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Article ID: 1896
Age Group: Adult
Posted: July 28th. 1997
Film: Paradise Lost - Witchvox Review
by Peg Aloi
The documentary "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills" has recently opened in the New England area, and will continue to premiere in movie theatres in many major cities throughout the US. Produced originally for HBO, this amazing film is the creation of award-winning directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, who made "Brothers Keeper", also a documentary, which chronicles a case of blatant discrimination and the search for justice. Whereas "Brothers Keeper" ends happily, the outcome of "Paradise Lost" is a shocking travesty of suspicion, dishonesty, media sensationalism, religious prejudice, and vigilante justice. With the nationwide theatrical release of this film the creators hope to aid in securing new trials for three young men (teenagers at the time of their sentencing) whom they believe are wrongly imprisoned for the murder of three eight-year-old boys. (For more information on the criminal trial, the making of the film, and what has happened since, see the fantastic website at:
The filmmakers were allowed an unprecedented amount of contact with the victims' families, the defendants, the lawyers on both sides, and with the local population. This makes for a painfully-intimate glimpse into the suffering of many, and the film can be quite harrowing to watch at times. But for those of us concerned about our right to worship as we choose, this film is a frightening reminder that many people out there think we pose a threat to them. Our lifestyle is a difficult one to explain to those who, in their close-minded ignorance, stubbornly insist we are evil, or that we do harm. We should all be afraid...very afraid. What happened to Damien and his friends could so very easily happen to any of us...this is a gross injustice. But there is strength in indignation. There is power in anger. And we can help prevent this from happening in the future. We can educate ourselves about our rights under the law (see the Witches' Voice White Pages for more info); we can educate others about our practices. We can refuse to be labeled. We can show ourselves to be caretakers of each other, just as we are caretakers of Mother Earth and Her creatures.
Tell your friends about this case. See the film. Be willing to talk about it; write letters to your local media. Ask your local cinemas to play it (see the Paradise Lost Website for a calendar of dates and how to contact the filmmakers for distribution inquiries). As Americans, who live in a country founded because some of its earliest immigrants wished to escape religious persecution, you and I should be outraged at the treatment received by Witches in the media, and in the courtroom. It is time to fight back with our finest weapons: our intelligence and our honesty. If we hide who we are, how will anyone find us when we need their help? For every one of us who has ever been proud to be "different", we owe Damien the right to a fair trial. For everyone who has been unjustly accused of anything, we owe Jessie and Jason the benefit of the doubt.
I have seen the film twice; I have also heard the filmmakers talk at length about details of the trial proceedings that did not appear in the film, and am firmly convinced that the trial was not a fair one by any stretch of the imagination. I believe these young men are innocent. But I urge you to see the film and make your own decisions. You cannot discuss it intelligently unless you know what you are referring to (and believe me, this film will be talked about!) If anyone wants to discuss any of this, feel free to email me. Also, searching Dejanews.com with a heading like "Paradise Lost Film" will find many of the online discussions of this film from newsgroups like "alt.true-crime."
Blessed be, my brothers and sisters; know that, ultimately, truth WILL prevail. But how much nicer it would be if we helped make this happen in this lifetime...
In love, courage, and righteous anger
(thanks for that one, Cybill)
July 28th., 1997
Witches' Voice Media Coordinator
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