Friday, December 27, 2013

House of Judah, Lee Township

The House of Judah camp was located in Lee Township. It was a savage religious cult of supposed black Israelites that lived under the villainous command of self proclaimed prophet William Lewis.  

This cult was the outcome of intense craziness and paranoia, guided by evil and a literal translation of the Old Testament.

Almost 31 years ago, many of the suspicions became a horrible reality, after the battered, bruised and beaten body of 12 year old John Yarbrough showed up in the back of a pick up truck at the local hospital. He died shortly after arriving.

It was common for members to be beaten in public, and to be disfigured as punishment. This would be your fate if you went against Lewis' fury of insanity.

This camp was compared to that of Nazi concentration camps.

Public records state that 12 year old John Yarbrough was tortured for many days with burning coals and beaten with a wooden ax handle as punishment for watching TV, instead of doing chores.

Eventually, Lewis and his lieutenants were convicted of slavery. Yarbrough's mother, Ethel Yarbrough, was convicted of manslaughter in 1983.

In November, 2013, my husband, Todd and fellow investigator found the remains of what was the guard house, and possibly the punishment/isolation room, which was connected to the guard house.

There is a two track road that goes along the side of the guard house. This leads to the remains of the compound.

This was a very heavy & dark place. The surrounding area of the ruins is not a very welcoming area either, and I mean from the living. 
We are, however planning on a Spring trip back to the site, and taking along investigating equipment.

Below are photographs I took in and around the remains of the guard house, and possible punishment/isolation room.

The last photograph is from the Kalamazoo Gazette archives.

 Some of the solitary confinement structure can be seen
through the wood ruins. (SEE PHOTO BELOW).
 Behind this wooden door, was a metal structure. Todd
and I believe it to be a solitary confinement unit. It was cleverly
 I was really surprised to find this Bible.
 Sad remains of stuffed animals. Possibly from the children
of the House of Judah, or perhaps gifts left over the past
30 years, to maybe comfort those who were tortured.
 From the front/side.
 As we approached side of what was possibly
the children's punishment area, which was attached to the
guard house, and accessed by a single door.
 Approaching buildings from where Todd & I
had to park.

 Front of guard house from the road.
 Outside view of guard house and possible
children's punishment room. All of the House of Judah's
dwellings were painted blue & white.
Approaching the buildings. 
 Standing inside what could possibly have been
the children's punishment area. Through the
doorway in corner, was the guard house.

Ethel Yarbrough convicted of manslaughter
in 1983. Allegan County.
(Photograph from the Kalamazoo Gazette Archives).

All photographs and text copyrighted by Crystal Johnson Overhuel, *except for the photograph of Ethel Yarbrough, which is from the Kalamazoo Gazette archives).

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