Inside an inbred family: Members of the Whittakers family would BARK at people and grunt

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The alarming behavior of one of America’s most inbred families, based in West Virginia, has been revealed after a filmmaker visited them in their squalid home. 

Producer Mark Laita has shone a spotlight on The Whittakers – who he recalled would bark at people, communicate through grunts and would often run away when people tried to speak to them.

Laita released a short 12-minute film describing his encounters, and said that the inbred family were like something out of the 1972 thriller Deliverance.

He was first acquainted with the West Virginia family in 2004 when he took pictures of them and he decided to come back years later to get to know them better in 2020.

In a podcast interview with Koncrete podcast, Laita recalled the most bizarre moments with the family.

‘It was out of control,’ he said. ‘There’s these people walking around and their eyes are going in different directions and they are barking at us. And [this] one guy, you’d look at him in the eye or say anything and he would just scream and go running away and his pants would fall around his ankles.’

The Whittakers are America's most inbred family brought to light by filmmaker Mark Laita in his 12-minute short film, 'Inbred Family-The Whittakers'. Pictured: The Whittakers

The Whittakers are America’s most inbred family brought to light by filmmaker Mark Laita in his 12-minute short film, ‘Inbred Family-The Whittakers’. Pictured: The Whittakers

Mark Laita was first acquainted with the Odd, West Virginia family in 2004 when he took pictures of them and came back years later to get to know them better in 2020 - when he started filming.

Mark Laita was first acquainted with the Odd, West Virginia family in 2004 when he took pictures of them and came back years later to get to know them better in 2020 – when he started filming.

Laita recalled the build-up of his relationship with the inbred family, particularly with family members named Ray, Betty, Kenneth, Ray, Timmy and Lorraine.

The first time he approached them was in the early 2000s when he was initially met with ‘protective’ neighbors with a shotgun.

‘They don’t like people coming to ridicule these people,’ Laita said on the podcast.  

At the time, Laita wanted to take photos of the Whittakers for his book, ‘Created Equal.’ The book told stories of diverse cultures in the US.

While he wasn’t initially welcomed, he was eventually allowed to snap a few shots and even gifted some to the family.

One of the filmmaker’s latest video from 2021 showed the family’s rundown conditions living in a small and overcrowded home with several animals.

Laita said he returned to the home on a whim to see how the family was doing. He then decided to pick up his iPhone and grab footage of their ‘level of poverty’ and living conditions.

The family appeared to spend a lot of time on their front porch where they have a couch, armchair and other household belongings. 

He observed Whittaker’s had various health issues and some were only able to communicate with grunts.

In one scene Laita asked Betty why she thought her family had so many abnormalities. She didn’t know.

He pushed the question further with Kenneth asking specifically about why their eyes weren’t facing forward. He responded: ‘Might be coal mining.’

Laita previously told podcaster Joe Rogan the inbred family line started with first cousins. 

The family lives in Odd, West Virginia in impoverished conditions. Several share a home with several dogs and wear worn down clothing

The family lives in Odd, West Virginia in impoverished conditions. Several share a home with several dogs and wear worn down clothing

Laita said he returned to the home on a whim to see how the family was doing. He then decided to pick up his iPhone and grab footage of their 'level of poverty' and living conditions. Pictured L to R: Betty, Ray and Lorraine

Laita said he returned to the home on a whim to see how the family was doing. He then decided to pick up his iPhone and grab footage of their ‘level of poverty’ and living conditions. Pictured L to R: Betty, Ray and Lorraine

It appeared by Laita's video that the family didn't know their genetic issues occurred due inbreeding. They also couldn't remember much about their parents or other family members

It appeared by Laita’s video that the family didn’t know their genetic issues occurred due inbreeding. They also couldn’t remember much about their parents or other family members

The videos of the Whittakers showed Laita asking them about their education and schooling. Only one appeared to have graduated high school, Timmy.

Lorraine and Ray appeared to not be able to talk and only grunt. Other family members had to talk on behalf of them.

According to Discover Magazine, inbreeding can lead to various side effects, including ‘decreased cognitive abilities and muscular function, reduced height and lung function, and are at greater risk from diseases in general.’ 

The family didn’t know their genetic issues occurred due inbreeding, according to what they told the filmmaker.  They also couldn’t remember much about their parents or other family members.

To help improve the Whittaker’s living conditions and provide home improvements, Laita previously created a GoFundMe in 2022 that has since raised $46,433.

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