Every once in awhile we’ll hear a story about someone, or some group, that has been locked away for years. The latest is a group of six adult children, ages 18-25, who have been locked away in a farmhouse in Ruinerwold, Netherlands for 9 years. Some of the children have been so isolated that they cannot speak. It’s coming to light that their father was the head of some weird doomsday cult, and there is footage from his Facebook page, such as his raggedy self working out on this handmade exercise machine, below, that makes me think that he’s a bit unhinged.
The neighbors didn’t even know the family was there. In fairness, this is a rural community and the houses are not close to each other. But it must take some doing to hide and feed that many full-grown humans without raising a few eyebrows at your grocery cart contents. It beggars belief.
I remember the story of Colleen Stan, who was locked in a box under her kidnapper’s bed, 23 hours a day, for years on end. Another bizarre story is that of the Wolfpack Brothers, who, along with their sister, were kept in a Manhattan apartment, for 14 years. Then there’s the Turpin family, the parents of whom kept their 12 children locked away, on the brink of starvation, and even often shackled to beds. And who can forget Jaycee Dugard, who was kidnapped at age 11, and kept in a backyard compound for 19 years while she raised two children in captivity?
In my opinion, the most disturbing part of these stories is what they imply. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that even as I type this, there are other captives, heaven only knows where, who are suffering in secret, desperately in need of our help. And yet we don’t know where they are. That’s going on right this very minute.
It makes you appreciate your freedom, doesn’t it? But it’s also a sickening thought, and a helpless feeling. If you see something strange, please don’t look the other way. Speak up.