Unburying the Lost Boys at the Dozier School (a real-life horror story)

April 27, 2013

Tananarive Due Writes

UPDATE 8/30: On my way to Marianna, Florida, with my father, husband and son.  Exhumations will begin. The remains of the Lost Boys, including my mother’s uncle, will soon be brought into the light. 

ORIGINAL POST:

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Why do you write horror?  How can horror fiction be escapism? 

That familiar query from readers pops to mind as I’m riding with my father from Atlanta down to northern Florida to visit the site where the notorious Dozier School for Boys once stood as a real-life boogeyman to juvenile offenders from around the state of my birth.

Some former prisoners say boys were beaten, tortured, sexually assaulted. And as the cemetery behind the school still attests—called “Boot Hill” by locals—some of the boys sent to the Dozier School never came home.

One was a 15-year-old boy named Robert Stephens, my late mother’s uncle.  In 1937, Robert Stephens died after allegedly being stabbed…

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