Orphans adoption is a great work recommended by all religions and laws. Orphans need care and attention, love and continuous protection to grow properly and become good people in their communities. Fortunately, there are many touching stories about orphans who have been adopted by some nice people and who have become so important and successful in their societies.
But as there are bright examples, unfortunately there are also tragic stories of orphans who have been tortured, harassed, and even killed by the families that adopted them. This is exactly what happened to the Russian kid Dmitry Yakovlev, who was adopted by an American family and died three months later due to maltreatment. On this basis, Russian (Dima) issued a law on 2012 to forbid adopting Russian kids in US. Ironically, our story today revolves also around a Russian child adopted by an American family, but this time, the victim was not the adopted child, but the family that adopted him!.
The Orphan (2009) is considered a psychological horror movie; it received a moderate rating from critics, but won the admiration of audience and achieved good results at the box office.
In short, the movie is about a couple, Kate and John Coleman, who are facing problems in their marriage after Kate’s recent stillbirth. So they try to repair their marriage by adopting a child, and after visiting the local orphanage, they decided to adopt a 9-years-old Russian girl named Esther. Her past is somehow mysterious, but she looked nice and helpless. She won the sympathy of the couple and their deaf daughter Max, while their son Daniel seemed less welcoming.
It didn’t take so long for Kate to start doubting Esther identity; her actions and thoughts didn’t seem to match her age. This leads Kate to search into Esther’s past. What she finds out next was shocking and terrifying!.. The girl who’s supposed to be 9 years-old, was actually a 33 years-old woman called Leena Klammer. She was born with a hormone disorder called Hypopituitarism that stunted her physical growth, she also has mental problems that made her spend most of her life posing as a little girl in order to make people adopt her, and always aim to seduce the husband in her adoptive family. In fact, she is a dangerous murderer; she has murdered at least 7 people. The previous family that adopted her was murdered because the father refused her sexual advances.
Esther entered into a fit of madness after failing to seduce John and the exposing of her real identity and her past by kate, she decided to kill the entire family, and this leads us to the climax of the movie events where a bitter and violent struggle breaks out between Esther and the family, which ends with Ester's death after a bloody fight with Kate over a frozen pond.
Is it a true story?
If you have come here looking for Esther that appeared in the film, then let me disappoint you, because she doesn't really exist. But this strange world is not without stories of an adult women who posing as younger girl for various purposes and goals, most are innocent, but some of them are no less evil than the (Orphan)'s Esther. In the following, we will tell you about two women that represent the two kinds.
Not a bad girl
In 2014, two police officers stormed a classroom at the New Life Christian School in Longview and put handcuffs in the hands of student Charite Stevens and took her out amid the astonishment of her teacher and classmates.
"What did Charite do? There must be a misunderstanding, she is a good and nice girl" ... Her close friend said while she was crying, most of the students agreed with her, none of them believed that their dear colleague, who spent nearly a year with them, could do anything wrong.
But next morning the headmaster entered the classroom with a shocking story. He said the police had just told him that student Charite Stevens, who was supposed to be a 15-year-old girl, is in fact a 34-year-old woman named Charity Ann Johnson.
All the students seemed stunned by what they had just heard, especially those close to Charite .. How can it be that she deceived them all for a full year?
In fact, Charite's story did not begin with her enrolling in high school, but it began several months earlier when she met a woman named Tamica Lincoln and convinced her that she was a runaway from home because of her father's harassment and that she needed shelter. Lincoln believed her and agreed to let her live with her, and it was with Lincoln's help that Charite was able to enroll in the high school.
"I sympathized with her, and invited her in to my home. I took her in as a child, did her hair, got her clothes and shoes,” Lincoln said.
When asked why she did so, Charite replied: "I'm just a normal person ... like any other normal person, trying to pursue her education, get her education and make it through life and be a better person. I'm not the person that some people are portraying me to be ... such a bad person ... or a monster ... I'm a regular person that was trying to do something better with her life.".
"I guess you can say I was looking for love”. she added.
It is true that Charite made a mistake and went to jail, but of course there is no comparison between her and Esther. For Charite, she did not have bad goals. She is just a poor girl who has gone through bad circumstances or maybe has some mental problems, but she did not aim to hurt anyone. Although her story tells us that it's possible for an adult woman in her 30s to pretend as a child or teenager and succeed in deceiving others.
The real Esther
In 2007, a couple from the Czech Brno city had set a CCTV camera in their baby's room to watch him through night. While testing the camera, and instead of seeing their baby peacefully sleeping in his bed, they saw a naked little boy cooped up in an iron cage in a gloomy place! The boy was in a terrible state, as if was severely tortured. The wife was able to recognize him; he was the 8 years-old Ondrej, the son of their neighbor Klara Mauerova.
But what brought Ondrej to the couples’ monitor?! Apparently, their camera signal has mistakenly mixed up with the signal of the camera that Klara had installed in her basement.
The couple informed the authorities immediately. A special force of police arrived quickly and broke into Klara’s house, headed directly to the basement where they faced one of most terrible scenes ever saw! Two naked little boys cooped up inside iron cages, exhausted and bleeding. Bruises and injuries were all over their little bodies. There was also a little girl lying down on the floor next to the cages, she wasn’t naked and had no signs of torture, but she was crying and asking for help. The police calm her and told her she is safe.
The two children in the cage were klara's son, Jakub -10 -, his brother Ondrej - 8 -. As for the girl, she was Anička, who claimed to be 12 years old and was adopted by Klara.
The kids were taken to the hospital, while Klara Mauerova and her sister Katerina, who was living with her, were both arrested.
Police investigations revealed terrible facts that shocked the Czech public. It was found that the kids were tortured daily for about a year by their mother, aunt and other members of a secret cult called “the Grail Messages”.
Who is Klara Mauerova?
Born in the Czech Republic in 1975, she had been obsessed, since childhood, with a strange idea that she had been chosen by God to accomplish great tasks; her sister Katrena shared the same obsession. Later on in her life, klara married and had two kids. According to many who knew her very closely, she was a loving mother, however, things changed when she decided to complete her university studies, where she met Barbora Skrlova, a weird classmate with a criminal history and many mental problems. Additionally, she was the daughter of the former leader of “the Grail Messages” cult, which he later left to create another cult called “The ants” that was mainly based on freaky and cranky beliefs.
Barbora told Klara about her father’s cult and was able to make her join them since she was already obsessed with that odd idea of being chosen by God, and it didn't take so long for her sister Katrena to join as well.
Klara completely changed; her husband couldn’t stand her new beliefs and behaviors, so he decided to leave the house. After he was gone, Katrena and Barbora moved in to live with Klara. Under Barbura's influence, the sisters began to apply the crazy and bizarre beliefs of the cult. Unfortunately, the first victims of these odd beliefs were Klara’s kids Jacub and Ondrej, they locked naked in an iron cage in the basement, not allowed to go to the toilet, starved and tortured the way Barbora decides. The latter enjoyed putting out her cigarette in their bodies. Sometimes other cult's members were invited to participate in the torturing of the two poor kids. The torture included electrical shocks, sexual harassment, water-boarding and whipping.
As if all this torment was not enough, Barbora came up with a new terrible idea. At first, they fed the kids well to fattening them, then they brought Ondrej and put him on the table, and his mother cut off a piece of meat from his leg with a knife and served it in dish, then they started eating it while making laugh of the kid’s crying. Two months later, they did same thing with Jakub, this time Klara cut a slice of his hand and forced him to eat it with them!.
The torment of the two boys lasted for months and they were definitely heading to death if they had not been accidentally caught by neighbors' camera.
But has the story ends here?
No .. There is another astonishing surprise hidden in this strange case..
Probably you remember that little girl found in the basement near the kid’s cage? That scared girl who claimed to be adopted by Klara .. In fact, that little girl was nothing but Barbora Skrlova, "The real Esther"!. She pretended to be a little girl, something she used to do for long time, and no one was able to expose her perfect disguise because she has a rare glandular disease cause a slow growth and makes her really look like a little girl. Over the years, Barbora took advantage of her rare illness in the best possible way. She committed many crimes and always escaped punishment. It is simple, whenever she was about to be arrested, she immediately begins to play the role of the innocent little girl, therefore they release her or transfer her to juvenile's house.
During the two years that Barbora spent at Klara’s house, she always played the role of a teenage girl named Anička in front of others. Klara herself told everyone that Anička is her adopted daughter.
When Barbora sensed that police is about to storms klara' house, she rushed to the basement and lied down on the floor and pretended to be victim, and succeeded in deceiving the police easily, as she was taken as a victim rather than an offender, and soon they turned her to a children care center where it didn’t take so long for her to escape and completely disappear.
As for the crazy mother klara and her sister Katerina, they were brought to trial. The judge asked them why they tortured the two kids, but they did not give any reasons. According to another member of the cult, the reason for the torture of the kids was to break their will and make them more obedient and abide to the instructions and lifestyle of the cult.
Eventually, Klara Mauerova was sentenced to 9 years in prison, while her sister was sentenced to 10 years. Other members of the cult, two women and a man, received sentences ranging from 5 - 7 years.
But what about Barbora?. Have they never caught her?
After escaping from the social care center, Barbara traveled to Norway, where she once again practiced her acting talent. This time she cut her hair short and played the role of a 13 year old boy named Adam. Her performance was so convincing that she managed to register in a high school in Oslo under her new fake identity.
But Barbara's classmates and teachers began to question his actions and thoughts that were weird. One day, during art lesson, the teacher saw Adam (Barbora) drawing a picture that made her feel terrified. The drawing was of seven children screaming and bleeding from wounds that cover all their bodies. There was a number above each of them, and Adam depicted himself as one of them under the number 7.
This frightening bloody drawing prompted the teacher to call the police. The boy was interrogated by police and they took his fingerprints. Thus, his real identity was revealed. Adam was only a 34-year-old Barbora Skrlova, who is fugitive from the Czech authorities.
Barbora was returned to the Czech Republic, where she was tried and sentenced to 5 years. Perhaps the reason for her light sentence was her mental disorder. Investigators are convinced that she herself was a victim, and she was tortured by her father, the cult leader, when she was a child.
But there remains a puzzling mystery. Who are the seven children Barbora drew? This is what the investigators are trying to know. They now believe that there are other victims of this abominable secret cult, which is probably torturing children for money as there is a secret trade of millions dollars a year, based on exploiting children to satisfy the sexual fantasies of some wealthy pedophiles, who are willing to pay large sums to watch the children raped, tortured and even killed.
Finally, as I said before, Aster's character in the film is completely fictional, but life always surprises us with stories that may seem even stranger than what we see in films. Perhaps the most important lesson we learn from these stories is that we should not trust our senses only. Of course I do not mean that we should doubt all people around us, but to be more attentive and more cautious, because there are so many deceivers and hypocrites in this world, and they are very skillful in concealing their true nature, and who knows? Maybe someone like Esther is around you now, and closer to you than what you can imagine!.