America’s Most Inbred Family

A filmmaker has given a glimpse inside the lives of one of America’s most inbred families in West Virginia after he visited them in their squalid home.  The Whittakers – who live in the aptly-named village of Odd, 75 miles south of Charleston – have been known to bark at people, communicate through grunts and often run away when people tried to speak to them. Producer Mark Laita has shone a spotlight on the family by releasing a short 12-minute film on his YouTube channel Soft White Underbelly, in a bid to report on untold stories from across the country. 

The Whittakers are three siblings named Lorraine, Timmy, and Ray. Their parents were double first cousins. The genetic complications have caused a host of behavioral issues, Laita reported.

In an interview with Koncrete podcast, recorded before Christmas, 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.’

Laita said the family have received a surge in interest since he first photographed and then filmed them. He said he needed a police escort to visit. 

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

One relative told Laita: ‘They understand what you talking about.

‘If they don’t like it, they start yelling – let you know they don’t like that idea.’

In one scene Laita asked Betty why she thought her family had so many abnormalities. She said 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.’

West Virginia is one of the poorest states in the country. The village of Odd where Laita went to document the family has just 800 residents.


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