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Number of people in Dealey Plaza on Nov. 22 1963

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Jeremy Bocjzuk brought up Mass Hysteria in Dealey Plaza and on going back through it again another idea popped up for consideration.

Mass Hysteria contends there were 50+ witnesses who said shooting occurred in front of the TSBD.  In other words, the assassination started on Houston Street in front of the Court Records Building and ended at the Southwest corner of the TSBD.

This is definitely not the official story.  I would assume the folks who ran the Warren Commission and other government agencies would have gagged on this.  Others will too.  The witness list has been revised since to about 54 witnesses, but remains essentially the same.

This is a fairly long read, but stick with it you will find some things interesting at the end.

Witnesses in Dealey Plaza on the 22nd of November, 1963

No one knows how many people were in Dealey Plaza on the day President Kennedy was assassinated.  No one knows, out of the estimated number of people in Dealey Plaza, who were the witnesses who actually saw the assassination.  This analysis will attempt to answer that question.

Here are some estimates from the internet when queried on a question concerning the number of witnesses in Dealey Plaza on 22 Nov., 1963. 




Jean Davison says:

May 23, 2016 at 10:52 pm

According to Josiah Thompson’s tabulation in “Six Second in Dallas,” out of 190 witnesses on record about the direction of the shots, only 4 said they came from two directions. (p. 28, paperback).

For any newbies out there, Thompson is a WC critic, not a supporter.



Willy Whitten says:


May 23, 2016 at 11:09 pm


Josiah Thompson’s tabulation is old news updated with the correct information Jean. At the link below you can find the correct tabulation complete with the witness testimonies stating they heard the shots coming from the knoll.

52 witnesses said the Knoll

48 witnesses said the Depository

5 said both the Knoll & Depository


The Mary Ferrell site says:


Dealey Plaza was full of people who witnessed the assassination of President Kennedy.  (But, does not quote a number)




22 November 1963 An Introduction to the JFK Assassination



Examination of photographs and home movies suggests that there were perhaps as many as 600 people in Dealey Plaza at the time of the assassination. Official interviews or statements exist for around 200 of these witnesses. Because the Warren Commission did no investigation of its own, almost all of the witnesses who testified before the Commission were chosen from those who had already made official statements. The other 400 or so, including many of the spectators nearest to the president, were never interviewed officially at all. Few of these missing witnesses were identified, even when the authorities had been informed of their existence.


Deaths of Dealey Plaza JFK Witnesses: A Probability Analysis


Richard Charnin
Oct. 30, 2017

 Reclaiming Science:The JFK Conspiracy.

JFK Blog Posts
JFK Calc Spreadsheet Database
Tables and Graphs

The 1977 House Select Committee on Assassination (HSCA) claimed that the London Sunday Times actuary’s probability calculation of 18 material witnesses deaths (13 unnatural) in the three years following the assassination (1 in 100,000 trillion) was invalid. The HSCA claimed that it was impossible to calculate the probability because the witness universe was unknown. This canard was essential to the cover-up. No one did the math until I confirmed the actuary’s calculation in 2003

But there were many definable witness groups. Consider the 24 unnatural deaths of the 692 estimated Dealey Plaza witnesses. The probability of 24 unnatural deaths during the period 1963-1978 is 

P= poisson(24, 2.56, false) = 8.08E-16= 1 in 1200 trillion.

Sixteen Dealey Plaza witnesses testified at the Warren Commission, 3 were sought to testify at the Garrison trial, 3 at the Church Senate hearings and 3 at the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA).

From history-matters.com:


216 Witnesses to the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy John F. Kennedy

Over six hundred people witnessed the assassination of President Kennedy. Regrettably, the Warren Commission did not conduct an analysis of witness accounts, nor did it give any credence to the accounts of those witnesses who thought the shots came from the grassy knoll.


So, these folks are saying the number of witnesses ranges from about 190 to 692.  Generally, it is agreed that about 200+ witnesses made statements to the Warren Commission.  This is out of a possible total of 600+ witnesses.

Why were 400 or so people not questioned.  I would think that of this possible witness crowd the 400 or so didn’t see the assassination.  Maybe?

If you follow the official story of the Warren Commission, then the assassination occurred between/about the Stemmons Freeway sign on Elm Street to the Grassy Knoll.  This is best seen in such films as Zapruder, Muchmore, Nix, and the Polaroid of Mary Moorman.

The official story indicates that most of the people in Dealey Plaza at the intersection of Main and Houston, along Houston street, and some at the intersection of Houston and Elm in front of the TSBD did not see anything.

So, the best place to look for witnesses to the assassination in Dealey Plaza is from the Court Records Building on Houston Street to the Triple Underpass on Elm Street.

Earlier it was said that “Examination of photographs and home movies suggests that there were perhaps as many as 600 people in Dealey Plaza at the time of the assassination.”

 I don’t believe that is true.  I have, by examining photographs and films available, counted the people from the Court Records Building to the Triple Underpass.  This count leaves the areas of east and west on Houston Street, the corners and crosswalks of Houston and Main uncounted.  People on Main Street would not be counted except at the corners of Houston and Main.

The number of people counted and uncounted might reach 400+, but not 600 or 692.

My count is variable.  I found that there are different numbers of people in areas along the route from the Court Records to the Triple Underpass recorded in the various films and photos.  These are the areas surveyed:

  1. The area of the Triple Underpass.

  2. The area of the steps from the parking lot to Elm.

  3. Stemmons sign to the R L Thornton sign/lamppost.

  4. The south side of Elm Street across from the Stemmons sign.

  5. Moving east from the R L Thornton sign to the SW corner of the TSBD.

  6. From the SW corner of the TSBD to the TSBD doorway.

  7. The Doorway of the TSBD.

  8. The NE corner of the TSBD.

  9. The SW corner of Elm and Houston Street.

  10. The crosswalk of Houston and Elm between the Dal-Tex and the TSBD.

  11. In front of the Dal-Tex building.

  12. People in the Dal-Tex windows.

  13. The crosswalk between the Dal-Tex Building and the Court Records Building.

  14. Houston Street in front of the Court Records building on the east side.

  15. Houston Street on the west side in front of the Court Records Building.

These are the films and photos that were examined (not in order):

  1. Zapruder film

  2. Hughes film

  3. Muchmore film

  4. Nix film

  5. Tina Towner film

  6. Martin film

  7. Bronson film

  8. Elsie Dorman film

  9. Bell film

  10. Weigman film

  11. Couch film

  12. Altgens 5, 6, and 7 photos

  13. Altgens photos

  14. Mary Moorman photos

  15. Betzner photos

  16. Willis photos

  17. Skaggs photos

  18. Weaver Photo

This is the results from a two-part examination:

  1. Mass Hysteria in Dealey Plaza Part 2 Part 1

  2. Mass Hysteria in Dealey Plaza Part 2 Part 2

From Mass Hsyteria in Dealey Plaza Part 2 Part 2:

“15. The area on Houston Street across from the Court Records Building on the west side of Houston. This area is shown in Weaver and Hughes.  These media are not clear enough to count numbers.  The Elsie Dorman film shows this area. Using 3 frames that are related or contiguous, we have a count of 37 people. This includes people who were not counted on the SW corner of Elm and Houston.  130 + 37 = 167.  The variable count is 242 + 37 = 279 people.”

As you can see a count of the people in Dealey Plaza is true to most evidence one finds in relation to the death of President Kennedy.  It is not possible to count the number of people in Dealey Plaza on the day of the assassination.  This is due to the variability of the media showing people in the Plaza from the Court Records Building to the Triple Underpass.  The number of people vary in a particular area in different photos and films.  This makes it impossible to count the people in Dealey Plaza on the 22nd of November, 1963.  This effort has the number from 167 to 279 people.  The lower number rules out the count of an area if there is a conflict between films and photos.  The higher number counts the highest number registered in photos and films covering that area.  There were 15 areas named and covered between the Triple Underpass and the Court Records Building.  There were 18 named films and photographer's photos covered.

The 54 witnesses, from the original Mass Hysteria, who said that they heard shooting when the presidential limousine turned off Houston Street onto Elm Street.  And, shooting continued while the presidential limousine was in front of the TSBD.  54 witnesses out of 167 people or 279 people represent a significant portion of that group.  This is 32% for the lower number and 20% for the higher number. 

Somewhere between 1/3 or 1/5 of the people who were witnesses in Dealey Plaza that day said they heard shooting when the presidential limousine was in front of the TSBD.

This is definitely not the Official Story of the Warren Commission, the HSCA, and the Zapruder film.  It varies in significant ways from the Warren Commission. 

Surely, these people suffered from a mass hysteria in Dealey Plaza due to the savagery and brutality of the event.”

Mass Hysteria on Elm Street Part 2 Part 1.docx Mass Hysteria on Elm Street Part 2 Part 2.docx

Edited by John Butler
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