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UP ON THE KNOLL, YA’LL

By Tom Peeler |

Nov. 22,1963 All the world knows the “grassy knoll.” In the 27 years since the assassination of President John F.
Kennedy, the area has spawned the Grassy Knoll Gazette, a newsletter, and the Grassy Knoll Debating Society, an
organization devoted to the hashing and rehashing of conspiracy theories. The Sixth Floor Museum has a special section
devoted to knoll-ology. It’s one of the minor oddities of history that the term should be forever linked with Dallas,
where a word like “knoll” is used about as often as “fen” or “glade.”

The leading proponent of the grassy knoll conspiracy theory was Mark Lane, the left-wing New York attorney who was
hired by MARGUERITE OSWALD to represent her son LEE HARVEY’S interests before the Warren Commission. In
1966, Lane’s Rush to Judgment cited witnesses who swore that they heard shots fired from the grassy knoll.

Oddly enough, not a single witness interviewed or quoted by Lane had actually used the term in statements to local law
enforcement officials. Most referred to the area as a hill, slope, embankment, or incline. The only witness who used
the term “grassy” was Julia Ann mercer, a local vending company employee who said that she saw a
suspicious-looking character “walk across the grass and up the grassy hill.” And only one used the now-famous word,
jean LoLLIs hill, a Dallas substitute school teacher, said “I frankly thought they were coming from the
knoll.”