A Mass of Myths

I Think, Therefore I Am
René Descartes & Gilbert Shelton

In the early twentieth century, photographers Arthur S. Mole and John D. Thomas specialized in taking photos where thousands of soldiers were posed to form giant, living, symbols of the USA. They took a total of 10, including a portrait of Woodrow Wilson, the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty, the Marine Corps emblem, and more.

Only, nobody ever seems to have taken the trouble to count them.

In 1918, they took a photograph of 30,000 military officers and men at Camp Custer, Michigan.
A special 70-foot tower was built for this purpose. Here it is:

Looks impressive, doesn't it?

Well, until you start counting. I marked, along the broadest width of the shield and the highest height, every man-head standing in that row and column. Then I counted them, generously over-estimating the count where I lost detail in the blue-star top of the picture.
When I compared this with the original insignia, where the same part looks higher than that in the Mole-Thomas one, I got a ratio of 53:93. Having counted 40 heads in the striped part, top-to-bottom, that gives us a total of 40+(40/93)*53=40+28=68 men, certainly not persons, standing there. Which gives us a maximum total of 40x68=2720. Roughly discounting the billowing edges, we get a top:bottom ratio of 42:79, an average column of 51 men, against a row of 49. Actually, we're still being over-generous.
There can't be many more than 2500 men in the picture.

the shield        count them
This bragging by a factor of at least 10 wouldn't be anywhere near as worrisome (That's Show Biz, Folks!) if we did not have to face up to the fact that the US Army that delivered 'all' those men must have known, and merrily lied along.

So what else is new?
the originals, courtesy US government:
more photos of less men

some more fake masses
with original claims and actual, generous: if that, body counts
click on thumbnails to check our claims

Machine Gun Insignia
Machine Gun Training Center; 22,500 officers and men, 600 machine guns; Camp Hancock, Augusta, Ga.; Brig. Gen. Oliver Edwards, commanding; Lt. Col. E.P. Pierson, directing
Actual count: 5,650 men

liberty bell
The Human Liberty Bell
statue of liberty
Human Statue of Liberty
woodrow wilson
Sincerely yours, Woodrow Wilson
25,000 officers and men at
Camp Dix, New Jersey;
General Hugh L. Scott, comdr.

Actual count: 8,000 men
18,000 officers and men at Camp Dodge,
Des Moines, Ia.; Col. Wm. Newman,
commanding; Col. Rush S. Wells, directing

Actual count: 2,000 men
21,000 officers and men, Camp Sherman, Chillicothe, Ohio; Brig. Gen. Mathew C. Smith, commanding
Actual count: 5,100 men

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