For those interested in learning more about the case that “Changeling” is based on:
1) A newly published book is now available, called NOTHING IS STRANGE WITH YOU: THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF GORDON STEWART NORTHCOTT, by James Jeffrey Paul. Mr. Paul conducted 15 years of extensive research for this book, which includes follow-ups on the people involved (including Sanford Clark).
If you choose to purchase Mr. Paul’s book, please use a vendor other than Amazon…Amazon dot com continues to sell (and therefore distribute) material such as magazines that promote animal fighting as a sport (dog-fighting, cock-fighting), a practice that 2 Black Cats believes is highly unethical.
2) You can view more photographs related to the case on the Los Angeles Public Library’s website. Simply follow these steps:
a) Go to http://www.lapl.org
b) Click on “Browse the Photo Collection”
c) In the “Keyword” box, type the word: “Northcott”. Leave all other boxes (fields) blank.
d) Click “Search” (or hit “Return”/”Enter”)
e) Results should appear quickly; there will be 121 records. Click on the thumbnail to view a larger image; click on the link identifying the photo to read a more detailed description.
**Warning: Some photos contain material that you may find highly disturbing. The first photo on the results page contains such material. Don’t go there if you think you can’t handle it.**
3) J. Michael Straczynski (screenwriter of “Changeling”) is writing a book based on his extensive research of Christine Collins’ case that he conducted for the film. I believe it will be coming out in February of 2009, so be on the lookout for it!
Keywords: Christine Collins, Walter Collins, Changeling movie, true story, 1928, LAPD, Gordon Northcott, Wineville murders, murder, Angelina Jolie, Clint Eastwood, book, photograph, information, research, Los Angeles, crime, kidnap, child murderer
A number of people posted comments (that I subsequently deleted) on my “Real Christine Collins” entry, saying, “Obviously, you haven’t seen the movie”, or “Maybe you should see the movie first”, and so on.
I’ve seen “Changeling”. I saw it because of my interest in the Northcott case. I watched about 10-15 minutes of clips before the limited release, and, despite my disgust with Jolie’s performance, went to see the entire film anyway. I live in an area that got the film during the “limited release”.
Now that that’s been cleared up, in addition to what I said in my original Christine Collins entry, let me say this:
Angelina Jolie cried/got teary-eyed 15 times in this film (yes, I counted). Seven of those 15 times were in the first half-hour. The movie was 140 minutes long, and that includes opening and closing credits. Jolie was not in every scene, so let’s give a fair estimate that she was in 120 minutes of the film. That means that, on average, Angelina Jolie got weepy/cried about every eight minutes.
She cried on the phone, she cried at work, she cried at the police station, she cried at the train station, she cried in the hospital, she cried in court, she cried at the hearing (it was annoying as hell)…this is NOT the behavior of a “strong, brave, courageous” woman. Strong, brave, courageous women pull themselves together and don’t constantly “lose it” in public, regardless of how devastated and grief-stricken they may be. Strong women have self-control and exercise self-restraint: They do not scream and cry hysterically at police officers, doctors, nurses, and children, no matter how frustrated, upset or overwhelmed they may feel.
I have no doubt that Christine Collins was devastated, fearful, grief-stricken, and anguished over her son’s disappearance, but the truth is that she DID NOT act out emotionally and hysterically when dealing with the authorities. Her behavior was non-emotional, composed and business-like; the LAPD actually tried to use this fact as a defense during the hearing over Christine Collins’ wrongful incarceration (as seen and heard in the film).
Just how well did she keep her composure? Going back to my “Real Christine Collins” entry, look at the second picture (the one with the frame on it). That photograph of Christine Collins was taken at San Quentin Prison, while she was waiting to speak with Gordon Stewart Northcott before his execution. Her facial expression shows her anguish, yet her stance and body language show confidence, composure, and dignity.
Those who claim that “any parent” would be hysterical, that excessive crying and emotional acting-out is the “normal” reaction of a loving mother over the disappearance of her son are of the same sexist mentality as the officers who treated Christine Collins so badly: The mentality that women are normally highly emotional and hysterical (and thus unable to be objective and logical), particularly when it comes to matters involving their children. It is neither fair nor appropriate to infer that one speaks for all parents.
Some parents express their emotions privately while maintaining a more business-like composure in public. Christine Collins was one of those parents, and Angelina Jolie failed at portraying this very significant aspect of her real-life character’s personality in “Changeling”.
Keywords: Changeling, movie, The Real Christine Collins, Northcott, Wineville Chicken Coop Murders, Walter Collins, LAPD, 1928, Angelina Jolie, Clint Eastwood, sexism, women
This is the last set of photos related to the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders (the true story behind the film, “Changeling”) that I plan to post on this blog. While not the worst of them (I left those out), the following photos include material and descriptions that are disturbing. Don’t read further if you think you can’t handle it, please.
I have limited this set of evidence photos to those that are specifically related to Walter Collins, for the sole reason that Eastwood’s “Changeling” centers around Walter’s disappearance; it is by no means an attempt to diminish nor invalidate the tragic fate of the other boys (possibly as many as 20) tortured and brutally murdered by the Northcotts.
I post these photos not only to satisfy morbid curiosity (which we all have–after all, we’re Human), but to emphasize that while “Changeling” is a movie featuring the narcissistic histrionics of Angelina Jolie, the sickness and violence of the Northcott case was very real. The following photos are a glimpse of that reality.
All photos and captions were taken directly from the Los Angeles Public Library Archives, and are primary-source material; they are digital scans of actual evidence used in the real Northcott case in 1928 (disturbing content–this is your last warning!):
Deputy Sheriffs C. A. Sweeter, left, and Ben B. deCrevecoeur point out the entrance to a chicken coop at the “murder farm” in which Walter Collins was imprisoned, according to Clark, and murdered by Northcott. In his admission of killing the Collins boy, Northcott says he made his victims pray before an altar which he had built specially for the purpose before he killed them. “I wanted the little boys to make their peace with God so they would go to heaven,” declared Northcott. Stains found on a rude canvas cot where Walter Collins slept have been analyzed and identified as human blood.
Chicken coop on the Northcott farm near Wineville, where Walter Collins was buried. Northcott‘s mother, Sarah [Louise] Northcott, confessed to this killing.
View of the chicken coops on the Northcott farm, where an arrow points to the room where Walter Collins was imprisoned and killed, according to Clark.
The “murder farm” of Gordon Stewart Northcott near Wineville in Riverside County. The panorama shows in detail the exact places where dark deeds transpired, according to Deputy District Attorney Earl Redwine and Sanford Clark, Northcott‘s 15-year-old nephew, whose story brought about Northcott‘s arrest at age 24 in Canada. Clark accused Northcott of mistreating, murdering and burying boys in quicklime. Two boys were murdered and three buried in the chicken houses in the background. Arrow at right shows a coop where Clark asserted Northcott imprisoned Walter Collins, kidnapped Los Angeles boy, and finally killed him with an axe. Collins was held captive in the coop, slept there on a rude cot, and could only look into the pens at right. Slaying and burial sites of the Winslow brothers are noted.
J. Clark Sellers, criminologist, examines an axe which Sanford Clark says Mrs. Louise Northcott used in Walter Collins’ murder. Rex Welsh, police chemist, declares the axe is stained with human blood. It was found in a chicken coop on the ranch.
Sanford Clark shows officials the chair from the “murder farm” in which he says the Winslow brothers and Walter Collins sat when they were killed, struck from behind by a hammer and hatchet wielded by Gordon Stewart Northcott.
Keywords: Christine Collins, Walter Collins, Changeling movie, true story, 1928, LAPD, Gordon Northcott, Wineville murders, Angelina Jolie, Clint Eastwood
The number of daily visits to my blog has been in the hundreds since my post on Christine Collins; it seems there is a lot of interest out there in the true story behind “Changeling”.
Gordon Stewart Northcott’s case has been known as the “Wineville Chicken Coop Murders”; Wineville is now Mira Loma, a town in Riverside County. Its citizens decided to change the city’s name due to the widespread publicity (and notoriety) of the atrocities that took place on Northcott’s farm.
Here are some more photos of the real people that were involved in this horrific (yet morbidly fascinating) case. The photos and captions are from the Los Angeles Public Library Archives’ official record; these are facts:
The boy who returned as Walter Collins pencils specimens of his writing, which proves he is not the real Walter Collins, according to Milton Carlson, handwriting expert. Later it was learned his real name is Arthur Hutchens, alias Billy Fields.
Sanford Clark, Gordon Northcott‘s nephew, who first revealed the so-called “murder farm” and accused Northcott of killing at least three boys there. He declared he was held captive at the farm and made to assist in the murders.
Sanford Clark, 15, who asserted four boys were slain on a “murder farm” by [Gordon] Stewart Northcott, 24. He is shown looking over photos of missing boys. He claimed Walter Collins was a victim and picked his photo out of 30 but could not identify a boy found and returned as Walter Collins.
Gordon Northcott led officers to an ash heap containing bones believed to be Walter Collins’ and is aiding a further hunt for the graves of his victims.
Mrs. Louise Northcott pleaded guilty on December 31, 1928, of murdering “the boy named in the indictment as Walter Collins,” but said the victim was another boy.
Sarah Louise Northcott, left, as she arrived at San Quentin Prison in the custody of Mrs. Clem Sweeters, wife of the Riverside County Sheriff, to serve a life sentence following her murder confession.
Keywords: Christine Collins, Walter Collins, Changeling movie, true story, 1928, LAPD, Gordon Northcott, Wineville murders, Angelina Jolie, Clint Eastwood
I decided to resurrect my blog in light of the opening of Clint Eastwood’s film, “Changeling”, because I am deeply disappointed by what I’ve read in the reviews.
The other day, the Los Angeles Times printed an article telling the true story of Christine Collins’ case. The following was mentioned in the second paragraph, in describing her:
“[Christine Collins] was also a professional woman who worked at the telephone company and apparently prided herself on maintaining a nonemotional, businesslike manner when dealing with men in authority.”
The full L.A. Times story can be found here.
I did an online search and found these photos of the real Christine Collins (from the L.A. Public Library Archives):
The L.A. Times story includes a clip from “Changeling”. After seeing this clip and others, I am disgusted. It seems to me that Christine Collins was a woman of professionalism and dignity, yet she is being portrayed in this film as a hysterical, screaming and crying drama-queen by Angelina Jolie. How dare Clint Eastwood and Angelina Jolie dishonor the memory of this strong and brave woman!
Christine Collins made a positive difference; she was an unlikely pioneer. One of the final outcomes of her suing the City of Los Angeles was the California State Legislature passing a law that requires law enforcement to have a warrant before a person can be incarcerated in a (lock up) psychiatric ward/facility. Because of Christine Collins, the cops can’t simply decide they don’t like your attitude and have you locked up in a psych ward to make you go away (and discredit you).
A few important points of correction (of factual errors in both the film AND reviews):
1) The Collins case was not “Depression-Era”; Walter Collins went missing (and a different boy “returned” to his mother) in 1928. The “Depression Era” was the 1930’s (the crash was in 1929).
2) Christine Collins was not “working class”; she was “middle class”. She did very well for herself.
3) At the time of Walter’s disappearance, Ms. Collins’ ex-husband was in jail for his involvement in running a speak-easy.
4) When the police “returned” a boy to Ms. Collins that was not Walter, she said, “I do not think that is my son”. The police responded by telling Ms. Collins that, because of the months-long trauma that she had endured, her memory was likely failing her. This is a very important point. Christine Collins was not some weak, damsel-in-distress submissive female who allowed herself to be convinced by the police that the boy looked different because he had been “starving” (as she is portrayed in the film); rather, the police sadistically took advantage of her vulnerable state of mind. Any person who has been through psychological trauma–male or female–is vulnerable to manipulation by those in positions of authority. The point of the “Try him out” suggestion to Ms. Collins was that she would take the boy home and later, when the trauma and shock “wore off”, she would “remember” the boy as being her son.
On a final note, here is a photo of Christine Collins’ son, Walter. Ms. Collins submitted this photo to the LAPD with the attached note (seen in lower left corner) in explaining how the boy they brought to her was not her son Walter:
Keywords: Christine Collins, Changeling, Clint Eastwood, Angelina Jolie, movie
**PLEASE FOLLOW LINK FOR LIST OF ADDED PRODUCTS**
TORONTO, April 5 /PRNewswire/ – In response to a news release – issued by ChemNutra Inc. during the evening of April 3, 2007 – Menu Foods today voluntarily expanded its pet food recall for selected “cuts and gravy” pet food products, manufactured back to November 8, 2006.
ChemNutra Inc., a former supplier of wheat gluten to Menu Foods,
announced a recall of all wheat gluten it imported from Xuzhou Anying
Biologic Technology Development Co. in Wangdien, China. As a result, Menu Foods today announced an expansion of its recall to include all products manufactured with wheat gluten purchased from ChemNutra Inc. which Menu Foods’ records show was first used on November 8, 2006 and last used on March 6, 2007.
As a result of actions previously taken by Menu Foods, the vast majority of the products affected by this expansion are already off
retailers’ shelves. No new brands have been added. A total of 20 varieties have been added to the recall list and the additional varieties are listed below (at above link). All Menu Foods products not made with the recalled wheat gluten are safe to consume.
A complete and updated list of recalled products is available at the
Menu Foods website at http://www.menufoods.com.
**PLEASE FOLLOW LINK FOR LIST OF PRODUCTS**
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Red Bay, Alabama, April 5, 2007
As a precautionary measure, Sunshine Mills, Inc. (“Sunshine”), a branded and private-label pet food manufacturer based in Red Bay, Alabama, is voluntarily recalling a portion of its branded dog biscuits made at its Red Bay, Alabama biscuit plant during part of March 2007. These brands include: Nurture Chicken & Rice, Nurture Lamb & Rice, Pet Life Large, Pet Life Extra Large, Pet Life Large Variety, Pet Life Large Peanut Butter, Lassie Lamb and Rice, and Pet Life People Pleasers Dog Treats. Private label biscuits for five of Sunshine’s customers were also affected. A complete list of affected biscuit brands, sizes, and codes is available…at our website, http://www.sunshinemills.com. Sunshine’s other biscuit brands and products that include small and medium sized biscuits were not affected. It is also important to note that dry dog and cat food and soft and chewy treats for dogs or cats manufactured by Sunshine are not affected and not included in this recall. More at link…
Kucinich Demands Answers From FDA About Pet Food Recall (BlackCat Note: Emphasis Added)
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asking pointed questions about the pet food recall that has now affected 60 million cans of food and at least four pet food manufacturers…
The letter demands information about how the FDA learned of the tainted food and what action was taken…
According to experts, tainted food from China is not an uncommon occurrence.
“Frankly, I was not surprised to read about the wheat gluten poisoning incident,” Roger Barlow, executive vice president of Catfish Farmers of America told the Toronto Daily News. “We know that Chinese fish farmers routinely use a variety of chemicals and antibiotics banned in the U.S. for use in or around human food, and that residues of these substances remain in the fish after harvest.” Entire article at link…
List of Important Useful Links Regarding the Pet Food Recall (so you don’t have to search all of the posts):
Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, for testing deceased pets and food samples for toxins
K.O.P.S.–“Keep Our Pets Safe”–is an organization that was founded after several members lost their pets due to consuming tainted food produced by Menu Foods Inc.”
KOPS is holding a nationwide march on Saturday, April 28, 2007 starting at 10 a.m. CST
We are marching in memory of our pets that have lost their lives, we are marching in memory of those pets that are fighting for their lives, we march as pet owners, dog lovers, cat lovers and average citizens that are tired of the lowered safety standards for goods coming in to this country.
A Nationwide Memorial and Honoring March will take place Saturday, April 28, 2007 at the following locations:
• Austin, Texas
• Atlanta, Georgia
• Boston, Mass
• Baton Rouge, Louisiana
• Chicago, IL
• So Cal
• New Mexico
• Dallas, Texas
• New Jersey
• Raleigh, NC
• Jacksonville, FL
• Richmond, VA
• Mobile, AL
• Upstate NY
• Minneapolis/St Paul, MN
• Salt Lake City, UT
If you do not see your city or your state on the list but want to help organize a march or event in your area, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org