The facts are frightening but true: institutions such as the Indianapolis Children’s Orphan Asylum, the Indianapolis School for the Blind and Pythian Castle in Springfield, Missouri took in thousands of children during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Many children lost their parents to disease. Some of them lost their fathers to death or abandonment. Some women turned to prostitution but could not buy food for themselves and their children both, or their jealous lovers would send the children away. Called mentally ill, children would be shipped to orphanages so they would be fed. Over 600 unmarked graves were found at the Indianapolis Children’s Orphan Asylum alone.
Orphaned children that lived in these asylums lived in workhouse conditions. They often died due to illnesses such as tuberculosis. Others were fed milk laced with formaldehyde. They did not have names; they were simply numbers. They would be separated from their siblings, never to see them again.
Paranormal author Rosemary Ellen Guilley, who has written over 30 books on the paranormal, said that children’s ghosts are not unlike living children. They cry, laugh, play and may look for their parents or some type of comfort.
In an effort to bring attention to the ghosts of these abandoned children the Booth Brothers, twins from England, filmed a documentary called Children of the Grave.
For all of their talent, the brothers fell terribly short on this documentary. While the information provided was factual and informative, sources were credible (Guilley and demonologist John Zaffis, nephew of paranormal greats Ed and Lorraine Warren) and a former Missouri police officer, the whole thing was completely cheesy.
Their Paranormal Task Force who investigated several locations in the film looked like a radical military group dressed in black and wearing flat caps. Shaky camera movement to the point of making one motion sick, daguerreotype portraits with peoples’ faces blurred out and child actors with dark eye makeup with the intent of looking spooky popped up way too many times. Supposed EVPs and photographs that were obviously doctored and made way too much of flooded the screen. Someone took a photo and said that until the image was developed, the shadows of several children facing the camera weren’t visible. One supposed image of a shadow person was obviously fake – it looked like a cardboard cutout stuck on a shot of a road in a forest.
The filmmakers and their motley crew spoke at some kind of college or other classroom setting about their experiences as the film progressed. The Booth Brothers look like a combination of Axl Rose from Guns ‘n’ Roses, one wearing a bandanna on his head, and the other like Bee Gees singer Barry Gibb in a black fedora, tan leather jacket and wearing big gold chains.
When investigating, they had so many people with them it was ridiculous. Cameramen, filmmakers, psychics, sensitives and photographers all wandered about aimlessly through the various locations. This made everything ripe for audio to become corrupted or an investigator’s shadow to be mistaken for something paranormal.
To add to the insanity, several members of the team actually donned bullet-proof vests in order to ward off any injury from shadow people when investigating a supposedly haunted area. I don’t know about you, but personally I’ve never heard of a ghost shooting anyone. Or even being able to carry a firearm, for that matter.
At one point, just before a commercial, some child ghost photos were being shown. One of them was supposedly of former child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey. What she had to do with orphans from the 1800s I don’t know.
While most of the stories about the orphanages were true and were obviously well-researched, some of the witnesses were not so credible. A giggling group of teenage girls said they heard stories of a girl being killed on a railroad crossing, an entire school bus of children being killed on a railroad crossing, Satanic worshipers and some other type of urban legends in an area of St. Louis, Missouri. A former police officer indicated three young boys had drowned in the lake at an abandoned gravel quarry. He also said there were reports of drug trafficking and Satanic worship in the area, though no one was ever found having been killed by Satanists. A few deer carcasses, yes, which could be contributed to coyotes, but of course these were blamed on the Satanists. I’ve never met a Satanist, so now I’m curious to know if they would actually kill and dismember a whole deer versus using a smaller animal, such as a snake or chicken. If anyone out there can answer this for me, I’d love to hear about it. Satanists are people, too, right?
The documentary also played up the angle of parental concern. A paranormal investigator said she is also a parent and feels terrible for the children that died at the asylums. Even as a non-parent, I agree with her – it was awful that so many children died unloved and unnamed. However the documentary really didn’t give any credit to these children because it was filmed like something from a high school AV club.
I have to admit, I actually fast-forwarded through some of the movie, but I’m sure I didn’t miss anything.
I respect the children who died in orphanages and hope that some day, somehow they are able to find peace. I don’t, however, respect the overdone ghost busting army. I hope to find peace with the 2 hours I wasted watching their flailing around with EMF meters and overgrown laser pointers. Come on, guys, drop the drama and DO this.
On a scale of 1 to 10 tombstones (1 = terrible, 10 = excellent): I can’t even give it a sliver. Bleah.
Children of the Grave (2007, click on the movie title for IMDb info)
Categorised in: Horror Movies
This post was written by Spookylady