It was their father who insisted they stay inside except for occasional, supervised trips. They were homeschooled and had practically no way of learning about the outside world. Their father had very authoritarian thinking, and they were kept in the Lower East Side apartment in New York because of it.
No one knew what was happening with the children, so no one was able to put an end to the treatment that they were enduring.
What the brothers did have, however, was movies. They absolutely loved any movie they could get their hands on, watching and rewatching their favorite ones. This is the way that they learned about the outside world and the way that they found to pass the time.
They got creative and made some of the costumes that you see here. Hey, this is better than we could do by far, and we could go wherever we want.
"There were some years we didn't go outside at all," Narayana, one of the brothers, told the New York Daily News. Because of this, they had to rely on movies and their imaginations to transport them to other worlds.
They certainly had a lot of time to spend inside and create other worlds. The boys kept an incredibly positive outlook on the world. It would be very easy to fall into extreme despair if this was your situation.
The time they didn't spend watching movies they spent organizing amazingly detailed recreations of them, word for word, with all kinds of homemade props, sets and costumes. A couple of their favorites were Reservoir Dogs and The Dark Knight.
The homemade props are remarkable and very accurate to their movie counterparts. What would you make if this was the situation you were in? They definitely were able to make the most out of a horrific situation.
Filmmaker Crystal Moselle met the Angulo brothers on the street in 2010, during one of their first outings alone. "They were all dressed in black, with long hair," Moselle told the New York Daily News. "I instinctually ran after them to talk. They asked what I did. When I told them, they said they're interested in filmmaking, too."
The years that they'd been studying films had created in them a strong interest in the film industry.
Moselle ended up making a documentary about the boys, called The Wolfpack, which won the U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015. All of a sudden, their inner life was on the big screen.
Moselle also contacted Dan Martensen, who would write a book about the boys.
"The way [Moselle] described them, and I’ll try and be as accurate as possible, was, ‘You have to meet these boys, you’re gonna die, they’re amazing.’ So really it wasn’t a very ambiguous thing, as I didn’t want to let up something like this. [Moselle] wouldn’t say something like that about just anyone,” Martensen said over an email.
Moselle introduced photographer Dan Martensen to the boys, who published a book of portraits of the brothers called Wolves Like Us. These photos capture their homemade world of movie magic as well as their experiences once they left their apartment.
Can you imagine the moment that you realized you were free from a situation like this? It might be hard to get used to the idea that your circumstances have changed, and you're able to be free.
Since the film and book came out, the brothers' lives have transformed. Narayana's twin, Govinda, now lives in his own Brooklyn apartment and works as a cinematographer. Yes, it is surprising that the boys were able to move on and live a normal life after their childhood, but they seem to be adjusting well to their new freedom.
Despite the publicity and the rapid change in pace of these boys' lives, they're still the same at heart.
"In spite of all the massive change in their lives externally, they remained the same kind, empathetic, sweet, and gold-hearted guys they were when I met them," Martensen told Slate. "They are good to the core, and the last five years proves that nothing can or ever would change that."
Yes, the book is called Wolves Like Us. It came out in 2015, and chronicles the lives that these boys lived.
The photographs that you are looking at is also a part of the project that the book's photographer worked on to try to capture the worlds that the boys lived out when they were trapped inside for all those years. He shows their first explorations outside with the freedom of being able to explore wherever they wanted.
"The goal of the project eventually became about the imaginations of the boys, not about their living situation or their family life, or their backstory. I wanted it to be about the world they created within their minds and how it manifested itself physically through role playing and the creation of their costumes and so on," said Martensen of the work that was done on the project. Working with the boys was an impactful experience.
The story of the six brothers may sound like something that recently happened in the news that you've heard of: the thirteen children trapped inside their Perris home, pictured here.
These children were also not allowed outside of their house except for very special occasions when they would sometimes go to places like Disneyland. They were allowed to eat only once a day. And they were allowed to shower only one time in a single year.
In January of 2018, one of the thirteen children was able to escape through a window. The girl was seventeen years old. She called 911, and the children were finally able to be rescued. The girl was seventeen years old, and she had never been outside of the house. When the children were rescued, they didn't know the date or the month. They were also severely malnourished, with all of them underweight, even the two year old child.
The parents of these children are now in jail for life. The children were subject not only to being imprisoned and not properly fed, but they would also be severely mistreated. When they were "misbehaving," they were placed in dog cages. Sometimes, food would be placed just out of their reach to taunt them.
At the very least, all the children in these stories are now on the road to recovery. We wish them the best.