UPPER BRIGHTON, N.B. -- Researchers are using ground-penetrating radar to investigate the legend of unmarked graves in New Brunswick's Carleton County.

When Joe Gee heard the site is the final resting place of nine orphaned black children, who died in the 19th century after being sent from Saint John to work on a farm, he knew he had to investigate.

“That’s still uncertain, how those children died,” said Gee, vice-president of the New Brunswick Black History Society. “There’s a lot of speculation. It could have been diphtheria, it could have been cholera, which were both good possibilities, considering the era.”

The investigation started with the use of dowsing rods and then a team from the University of Maine at Presque Isle became involved in the project, bringing ground-penetrating radar to the site in Upper Brighton, N.B.

On Wednesday, bright pink flags marked the spots believed to be the unmarked graves.

“Up until now this was an urban legend,” said project member Paul Hanson. “Now, it’s no longer an urban legend.”

However, Hanson says the answers they have received have only brought on more questions.

“If these poor souls were in an orphanage in Saint John, where’s the orphanage’s records? How did they get from there to up here?” asked Hanson.

“There’s a lot of questions there, and it doesn’t speak well for our recordkeeping or the people in authority.”

The New Brunswick Black History Society is hoping to erect a memorial at the gravesite and also plans to continue its research into the story of the children.