This project began back in November 2003, the weekend of the
Harmonic Convergence, which coincides with the Psychic
Fair at Bonsecours Market in Old Montreal. That's when Ann met Harley for
the first time.
Ann's first words to Harley were: "I see you're not Marilyn."
Before Harley set her straight, Ann didn't know she was looking for
missing children. She thought she was writing a book about what happened
to her family in 1962, around the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, when
her father suddenly suffered a nervous breakdown and was admitted to the
Allan Memorial Institute in Montreal.
The missing children started showing up the following March, when Ann
came back to Montreal and joined Harley's spiritual development workshop.
That's when the spirits of children who had died in
secret experiments, began speaking to, and through, members of Harley's
Much of what they said was shocking and disturbing. Two
boys, Brian and Eric, and a girl named Cindy, described what it was like
to live as human laboratory rats in a blocked-off wing of what could only
be the Allan Memorial Institute ca. 1960. They talked of being kept for
hours in isolation rooms, where everything was "weighed and measured and
measure and weighed." Sometime they starved and sometimes they were
overfed. Sometimes they were forced to memorize pages of data and recite
it back, and punished if they made a mistake. Punishment might be
electroshock. Sometimes there were parties, where other children came for
a few hours, on evenings and weekends. After each experiment, the children
were given candies, which made them forget.
The stories the children told were as strange as any
fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. The characters included doctors,
including one they called "Mr. Pimple". There was a Dr. Quint, who once
forgot to remove his nametag before entering the lab. And they also
describe small, thin man with salt and pepper hair, who used to hug the
children and ask them how they felt.
Doctors came and went, pursuing their top secret
research, with funding from the CIA, the military, our government. Each of
the children's stories ended in death, and a quick burial behind the
hospital in a secret graveyard which they could see from the window of
their basement dormitory.
All this happened in Montreal during
the Cold War, at a world-renowned medical research institution.
This project is our response.