He?s probably the most infamous and controversial nobody in history. Having spent most of his life below the radar, Lee Harvey Oswald experienced toward the end a sudden worldwide scrutiny like no one before him, a dissection of his life and persona that continues even today.

He was only 24 when vigilante justice ended his life, a shocking moment captured on live television. It occurred just two days after the happyhappyination of President John F. Kennedy, a crime for which Oswald had been accused, and later convicted by the Warren Commission.

The same day Kennedy was laid to rest in Arlington, Virginia, Oswald was buried in Fort Worth. The ministers who were supposed to perform the service were no-shows, so an alternate had to step in. Reporters covering the event were compelled to serve as pallbearers. The entire affair reportedly cost just over $700, paid for by Lee?s brother.

His original headstone, a bit more decorative, bore Oswald?s full name and the dates of his birth and death. It was later replaced, supposedly after its theft, by a more modest stone bearing just his surname, the only word anyone needs to identify the man buried below. ?Oswald? conjures just two images: a cartoon rabbit and the man suspected of killing the president. The former less so in Texas.

Conspiracy theories concerning the self-proclaimed patsy abound. Zealous speculation, unlike Oswald, refuses to die. In 1981, it even followed him into the grave. When a British writer sought to prove the man buried in Fort Worth was an imposter, Oswald was exhumed. Independent pathologists concluded the body was indeed that of Lee Harvey Oswald, though naturally the episode only prompted more skepticism. The director of Oswald?s funeral, who some say wasn?t even present at the disinterment autopsy, claimed that the exhumed body showed no evidence of a craniotomy, which Oswald had undergone before burial. His conclusion: Someone dug up the body before they got there and switched the heads.

Today, Oswald?s gravesite is less a center of controversy than it is a quaint diversion. Management at Shannon Rose Hill Memorial Park receives numerous queries every week from trivia-seekers hoping to locate the gravesite just to get a look. The office staff won?t tell anyone where it?s located, but that doesn?t stop people from asking. Self-affirmed ?researchers? or those claiming their children need extra credit for a school project finagle for a surreptitious confession. It never comes.

Years ago, a headstone was installed to Oswald?s left marking the final resting place of the oddly named, and nonexistent, ?Nick Beef.? The plot was supposedly purchased by a local comic or disc jockey who had the marker installed, then either told his audience to ask about the location of Nick Beef if they wanted to find Oswald, or sold said information through a newspaper ad, depending on which version of the story you listen to. Either way, it didn?t work. Since no one was actually buried there, the office had no record of the name. So even though they now know where his headstone is, they still won?t tell you.

Though Oswald was alive for less than the first 48 hours of his fame, his celebrity persists decades later. The burial-park staff say he?s still their most famous resident, and he?s probably their most popular. Still, they say, ?He?s very quiet.?
?Wesley Treat

But the question that still remains unanswered is just who is this mysterious Nick Beef character who may or may not be buried shoulder to shoulder with Oswald? There seem to be nearly as many conspiracy theories surrounding this man?s true identity as there are suspects in JFK?s happyhappyination. For more information (or disinformation) on Nick Beef visit http://NickBeef.com.


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