After hearing numerous reports of mysterious surgeries being performed on the homeless of LA’s Skid Row district, The Flashlight decided to go down and check it out for ourselves.
Speaking under the condition of anonymity, several of the area’s homeless told us harrowing accounts of friends who were either coaxed or herded into unmarked vans by masked men wielding police batons and WERE NEVER SEEN AGAIN.
One former Skid Row soup kitchen worker — and former marine — described to us how she was taking out trash at closing and accidentally stumbled upon a van being loaded up with her homeless patrons. After witnessing one of the men strike a homeless man with a baton to get him into the van, she hid and followed them to an abandoned warehouse.
Though the windows were mostly blacked out or boarded up, she found one that had been broken by vandals and peered inside. She was able to glimpse what she described as an army hospital setup, with dozens of beds and sophisticated-looking medical equipment being used by doctors and nurses as they performed a variety of strange medical operations on the homeless.
She said that she recognized several people that were being operated on, and said the same thing as many of the homeless we interviewed — that she never saw them again.
We, however, discovered something far more interesting.
Utilizing the far-reaching resources of The Flashlight, we were able to track down three of these “missing” homeless people using photos of them taken at the soup kitchen. What we found was nothing short of amazing.
Though we promised not to use names (something of a recurring theme in this story, you’ll note), we feel that describing these two men and one woman is vital to understanding this story.
Man 1 became homeless due to crippling PTSD he suffered as a result of the first Gulf War. He lost his job, couldn’t leave the house — until he nearly killed his young daughter while suffering a flashback, and decided he could no longer stay.
Woman owed her homelessness to a raging alcoholism that consumed her every waking thought such that performing even routine tasks became impossible for her.
Both of them say they remember next to nothing about the surgeries, but since that time have had no problems. No PTSD, no alcoholism — the Woman even says that she decided to try a drink after a few months, so complete was her lack of interest in alcohol, and that there was no change; she can now drink (or not) as she wishes, and never has an urge to keep going.
But the real story here is Man 2. He lost the use of his legs as a teenager after his severe depression and anxiety caused him to leap in front of a car. With no family, he was in and out of institutions until a loophole in coverage landed him on the street. Like the others, his mental/emotional problems disappeared after his Skid Row surgery, and he told me he’s never felt this good.
Here’s the crazy part, though — he told me this AS WE JOGGED AROUND THE TRACK at his old high school on his perfectly working legs. He says he has no idea how it happened, just that he could suddenly FEEL them again a few days after the surgery.
Who is behind these surgeries? Why are they being so secretive about something so amazingly good?