Barb Junkkarinen emerges from the bedroom with the gift her husband and son gave her one Christmas.
It's a 1940 Italian-made rifle, like the one Lee Harvey Oswald fired from a sixth-floor window at the Texas School Book Depository, killing President Kennedy on an autumn afternoon in Dallas. He'd spirited the weapon into the building by disguising it as a curtain rod.
"This is how Oswald carried his package," she says, holding the butt of the rifle low, the way witnesses described. "He had it cupped in his hand, like this."
Junkkarinen's husband, Juha, and son, Jason, nod at the demonstration they've seen again and again. They help adjust the unloaded weapon just so. They point out there's also a scope and ammunition.
Over more than half her lifetime, Barb Junkkarinen has made a hobby of delving into rumors, theories and contradictory facts that swirl around a killing that continues to titillate — and divide — Americans on the 50th anniversary of the events of Nov. 22, 1963.
In the world of online Kennedy discussion groups, she learned "lurkers" tune in but never post; "fringies" attribute a political motive to every turn; false witnesses claim to have been places they haven't. Those who believe Oswald acted alone are "lone-nutters."
And people like Junkkarinen are CTs, for conspiracy theorists.
She has amassed a trove of artifacts: autopsy reports, investigation documents, shelves of books and photos, and a model of the Lincoln Continental limousine Kennedy rode in when he was shot in Dealey Plaza. There's also a life-sized plastic model of a human skull she uses to make detailed arguments about bullet entry and exit.
Inside her Portland-area home office, she avidly dissects the latest theories of the paranoid and the emotionally unstable.
They include those who believe Kennedy was first hit in the throat with a bullet made of ice; that a man in Dealey Plaza fatally wounded the president with a dart fired from an umbrella; and that J. Edgar Hoover attended a party the night before the assassination celebrating JFK's imminent demise.
Junkkarinen rejects those theories. She blames gangsters and spies.
Junkkarinen, 62, can still picture where she heard the news: She was 12 years old, a seventh-grader sitting in the second seat in the row by the window at a Catholic school in San Diego. A superior whispered into the ear of her teacher, whose freckled face instantly turned red.
The nuns instructed students to say Hail Marys on Kennedy's behalf. Later, after Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby, Junkkarinen heard her father say, "Something's just not right here."
She recalls thinking: "Nothing's right about any of it, Dad."
By age 15, she'd read the lengthy report published by the Warren Commission, which had conducted the investigation of the killing. She graduated high school and studied to become a medical laboratory technician. She married Juha and moved to Oregon. She would read each new book that purported to solve the Kennedy assassination.
The year 1980 brought a turning point: "Best Evidence: Disguise and Deception in the Assassination of John F. Kennedy" by David Lifton, which focused on medical evidence she understood, with descriptions from attending doctors on the locations of JFK's wounds. Junkkarinen checked it out of the library and read it three times.
She eventually dismissed Lifton's central premise — that the president's body had been altered to suggest gunshots fired from the rear, as a way to help prove the government's argument that Oswald alone killed JFK. But the book led her to pursue theories of her own.
Junkkarinen came to believe JFK's death was not the result of a lone killer, a view shared by many. A nationwide Associated Press-GfK poll of 1,004 adults in April found that 59% thought multiple people participated in a conspiracy to kill Kennedy, while 24% thought Oswald acted alone. About 16% were unsure.
Junkkarinen argues there were two conspiracies.