A bizarre chapter in the JFK assassination story centers on a woman claiming to be a drug runner for Jack Ruby who tied the burlesque-club owner to Lee Harvey Oswald and accurately predicted to many credible witnesses that the president would be killed within days, writes WND senior staff reporter Jerome R. Corsi in his new book “Who Really Killed Kennedy? 50 Years Later: Stunning New Revelations about the JFK Assassination.”
Corsi admits it’s one of the stranger stories in the entire JFK assassination investigation.
“The problem is the story is well documented, and the possibility that a woman dumped by the side of a Louisiana back road may have had advance knowledge of the JFK assassination remains intriguing 50 years after the event,” Corsi says.
“Who Really Killed Kennedy,” released this month as the 50th anniversary of the assassination approaches, is bolstered by recently declassified documents that shed new light on the monumental event. Corsi sorted through tens of thousands of documents, all 26 volumes of the Warren Commission’s report, hundreds of books, several films and countless photographs.
Dumped by the side of the road
On Wednesday, Nov. 20, 1963, a woman named Rose Cheramie was brought to a local hospital by one Frank Odum after he hit her on Highway 190 near Eunice, La. She claimed she had been abandoned by the side of the road by two men she had been traveling with and then was hit by another car. While sedated in the hospital, Cheramie predicted that JFK would be assassinated in Dallas that coming Friday.
Rose Cheramie, or Cherami, was one of some 30 aliases used by Melba Christine Marcades, born Melba Christine Youngblood.
She was a 34-year-old drug and substance abuser with a long list of prostitution and other arrests since she turned 18. She had worked as a B-girl for Jack Ruby in his Carousel Club in Dallas and had been mainlining heroin for nine years.
According to a Louisiana State Police report in mid-November 1963, she worked “as a dope runner for Jack Ruby.” The report said she had “worked in the night club for Ruby and that she was forced to go to Florida with another man whom she did not name to pick up a shipment of dope to take back to Dallas and that she didn’t want to do this thing but she had a young child and that they would hurt her child if she didn’t.”
She was thrown out of a brothel after a quarrel ensued with the two men participating in the dope run. A staff report compiled by the House Special Committee on Assassinations said Cheramie had taken her last injection of heroin around 2 p.m. on Nov. 20, 1963.
‘They’re going to kill the president!’
Lt. Francis Fruge of the Louisiana State Police was the first to interview Cheramie at Moosa Memorial Hospital in Eunice, La.
Because the hospital was private and Cheramie had no funds or insurance, Fruge placed her in the Eunice City Jail. Fruge then called Dr. Derouin, a local doctor from the coroner’s office, who administered a sedative to calm her from the effects of drug withdrawal.
Dr. Derouin made the decision to commit her to the state hospital in Jackson, La. On route to the hospital in Jackson, Cheramie talked to Fruge, according to a deposition the officer gave the House Select Committee on Assassinations,
Cheramie told him “she was coming from Florida to Dallas with two men who were Italians or resembled Italians.”
“They stopped at this lounge … and they’d had a few drinks and got into an argument or something. The manager of the lounge threw her out and she got on the road and hitchhiked to catch a ride, and this is when she got hit by a vehicle.”
Fruge said the lounge was a house of prostitution called the “Silver Slipper.”
He told the committee that he asked Cheramie what she was going to do in Dallas: “She said she was going to, number one, pick up some money, pick up her baby, and kill Kennedy.” Fruge claimed Cheramie was lucid making these statements. He had her admitted to the hospital late on Nov. 20, 1963.
‘These are serious guys’
With further investigation, Fruge found Cheramie’s farfetched story had a basis in fact.
Fruge tracked down the owner of the Silver Slipper Lounge, Mac Manual, who told him Cheramie had come into the bar with two men who were pimps engaged in the business of hauling prostitutes in from Florida.
When Cheramie became intoxicated and rowdy, one of the men supposedly “slapped her around” and threw her outside.
Fruge further claimed he showed the owner of the Silver Slipper bar a stack of mug shots from which the bar owner identified a Cuban exile named Sergio Aracha Smith as one of Cheramie’s traveling companions.
Assassination researchers have identified Aracha Smith as an anti-Castro refugee who was active in 1961 as head of the New Orleans Cuban Revolutionary Front.
At that time, Aracha Smith befriended anti-Castro activist and commercial pilot David Ferrie, a shadowy New Orleans figure who became prominent in the investigation of New Orleans prosecutor Jim Garrison.
In the investigation of the Cheramie case, Corsi notes, there is a suggestion Louisiana state police found diagrams of the sewer system in Dealey Plaza among the contents of Aracha Smith’s apartment in Dallas.
Increasingly, assassination researchers have concluded Aracha Smith must be listed among the Cuban exiles that are strongly suspected of having played an operational role in the JFK assassination.
After the assassination, Corsi points out, Fruge immediately called the hospital and told them not to release Cheramie until he had a chance to speak with her.
The following morning, Cheramie told Fruge the two men traveling with her from Miami were going to Dallas to assassinate the president.
Cheramie claimed her role was to obtain $8,000 from an unidentified source in Dallas, who was evidently holding her child, and proceed to Houston with the two men to complete a drug deal.
Reservations had been made at the Rice Hotel in Houston.
She said the trio was to meet a seaman who was bringing in eight kilos of heroin to Galveston by boat. From Galveston, once the drug transaction was completed, the trio expected to head to Mexico.
Taken into custody
Fruge took Cheramie into custody after the customs chief in Galveston verified the scheduled docking of the boat and the name of the seaman.
During a flight from Houston, according to Fruge, Cheramie noticed a newspaper with headlines suggesting investigators were trying to establish a link between Ruby and Oswald.
According to the deposition Fruge gave the House Select Committee, Cheramie laughed at the newspaper article.
She explained to Fruge that she had worked for Ruby, or “Pinky” as she knew him, at his nightclub in Dallas, and she claimed Ruby and Oswald “had been shacking up for years” and were “bed-mates.”
Fruge had his superior call Capt. Will Fritz of the Dallas Police Department with the information, only to find Fritz responded that he was not interested.
Other reports indicated that at the state hospital on Nov. 22, 1963, several nurses were watching television with Cheramie when she again predicted the JFK assassination. According to the hospital witnesses, “during the telecast moments before Kennedy was shot Rose Cheramie stated to them, ‘This is when it is going to happen’ and at that moment Kennedy was assassinated.”
The nurses, in turn, told others of Cheramie’s prognostication.
Dr. Victor Weis, a psychiatrist at the hospital, also confirmed that Cheramie told him she knew both Ruby and Oswald and had seen them sitting together on several different occasions in Ruby’s club.
The word spread throughout the state hospital that Cheramie had predicted the JFK assassination, and, amazingly, Cheramie even predicted the involvement of her former boss, Ruby.
Dr. Wayne Owen, who had been interning from LSU, later told the Madison Capital Times that Cheramie had warned him and other interns that the plot involved a man named Jack Rubenstein.
Owen said he and the other interns shrugged it off at the time but were shocked when they saw Ruby kill Oswald and found out that Jack Ruby was born Jack Rubenstein.
While there remain many unanswered questions about Rose Cheramie’s strange story, the public record fully attests to her knowledge of the JFK assassination plot in Dallas, as well as her testimony that Ruby and Oswald knew each other before the event.
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