for well more than double, the Winter King letter asking price. Links to these available Clyde Barrow signatures can be found here--

The Art of Deception?? I would hope not. I trust The Art of Music is a reputable firm, who may have just been fooled by one. But I have pointed out to The Art of Music, my feelings as to why I believe they are offering in this case-- signatures which may not be authentic. Unfortunately in response, the best they've been able to do in attempting to justify their position-- is to employ the services of an "authenticator" who's documented and controversial circumstances, seem to create more issues than they solve. I must have made some impression on this memorabilia concern, but perhaps not enough of one. As I own a registered copyright concerning my dual B&C signatures, I am now looking into further options-- in order to protect the integrity of a legitimate pair of B&C signatures.

There's yet another in this series of B&C signature expose's yet to come, so look for that soon. My thanks to those who have expressed their opinions, on these posts concerning questioned B&C signatures. I find it heartening, that so many seem interested in this aspect of B&C History.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Blanche Barrow Items to be Offered--

For those of you who missed the Heritage Gallery's Blanche Barrow Auctions, held in Dallas in 2006-- I have exciting news. Through special arrangement with the Estate of Blanche Caldwell Frasure, it is indeed my pleasure to announce that additional items from Blanche's Estate-- will soon be offered for sale. These offerings will be made via just 2 outlets. A select group of personal items, will be offered exclusively here through The Bonnie and Clyde History Blog-- and it's planned that a wide range of other wonderful items, will be offered through e-bay. This special group of auctions, will be known as The Blanche Barrow Auctions.

Provenance of these items can be assured, as they are coming directly from Blanche's Estate. As I'm sure many would be honored to own something from Blanche, all are welcome to ask questions of me concerning these upcoming auctions. The opportunity to own anything from a Barrow Gang member, has been exceedingly rare. So look for more information as it becomes available, concerning this exciting chance-- to own personal items from such an historic figure as Blanche Barrow.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Re-Emergence of a Bonnie Artifact-- Or Not??

This is the first in a series of expose's-- meant to document recent B&C related signature accounts. As I am one who craves historically based finds, I am always primed with anticipation-- when a suspected new find is revealed. However, in the case of this alleged artifact??-- and also concerning a rash of mysterious cut B&C signatures which have appeared lately-- I don't feel there's much basis to believe in their purported authenticity. My recounting of each of these stories along with the evidence presented, will reveal why I consider these new offerings-- to be less than genuine.

In September of this year, I was contacted by a collector from Canada, who had purchased the photograph shown-- from Christies auction house in New York for $7375. The following was the Christies auction listing--

Lot Description
Bonnie Parker

Exceptionally rare, signed photograph of Bonnie Parker of the famous gangster duo, "Bonnie & Clyde," signed and inscribed in black fountain pen To Esther, Bonnie Parker.It is believed this special inscription was made to Esther L. Weiser of Texas whom was the best friend of Blanche Barrow, the sister-in-law of Clyde Barrow (who was married to Clyde's brother Buck). It was Esther, who after Blanche's death, found her memoirs detailing the time that she and her husband Buck spent with Bonnie and Clyde before they themselves were arrested. A connection can be drawn from these details suggesting that Blanche may have asked Bonnie to sign this photograph to her friend Esther during their time together. The original wire photograph with a press credit stamped on the verso pictures Parker posed with a pistol held to her hip and one leg lifted onto the front fender of the "getaway" car used during their 1930's notorious crime spree. Bonnie and Clyde were both killed by police officers on May 23, 1934. 6½x8½in.

Upon viewing this photograph, my mind raced back in time to my B&C Signatures Investigation. Of the few purported Bonnie Parker signatures known in 2006-- the one script "not" available to view, was said to have been inscribed on an 1930's photo sold at auction years ago. During my inquiry, I had been unable to locate any image of this olden photograph, even with the aid of a major auction house privy to auction databases. So whether or not this newly auctioned photo and signature are authentic, I'm excited none the less-- after many years of studying the signatures of Bonnie and Clyde, to see this image. I believe this could well be, the mysterious Bonnie Parker photo with signature known from years ago-- which has now re-surfaced.

However with that said, I immediate noted a problem with this photo's provenance. As I know Esther Lorraine Weiser, I knew she couldn't have been the Esther depicted on this photo-- and mentioned so prominently in forming the family link to Blanche, within the photo's provenance. Why you say?? Because although it's true that Lorraine as she prefers to be known, was indeed Blanche's close friend and did find and preserve Blanche's memoir-- she was only 7 at the time of Bonnie and Clyde's deaths, and didn't meet Blanche Barrow until 1953. So the very first thing I could do in assisting both the nice lady from Canada (who trusted in this photo's provenance) and Lorraine-- was to contact Lorraine on behalf of this woman, to make her aware of this situation. In response, Lorraine provided an clarification via e-mail for Christies, which I forwarded to them-- stating that in reality, she couldn't have been the Esther this photo was allegedly signed to.

But then a funny thing happened on the road to disclosure. The lady from Canada sent me what appeared to be a "2nd" auction listing she found, for the very same "one" of a kind Bonnie Parker photo-- with a virtually identical description and provenance being offered by an internet auction house. Only this time the asking price was $15,000. How could that be?? That's what I said!! I contacted this auction concern called Got to Have It, to inquire of it's owner as to how they could have the same photo for sale-- which was purchased from Christies, and in the possession of the woman from Canada. As of course logically, there cannot be 2 of the very same item-- unless one or both were non-authentic, it didn't surprise me when this other entitie's owner-- didn't respond to 2 requests for information and clarification.

Now having gone through the extensive processes I have, in authenticating the dual Bonnie and Clyde signatures I possess-- and in having worked with some of the finest forensic experts in their fields-- I know a thing or two about authentic Bonnie and Clyde signatures. I could not state the signature which adorns this newly surfaced photo is genuine. However, there are a number of concerns I've noted-- which I feel call into question the authenticity of this piece. First, it appears to the naked eye, that 2 different inks may have used to write the salutation and Bonnie signature on this photo. Also the wire service stamp on the verso of this pic, shows it to have been printed in New York. One would need to reconcile, how a photo made in NY, could have been signed by Bonnie within the southwestern U.S. during the narrow window of time-- which comprised B&C's reign of terror?? These aspects along with this photo's now unknown provenance (since the stated provenance is wrong)-- to me makes this signature's authenticity, a more remote possibility.

However, as I know full well what it's like to be on the buying end of a controversial signature purchase, I encouraged this buyer to do as I did-- and have this photo analyzed by accredited experts. Who knows, even though this Bonnie signature seems to vary substantially from now known and authenticated examples-- with it not having been forensically scrutinized-- there's still the outside chance to back the integrity of this signature. The question becomes, even though the photo's provenance is wrong-- and the image's creation seems to lessen the likelihood of authenticity, might this signature still be genuine?? I hope very much this photo's owner will find out.

A discernible disappointment for me in this case, was Christies response to their being made aware of having sold an historical photo and purported "rare" signature for nearly $7500.-- in which the provenance was proven wrong. This 243 year old and respected auction house's response, was they noted it was "believed"-- the photo was signed to Esther Weiser. Well I would ask who believed that??-- and made Esther and Blanche key to the provenance, which certainly aided in enhancing the possible authenticity of this signature. Also Christies didn't believe, this lot was a questionable historical piece, and said they sold it as a photograph of Bonnie Parker. With all respect, that's not what Christies' lot description seems to say. I pointed out to them, that a 1930's wire service photo of Bonnie, similar to one say of Amelia Earhart, might sell for perhaps $500. Let's be real-- the only reason this photo of Bonnie sold for what it did-- was due to it's signature.

There's more interesting B&C signature controversy to come-- so stay tuned.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cast For The Story of Bonnie and Clyde-- Rounding Into Shape

I've heard again from Tonya Holly, who says they are working around Hilary Duff's and Kevin Zeger's schedules-- and are slated to begin filming in January. Tonya directed me to a website, which lists the updated cast for the movie. So for all who've expressed support for this exciting upcoming production, here is the cast as it exists now--

Hilary Duff--Bonnie Parker.. Kevin Zegers--Clyde Barrow.. Thora Birch--Blanche Barrow (rumored).. Drew Fuller--Buck Barrow.. Brendan Fletcher--W.D. Jones.. Linc Hand--Raymond Hamilton.. Matt Dallas--Henry Methvin.. Cloris Leachman--Cumie Barrow.. Rance Howard--Henry Barrow.. Dee Wallace--Emma Parker.. Kate Maberly--Billie Parker.. Michael Madsen--Frank Hamer.. Cody Kasch--Joe Palmer.. Lee Majors--Lee Simmons.. Taryn Manning--Mary O'Dare.. Jack McGee--Mr. Methvin.. Natalie Canerday--Mrs. Methvin.. Peter Coyote--"Smoot" Schmid.. Tom Humbarger--L.C. Barrow.. Shawn Ashmore--Ralph Fults.. Richard Tyson--Bob Alcorn.. Donnie Fritts--"Maney" Gault.. Tess Harper--Governor Ma Ferguson.. Lily Matland Holly--Marie Barrow.. Muse Watson--Mr. Pritchard.. Dale Dickey--Mrs. Pritchard.. Dan Beene--Mr. Bucher.. David "Shark" Fralcik--Big Ed Crowder.. Richie Montgomery--unknown role.. Danny Vinson--Bud Russell.. Lindsay Pulsipher--Cousin Mary.. Bob Penny--Doctor.. and Emily Fitzpatrick--Waitress.

My thanks as always to Tonya Holly, for her gracious willingness-- to keep the loyal viewers of The B&CHB, informed on the latest to do with Cypress Moon's production of The Story of Bonnie and Clyde.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Latest B&C Polls Revealed

In a much needed return to history-- here are the answers to the latest batch of B&C Polls. $18. was the correct amount for 60 hours work on Clyde's Proctor and Gamble pay receipt (30 cents per hour). Within one of Clyde's newspaper war letters to Ray Hamilton-- Clyde notes he doesn't trust Mary O'Dare and Hamilton based on Hamilton's persistence in wanting O'Dare to go into town alone, when all were together. According to accounts noted concerning the Joplin Shootout, one of the last events at Joplin-- was Trooper Grammer leaving Harold Hill's house, after calling for backup. It's said as Grammer exited the house, The Barrow Gang was driving away. Concerning Dexfield Park, 72 bullet holes were reportedly found in Ed Stoner's 1933 Ford Sedan, after the Dexfield Park shooting stopped.

Also regarding Dexter, this next one was a touch tricky, in that including the 2 revolvers present-- it's said there were 36 pistols found in the Barrow car after the shootout. The Wellington question, had to do with the distance the Barrow Gang car traveled-- when it left the road and crashed. Although this distance is now less, in 1933-- the distance to the Red River bed at Wellington was believed to be at least a 30 foot drop. As the Red Crown Tavern burned in 1967-- it was 34 years until the end of the road, for that B&C landmark. And finally in hopefully a most interesting question-- concerning the February 1st, 1934 bank robbery at Knierim, Iowa-- The Fort Dodge Messenger and Chronicle noted "It has been learned since the bank robbery that three men and a woman were in the bandit's car when it raced out of Knierim after the robbery. The woman, it is believed, is "Suicide Sal" Parker, the cigar smoking gun-woman, who is Clyde Barrow's companion."

My thanks to Winston Ramsey for the Dexter gun layout pic. I hope all enjoyed this latest edition of the B&C Polls. Please look for another challenging group of B&C questions, to close out November right. Thanks as always, for your participation in the polls.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Respect-- Versus The Right To Know

As many are aware, I have wanted for some time to do a respectful article on Buster Parker. The reason is simple-- there have been repeated calls over the years, for information regarding Bonnie's brother from those interested in Bonnie and Clyde History. But even with this heightened interest, little is known of Hubert Nicholas Parker. In May of this year, I gave a talk at Gibsland-- where I highlighted numerous accounts from the now public Dallas FBI files on Bonnie and Clyde. One of these accounts involved Buster, and his U.S. Bureau of Investigation interview concerning the outlaws.

I especially wanted to speak of this newly released account, for the benefit of Buster's daughter-- who was present in the audience that night. I wanted to recount Buster's reported offer to put Clyde on the spot to save Bonnie. Now many might feel this gesture on Buster's part completely logical-- however the facts concerning the Parker's Bureau interview and Buster revelation, hadn't been revealed prior to release of FBI File 26-4114. I thought the re-telling of this account, was important for the historians gathered-- and also felt it might provide a source of pride for the Parker family. All went well that night, and from my viewpoint continued as such-- until months later, when I asked to learn more of Buster. I wanted to learn more if I could, about the character of the man-- so that in recounting my Gibsland info here, I could help provide additional insights into a B&C historical figure-- who has been shadowed in obscurity for so long.

Even though my focus was a respectful biographical approach, and even though I asked politely-- difficulty arose with the family apparently feeling I was being intrusive in wanting to learn more of Buster. Even as such, a
poignant overview containing many sensitive details concerning this gentleman-- was provided to me by a family member.

Within the telling of any history, sometimes there are places you just can't venture-- out of respect for others. And when historically based confidences are shared, just as in most cases in life-- confidences should be upheld. As many know, I've spent much time over the past year or so-- fighting the "good fight" for Bonnie Parker's reputation, against a couple of authors (both past and present)-- who in my view have made it a point not to be respectful, and to malign Bonnie without cause, justification or valid evidence. In response, some have further knocked Bonnie-- in asking why I would protect the reputation of a killer?? and someone who had such little reputation to begin with. I have felt those to be crass comments, made by some unaware of the true history of these outlaws. Then of course, we transgress into the argument of how Bonnie should be treated, based on the realities of her actions.

Conversely, there are those who are glad I've taken up this fight for Bonnie-- against some less than diligent tellers of fiction. These feelings have revolved around the point, that no matter Bonnie's faults and involvement in this history-- Bonnie didn't deserve to be slandered. And so the debate rages. It seems sometimes you just can't win-- and you're damned if you do, and damned if you don't. But let me say loud and clear, that I have no regrets in supporting Bonnie-- when it's been the right and honorable thing to do. And for the record, the Parker family has thanked me for my help in this regard. For that overture on their part-- I wish to say how much I appreciate those kind thoughts.

With many often protecting closely held information regarding a number of B&C subjects-- you might think that invariably a philosophical tug of war could evolve, between the element of respect and people's historical right to know. My feeling concerning this is simple. Where "historical" matters are concerned, "at some point" before the truth is lost-- the truth should be revealed. Now considering trusts that could be involved, that may take some time. But eventually, I would prefer to see the truth come out. I'm not sure people with an insider's view of the truth, should have the right to leave history wrong. However pertaining to purely "personal" info concerning historical figures and their families, just as with your family or mine-- that knowledge should be a family's business-- and should be respected. With the way things are today concerning "reality everything"-- I'm sure many feel my views archaic, but those are my old school values none the less.

Some have apparently expressed concerns that I would even write a Buster Parker post. But as I plan on doing little differently from last May's Buster expression in Gibsland-- I wouldn't worry. As you'll see, the post which will appear soon-- is not at all about slinging dirt. That worry has surprised me, as much of my entire being-- has been dedicated to fighting against those who have slung B&C dirt. Indeed many expressions from me, concerning combating scurrilous rumor and innuendo-- can be found here and elsewhere. My strong and consistent actions concerning this subject, and over a considerable time are a matter of record-- and haven't wavered. I may have been told a goodly amount concerning some issues surrounding this post-- but that was neither my goal nor my choice in being told. And rest assured-- that certainly doesn't mean I would reveal matters, which in my humble view shouldn't be revealed.

Rather what will follow shortly-- is the story of a brother, who apparently loved his sister very much. Enough to risk a killer's wrath, and stand up for his family's honor-- against what he felt was wrong. The upcoming post concerning Buster, was always meant to be one in a series of articles published here-- concerning the B&C informants, which I discussed at Gibsland. As such I've posted to the blog, articles concerning Bailey Tynes, Hattie Crawford, Informant B, The Sowers Informant and soon Buster Parker. I have also posted here, remarkable unknown insights into Bailey Tynes and his involvement in B&C History-- which Tynes family members gave me permission to reveal. My thanks again to the Tynes family for being so open, in contributing such important knowledge to this history. Concerning Buster Parker, I will be able to relay some basics, but it's the family's wish that more not be known.

Even 75 years later, there seems to be a staunch sensitivity concerning the telling of B&C History. In my view, sometimes this sensitivity is warranted and sometimes it's not. I always encourage those who have valuable information which could change this history to be more correct, to please let it be known-- without advancing prolonged reasoning as to why this cannot happen. I am sensitive to the fact that confidences and family concerns "are" indeed important. Also there may be personal concerns, which can inhibit revelations with the greatest intention of finding daylight. After all, we're all human. But when you stop and think about it, time can be the great enemy of truth. So when the time is right, I call on all who can provide reliable untold accounts of B&C History-- to make their knowledge known.

The Buster Parker post, concerning his early 1934 Bureau of Investigation interview will be up soon. This post will include brief insights into the man, learned from various sources including public access programming-- but will also remain respectful to the wishes of the family-- and stay true, to my standards of right and wrong. I feel I should have no qualms in presenting important aspects of B&C History-- especially ones already accessible to the public. Some might wish their relationship to history, as dictated by events which occurred so long ago-- to be different. In a way for some, I wish that could be true as well. But history is what it is, as determined by others who lived before us. And for those of us who tell of history-- doesn't that same reality, hold true as well??

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Sowers Informant-- The Charlie Stovall Theory Faces New Realities

It's Sunday morning-- I've got my tea, and here we go. I had a spirited discussion last evening, with someone I respect immensely within the telling of this history. It seems the case that lately, I must be terribly controversial with my statements concerning B&C History. Either that, or perhaps it just might be-- that some beliefs once thought sacred, are now harder to reconcile in the face of new evidence.

Invariably-- almost any discussion concerning the Sowers ambush will turn to the informant, rumored since November 1933 to have been a reality. Last night's discussion was no different, with the conversation focused on Charlie Stovall-- as perhaps being the man who without knowledge of their identities-- put B&C on the spot. Some have maintained that Mr. Stovall in seeing suspicious characters near his land, alerted Ed Castor-- who met with "Smoot" Schmid and the boys-- which led to the Sowers ambush. The Charlie Stovall theory advances the notion that good police work, which included the break of Charlie alerting the authorities-- resulted in the Sowers waylay. The Dallas FBI Files paint a much more involved picture of Sowers events. I would politely suggest it likely, that the good police work in question-- included the use of a well placed informant, from within or close to the families.

A number of documents from that FBI file, which remained confidential for 75 years-- support the ambush being a well planned trap which took some time to develop, "and" which benefited from insider information. It's noted Dallas Deputy Sheriff Bob Alcorn, had an informant close to either the Parker or Barrow families-- who supplied information concerning B&C clandestine family meetings. To test the strength of their informant's information, Sheriff Schmid and Deputy Alcorn, spied on 2 family get togethers with B&C in advance of Sowers preparations being made. Convinced their informant's knowledge was good, apparently the ambush was on, for the next B&C family get together.

Based on the Bureau's informant (Red Webster) who knew "Smoot"-- the U.S. Bureau of Investigation had spied on Schmid and Alcorn spying on B&C. It's spelled out within a file document, that the Bureau chose not to act against B&C at either initial clandestine meeting-- out of respect for Schmid's upcoming ambush attempt. So with all respect, I don't know at this point how it can be thought that Charlie Stovall was the key Sowers protagonist. Despite Mr. Stovall's daughter doubting her father's participation-- he my well have contacted Ed Castor, which further aided the ambush. However, in my view, Mr. Stovall could not have known in advance the details of the 2nd Sowers meeting held the night after Cumie's birthday celebration. Nor could W. D. Jones-- who was in jail and likely unable to be helpful, regarding this particular family rendezvous.

Now Marie apparently made it clear, that Sowers was the only time B&C had met with their families in the same location twice. But I've also heard it said that in recent years, that assertion was rebuffed-- in stating the location of the 2nd night's meeting, may in fact have been different from the first. Either way, Mr. Stovall's comments could have proven useful. However for my money, there's just too much specific information within the FBI files to be ignored-- concerning the Sowers informant. The informant admittedly was said to be close to the Parker or Barrow families, and without much doubt-- information provided, led a Sheriff's posse "precisely" to where B&C arrived the night of November 22nd, 1933.

Ah but now we get to the good part-- the credibility of the FBI Files. It seems "when needed"-- the credibility of the Dallas FBI files is placed in doubt to support arguments made. These arguments are almost always long held beliefs, that the FBI Files might shatter-- in revealing their long held secret information. I find it "preposterous" to believe that those files which were meant only for internal use, and designed to aid in the successful capture of B&C by documenting events which occurred, were falsified. If the Bureau released misinformation "to the public"-- in an attempt to either snooker criminals, or aggrandize their successes in the face of failures-- I could see that being true. That form of propaganda should then be discounted, as likely holding little validity. But secret internal files, meant for their own use-- being made less useful by lacing them with falsehoods. I just don't think so. That makes no sense to me what so ever.

I say with the greatest respect, that those with well entrenched beliefs need to be willing to accept change, when new and credible evidence dictates that change is warranted. And for those who harbor secret information regarding Sowers or other B&C historical accounts, which could change this history to be more correct-- I would hope at some point, they will consider advancing such knowledge. I understand family elements can come into play. I also understand, there are confidences involved which are hugely important. Believe me when I say, that I too know considerably more than I can tell concerning some B&C subjects-- so that holds true for me as well. However in the future, there will likely be times when the release of information withheld, "can" be made-- and when those times are right, I encourage all with important B&C information-- to please make it known for this history.

As always, I would welcome you comments.