I have recently discovered a radio documentary that first appeared as a podcast by the CBC (Canada’s national broadcaster). It’s called Someone Knows Something, and describes a revisiting by independent filmmaker David Ridgen of the disappearance of five-year-old Adrien McNaughton in 1972. The boy vanished on a June day while on a fishing trip with his family at a small lake in eastern Ontario. Forty-three years later, Ridgen contacts the family, examines the search procedures and interviews people who were associated with the family and/or the search.
Each half-hour episode concentrates on various aspects of the case: the family’s memories, the theories around the disappearance (drowning, animal attack, kidnapping), consultations with psychics, artistic renderings of what Adrien might look like as an adult, searching the scene with cadaver-detecting dogs, and re-diving the lake.
Unsolved cases of vanished children are compelling and heart-wrenching. Ridgen’s take on the case of Adrien McNaughton unfolds slowly and methodically, revisiting and lingering on the scene at Holmes Lake, discussing the details with those who had participated in the extensive search, probing their memories for clue fragments.
All eleven episodes of Someone Knows Something are available on the CBC website. A bonus is the theme music created for the series by Bob Wiseman, and performed by the composer with vocalist Mary Margaret O’Hara. It’s wistful, heartbreaking, and a little weird — perfect for the subject matter of the series.
Listening to (so far) seven of the eleven episodes, I have been thinking how a story like this could inspire others — writers, poets, artists — to create new works. All art is rooted in some sort of lived experience, transforming it into something unique that adds to the shared entirety.
You did not say goodbye,
No door closed behind you.
You did not look back and wave
Before the world took you away.
The eye of the lake gazes at the sky,
The trees point upward and sway
As the wind shakes their limbs.
Snow falls, snow melts.
The small birds return.
Does the earth keep you close now,
In a deep embrace?
Or do you walk the days somewhere,
Wearing your own face, and a different name?
We do not know.
We do not forget.