“Children of the Grave” is the highly-anticipated follow-up to the Booth Brothers’ 2006 documentary “Spooked: The Ghosts of Waverly Hills Sanatorium” and like its predecessor this film delivers non-stop chills from the very first frame.
Easily one of the most informative and well-researched documentaries in the “para-reality” genre, “Children of the Grave” is also something many other such films are not: genuinely sensitive to the subject matter and respectful of how it is presented.
In “Children of the Grave” the Booth Brothers have assembled a team of leading paranormal experts who together delve into the sad, disturbing history surrounding the thousands of cast-off children who once passed through the somber halls of America’s orphanages. Many of these now-desolate places were likely not much more welcoming when fully-operating generations ago. As the expert cinematography of the Booth Brothers so aptly reveals, some of the larger institutions had all the appeal of oversized mausoleums.
Cast into these grim surrogate Victorian mothers – some of which were still operational well into the 20th century - were the abandoned, the unwanted, the neglected, the abused of America’s children. Stripped of all vestiges of childhood (in many cases even their names were replaced with numbers) the children subsisted in the orphanage netherworld until they were adopted out (sometimes to even worse fates), mercifully outgrew the institutions, or, anonymous and forgotten, died.
And as the Booth Brothers show us, death is only the beginning of the story.
Over a ten-day period, trekking across six states, the Booth Brothers and their team of experts conduct on-site investigations of some of the most notorious orphanages in the Midwestern United States, at least one of which – Pythian Castle – is preserved in good condition.
The viewer watches as each layer of the story of these ill-treated and once-forgotten orphans unfolds through narration and visual imagery that only heightens the tension. The sites are creepy enough on their own, but as the evidence of documented paranormal activity begins to mount, the viewer is transfixed and it becomes immediately obvious that this documentary will merit a second and even a third viewing to absorb everything that is presented.
In two instances – the first being the team’s investigation of the Pythian Castle tunnels and the second being the hunt conducted on demon-haunted Zombie Road – every concept of reality, of what is real and genuine, is challenged by the camera’s unaltered images. The stark reminders of the unseen all around us that are delivered in these segments will thrill “believers” and could give the staunchest skeptic pause.
The paranormal experts chosen by the Booth Brothers each lend a particular focus to the investigation and the film. Authorities such as John Zaffis, Troy Taylor and Rosemary Ellen Guiley anchor the investigation with important facts concerning the nature of hauntings by children; the team in the field, led by Keith Age, Greg Myers and the Booth Brothers themselves, backs up this insight with haunting video and EVP (electronic voice phenomena) captures.
In the end, however, more than attempting to convince us that the ghosts we see are real or that paranormal events can be documented, the Booth Brothers accomplish their true purpose and that is to strip the forgotten children of the grave of their anonymity, to put faces and stories with the numbers etched on tombstones in desolate, lonely cemeteries, and to make them memorable in death so that in a small way they can never be forgotten again.
View this documentary. It is a stunning piece of work.
For more info and to get your DVD copy, please visit: www.childrenofthegrave.com
CHILDREN OF THE GRAVE
A Booth Brothers Horror Documentary featuring Keith Age, John Zaffis, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Troy Taylor, Steven LaChance and Greg Myers with The Louisville Ghost Hunters Society and The Paranormal Task Force
Review by: Alyne A. Pustanio/Haunted America