skip navigation

The Ghost Army

World War II's Artists of Deception

Ghost Sightings in New York

Ghost Sightings in New York

Seven Ghost Army veterans share their wartime tales at the Manhattan screening.  From left to right:  Jack Masey (603rd), Tom Roche (3132), John Jarvie (603rd), Dick Syracuse, (3132), Bill Sayles (603rd), Gil Seltzer (3132) and filmmaker Rick Beyer  

A very exciting weekend in October  as the in-progress Ghost Army rough cut saw the light of day at two NY screenings Oct. 25 & 26.  

ghostarmy 127
On Saturday the 25th we showed the film at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn as part of their ReIgnite 2008 alumni weekend. Ghost Army veterans Ned Harris, Victor Dowd, and Bill Sayles were on hand to talk about their experiences. (The Fall 2008 edition of PRATTFOLIO, the Alumni Magazine, also ran an excellent article on Ghost army artists.)

The next day we screened the film at the Millennium Film Workshop in Manhattan for an audience of donors, veterans, families of veterans, and friends of the film. About 100 people came, including seven Ghost Army veterans (pictured above), who took part in an extended panel discussion after the screening.  Both audiences were very receptive, and offered valuable feedback.

ghostarmy 127
Several people traveled quite a way to get to the screening, including Kim Seale, whose dad Oscar Seale was an officer in the unit. Kim came all the way from Texas. It was especially exciting to welcome another long distance traveler, Madison Atterbury, an 8th grader from Minnesota who did a "History Day" project on the Ghost Army that made it to the state finals. Madison took a great interest in the 23rd during her project, and was thrilled to come to New York and meet so many veterans.  

ghostarmy 127
At left, Six Ghost Army veterans, and the six "Pioneers" who hosted the Manhattan screening.  Plus one filmmaker.  From left to right:  Maura Harway, Richard Mark, Jerri Mayer, Tom Mayer, Jack Masey (603rd), Tom Roche (3132), Barbara Moses, Matt Grayson, Ned Harris (603rd), Rick Beyer, Bill Sayles (603rd) and John Jarvie (603rd).  The Pioneers are major supporters of the film whose generous contributions and  unswerving commitment have been instrumental to the progress made to far.  

A spooky Ghost Army  story:  One of the pioneers, Tom Mayer, invited a lawyer he works with named Richard Seltzer.  Richard sent a copy of the invite to his father, Gilbert Seltzer, who happens to be a member of the Ghost Army!! (He was the adjutant of the 603rd.) Tom had no idea.  We were all quite thunderstruck by the coincidence.  What's more, 94 year old Gil Seltzer (Still a practicing architect) came to the screening and regaled us with stories from his time in the Ghost Army.

To date, 56 minutes of the film has been roughed out,  taking the unit from its inception through the Battle of Brest in August 1944. Next Steps:  Completing the rough cut, gathering more images, searching for some of the initial sound recordings, and raising money to shoot re-enactment footage for the film.  

If you are interested in making a tax deductible contribution to the film before the end the year, click here.