"In assuming 72 identities, did  Jesse go romping about the
  country in invisible, astral form keeping his  eye  on  the
  post-Civil  War  Confederate  Underground  and his own vast
  financial empire?"

The above rhetorical question is  asked  in the introduction to a
most unusual book, sent to me by a reader of  Conspiracy  Nation.
(*Jesse  James  Was One Of His Names* by Del Schrader, with Jesse
James  III.   Arcadia,  California:   Santa  Anita  Press,  1975.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 74-33962.)

Yes, I know that the grave  of  Jesse James was recently dug open
and that the body therein had DNA tests run on it.   And  yes,  I
know  that  the  DNA tests prove that it was *really* Jesse James
buried in Jesse James' grave.  But maybe they are lying to us, or
a further hoax was put  in operation against the scientists doing
the DNA tests.  (The original alleged hoax is  that  Jesse  James
faked his death in St. Joseph, Missouri on April 3rd, 1882.)

Here  is  the  story,  as alleged in the book.  It is left to the
reader to determine -- Who is hoaxing who?

Right after the Civil War, Jesse James supposedly got in a  knife
fight with a Mexican.  Before James stabbed him dead, the Mexican
bit  off part of his finger.  This becomes important later on, as
an identifier.

Jesse James was reportedly part of a secret society, "The Knights
of the Golden Circle."  According to Norma Cox, in her book, *The
New Spoilers*, Jesse  James  is  also  linked  with the notorious
Albert Pike.  Cox has the 12 charter members of the Golden Circle
as including Jefferson Davis, Bedford Forrest, Jesse  James,  and
William  Quantrill.   Some say Albert Pike was the creator of the
Knights of the Golden Circle,  but  Cox doubts it.  "Important to
remember about such secret organizations is the  fact  that  only
the men at the top know the truth..." (Cox, 5)

Because  James  and  his  gang were being hotly pursued by lawmen
(and  the  heat  was  increasing  due  to  copycat  crimes  being
routinely attributed to  the  James  gang), Jesse James allegedly
arranged to fake his death.  But one of his gang,  an  illiterate
black  named  John  Trammell,  decided he'd leave a coded message
hinting at the  truth.   Trammell,  according to Schrader's book,
got some wet  bricks,  and  a  friend  helped  him  scratch  some
messages  into  them  before they dried.  One brick "contained an
image of a Spanish dagger, the  numerals 777, KGC [Knights of the
Golden Circle]  and  JJ  [Jesse  James]..."   Trammell reportedly
buried the bricks in St. Joseph, Missouri, and  later  exclaimed,
"Just  wait  'til  they  find them St. Joe bricks!"  (The alleged
bricks were discovered in 1966.)

It is known  (*Come  Retribution*  by  William  A. Tidwell; ISBN:
0-7607-0381-7) that the Confederacy had  a  sophisticated  covert
intelligence   apparatus,   a  sort  of  "secret  service."   The
uninformed bias might be  that  the  Confederate spy agency could
not possibly be as sophisticated as, for  example,  the  "modern"
CIA.   In  some  ways  that's  true,  for  example in the area of
electronics.  But in other  ways  --  like cunning, common sense,
and a limited but  superior  level  of  classical  education  (of
deep-down  learning)  --  don't  be so sure that we "moderns" are
smarter than our forebears.  Yes,  our ancestors did not have the
"advantages" we have,  like  television  and  a  state-controlled
"education"   apparatus.    But   it  is  our  own  conceit  that
unreflectingly assumes we "moderns"  *must*  be "so much smarter"
than those who came before.

So maybe some things have been slipped by us.

Almost immediately after  James'  "death"  in  1882, rumors began
surfacing that  he  was  still  alive.   Eleven  days  after  the
supposed event, the Liberty Tribune reported:

  Certain  parties  still  aver that Jesse James is not dead,
  and intimate that the man  killed and buried was not Jesse,
  but someone inveigled into Jesse's house and killed, to get
  the reward [of $10,000].  Such a conclusion would implicate
  Mrs. James,  Mrs.  Samuels,  Governor  Crittenden,  Sheriff
  Timberlake,  Police  Commissioner  Craig  and  others  in a
  scheme of fraud  and  perjury.   We  believe nothing of the
  kind and have no doubt of Jesse's death. (qtd. in Schrader)

But Governor Crittenden, according to Schrader, was a good friend
of Jesse James, and "Mrs. James" was *not* really Mrs. James, but
a Mrs. Bigelow.  She was of questionable repute, and  was  bribed
to  give  out  a  fake  story.  The whole "identification" of the
corpse and subsequent hasty burial was rigged, says Schrader.

The real Jesse  James  is  supposed  to  have  finally emerged in
Lawton, Oklahoma on May 19, 1948.  An array of witness  testimony
is  marshalled purporting to prove that "Colonel J. Frank Dalton"
was in fact a quite aged Jesse James.  Knowledgeable readers will
recognize the name Ray Palmer; Palmer looked into the  story  and
felt  there  was something to it.  In the September 1968 issue of
Search Magazine, Palmer writes:

  I signed a contract with Jesse to write his life story, and
  he handed me a shoe box containing ten-thousand dollars  in
  fives,  tens and twenties to cover the cost of publication.
  I never published the book, for a reason I will explain.  I
  still have the  cancelled  check  I  sent  back to Meremac,
  Missouri, when the contract was broken. (qtd. in Schrader)

(Palmer says he discovered that "Jesse" had signed contracts with
three other parties  to  publish  the  same book.  Palmer writes,
however, that he is convinced that "Jesse was really Jesse,  that
he had repented for his life of crime...")

But hold on, the story gets stranger . . . .

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