10 Bizarre True Stories that Became Documentaries – Part 2

by Binupriya Tomy6 months ago0 comments

6 Dark Secrets Inside Bohemian Grove

The documentary reveals footage of bizarre rituals by a secret club in California for a group of rich and powerful people. Bohemian Grove is infamous and said to have been the place of the start of the Manhattan Project and atom bomb in the early 1940s. Alex Jones, the owner of the footage, infiltrates the camp and catches a strange ritual on tape. 

Dark Secrets Inside Bohemian Grove
Bizarre rituals in Bohemian Grove (Image to the left); Two future U.S. presidents, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, are pictured with Harvey Hancock (standing) and others at Bohemian Grove in the summer of 1967. Image Credit: archive.org/FCC via thebolditalic.com, Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory/washingtonpost.com

Each year, members of global elites hold a secret meeting where they don red, black, and silver cloaks and conduct rituals. They worship a giant owl. An outsider, Alex Jones, infiltrated Bohemian Grove and caught it on tape. For two weeks, the powerful of the world gathered for heavy drinking, secret talks, and rituals. The people include prominent businessmen, musicians, and even presidents. 

The stories have fascinated many over the years, but the details were guarded under secrecy for years. Several attempts were made to infiltrate the gatherings. This was finally successful in 1989 when a magazine writer posed as a member there for seven days when the waiting list was 33 years long. Of all the bizarre documentaries ever made, this film gives a sneak peek into the exclusive retreat of the most powerful men of America and has drawn quite a large audience. (1, 2)

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7 The Imposter

This documentary covers the real-life story of a 16-year-old, Nicholas Barclay who went missing, and how a con artist got accepted in the family pretending to be him. The con artist did not look anything like the 16-year-old but he convinced the family he had lost his memory and was forced to develop a thick European accent. Several sinister theories revolve around the family and the con man. 

The Imposter
Nicholas Barclay (Image to the left); Frederic Bourdin who pretended to be missing teenager Nicholas Barclay. Image Credit: medium.com , Mirror.co.uk

The film is made in such a way that it will get inside your head. A grown man pretending to be a 16-year-old missing boy and getting accepted by the boy’s family is not something to be looked at easily. Despite looking nothing like him or his family, the family accepted somebody who claimed to be the kid from a youth shelter in Spain. 

The film, labeled as one of the most bizarre documentaries, admits that this is not Nicholas Barclay. The man in the youth shelter in Spain had to prove that he was the missing child so that he did not get kicked out. He convinced the family that every change that happened to him was due to the traumatizing experience he has to go through during the three years that he was missing. (1, 2)

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8 There is Something Wrong with Aunt Diane

This documentary talks about one of the biggest tragedies in New York when Diane Schuler, traveling with five kids, crashed into a minivan killing herself and seven others. The toxicology reports show she was intoxicated twice the allowed legal limit, but she had no history of substance abuse. 

Something Wrong with Aunt Diane
Jackie Hance, sister-in-law of Diane Schuler, is shown in photo with two of her three daughters who were killed in crash when Schuler entered Taconic Parkway and drove the wrong way. Image Credit: nydailynews.com

The film looks into whether her actions that day make her a drunk mother who cracked, or who might have been innocent as there is no history of psychological problems or substance abuse. She seemed to have been a stable wife and mother to the family. 

Even though she grew up without a mother figure, she was called “supermom” by her friends and family. The documentary shows a Schuler who always made sure everything was perfect. The people at the camp where they went also confirmed she looked sober. The film shows the true story of a husband who has since been trying to clear her name. The toxicology report came out as a complete shock and reveals the complex case to all who were left wondering what happened to Aunt Diane. (1, 2)

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9 Marjoe (1972)

Marjoe is an American documentary about an evangelist Marjoe Gortner. He gained much public attention during the 1940s as a child preacher. He was only four years old when his parents began receiving huge amounts of money as a result of the preaching their son did with his extraordinary speaking skills, which he eventually outgrew in as he got older. 

Marjoe
Marjoe Gortner in his childhood (Image to the left) ; Marjoe Gortner in Marjoe. Image Credit: afflictor.com , imdb.com

A family of evangelists made their son a preaching sensation after they noticed the kid was gifted with the power of recalling and mimicry. He came to be known as “World’s Youngest Minister” after he became famous for preaching at a wedding when he was four. He was ordained immediately and toured all over America for eight years. 

The crazy, double-life of the preacher was made into a film by Howard Smith and Sarah Kernochan, which won the award for Best Documentary Feature in 1972 for true stories. The film had considerable press attention, but it was not released to the public as it was feared it would generate uneasiness with the evangelist crowd who followed and believed Brother Marjoe’s story. Known as one of the most bizarre documentaries, this film was shown again in 2005 in New York as a part of the Stranger Than Fiction documentary series. (1, 2)

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10 Brother’s Keeper

This true story is set in upstate New York in 1991, the film is about Delbert Ward who is charged with his brother’s murder. The brother admits to a mercy killing of their severely ill brother by smothering him in bed. The masterpiece dives into the people of Munnsville and into the psyches of each Ward brother. 

Brother's Keeper
Delbert Ward in the middle. Image Credit: Wellspring Media Inc

Brother’s Keeper is a documentary of one of the creepiest true stories about a murder trial, unlike anything the audience has ever seen before. The film is the trial of a 1991 murder that happened in the New York town of Munnsville that was home to about 500 people. Bill Ward was found dead by his three brothers, and his younger brother Delbert was charged with his death. 

Filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky spent nine months filming this 90-minute documentary, one of the most bizarre films of all time. The second half shows the nervous brothers on the witness stand and gives a glimpse of the world not many people have lived in their lifetime. The filmmakers brilliantly telling a story without making a case for it, either way, is an appreciable part of the documentary. (1, 2)

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