New image shows Billy the Kid playing croquet

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shootseven

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I also read that but you have to keep in mind that there is a hardcore element that insist there was only ever one photo of Billy, they have since been proven wrong. Remember that the chap (Randy Guijarro) who found the croquet photo was pushed from pillar to post trying to prove that his picture was genuine, he was basically laughed out of the Witherell’s Old West Show because the experts said the photo lacked provenance. It took Mr Guijarro to head out to Lincoln County and find the area where the photo was taken just to get some kind of evidence to prove that it was indeed Billy and the Regulators, after four years of research he was able to prove that his tintype was indeed taken on the Tunstall ranch (evidence enough)
Even now there are so called experts that deny the authenticity of the croquet photo, I sometimes wonder if it has something to do with preserving the myth of Billy the Kid, if there are other photos out there then people will obviously learn something new about Billy, who would ever have thought of Billy being dressed in fine clothes whilst playing croquet, also, every time someone provides something new about Billy then it challenges long held beliefs and people have to rethink what they know and that includes those that consider themselves to be 'experts'. Its not a bad thing that the experts insist on solid evidence but sometimes it gets ridiculous, if facial recognition software and matching handwriting samples isn't enough then I don't know what is.
I'm going to go with the experts on this one; maybe of whom have spent lifetimes studying Billy the Kid and old west photographs. Simply put, Guijarro's "proof" simply doesn't hold up. After everything else has been debunked; all they are left with is the analysis of "facial recognition expert" Kent Gibson; but keep in mind this is the same Kent Gibson who identified two Japanese people as Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan in a photo that was quickly debunked.
 

Waterloo50

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I'm going to go with the experts on this one; maybe of whom have spent lifetimes studying Billy the Kid and old west photographs. Simply put, Guijarro's "proof" simply doesn't hold up. After everything else has been debunked; all they are left with is the analysis of "facial recognition expert" Kent Gibson; but keep in mind this is the same Kent Gibson who identified two Japanese people as Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan in a photo that was quickly debunked.
I'm interested to know what would you consider good evidence? I remember the Amelia Earnhart picture, I wasn't convinced that it was her but I seriously believe that Guijarro has got a real picture of Billy. The other thing that convinces me that Guijarro has got it right is because he found the actual location that the picture was taken at, the same background, everything on the horizon lines up nicely.
 

shootseven

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I'm interested to know what would you consider good evidence? I remember the Amelia Earnhart picture, I wasn't convinced that it was her but I seriously believe that Guijarro has got a real picture of Billy. The other thing that convinces me that Guijarro has got it right is because he found the actual location that the picture was taken at, the same background, everything on the horizon lines up nicely.
I'm going to address the second part of your question first. In my opinion, I don't think the background matches. Sure, erosion can change the grade of the hill over 130 years, and vegetation changes; but that that happened is taking a leap I'm not willing to take. There's a photo of the site from about 1950 (I don't know where to find it online) where is literally is an exact match, could have been taken today; and I don't see that in the croquet image. There's plenty of other evidence to show the location wasn't correct (see: https://truewestmagazine.com/the-croquet-kid/).

To answer what I would consider good evidence: #1 would be provenance. The only authenticated image of the Kid has it. The surviving copy was given by him to a friend of his, and passed down in that family until it sold for $2.3m (launching all of these wannabe photos); another copy was held by another friend of his until it was destroyed by fire; it was identified by those who knew him and engravings based on it were published by Pat Garrett, Charlie Siringo, and Miguel Otero. For the croquet photo, all we have is that a descendant of Bowdre's brother lived and died in Fresno and had a storage unit. There's no evidence that he owned the photo, that it came from his storage unit, or no IDs with the photo. Without that I'm not sure there's much that could actually convince me (and how did it get passed down without anyone, even in the family, ever talking about the Charlie Bowdre/Billy the Kid photo they own--seems strange that no one in the family is aware of it).

Now for compelling evidence outside of of the above stated provenance: Sallie Chisum's diary. Her diary is what puts these people together for the short window before they all split up. Now, had there been an entry describing the wedding, game of croquet, or mentioning a photographer (which was rare in those parts); that'd be pretty good evidence; but of course, that doesn't exist.

The sad fact is, these photos come up all the time (see http://blog.truewestmagazine.com/2017/11/the-brutal-truth-about-most-billy.html); the only reason the croquet image received the traction is did is because a documentary producer decided to get involved in this one; and unfortunately, too many reporters took his word as fact (see http://all-that-is-interesting.com/historical-photos-misidentified/4) (I'm linking to myself there with the last one; but no reason to rewrite everything here)
 

Waterloo50

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I'm going to address the second part of your question first. In my opinion, I don't think the background matches. Sure, erosion can change the grade of the hill over 130 years, and vegetation changes; but that that happened is taking a leap I'm not willing to take. There's a photo of the site from about 1950 (I don't know where to find it online) where is literally is an exact match, could have been taken today; and I don't see that in the croquet image. There's plenty of other evidence to show the location wasn't correct (see: https://truewestmagazine.com/the-croquet-kid/).

To answer what I would consider good evidence: #1 would be provenance. The only authenticated image of the Kid has it. The surviving copy was given by him to a friend of his, and passed down in that family until it sold for $2.3m (launching all of these wannabe photos); another copy was held by another friend of his until it was destroyed by fire; it was identified by those who knew him and engravings based on it were published by Pat Garrett, Charlie Siringo, and Miguel Otero. For the croquet photo, all we have is that a descendant of Bowdre's brother lived and died in Fresno and had a storage unit. There's no evidence that he owned the photo, that it came from his storage unit, or no IDs with the photo. Without that I'm not sure there's much that could actually convince me (and how did it get passed down without anyone, even in the family, ever talking about the Charlie Bowdre/Billy the Kid photo they own--seems strange that no one in the family is aware of it).

Now for compelling evidence outside of of the above stated provenance: Sallie Chisum's diary. Her diary is what puts these people together for the short window before they all split up. Now, had there been an entry describing the wedding, game of croquet, or mentioning a photographer (which was rare in those parts); that'd be pretty good evidence; but of course, that doesn't exist.

The sad fact is, these photos come up all the time (see http://blog.truewestmagazine.com/2017/11/the-brutal-truth-about-most-billy.html); the only reason the croquet image received the traction is did is because a documentary producer decided to get involved in this one; and unfortunately, too many reporters took his word as fact (see http://all-that-is-interesting.com/historical-photos-misidentified/4) (I'm linking to myself there with the last one; but no reason to rewrite everything here)
Thanks for the response, that's a pretty compelling argument. I agree that photos need some kind of provenance and the examples that you gave where the written word can link a person to a situation or location is very helpful and if that kind of evidence exists then its pretty much airtight, but as we know not every aspect of a persons life can be documented, even more so with somebody as elusive as Billy. The supposed match to the Tunstall ranch was the clincher for me plus the alleged Billy in that photo looked to me like it was or could indeed be Billy the Kid. I'm almost disappointed to find that the background at the Tunstall ranch doesn't exactly match, maybe I was convinced by the documentary that it did, there's no way to judge it for myself unless I visit there.
I read the True West article and to be honest I wasn't aware of just how often people make a claim that they have a Billy the kid photo, some of the claims are crazy, they don't even slightly resemble Billy, the problem is that when a photo surfaces that could be Billy, its automatically shot down as being yet another fake but I believe that there has to be other photos that are genuine, maybe they will turn up one day. I guess I'm one of those people that desperately wants to see genuine pictures of Billy, its probably just as well that I don't have 5 million in cash sitting around, having said that, I'm still holding onto my hope that the croquet photo is genuine, perhaps in the future something will surface that either proves or disproves it one way or another.
Anyhow, I greatly respect your views and this is a topic that I will be following very closely.
Regards
Waterloo.
 

shootseven

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Thanks for the response, that's a pretty compelling argument. I agree that photos need some kind of provenance and the examples that you gave where the written word can link a person to a situation or location is very helpful and if that kind of evidence exists then its pretty much airtight, but as we know not every aspect of a persons life can be documented, even more so with somebody as elusive as Billy. The supposed match to the Tunstall ranch was the clincher for me plus the alleged Billy in that photo looked to me like it was or could indeed be Billy the Kid. I'm almost disappointed to find that the background at the Tunstall ranch doesn't exactly match, maybe I was convinced by the documentary that it did, there's no way to judge it for myself unless I visit there.
I read the True West article and to be honest I wasn't aware of just how often people make a claim that they have a Billy the kid photo, some of the claims are crazy, they don't even slightly resemble Billy, the problem is that when a photo surfaces that could be Billy, its automatically shot down as being yet another fake but I believe that there has to be other photos that are genuine, maybe they will turn up one day. I guess I'm one of those people that desperately wants to see genuine pictures of Billy, its probably just as well that I don't have 5 million in cash sitting around, having said that, I'm still holding onto my hope that the croquet photo is genuine, perhaps in the future something will surface that either proves or disproves it one way or another.
Anyhow, I greatly respect your views and this is a topic that I will be following very closely.
Regards
Waterloo.
If I get a copy of the 1950s photo of the site I'll come back and post it (it's in the book Chaves County schools, 1881-1968 : Treasures of New Mexico History). But for your reference, here's a photo from the site:

0578-3271412-Good_buy_Randy_Guijarro_above_found_the_picture_in_a_Fresno_Cali-a-22_1444780582806.jpg


And the croquet photo:
151016-billy-the-kid-tintype-902a_36fd65a54593f532e6e8865e6525ee16.nbcnews-fp-1200-800.jpg


Enjoy!
 

Waterloo50

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If I get a copy of the 1950s photo of the site I'll come back and post it (it's in the book Chaves County schools, 1881-1968 : Treasures of New Mexico History). But for your reference, here's a photo from the site:

View attachment 167375

And the croquet photo:
View attachment 167376

Enjoy!
Thanks again, I just read another True West article on the photo (for and against) this was in the 'For' the photo being genuine 'Statistically, when combining all of the evidence, there is a .062 in billion chance the image contains look-alikes. When you have one person match in a photo, that’s good. But when you match up five people that history records being together in a certain time and place, the odds spiral into probability.. Additional proof includes expert testimony that the photo was taken between 1876 and 1880; clothing is a period match. Further forensics prove the image was never tampered with.'
I have to admit, I can't see how the landscape matches in the two photos' , I'm aware that soil erosion, farming and forestry work can dramatically alter a landscape but when you consider other modern comparison photos, places like Gettysburg for example, you can get a good indicator of how a landscape can alter over the years. I'm struggling to see a comparison in the croquet photos unless of course the landscape really has been heavily farmed or tons of earth have been eroded.
 

ikesdad

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If I get a copy of the 1950s photo of the site I'll come back and post it (it's in the book Chaves County schools, 1881-1968 : Treasures of New Mexico History). But for your reference, here's a photo from the site:

View attachment 167375

And the croquet photo:
View attachment 167376

Enjoy!
Sorry partner, but that is not the same place as in the vintage photo. That can resemble 1000s of places out west here.
 

shootseven

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Thanks again, I just read another True West article on the photo (for and against) this was in the 'For' the photo being genuine 'Statistically, when combining all of the evidence, there is a .062 in billion chance the image contains look-alikes. When you have one person match in a photo, that’s good. But when you match up five people that history records being together in a certain time and place, the odds spiral into probability.. Additional proof includes expert testimony that the photo was taken between 1876 and 1880; clothing is a period match. Further forensics prove the image was never tampered with.'
I have to admit, I can't see how the landscape matches in the two photos' , I'm aware that soil erosion, farming and forestry work can dramatically alter a landscape but when you consider other modern comparison photos, places like Gettysburg for example, you can get a good indicator of how a landscape can alter over the years. I'm struggling to see a comparison in the croquet photos unless of course the landscape really has been heavily farmed or tons of earth have been eroded.
That quote from the article comes from Aiello, the producer of the National Geographic documentary. I don't know where he gets that stat from; or how he could possibly know without having experts try to ID people in vintage photos of similar condition where we know the ID. I'm not buying it, especially when some of the people ID'd look like this:
Expired Image Removed
I wonder what odds he'd put on a photo containing look-a-likes with a positive ID on two people; because that's how many people the same "facial recognition expert" who did the croquet photo falsely identified in a photo that purportedly showed Amelia Earhart and her navigator Frank Noonan as Japanese prisoners (which was then discovered to have been published two years before Earhart's disappearance and definitely did not show them.

To your second point I agree; I don't see it.

I'll admit, I'm always a sceptic whenever I hear of an alleged Kid photo. While I don't see nearly as many as Bob Boz Bell sees (as mentioned in the True West blog above); I had my first book, Murder on the White Sands (about a New Mexico murder investigated by Pat Garrett) published ten years ago and began researching it years before that; and I've seen a lot of alleged Billy photos since then, often with a positive ID from some "facial recognition expert" with an impressive looking resume. It's ridiculous. But in this case, when they claimed they had identified the location, I was intrigued... only to be disappointed by the "proof." But that's because I don't have any faith in the facial recognition ID. I suppose if you really believe that absolutely proves it's them, and since there's a limited time period all of these people have been together, then you have to assume erosion changed the landscape that much in 150 years (actually in 70 years, because from the 50s to today there's been no discernible change) to make it work.
 

Waterloo50

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That quote from the article comes from Aiello, the producer of the National Geographic documentary. I don't know where he gets that stat from; or how he could possibly know without having experts try to ID people in vintage photos of similar condition where we know the ID. I'm not buying it, especially when some of the people ID'd look like this:
Expired Image Removed
I wonder what odds he'd put on a photo containing look-a-likes with a positive ID on two people; because that's how many people the same "facial recognition expert" who did the croquet photo falsely identified in a photo that purportedly showed Amelia Earhart and her navigator Frank Noonan as Japanese prisoners (which was then discovered to have been published two years before Earhart's disappearance and definitely did not show them.

To your second point I agree; I don't see it.

I'll admit, I'm always a sceptic whenever I hear of an alleged Kid photo. While I don't see nearly as many as Bob Boz Bell sees (as mentioned in the True West blog above); I had my first book, Murder on the White Sands (about a New Mexico murder investigated by Pat Garrett) published ten years ago and began researching it years before that; and I've seen a lot of alleged Billy photos since then, often with a positive ID from some "facial recognition expert" with an impressive looking resume. It's ridiculous. But in this case, when they claimed they had identified the location, I was intrigued... only to be disappointed by the "proof." But that's because I don't have any faith in the facial recognition ID. I suppose if you really believe that absolutely proves it's them, and since there's a limited time period all of these people have been together, then you have to assume erosion changed the landscape that much in 150 years (actually in 70 years, because from the 50s to today there's been no discernible change) to make it work.
Agree, the landscape really doesn't match and apart from erosion there's just no other explanation for the vast differences in the background.
I have also read up into the whole facial recognition side of things and it seems that very few experts hold much faith in it. A good example would be the British Metropolitan Police, following the 2011 riots, the police could only match one face out of 4000 (cctv footage) using the software, the problem is that CCTV footage is normally low quality so what chance the software has with an old tintype is anyone's guess. So, that really only leaves the location which is not really a match. As you have already pointed out, some documentary evidence is needed which places those people in a specific location at a specific time and that just doesn't look like that will ever happen. So there you have it, I'm converted, a disappointed convert but a convert non the less, I'm not going to give up hope though, I just hope that one day someone will turn up with an authentic photo of Billy. What an elusive character he was, I'd like one day to be able to say that I visited the grave of Billy but it seems even that's a tall order, two graves both claiming to belong to Billy, sigh, I'm going to have to visit both. Oh well, at least I didn't part with millions of Dollars for a 'tintype', I can't remember where I read it 'probably in True West Magazine' someone posed the question 'if you had millions of dollars to spend on an authentic artefact of the old west, would you spend it on the tintype croquet picture?' I'd have to say.....No.
 

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Hmm. Really interesting, guys! I'm still leaning to it being Billy, though, but the ruckus around it is curious. It's like the only known photo of Crazy Horse...it sure fits the descriptions of him, right down to the scar on his face, same height, same tribe/clan, right time, the experts mostly agree. That must be him. Except none of the Lakota believe it. Crazy Horse was a sacred person - he'd never have stood in front of anybody's camera!

Waterloo, just be glad you don't want to see Quantrill's grave. He's got three or four of them, last count, and they're scattered from Iowa to Missouri!
 

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Hmm. Really interesting, guys! I'm still leaning to it being Billy, though, but the ruckus around it is curious. It's like the only known photo of Crazy Horse...it sure fits the descriptions of him, right down to the scar on his face, same height, same tribe/clan, right time, the experts mostly agree. That must be him. Except none of the Lakota believe it. Crazy Horse was a sacred person - he'd never have stood in front of anybody's camera!

Waterloo, just be glad you don't want to see Quantrill's grave. He's got three or four of them, last count, and they're scattered from Iowa to Missouri!
Hi diane,
Which photo are you referring to, are you thinking of the latest Pat Garret and Billy photo or the Croquet photo? I want the croquet photo to be that of Billy but I think shootseven is right, one of the things that swayed the verdict on the picture was its location and it just doesn't fit with the current picture of the same area, there's certainly a resemblance but there are also quite a few noticeable differences. If you disregard the facial recognition part of the whole debate then all you are really left with is the image itself and that probably wouldn't hold up in any court of law as being proof positive. It does have one thing going for it though and that is the fact that they are clearly playing croquet and Tunstall liked croquet being British and all.
 

diane

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Waterloo, yeah, the croquet one! I have to say there's been certainly compelling evidence to the contrary. Did know right off the background was not the same - lots of things can change a landscape in a hundred years but hills usually don't move! Just can't quite let go of the kid in the cardigan - seems possible. Like I said, the stuff swirling around the photo, etc, that has to do with profit and all that, might possibly be skewing the ID to the negative. Still, I think about yet another rather famous picture of Lee and Grant who were photographed together on the steps of McLean's house at Appomattox... That was so accepted for so long by so many authorities it was in everybody's history textbooks for years!
 

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Waterloo, yeah, the croquet one! I have to say there's been certainly compelling evidence to the contrary. Did know right off the background was not the same - lots of things can change a landscape in a hundred years but hills usually don't move! Just can't quite let go of the kid in the cardigan - seems possible. Like I said, the stuff swirling around the photo, etc, that has to do with profit and all that, might possibly be skewing the ID to the negative. Still, I think about yet another rather famous picture of Lee and Grant who were photographed together on the steps of McLean's house at Appomattox... That was so accepted for so long by so many authorities it was in everybody's history textbooks for years!
That's the problem, money gets in the way but then the owner of the latest alleged 'Billy' discovery has said that he's not interested in selling.
I have to ask, do you think that Brushy Bill Roberts was Billy? or did Pat Garret finish the job.
 

diane

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That's the problem, money gets in the way but then the owner of the latest alleged 'Billy' discovery has said that he's not interested in selling.
I have to ask, do you think that Brushy Bill Roberts was Billy? or did Pat Garret finish the job.
:D Nope! I think Pat got him. It's always interesting, though, how much cover and attention these folks get posing as a famous person - there was Marshal Ney who became a school teacher in South Carolina, or Jesse James living to a ripe old age as the farmer he'd always wanted to be, or the gal who claimed all her life to be Anastasia. (DNA eventually proved she wasn't.) I guess it's a form of narcissism to pretend all your life you're somebody else! Lucrative, too, for most of them... Pat Garrett didn't end well, though. He spent some years circling the drain before finally going down the tubes. Well, with a little help from a goat herder...
 

Waterloo50

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:D Nope! I think Pat got him. It's always interesting, though, how much cover and attention these folks get posing as a famous person - there was Marshal Ney who became a school teacher in South Carolina, or Jesse James living to a ripe old age as the farmer he'd always wanted to be, or the gal who claimed all her life to be Anastasia. (DNA eventually proved she wasn't.) I guess it's a form of narcissism to pretend all your life you're somebody else! Lucrative, too, for most of them... Pat Garrett didn't end well, though. He spent some years circling the drain before finally going down the tubes. Well, with a little help from a goat herder...
Oh yeah, J Frank Dalton aka Jesse James, he even had the same injuries as Jesse, seven bullet wounds, a rope burn around his neck, a collapsed lung, a damaged fingertip, and severely burned feet, now that is dedication. As for the goat herder, :nah disagree:
 
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diane

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Oh yeah, J Frank Dalton aka Jesse James, he even had the same injuries as Jesse, seven bullet wounds, a rope burn around his neck, a collapsed lung, a damaged fingertip, and severely burned feet, now that is dedication.
Indeed! That's a degree of perseverance I do not possess... There are some real descendants of Jesse's living hereabouts and they say it was definitely Mr Howard who got shot by the coward! Almost none of these outlaws died in a real high noon shoot-out, always in the back...that was the only way you'd take out somebody as deadly as these pistoleers! Or, in Billy's case, in the dark...
 
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