http://osdir.com/ml/culture.discuss..../msg00000.htmlThe Bishop and the Boys - Part Three: Jack Martin and the Camp Street
“Similarly, as with CRISMAN, I think that in the course of the memo
the periodic necessary references to the OLD CHURCHES have half
answered the question. Applying to this subject the available
models, I suggest that the most likely rational conclusion is that
here, again – except with more particularity – we have a clandestine
substructure developed to serve the intelligence community’s concept
of national security.
A bizarre structure, to be sure, but its very
strangeness … makes it all the more safe from possible investigators
who are looking for spies wearing trenchcoats and carrying, like so
many James Bonds, gold cigarette cases. The churches – like all
churches – are virtually free from official inquiry by virtue of the
Constitution, not to mention American custom. The “ministers” and “
bishops” can accumulate money (religious fund raising) without
serious inquiry as to the sources. They are free from the 9 to 5
routine expected of normal, patriotic Americans, free to operate in
relative seclusion from the expected social involvements, free to
engage in obscure crusades or missions and free to travel extensively
… as assignments may dictate. And where, as may be the case in some
instances, there may actually be a home structure for the particular
church, one would have the most natural of safe houses.”
-- Handwritten memo
from New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison to Jonathan Blackmer
of the House Subcommittee on Assassinations, dated July 18, 1977
regarding Thomas E. Beckham.
The story of Jack Martin is almost as strange as that of his
old friend and fellow clergyman, David Ferrie. With Jack, we are in
the same twilight world we are with Ferrie and Oswald. In fact,
“Jack Martin” is not even his real name.
Jack S. Martin was born in Phoenix, Arizona on July 1, 1915,
but his name at the time was Edward Stewart Suggs. Like Carl
Stanley, he eventually developed an arrest record and had served in
the US Army during World War II. He became a back-alley abortionist
in Houston, Texas after the war and had to flee the state when one of
“Dr Suggs’s” patients died as a result of his medical incompetence.
The resulting murder charge was later dismissed, however, and Suggs
eventually wound up in New Orleans (about 1954) where he became John
Stewart Martin, Sr. or, simply, Jack Martin or Jack S. Martin.
Jack Martin is a pretty common name, so perhaps we should not be
surprised to see a Special Agent Jack S. Martin appearing on Project
Blue Book documents dating back to 1949, years before Edward Suggs
changed his name (as far as we know). This particular Jack S. Martin
was in California at the same time as our Ed Suggs, but was working
for the OSI, or Office of Special Investigations, a department of the
US Air Force. This is shown by OSI documents from October 1949 in
which S/A Jack S. Martin was investigating UFO sightings in northern
California by an Edward W. Gurband, a Roy Oliver Neely, and a
Reverend Curtis Daniels that had taken place on August 1, 1949 in the
San Francisco area. Our Jack S. Martin, however, is not known to
have changed his name that early and, besides, there is no evidence
at all that he ever worked for the Air Force. However, just to be
devil’s advocate for a moment, there was no US Air Force during World
War II; it was known as the Army Air Corps then, so it is possible –
just barely possible – that Suggs/Martin did work for the Army Air
Corps as an enlisted man or even as military police, but I have been
unable to find Suggs’ military record to confirm or deny this
possibility. I just leave it here as an unresolved issue. It would
be amusing (if not a little unnerving) to discover that both Guy
Banister and Jack Martin were investigating UFOs for the government
at the same time, though!
Getting back to Suggs, however, we find that he was passing himself
off as variously an FBI agent or a CIA agent in the late 1950s and
early 1960s, before the Kennedy assassination. An alcoholic, he
wound up in a mental ward at New Orleans’ Charity Hospital in January
of 1957, with “sociopathic personality disorder, antisocial type”.
All during this time he was married to the long-suffering Paula
Martin and even had a child, but he was unable to hold down a job for
any length of time.
This is a familiar pattern in the Kennedy assassination case. Lee
Harvey Oswald had the same track record as a married man with
children, unable to hold down a job, and who had been under
psychiatric observation (at least, in the Soviet Union). If we are
to believe the record, both men had delusions of grandeur and could
be considered antisocial sociopaths. And, of course, both had
military service and both wound up in New Orleans at the same time,
working out of Guy Banister’s Camp Street office. Oswald, however,
was not an alcoholic nor was he one of Carl Stanley’s bishops.
As another aside, both Ferrie and Martin were involved in unorthodox
medical practices and experimentation. Ferrie’s obsession with
curing cancer is well-known and documented, as well as his practice
of hypnosis, and Martin had an on-again, off-again fascination with
various forms of medicine, homeopathy, chiropracty, hypnosis, and the
In 1960, Martin was interviewed by the FBI on charges that he was
impersonating an FBI agent. Martin seemed to have offered the Feds a
deal in which he would reveal that one Carl J. Stanley of Kentucky
was running an illegal operation by furnishing false ordination
certificates and other worthless paper. The FBI interviewed Stanley
himself, and came away with the opinion that both Stanley and Martin
There it would have ended had it not been for the events in Dallas of
November, 1963 and a series of bizarre phone calls that took place
between Stanley and the FBI, and Martin and the FBI in the hours
after the Kennedy assassination.
Sometimes things are just as they seem, even in conspiracy studies.
After all, the world is full of drunks, sociopaths, unemployed and
unemployable men with delusions of grandeur who await the next big
break … or the next big bender. There are men who claim to be agents
of the FBI or the CIA who have never even seen one up close. And
there are men who defame the character of other men in revenge for
imagined wrongs, who then recant their stories in embarrassment when
confronted by authority.
This is probably a fair characterization of the conspiracy cases
against David Ferrie and Jack Martin. After all, it is entirely
possible that neither man had anything at all to do with the
assassination or had anything to offer by way of relevant information
or evidence. The book by Daniel Hopsicker – Barry and the Boys –
does provide additional evidence on the role of David Ferrie and the
anti-Castro underground, however, as well as of his presumed ties to
US intelligence agencies, most of it in the form of personal
interviews with law enforcement personnel and others who knew Ferrie
in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and for that reason alone is quite
And then there’s Jack Martin.
Jack is portrayed as a hopeless drunk and, indeed, most of the
investigators out of Jim Garrison’s office confirm that view. Martin
is usually cited as the person who started the entire Garrison
investigation rolling by calling the DA’s attention to David Ferrie
as a suspect in the assassination. An examination of Martin’s
initial statement to the FBI on November 25, 1963, however, reveals
that Martin’s information on Ferrie was surprisingly accurate.
He mentioned that Lee Harvey Oswald had been in Ferrie’s Civil Air
Patrol squadron and that the two men knew each other, a claim that
was contested for years before photographs surfaced showing Oswald
and Ferrie together during a CAP outing. In fact, Martin told the
FBI that he saw photos of Oswald and Ferrie together at Ferrie’s
apartment. He also told investigators that Ferrie had a stock of
weapons at his apartment, which was also true.
Further, he had details of Ferrie’s problems with the law in the
matter of “crimes against nature” with young boys, and of his
penchant for hypnotism. He said that Ferrie had been “educated in a
seminary”, which is also true.
In fact, there is probably nothing in that initial report that is wrong.
In the second interview, dated November 27, 1963, Martin insisted
that he never said he heard Ferrie say he was going to kill Kennedy.
He honestly reported that much of what he knew about Ferrie came from
information he obtained from third parties, and that was pretty much
the end of it. The only salient points of the two interviews was the
information that Ferrie and Oswald knew each other. Later, to
District Attorney Jim Garrison, Martin would suggest that Ferrie had
hypnotized Oswald to commit the assassination, but that was not
presented as a fact but only as conjecture.
Martin, however, was not the only one contacting the FBI concerning
the possible relationship of David Ferrie to the assassination.
Stanley himself had told the FBI that he suspected Martin and Ferrie
of involvement. It was a case of rats turning against each other.
But why? Why the Kennedy assassination?
Most critics of the JFK conspiracy theories attack the New Orleans
episode as so much smoke. They feel that Jim Garrison’s case had no
validity, no credibility. That Ferrie, Martin, Banister, and the
rest were all colorful characters but they had nothing to do with the
assassination. That Oswald never really visited the Camp Street
office of Guy Banister. That he never met any of the individuals
with whom he is usually associated: Clay Shaw, David Ferrie, or Guy
But my approach to this case has been somewhat different. I’m not
trying to prove anything. I only want to point out the incredible
number of coincidences that multiply around this event and to suggest
that there is an underlying cause whose very nature escapes us even
as it is ubiquitous throughout history, our own personal histories as
well as our national one.
Ferrie, Martin and Stanley were turning on each other with reckless
abandon in the days after the assassination. It could be said to
originate from Jack Martin’s statements to investigators that Ferrie
was somehow involved with Oswald, but that’s not nearly the whole
case. Something transpired to make everyone nervous. One can pore
over the documents and exhibits of the Warren Commission Report for
years and not find a similar set of circumstances, where a gang of
strange persons turns on each other and squeals to the authorities
about their friends’ involvement with the assassination. It’s unique.
In New Orleans, if we believe that Oswald was involved in some way
with Banister, he was surrounded by anti-Castro Cubans, gun-runners,
and wandering bishops. In Dallas, he is surrounded by Russian
émigrés and oil men. The Dallas clique that includes George de
Mohrenschildt and Ruth Paine is every bit as strange as the New
Orleans “cathedral” at Camp Street. (It’s not for nothing that
Louisiana is divided into parishes instead of counties.) We had men
with CIA connections in New Orleans around Oswald, and now in Dallas
we have more of the same. How many readers of this blog know that
many CIA agents?
DeMohrenschildt himself was involved with the Russian Orthodox Church
Outside Russia, a known center for anti-Communist and specifically
anti-Soviet activity and espionage. Yet another Orthodox church in
the vicinity of Oswald.
And was Jack Martin really investigating “phony” churches on behalf
of the US government? Or was he trying to call someone’s attention
to something? Jack Martin remained a bishop with the American
Orthodox Catholic Church to the end of his days, even going so far as
to bring in another Banister associate, the corpulent attorney and
unapologetic racist Thomas Jude Baumler, to the Orthodox fold,
consecrating Baumler a bishop in August of 1974, nearly eleven years
after the Kennedy assassination and seven years after the beginning
of the Garrison investigation and the death of both Stanley and Ferrie.
From personal correspondence with an individual involved with this
affair, I learned that Baumler had already been ordained a priest by
Stanley years before; in other words, prior to Stanley’s death in
March, 1967. Baumler’s status in New Orleans society was assured; he
came from an old family and was associated with one of the famous
Mardi Gras “crewes”. In addition, according to my informant,
Baumler was also a Mason and belonged to the same lodge – the Etoile
Polair Lodge of the French Grand Orient – as Mafia don Carlos
Marcello, the man for whom David Ferrie was working on the day of
My informant goes on to insist that Martin could be relied upon to
furnish FBI files on “future applicants for Holy Orders”, a strange
capability for a hopeless drunk. It is widely rumored that Martin
had a source at FBI headquarters in New Orleans who provided him
these files, but he also made it known that he was an investigator
for the District Attorney’s office – something of which the DA was
presumably not aware! Yet he had an income of some kind, for he was
known to travel extensively throughout the United States for years on
one errand or another involving the bishops, a true “wanderer”.
What was Baumler’s interest in Carl Stanley and the American Orthodox
Catholic Church? Why was it attractive to become consecrated the
Bishop of Baton Rouge-New Orleans in this miniscule, obscure church
as late as 1974? Soon after his consecration, he went on to
consecrate another bishop, this time William Francis Forbes, in
October of 1974. And it was Baumler, after all, who told J. Gary
Shaw in 1981 that Lee Harvey Oswald worked for Guy Banister. He even
told Jim Garrison investigator Harold Weisberg in 1969 that he
personally met the elusive Oswald himself.
One of the other bishops of the American Orthodox Catholic Church –
Homer Ferdinand Roebke, an associate and colleague of Carl Stanley –
consecrated one Forest Ernest Barber on March 7, 1965, less than five
months after the Forbes consecration. As I am informed by
investigator David Guyatt, Barber was a member of the Augustan
Society (an “International Genealogical, Historical, Heraldic and
Chivalric Society” with some interesting associations) as well as of
the Shickshinny Knights of Malta, a far-right organization and secret
society that numbered among its initiates such intelligence notables
as the rabid right-winger Major General Charles A. Willoughby (the
former Adolf Tscheppe-Weidenbach and member of General MacArthur’s
intelligence staff during World War II) as well as Colonel Philip J
Corso, a man with a long background in intelligence dating from the
war who was the author of The Day After Roswell, a controversial
memoire of his experiences in the aftermath of the UFO crash in New
Truly, the Guy Banister office at Camp Street in New Orleans could
properly be considered a “cathedral” for wandering bishops. And a
clearinghouse for spies.
To be continued.