[From *The Dallas Morning News*, Jan. 24, 1995, pp. 13A, 20A]
By John Yearwood
As history tells us, Union soldiers tracked John Wilkes Booth to 
a Virginia farm and shot him days after he assassinated President 
Abraham Lincoln.
Or did they?
And how about Lee Harvey Oswald? Still don't think he was the 
lone gunman who shot President John F. Kennedy?
According to scenarios touted at the new Conspiracy Museum in 
downtown Dallas, the real Booth survived long after the 
assassination, and Oswald "died in an heroic attempt to save his 
president's life."
What's a person to believe?
That's up to you, according to Tom Bowden, the museum's 
"We want people to think. We want them to realize that there are 
other sides to the story," said Mr. Bowden, former executive 
director of the Texas Theatre Historical Society.
"If you think there are other sides to the story, here's the 
place to look and listen."
Those "other sides" frequently aren't backed up with facts, 
critics say.
"Some people will never believe that Booth was killed in 1865," 
National Park Service historian Michael Maione told *The Dallas 
Morning News* last fall. "I'm sorry, but they do not offer 
anything that is historically concrete."
The new museum -- a stone's throw from the Kennedy Memorial and 
about three blocks from The Sixth Floor Exhibit -- explores 
almost two dozen alleged conspiracies involving everything from 
presidential assassinations to international incidents to 
political scandals.
The museum opened last week in the Katy Building at 110 S. Market 
St., although it's only about two-thirds completed. Two key 
exhibits are still under construction, one of which will be 
finished in time for the museum's official opening Feb. 15.
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. 
Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for senior citizens and $4 for 
Until the exhibits are completed, visitors are directed to six 
kiosks with touch screens in the basement of the building. Topics 
examined include the Bay of Pigs invasion, Watergate and the 
shooting down of a spy plane by the Soviets in 1960.
Three-minute sound bites explore presidential assassinations and 
attempted assassinations -- and the "patsies" accused of 
committing those crimes.
The most notable examination, naturally, is that of the Kennedy 
assassination. It traces the life of Oswald and the release of 
the Warren Commission report.
"You must never forget that the Warren Report is a lie!" a voice 
booms through the television in Kiosk No. 3.
It goes on to "reveal" that Oswald, who was shot and killed after 
the assassination, was not really Oswald at all, but an imposter 
named Alek Hidell.
The imposter was later killed because he knew too much, the voice 
The video exhibit examines several other shootings, including the 
killing of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the wounding of 
President Ronald Reagan. James Earl Ray and John Hinckley were 
set up, the voice says.
But things get murky when it comes to the real question: Who done 
Mr. Bowden said the video exhibit was based on the work of long- 
time assassination researcher R.B. Cutler, who edits the *Grassy 
Knoll Gazette*, a newsletter published in Manchester, Mass.
The two men blame many of the conspiracies on the "Powerful War 
Machine," repeatedly referred to as PWM.
Mr. Bowden describes the PWM as "people intent on controlling the 
White House -- both political and business." When the museum is 
complete, four vultures in the lobby will represent the PWM, he 
Mr. Cutler, who has been studying the JFK assassination since 
1966, wasn't much more specific. He said the PWM is composed of 
bureaucrats in intelligence agencies.
"I hope people get the idea that what happened in Dallas was a 
coup d'etat by the government in Washington," said Mr. Cutler, 
who plans to spend Feb. 1 answering questions at the museum. "The 
people who did that are still in charge."
The JFK exhibit, which will be finished in time for the museum's 
official opening, is surrounded by a mural of Japanese brush 
strokes and symbols from the Orient to illustrate the various 
alleged conspiracies. Dallas artist Brandy Redd-Smith said she 
spent six weeks painting the mural, which extends 109 feet along 
the wall.
"I wanted it to be a peaceful environment from which to 
contemplate those horrible assassinations," she said.
The Japanese theme is used in each television presentation, which 
ends with the word *ahimsa*. The word roughly translates as "the 
truth shall set you free," museum officials said.
Mr. Bowden said he was pleased with the reaction to the museum. 
More than 140 people toured the facility last week, although it 
has gotten little publicity, he said.
Paula Stoliar of Buenos Aires visited the museum with two friends 
from Argentina. Ms. Stoliar said she has long believed that 
Oswald was falsely accused.
After the tour, she said she was more convinced than ever that 
Oswald was a "patsy."
"I didn't know too much about the story," said Ms. Stoliar, 21. 
"Now it has become clearer."
The second major exhibit to greet visitors as they walk into the 
building will be titled "Myth and Mummy," about the Lincoln 
Scheduled to open May 18, it will trace the whereabouts of Booth 
after the president was shot. Mr. Bowden said there is strong 
evidence that Booth was not the man Union troops hunted and shot 
12 days after the assassination.
"I have a lot of information from people who swear that John 
Wilkes Booth was alive long after the assassination and died at a 
hotel in Oklahoma," Mr. Bowden said. "This is interesting stuff."
Mr. Bowden said visitors will be asked whether they believe that 
Booth escaped, and the results will be mailed to Booth's 
relatives, who have asked a Baltimore judge to exhume his corpse.
"We are going to present the exhibit," Mr. Bowden said. "People 
can say yea or nay."