VIDEO: What Happened to Vertus Hardiman?

Not safe for work (NSFW). May not be suitable for children under age 17.

A promo of the film Hole in the Head is making its way around the Web. The promo features the late Vertus Hardiman, who, along with nine other children, was experimented on with radiation in 1927. The children all attended the same elementary school in Lyles Station, Ind., and were severely irradiated during a medical experiment conducted at the local county hospital.

Narrated by Dennis Haysbert, the documentary reports that the experiment was misrepresented as a newly developed cure for the scalp fungus known as ringworm. In reality the ringworm fungus was merely the lure used to gain access to innocent children whose unsuspecting parents blindly signed permission slips for the treatment.

Vertus was 5 years old and the youngest. Now, after 20 years of friendship with writer-producer Wilbert Smith through their church choir, Vertus unburdens himself to Wilbert with an incredible story, finally exposing the severe physical complication caused by this shocking medical crime. The crime had severe physical complications for Vertus — namely a harshly irradiated and malformed head, with an actual hole in his skull.


Remarkably, not one person in his community had ever been aware of Vertus' suffering because he always wore a wig and woolen beanie to cover the shame. During filming, Vertus revealed his secret, stating, "For over 80 years, only four individuals outside a few medical specialists have ever seen my condition; I hide it because I look like some monster."

Over his life, Vertus was criticized, teased and scorned by acquaintances who had no idea what the wig had been hiding for 80 years.


Wilbert's in-depth research led to his discovering four additional survivors of this horrific event. The promo for this film is unbelievable and literally uncovers the unimaginable and unthinkable results of medical experimentation gone awry. Many are familiar with the Tuskegee experiment and other high-profile cases of medical experimentation, like the case of Henrietta Lacks, but few are able to actually see the results of those experiments.

This promo and film go where others have not, informing and shocking viewers, while demonstrating Hardiman's capacity for love and forgiveness (NSFW). 


Read more about the documentary on the official website of Hole in the Head.

In other news: Body of Russell Friend Found in Delaware River.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter