The Umbrella Man is a man who appears in the Zapruder film, and several other films and photographs on the edge of the grassy knoll during the JFK assassination within Dealey Plaza.
An unknown bystander who has been dubbed "The Umbrella Man" has been the object of much speculation, as he was the only person seen carrying and opening an umbrella on that 66-degree, sunny day. As President John F. Kennedy's limousine approached the umbrella man, the man opened up and then pumped the umbrella above his head, then spun the umbrella rapidly from east to west as the president approached and passed by him.
Some have claimed that the Umbrella Man was involved in the Kennedy assassination. One commonly held theory is that the Umbrella Man was signalling the shooters, and he is depicted this way in both Oliver Stone's film JFK and an episode of the X-Files. A less common theory, held by L. Fletcher Prouty and others, is that the umbrella contained a poison dart fired at Kennedy to immobilize President Kennedy's muscles (his movements are seen to freeze and cease within two seconds of Z-225). During the 1970's investigations into U.S. intelligence agencies operations two C.I.A. Directors and the umbrella weapons system developer testified under oath that such an umbrella weapon had existed and been in development since the late-1950's, was capable of an accurate range of 100 meters, and could silently fire small darts to either paralyze or kill the target without the target knowing that it had been shot.
After an appeal to the public by the House Select Committee on Assassinations, Louie Steven Witt came forward in 1978 and claimed to be the Umbrella Man. He claimed he still had that umbrella and did not know he had been the subject of controversy. He said that he brought the umbrella to simply heckle Kennedy. John Kennedy's father had been a supporter of the Nazi-appeasing British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. By waving a black umbrella, Chamberlain's trademark fashion accessory, Witt claims he was protesting the Kennedy family appeasing Hitler before World War II.
Testifying before the HSCA, Witt said "I think if the Guinness Book of World Records had a category for people who were at the wrong place at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing, I would be No. 1 in that position, without even a close runner-up." Some conspiracy theorists are still skeptical of Witt's story, however, and do not believe him to be the true "Umbrella Man."
Some claim that a dark skinned man standing very close to the Umbrella Man between the Umbrella Man and President Kennedy was an assassination accomplice. At Zapruder film frame equivalent Z-202 this dark-skinned man was photographed facing the on-coming president with both arms down. By Z-225 (slightly over one second later) the same dark-skinned man shot his right hand upward quickly and extended in an apparent wave (even though his hand remains un-waving, suggesting a "Nazi salute"). In photos afterward, some theorize that the same dark-skinned man was photographed speaking into a walkie-talkie, and other photos seem to show something bulging noticeably from his back pants pocket. Witt claims that he never noticed that the dark-skinned man near him was holding anything.