The Whittaker family story: Are they the most inbred family? (2023)

Hollywood’s stereotype of inbreeding is quite horrific. It would have you believe that it is a definite route to being a horror villain. For instance, the Wrong Turn franchise centres around a family of inbred cannibals, something quite horrific for many people. Therefore, it would be hard for people to grasp the realities of inbreeding in the contemporary world. However, a unique case in Odd, West Virginia, involving the Whittaker family, is arguably the most popular. So, what is the family's story?

The Whittaker family story: Are they the most inbred family? (1)

Who are the inbred family the Whitakers? The family came into the limelight when Mark Laita photographed them for his book Created Equal in 2004. However, photographing the family was not easy as they are protected by neighbours who don't want outside exploitation.

The Whittakers are the most famous inbred family, even though they are not the only ones. Unfortunately, not much is known about them because of their secretive nature and protection from neighbours and local authorities. Fortunately, some details have come out in the recent past.

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Who are the famous inbred family the Whittakers?

What is the Whittaker family history? The family consists of Ray, Lorraine, Timmy (only cousin), Freddie and an unnamed sister. However, Freddie passed away from a heart attack a long time ago and is no longer part of the family. Also, some more members of the family have not been covered.

The fact that the family is quite secretive also makes it hard for people knowing more about their lineage. There isn't any credible information about where they came from and who their parents are. However, one thing is clear; they are inbreeding.

Where do the inbred Whitakers live? The family resides in Odd, West Virginia. West Virginia has a strong reputation for inbreeding practices that have been linked to the state's poverty. In the 1930s, newspapers featured rundown shacks and barefoot children, which created a poor impression.

The state has strong anti-inc*st law, but it is still practised today. Other parts of the state still allow first cousins to marry.

(Video) Inbred Family-The Whittakers

Mark Laita’s book Created Equal and interview

The Whittaker family story: Are they the most inbred family? (4)

Mark Laita made the Whitaker family of West Virginia famous by featuring their photos in the book Created Equal. In the book, Mark questions what it is in life that puts individuals born equal to follow different paths.

Mark later visited the family in 2020 and recorded a viral video that featured the family at their home. During the 2020 interview, Mark interacts with Lorraine, Ray, and Timmy. Unfortunately, the three can hardly communicate due to an undiagnosed mental disorder.

Also, according to the footage, the family lives in deplorable conditions, giving the video a sad feeling. There is a high probability that the Whittaker family doesn't work and earn the low average yearly income in southwestern West Virginia. With such, it is evident that the family struggles to survive.

During Mark's visit in 2020, he offered them food and money. In addition, Mike had the following to state about his interaction with the Whittaker family:

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To be clear about my interaction with the family, I brought them pizzas and soft drinks and paid them nicely, which goes a long way in southwestern West Virginia where the average yearly income is as low as $12K a year in some counties. This was my fourth visit, and I've given the family a financial gift each time.

What is responsible for their mental and physical challenges?

(Video) Inbred Family-The Whittakers (follow up)

The most likely reason for Whittaker's undiagnosed developmental challenges is inbreeding. Betty is the only caregiver of the family and speaks quite well. However, others, including Ray, Lorraine and their nephew, Timmy, have difficulty in speech and appear to have some mental disorder.

Even though they have a communication problem, it is clear from the interview that they understand most of what is said. Ray and Timmy only converse in indistinct grunt noises, while Lorraine doesn't speak at all.

In the video’s description, Laita wrote that inbreeding was partly responsible for their physical abnormalities.

There is no way I would be able to confirm that the Whitaker parents were related but given that this does happen in this part of the country and the Whitakers are the most extreme case I've seen so far; I would bet that inbreeding was at least partly responsible for the mental and physical abnormalities seen in Lorraine, Freddie, Ray and Timmy.

However, some people who watched the video had other views, which they expressed in the comments section. For example, one of the commenters named Michelle Cole wrote:

Their parents were not siblings but first cousins. Their grandparents were not closely related. First cousin relationships don't typically cause this much damage in the genes…this has likely been caused by a chromosomal issue not necessarily made worse because they are children of cousins… adds to the proof that this is a genetic issue because of his parents were not related.

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Neighbours protect the Whittakers

The Whittaker family story: Are they the most inbred family? (8)

If you are interested in interviewing with the Whittaker family, you better talk to the neighbours and the local authority. The residents in the vicinity of the Whittaker residence are so protective of the family that they wouldn't allow just anyone to visit the family and exploit them.

(Video) Walmart Shopping Trip-The Whittakers

At the start of Laita’s first video, he expresses how he was confronted by an angry neighbour when taking photographs of the family.

I first photographed the Whittaker family for my first book Created Equal in 2004. That visit was interrupted by an angry neighbour with a short-gun who threatened to use it if I didn’t leave the Whittakers alone. After explaining what I was doing, he calmed down and allowed me to photograph the Whittaker family.

Also, he warned people from making unannounced visits to the location as the Raleigh County deputies and neighbours have made it clear that they do not want unwelcomed visitors.

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I strongly discourage anyone attempting to look for the Whittakers as their armed neighbours and the Raleigh County deputies both make it clear that curious visitors are not welcome.

Mark Laita got a police escort to the home of the Whittakers. Also, according to him, it happened by chance as they were in pursuit of a subject for his book, Created Equal.

The Whittakers have a GoFundMe campaign

A lot has happened since Mike Laita visited the Whittakers. Besides the assistance that he accorded the family while at their home, Mike started a GoFundMe campaign that raised about $30,000.

The funds from the campaign were utilized to renovate the family's house, mostly in repairing the dilapidated roof. Also, the family used the money to take care of the medical expenses for Lorraine and Timmy's heart attack in 2020 and 2021.

The GoFundMe campaign is still on as Laita is trying to raise funds for a new house for the inbred Appalachian family. He is planning to buy a house across the road.

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(Video) Breakfast With the Whittakers

The Whittaker family is indeed the most infamous inbreeding story in American history. But of course, it is not an isolated case as there is a high probability that other undocumented families are facing a similar predicament. They came to the limelight because of Mark Laita, who featured them in an interview and book, Created Equal.

Are you looking for more information about the Stockdale family? Tuko.co.ke featured an interesting article about the famous family that became a household name in reality TV shows such as Extreme Makeover and Wife Swap.

However, the family has been making headlines because of some unfortunate events. So, what is their story?

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Source: TUKO.co.ke

FAQs

How are the Whitakers inbred family related? ›

The Whitaker family are considered the most popular inbred family in the United States. However, recent studies have revealed that their parents were cousins and not brother and sister as was earlier believed.

Is Ray Whitaker still alive? ›

Ray Whitaker entered his eternal resting place in Heaven at the age of 89. C.

How tall are the whittakers? ›

Robert Whittaker (fighter)
Robert Whittaker
ResidenceSydney, New South Wales, Australia
Height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)
DivisionWelterweight (2009–2014) Middleweight (2014–present)
21 more rows

Where are the whittakers now? ›

The Whittaker family lives in an isolated rural area of West Virginia and have been largely cut off from civilisation. They've had limited access to education, with only one of the relatives, Timmy, claiming to have graduated from high school.

How many generations are the Whitakers inbred? ›

The Mysterious Case of the Whitaker family

You can somewhere relate this story to the Colt Clan incest case wherein Clan assaulted his daughters to make kids. it was this 4-generation of incest “horror tale”. however, the two sisters openly shared beds with their brother.

What state is known for inbreeding? ›

West Virginians became the prototypical “hillbillies,” and incest served as a crude “scientific” explanation for their downtrodden social condition. In more recent memory, the 2003 film Wrong Turn helped perpetuate the inbreeding stereotype.

Where is inbreeding most common in the United States? ›

Generally, inbreeding is more common in the southeast region of the U.S. and more rural states. Approximately 70% of inbred families live in desolate areas. Inbreeding is common, specifically, in the eastern part of Kentucky, and the region is plagued by the stereotype that every family is an inbred family.

What is Whitaker net worth? ›

Pernell Whitaker Net Worth
Net Worth:$250 Thousand
Date of Birth:Jan 2, 1964 - Jul 14, 2019 (55 years old)
Gender:Male
Height:5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Profession:Professional Boxer
1 more row

Is there a documentary on the Whitaker family? ›

The Whitaker Family is one of the most if not the most popular inbred American family. They are completely inbred, with all members of the family closely related to one another genetically and biologically. This documentary shows a close look at their real life. The family lives in Odd, West Virginia.

What does whittakers mean? ›

Whittaker is a surname of English origin, meaning 'white acre', and a given name. Variants include Whitaker and Whitacre.

How can I watch the Whitaker documentary? ›

The Whitakers Documentary is on Amazon Prime Video

This platform displays movies and web series produced by Amazon Studios or licensed to Amazon as Amazon Originals. Also, watch The Whitakers Documentary on Amazon Prime Video.

Who is whittakers CEO? ›

James Ardern - Chief Executive Officer - Whittaker's | LinkedIn.

Who owns whittakers now? ›

Whittaker's is the largest chocolate brand in New Zealand. Approximately 30% of their production is now exported.
...
Whittaker's.
TypePrivate limited liability company
FounderJ.H. Whittaker
HeadquartersPorirua, New Zealand
OwnerWhittaker family
3 more rows

Who is the whittakers lady? ›

She of the voice and the celebrated bosom, the self-declared goddess – domestic or otherwise – was coming. My knowledge of Nigella Lawson was not vast. Of course, I knew the obvious. She fronts the Whittaker's chocolate ads.

Who is whittakers owned by? ›

Maurice's sons, the 3rd generation of Whittakers, continue the legacy, looking after every step of the process, from sourcing to roasting, blending and making.

Where do the inbred Whitakers live? ›

The family resides in a town called Odd, located in rural West Virginia. Some members of the Whitaker family have mental and physical abnormalities. A few members only communicate through grunts and cannot speak.

Where is inbreeding most common in the world? ›

Of the practicing regions, Middle Eastern and northern Africa territories show the greatest frequencies of consanguinity. Among these populations with high levels of inbreeding, researchers have found several disorders prevalent among inbred offspring.

How many generations does it take for inbreeding affect? ›

It takes g+1 generations for inbreeding to modify the size of a pedigree (see Figure 1). Even if a pedigree grows geometrically at a rate of 1.6180, the first generation in the past must include two parents.

Which race has the most inbreeding? ›

Prevalence is highest in Arab countries, followed by India, Japan, Brazil and Israel. They are most common in lower educational and socioeconomic groups, the traditionally religious, and the early married, but are declining with modernization.

Is inbreeding common today? ›

A new DNA analysis of prehistoric humans has found that inbreeding – mating between related individuals such as cousins – is more common today than it was during the past 45,000 years.

What is the closest form of inbreeding? ›

The closest type of inbreeding is selfing, or self-fertilization, the union of male and female sex cells produced by the same organism. Linebreeding is a form of inbreeding that involves selection of mates on the basis of their relationships to a certain superior ancestor.

What percent of the world is inbred? ›

The average inbreeding values for the whole and reference population were 2.17 and 3.16 percent, respectively. The inbreeding values were thus well below critical levels. In the whole population, 45 percent were inbred, while 78 percent had inbreeding less than 3.125 percent.

How much money did Sweet Pea Whitaker make? ›

A declining net worth

The Richest says that, due to his fame and success in the ring, Pernell Whitaker made at least $5 million from boxing. This may not seem like a lot, but that was a lot of money in Whitaker's day. In any case, Whitaker still lived a lavish lifestyle that he needed to pay for.

Who is the wealthiest living actor? ›

As of August 2022, Jerry Seinfeld is the richest actor in the world with a net worth of $950 million.

Who is the wealthiest TV actor? ›

Actress and investor Jamie Gertz is the richest actor in the world. The '80s star's net worth is estimated to be $3 billion. She is the owner of the Atlanta Hawks NBA team and has acted in many films and TV series throughout her career.

Does whittakers use child Labour? ›

This has been an issue for some cocoa growing countries. Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farmers must not use forced labour or child labour.

What nationality is the name Whittaker? ›

The ancestors of the name Whittaker date back to the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Whittaker family lived in one of a number of similarly-named places. The settlement of Wheatacre is in Norfolk, while Whiteacre in Waltham is in Kent; both of these names literally mean wheat-field.

How many Whitaker's are there? ›

The Whitaker family is one of the most successful dynasties in equestrian sport. There are 14 family members competing at international level, and many of them have been on British teams at youth and senior level.

What does inbred family mean? ›

adjective [usu v-link ADJ] People who are inbred have ancestors who are all closely related to each other. The whole population is so inbred that no genetic differences remain.

Where can I watch documentary for free? ›

The 10 Best Sites To Watch Documentaries For Free
  • SnagFilms. Launched in 2008, SnagFilms offers more than 10,000 free documentaries, each categorized and graded by users.
  • Crackle. ...
  • The Documentary Network. ...
  • PBS. ...
  • Vimeo. ...
  • True/False Film Fest. ...
  • VICE. ...
  • Viewster.
16 Jan 2015

Where can I watch the Whitakers family? ›

Watch The Whitaker Family Masterclass | Prime Video.

When did Whitakers start? ›

Whittaker's was founded by its entrepreneurial namesake James Henry Whittaker in 1896. After learning his craft, Whittaker went solo, making and selling chocolates to locals using a horse and later a van for transport.

Is whittakers Australian? ›

Crafting New Zealand's finest chocolate since 1896

Our chocolate has been made by the same family right from the start. It's our pleasure to introduce you to the world of Whittaker's and show you why we're New Zealand's favourite chocolate maker.

Why is whittakers expensive? ›

Loyal chocolate lovers rallied in support of the company in the comment section, with most preferring to pay a little bit extra for quality chocolate. The company also increased its prices in both 2021 and 2019 due to a rise in production costs.

Are whittakers halal? ›

Are Whittaker's Halal accredited? Whittaker's have been granted Halal accreditation by FIANZ for many of our Classic and Specialty flavours.

Where was Whittaker's founded? ›

Where was the Whitakers ad filmed? ›

The campaign, shot in recognisable locations around Wellington, features Urban as Whittaker's founder J.H Whittaker visiting from the past in a chocolate time machine to bring joy to the lives of the people he meets.

Where in NZ can you find the whittakers chocolate factory? ›

Where is Whittaker's chocolate made? All of our products are made at our factory in Porirua, New Zealand.

› watch ›

Soft White Underbelly update interview and portrait of the Whittaker family of Odd, West Virginia.Here's a link to a playlist of all Whittaker family videos...
Soft White Underbelly follow up interview and portrait of the Whittaker family of Odd, West Virginia.Here's a link to a playlist of all Whittaker family vid...

How closely related is inbred? ›

Inbreeding is the process of mating genetically similar organisms. In humans, it's associated with consanguinity and incest, in which close relatives have sexual relationships and children. Inbreeding violates modern social norms but is fairly common in animals and plants.

What is the most famous inbred family? ›

Filmmaker Mark Laita first met the Whittakers, dubbed the 'most famous inbred' family in America, after being granted access to their peculiar world after travelling to the aptly named small village Odd. A filmmaker who was able to document America's most famous inbred family has shared their horrifying secrets.

How closely related is considered inbreeding? ›

Inbreeding is technically defined as the mating of animals more closely related than the average relationship within the breed or population concerned. For practical purposes, if two mated individuals have no common ancestor within the last five or six generations, their progeny would be considered outbreds.

Are the Whitakers British? ›

The Whitaker family is British by descent and initially included Ray, Lorraine, Timmy (only cousin), Freddie and an unnamed sister.

Are blue eyes from inbreeding? ›

New research shows that people with blue eyes have a single, common ancestor. Scientists have tracked down a genetic mutation which took place 6,000-10,000 years ago and is the cause of the eye color of all blue-eyed humans alive on the planet today.

Which race has the most inbreeding? ›

Prevalence is highest in Arab countries, followed by India, Japan, Brazil and Israel. They are most common in lower educational and socioeconomic groups, the traditionally religious, and the early married, but are declining with modernization.

Where do blue eyes come from inbreeding? ›

blue eyes descend from a single genetic mutation means that every single person on the planet with blue eyes descended from one common ancestor. In fact, a team of geneticists at the University of Copenhagen actually traced that mutation all the way back to a single Danish family.

Where do the inbred Whitakers live? ›

The family resides in a town called Odd, located in rural West Virginia. Some members of the Whitaker family have mental and physical abnormalities. A few members only communicate through grunts and cannot speak.

What country has the most inbred families? ›

Some of the countries with the highest rates of inbreeding include Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, and Israel. Because of the inbreeding rates in these countries, certain genetic disorders are more common.

What does it mean for a family to be inbred? ›

adjective [usu v-link ADJ] People who are inbred have ancestors who are all closely related to each other. The whole population is so inbred that no genetic differences remain.

How many generations does it take to make a bloodline? ›

It takes three generations of continuous linebreeding/inbreeding to create a strain or your own bloodline …. this would mean a certain look that you can call your own. This would also mean generations of breeding involving years before you can call what you have bred your own bloodline.

How many generations does it take for inbreeding affect? ›

It takes g+1 generations for inbreeding to modify the size of a pedigree (see Figure 1). Even if a pedigree grows geometrically at a rate of 1.6180, the first generation in the past must include two parents.

What are signs of being inbred? ›

As a result, first-generation inbred individuals are more likely to show physical and health defects, including:
  • Reduced fertility both in litter size and sperm viability.
  • Increased genetic disorders.
  • Fluctuating facial asymmetry.
  • Lower birth rate.
  • Higher infant mortality and child mortality.
  • Smaller adult size.

Who is QIDI Whitaker? ›

Qidi is a housewife as well as an entertainer, TV host, actress and singer in China. She still goes back to China on an ad hoc basis to appear in television shows. Although she was originally from a poor family, she discovered that her great grandfather was the last Emperor of China.

Is there a documentary on the Whitaker family? ›

The Whitaker Family is one of the most if not the most popular inbred American family. They are completely inbred, with all members of the family closely related to one another genetically and biologically. This documentary shows a close look at their real life. The family lives in Odd, West Virginia.

Where is the Whitaker family house? ›

Whitaker House is a Christian publishing house in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. It was founded by Robert E. Whitaker, Sr. Upon his death in 2012, his son Robert Whitaker Jr.

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