A bolt action rifle leans against a corner of Jim Marrs’ office. It sits crowded amid a horde of Civil War memorabilia and a broad wall of books.
“Can you fire off three rounds in six seconds?” he asks. “I’ll give you one cock.”
The rifle is an exact replica of the Carcano rifle allegedly used by Lee Harvey Oswald to assassinate President John F. Kennedy Nov. 22, 1963, in downtown Dallas.
The difficulty of firing such a rifle so quickly to kill the 35th president of the United States is a cornerstone of his 1989 book “Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy.”
From the beginning, the official story never sounded right to Marrs.
“Kennedy was killed in Dallas on Friday, and we’re told it’s by one lone nut,” he said. “I’m watching TV on Sunday, and another lone nut steps out and shoots him, and I’m like ‘Wait a minute. What’s going on there?’
“I’ve interviewed more than 100 people who were in Dealey Plaza at the time, and they all tell the same story. They said, ‘There was one shot, and then a pause and then two shots, bang, bang, right together.’ You don’t get a bang, bang with a bolt action rifle.”
Within a couple of months of its release, filmmaker/director Oliver Stone contacted Marrs’ publisher. Stone used the book as part of the basis for his 1991 film “JFK” along with Jim Garrison’s “On the Trail of the Assassins.” Marrs’ book catapulted into the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list.
“One of the reasons for the success of my book ‘Crossfire’ is I explained a lot of the gaps left out in the official version, and it’s still being filled in.”
Marrs taught a course on the Kennedy assassination at the University of Texas in Arlington from 1976 to 2007.
“Back in the ’60s and the early ’70s when I was telling people there was a conspiracy to kill John Kennedy, I was the nut and the conspiracy theorist. But let me tell you something. Conspiracy comes from Latin conspirare, which simply means breathe together or act together.”
From magic bullets to the Aurora alien
Marrs, 67, was born in Fort Worth. As a journalist, he worked for Denton Record Chronicle, Lubbock Avalanche and spent a long stint at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He lives with his wife in a simple setting among the tree-covered hills between Boyd and Springtown.
His journalism background is a major reason for the success of his work on such subjects as aliens, the New World Order, the Illimunati, Freemasons, 9/11 conspiracies and psionic secret agents. The Federal Reserve plays a role in many of his works.
“This is just old journalism,” he said. “Follow the money. Follow the power.”
After the success of “Crossfire,” Marrs wrote “Alien Agenda.” It is now the top-selling, non-fiction book on UFOs in the world. It’s been translated into more than a dozen languages.
“I did a journalistic job on it,” he said of its success. “I didn’t sensationalize. I tried to give both sides. And I went with the best evidence from the best sources.”
Next Tuesday marks the 114th anniversary of the Aurora spaceship crash. According to Marrs, that crash is the strongest evidence he’s seen that UFOs exist and have visited our planet.
He pulls out a copy of the Dallas Morning News from April 19, 1897. It has 16 stories from correspondents reporting from towns ranging from southern Oklahoma to Austin. They all reported similar stories on what was referred to as the “great aerial wanderer.”
“I think the Aurora story is as strong as you can get,” he said. “It had contemporary reports from newspapers. And it was corroborated with all these other stories. The stories started appearing in 1896 in California. There were stories across the nation. Then after the crash in Aurora, there were no more stories. Something happened.
“This was six years before the Wright Brothers flew,” he added. “There was nothing in the air.”
He pointed to physical evidence gathered at the site in recent years by UFO hunters.
“The most compelling evidence was globs of aluminum, not of the chemical composition they had at the time, that was found embedded in trees and rocks and several inches into ground, which are indicative of a tremendous explosion.”
Despite his fascination and interest, Marrs admits he’s never seen a UFO.
“As far as I know, I’ve never seen a UFO, but I’ve talked to too many astronauts, air traffic controllers, police officers and pilots, both commercial and military, to know that there’s something there. There really is. And it’s not us.
“Unfortunately, because of a very conscience government program of ridicule and denial laid on in the early ’50s, ‘There’s nothing there folks, and if you keep saying you saw something you might be in need of psychiatric help.’ That’s been very, very effective in shutting down that whole subject. No one wants to talk about it.”
He goes further, referring to the National Science Foundation’s refusal to give grants to colleges and universities that would want to research the subject.
“They’ve kept that whole subject off the table for discussion,” he said. “Which is unfortunate because it’s probably the biggest story in human history. We are not alone. Where they come from and what exactly they are after I can’t tell you. I can tell you this. The phenomena which could be linked to UFOs are prevalent throughout human history, and we’re now kind of rediscovering that.”
Psychologists and sociologists look for various reasons why people believe in conspiracy theories. Paranoia and feelings of powerlessness are sometimes blamed.
Regardless, a recent opinion poll found that 80 percent of Americans believe Oswald didn’t act alone. The same poll found that more than 40 percent think the U.S. government is covering up information about alien aircraft.
Also, Marrs said he depends on evidence for his work, not biased opinions, fantasies or unsubstantiated theories.
“People put me down as a conspiracy theorist, or call me a nut,” Marrs said. “That’s all right because I know of what I speak. I only write about things I can prove or support. Saying ‘I don’t believe that’ is not a valid argument. That’s fine, it’s an opinion, but it’s not facts or knowledge.
“The whole world history is a giant conspiracy,” Marrs added. “My motto is, ‘If it’s not an act of God, it’s a conspiracy.’ Ships sink, planes crash, auto accidents happen, everything is not a conspiracy. But if it’s not an act of God, somebody planned it.”
If you peel back almost anything, a conspiracy might be there, he said.
“We’re being irradiated right now from leaking nuclear power plants in Japan,” he said. “We invaded another country without even asking for Congress’ consent. Our economy is in the toilet. What is up with that? We have a mineral and resource-rich nation and a literate workforce. Why should we be in economic problems? And I submit to you it’s because somebody wants it that way.
“Nobody thinks about that because they just watch TV. And when you get to major media, the networks, cable, they are all controlled by one of five corporations. And these corporations have interlocking boards of directors. So you got a handful of people controlling everything we see and hear.
“Our view of the world and what we are taught in school and by our parents is not the real world. Most of what we think we know is wrong.”
Marrs said he isn’t on some grand mission. He’s just never given up on curiosity.
“I’m just a curious guy,” he said. “I want to know the truth. I’m not a revolutionary. If the Mafia is going to run the country that’s OK. I just want everybody to know it.”
For his expertise on conspiracies, Marrs has appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, The Discovery Channel, TLC, The History Channel and dozens of other networks and programs.
His other books include “Rule by Secrecy,” “Psi Spies,” “The War on Freedom,” “Inside Job: Unmasking 9/11 Conspiracies,” “The Terror Conspiracy,” “The Rise of the Fourth Reich: The Secret Societies that Threaten to Take Over America,” “Above Top Secret,” “The Sisterhood of the Rose” and most recently “The Trillion Dollar Conspiracy: How the New World Order, Man-Made Diseases and Zombie Banks are Destroying America.”