The Zapruder Film and President Kennedy: Where was the Head wound? 
Chad Zimmerman © Copyright 2003. All rights Reserved.
Ever since the gunshots rang out in Dallas on that beautiful November day, the location of President Kennedy's head wound has been in debate. Possibly no other issue is as important. The Parkland medical staff remembered a large, avulsive wound in the right back of the head. The Bethesda autopsists reported a large, avulsive exit wound on the right side of the head. This issue has led some researchers, most notably David Lifton, that surgery must've been performed en route to the Bethesda to alter the wound and give the perception that the head wound was caused by a shot from the rear. Others claim that the autopsy staff were ordered to lie and falsify autopsy reports.  
With the advent of digital technology in the early 1990's, it now became possible to digitally restore the Zapruder film. In 1998, MPI Productions released 'An Image of an Assassination' as a formidable research tool. In it contained the clearest reproduction of the Zapruder film ever seen by the world public. In addition, we could now effectively analyze, with a greater deal of precision, the events that transpired in Dallas. After looking closer at the film, several details emerge and help to answer the long debated question: Where was Kennedy's head wound?
The above image, frame 312 of the Zapruder film, provides us with a good profile of President Kennedy's head just a fraction of a second before the fatal head shot. The Parkland Hospital staff reported a large, avulsive wound in the right rear of Kennedy's head. This is exactly the part of the head that we can see and evaluate during succeeding frames following the head shot.
The Headshot (Frame 313)
Frame 313 shows us the magnitude of the impact on Kennedy's head. At this point, the bullet has already passed through the skull. When a skull his hit with a high velocity projectile, the bone fragments. The bullet fragments within the skull. The lost energy from the bullet creates a pressure cavity and the pressure cavity releases the pressure by exploding through the various paths caused by the fragmenting of the skull. Usually, the fragmented bullets that exit create much larger exits and provide a larger path of exit for the pressure cavity. Pressure releases along the pathway of least resistance. In this case, it is where the largest hole in the skull would be. The explosion is seen as a powerful expulsion of blood and brain tissue called 'ejecta'. Ejecta is cast of in all directions with the largest amount going away from the shooter. A smaller amount is ejected back towards the shooter. Looking at frame 313 and subsequent frames show the pattern of ejecta and a greater understanding of the shot that killed Kennedy. In order to increase contrast, I made 'negative' images of the Zapruder film and assembled them into a video file. Watching closely, you can see two definite streaks of larger ejecta going upwards and forward of Kennedy. Also, and almost more importantly, you see the cloud of blood form and dissipate, or thin out, and move towards the rear as the car drives through it. A good portion of this would've ended up on the trunk of the limo and on the officers riding behind the limo. Click here to see a closer look at the cloud of blood dissipating.
Now, let's take a closer look at the damage that was inflicted to Kennedy's head. The new version of the Zapruder film offers clearer still pictures and better detail to be discovered. It is now possible to determine where the majority of the exit wound was located.
Frame 314
Frame314, although not the best in clarity, still shows the President's head to be intact in the rear. That is, the rear of his head is not blown away. Although severely fractured due to the impact of a bullet, the rear of the head has not disappeared. However, we can see apparent damage to the right side of the head (yellow arrow). We will see in following frames what happens to this highlighted (arrow) portion of the President's skull. This frame has poor resolution due to the large amount of blood and fine matter that surrounds President Kennedy and Jackie. It clears up in following frames.
Frame 326
Frame 326 gives us a little better look at the damage. The blue highlighted area and arrow show the top of Jackie Kennedy's right shoulder. This is only seen because of the concave wound to the right side of Kennedy's head. At the time of this frame, Kennedy's head has tilted to the left significantly. The concavity becomes readily apparent and you can see the details in the background. In this case, it is Jackie's right shoulder. We will see this change in subsequent frames. The bright whiteish area in front of Kennedy's right ear is a piece of skull attached to his scalp.
Frame 327
In this frame, Jackie has moved a little further. You no longer see her right shoulder in view. Instead, you see her hair from the right side of her head. Once again, this is seen through the concavity in President Kennedy's head.
Frame 330
This frame offers slightly better contrast. You can see the outline of Jackie's hair and face extending down where President Kennedy's head ought to be.
Frame 333
Frame 333 corroborates the concavity of the headwound. It is a little blurred, but one very important detail emerges. You can see Jackie's lapel through the concavity in President Kennedy's skull.
Frame 335
In frame 335, more detail emerges. The highlighted area is very hard to discern between exposed flesh in Kennedy's head and Jackie's left shoulder. However, the concavity is very clear and the emergence of Jackie's left shoulder again shows the extent of damage to Kennedy's right side of his head.
Frame 337
This frame is similar to 335 in that you can see Jackie's left shoulder through the concavity. However, this frame is much clearer. You can see Kennedy's right ear and the bony scalp hanging just over the frontal edge of the ear. Compare the area of damage in the Zapruder frame 337 to the autopsy picture to the right. Keep in mind that the autopsy picture is rotated 90 degrees to the right, simulating an upright view. This picture was taken with Kennedy on his back. Therefore, the flap of scalp appears over the ear instead of just in front of it. This is very close to how Kennedy would've looked at Parkland hospital. The massive amount of blood, scalp and brain would've obscured the wound to his head, thereby making the determination of the direction of the shot harder to ascertain. Also, one must note that it is rather difficult to detect the degree of the wound. With all of the brain and blood on the top and back of the head, it would be easy to assume that the exit was there. You must remember that victims of gunshot wounds are very bloody and the site of entrance and exit is often missed. This is the reason that autopsists and pathologists are called to determine the cause of death and not necessarily the attending physicians at a hospital.