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TRUE OCCULT CRIMES
From 1900 To
1939

Image of Evangelista with title page to his book.

1900 The Phillipines, Six non-Christian Phillipinos were sentenced to death for the murder of a woman they believed had occult powers. They were convinced the woman had killed a neighbors child with a magic spell. They broke into the house of Victor Pere and took he and his wife forcibly to the Lanay River where his wife was murdered. Victor managed to escape and contacted the police. Although all six men were sentence to death, a Christian named  Douglas MacArthur (yes, that Douglas MacArthur!) intervened and got the sentences commuted to 20 years, due to the “blind  superstition” of the accused. Belief in the power of witchcraft is indeed superstition. (Friday, December 28, 1900 Waterloo, Iowa The Semi-Weekly Waterloo Courier)


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1901 London, England Frank Jackson, alias Jesus Christ and Editha Jackson, alias Laura Horos ,Mrs. Diss Dabar, Angel Anna, and Swami Viva Ananda stand trial for the rape of a woman as part of an occult ritual. Vera Corysdale claimed that Frank and Eidtha had drugged her and hypnotized her each day for a period of several days. In her helpless state, Frank had proceeded to rape her as part of her “initiation ritual” into the Theocratic Union, an offshoot of the Golden Dawn .

Under oath Corysdale told a shocked London court that Frank had claimed he was Jesus Christ, and that having sex with him wasn’t a sin but “an act of piety”. Furthermore, any illegitimate children that might be accidently born would be “Divine”. Editha had been introduced to the Golden Dawn as "Anna Sprengel", Samuel Mather's ficticious contact who supposeldy lived in Germany. Jackson appeared at a time when  Mathers influence over the group was waning, and no doubt he enlisted the aid of Jackson to bloster his ludicrous claims. Mathers claimed he had been duped by Jackson as well, although he must have known full well Anna Sprengel wasn't real, so it sounds unlikely!

The pair were intiated into the Golden Dawn by Mathers (odd thing for Mathers to do if she had been the one to grant Mathers a charter for the Golden Dawn in 1888 in the first place!), and later stole books containing the order's rituals for use in the Theocratic Union occult order they later created. Their connection to the Golden Dawn tainted the order's reputation, making it a laughing stock of British newspapers, and contributed in part to it's downfall. Frank received 15 years in prison for rape and Editha received 7 years as an acessory. Frank died in obscurity after his release from prison. Editha settled in Mississippi and resumed  being a fortune teller until she died a few years later. (The Golden Dawn Scrapbook by R.A. Gilbert, website about Editha Jackson )

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1903 Havana Cuba A girl is sacrificed as part of a ritual by a Palo Mayombe cult.The story even reached American newspapers.  Like Abaqa, Palo Mayombe also practices ritual sacrifice. Sometimes members of the Abaqa cult will claim to be Paleros, so it's possible the deed was committed by an Abaqa group.


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1913 Pinar Del Rio, Cuba A 6 y.o. girl is murdered as part of a Santeria type ritual. Jose De La Cruz and Eugenio Cardenas are arrested for the murder. The pair claimed they were only trying to draw some blood from the girl to cure a sick woman, and that they had the girl's parents permission. The girl was at first tied up, but escaped fled and her attackers. The two men claimed they decided to use gun powder to casue an explosion to then draw blood since the girl was afraid of the knife, but they used too much and killed her (right).

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1911-1912, Lousiana and Texas A series of ax murders took place in Louisiana and Texas. The first attack took place in Rayne, LA in Jan. of 1911, involving a mother and her 3 children being hacked to death in bed. In Feb.,the Buyers family was hacked to death in nearby Crowley, LA (bodycount, 3). Later all 5 members of a Texas family, the Cassaways, were hacked to death in April. The next murder was in Louisiana again, the Norbert Randal family was killed in LaFayete, LA in Nov. (Body count 6) In Jan. 19th, 1912, a woman and three children were killed in Crowley. 2 days later in nearby Lake Charles, all 5 members of the Charles Broussard family were slain.

In Baeumont. TX, a woman and her 3 children were slain. On 4-11-12, The victims were usually light skinned blacks or mulattos, and always murdered in their sleep, with rape or robbery not being the motives. A note with quasi-religious language was left behind at the Broussard murder.  Rev. King Harris of the “Sacrifice Church” was arrested and questioned by police. King had been in town holding a revival of sorts during the day of the Randal murders. The Sacrifice Church had ties to several Voodoo cults in New Orleans. Voodooists often combine Voodoo with Christian rituals and symbolism. Sacrifice Church member Clementine Bernabet was questioned by police, and eventually confessed to the early crimes. She said that she other members had been given a charm called a “canja”, that would allow them to do anything without being detected. Police didn’t buy her story for some reason, and she was not prosecuted.

Police noted the killer followed the rail road, suggesting it was someone who worked on a train. After some more killings, in San Antonio, TX, in August, the killer missed his mark, and struck  Mrs. James Dashiell in the shoulder. Her screams awoke the household, and caused the killer to flee. Dashiell and her family survived. The killings ceased, and shortly afterwards coincidentally, the Sacrifice Church was disbanded. The police were never able to get a solid lead in the killings to charge someone, and no suspect ever stood trial. Body count: 49 including women and children.

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1912 Barcelona, Spain Brujare (witch) Marti Enriqueti was condemned to death and executed for the kidnapping and killing of six local children. Eriqueti rendered down the remains of the children for use in expensive “love potions” she sold to clients. Police raided her home and found a little girl named Angelita, who would have been victim number seven. Angelia told police the witch had kidnapped her, and forced her to eat a cannibal meal consisting of the remains of a previous victim. Confronted with overwhelming evidence and the little girls testimony, Enriqueti confessed to the crimes.  So much for those stories about witches stealing babies and eating them, huh?

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1928 York County, PA John Blymire, John Curry, and Milton J. Hess all believed they had been hexed, due to some unhappy circumstances in the lives of each. Blymire had recently lost a son, Curry was a 14 y.o. in an abusive home, and Hess had crop failure on his farm. All three sought the advice of a local witch, who named a local "hexmeister" named Nelson D. Rehmeyer. Pennsylvania Germans believed in a magic that was not a religion, nor "European Pagan Shamanism" nor a system of worship, and has no connection to Wicca, even though some occultists have tried to falsely make these claims. The witch told the trio to break the hexes they would have to either obtain a lock of Rehmeyer's hair or his copy of a commercially published occult book titled "Pow Wow's or The Long Lost Friend".  It's also called "The Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Bible". Blymire was also a hexmeister and also owned a copy of the book. The trio drove to Rehmeyer's house where they confronted him. A fight ensued, and Rehmeyer was slain. They were arrested for the murder. oddly enoug, the book claims whoever owns a copy will be protected from all harm. I guess once the owner is murdered, it's too late to get their money back, huh?

At the trial the judge refused to allow any reference to witchcraft be made. Blymire and Curry were given life in prison and Wilbert was given 10 to 20 years. In 1934, Hess and Curry were paroled and lived quiet lives in the York area. Curry became an artist and died in 1962. Blymire was finally paroled in 1953, returned to York and worked as a janitor. Their superstitous belief in hexes took many years of their freedom away. The book that caused all the trouble is stll in print, and the Wiccans have gotten on the bandwagon, now claiming the ook is somehow tied t Wicca, despite the fact the book predates Wicca (which was created in the 1950's) by about a century. Some versions of the book  have the word "Gypsy" in the title, even though it really has nothing to do with Gypsies or Native Americans.

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1929 Detroit, Michigan Theosophist  Benjamo Evangelista., his wife and four kids were all  found murdered in their home on St. Aubin Avenue, killed by an ax murderer. A single fingerprint in blood, which was found on the door knob of the Evangelista home, was the only clue the slayer left. The print has not been matched to any in police records. Evangelista had a ritual chamber in his house, with weird occult figures dangeling on strings.  Evangelista had been working for years writing an occult book manuscript with the catchy title The Oldest History of The World , Discovered by Occult Science In Detroit, Michigan. The main suspect for the killing was Evangelista’s old pal in the occult, Aurelius Angelino  Like  Evangelista, Angelino, was obsessed with the occult. While Angelino lived in Pennsylvania, he and Evangelista often performed rituals together. In 1919, Angelino went bezerk and killed his two children with an ax, and was sent to a mental asylum. In 1923 he escaped, and was never seen again. Some think he paid a visit to a friend, and that the murders were all occult related.

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1932 Detroit, MI A black man confessed to police that he killed an "unbeliever" on an altar in his home at 1429 Dubois street early one Sunday, because his "gods demanded a human sacrifice".  The victim was James J. Smith, also black, and a roomer in the Harris home. Police found the body, with a fractured skull and a sliver knife in the chest, in a rear room of the house that Sunday afternoon. According the Harris, the victim mounted an altar in the room and stood with his arms outstretched, gazing at the ceiling. Then a few seconds before the minute hand of the clocked reached 12 Harris got his dirk out of a drawer and plunged it into Smith's heart, according to his tale. The victim's skull was then fractured by an automobile axle. Robert Harris and his wife, Bertha, were  charged with murder. Police sought  12 of Harris's "disciples" who allegedely witnessed the sacrificial murder. From them they hoped to learn the extent to which the rites of Voodoo have laid hold upon the imaginations of inhabitants of the quarter in which Harris had his "temple."

Harris claimed he was the leader of a sect called "The Order of Islam", but police eventually dismissed the claim after talking to the order's leader,W.D. Farad, who said Harris was "a madman", and had no standing in the order, although Harris was identified as a member.  The secretary of the order, Ugan Ali, told the press members are taught not to eat certain foods, to employ their time usefully, and that by their efforts the world can be rid of evil by 1934. Apparently they failed. Farad and Ali were held by police for questioning and released. Harris's prints were checked with those of the Evangelista killings, but turned up negative. During his trial Harris refused to remove his hat because he was "a king", and told the court,  "I said 'aliker alump,' and he fell dead. He died because it's a dumb civilization. But I gave my children a break, because I'm a lover of children. Well, I've got to go now." He then tried to leave, but not before trying to steal a pocketful of rubberbands.

Harris became enraged when detectives later attempted to question him regarding the rituals and practices of his cult. He refused to answer, saying only that he was "going to kill lots of Christians." Police discovered Harris had belonged to a breakaway cult, based on Voodoo and Islam. The leader of this cult was Ugan Alie, who claimed he was "God of the Asiatic Nation". As Detectives Oscar Berry and Charles W. Snyder tracked down and investigated the ramifications of the cult's worship, they confessed themselves "amazed at the number of Negroes apparently enmeshed by the religion".

A registry book was discovered which had 8,000 names and addresses in it. Meeting places which for many years had been thought to have been no more than fraternal lodges, were discovered  to have been "temples" where "susceptible individuals are incited to kill 'devils' in the hope of attaining heavenly forgiveness and reward." Farad told police Alie and Harris had "apparently misunderstood my teachings." Although Farad admitted the precepts of the Order command the death penalty for persons who "disturb the peace of our temples" he said, human sacrifices were not tolerated.
 
Police later determined people had been backed into joining the cult through pressure by other members, and were unaware of the groups dangerous ideas. In the days that followed, police were tipped off by an infomant of another member of the cult who planned to kill his own son in a ritual similar to the one Harris had carried out. The man apparently found out and fled before police could question him. Several other people told police they had been threatened by members of the cult, including one woman who told her employer 3 male members had made threats to her on her front porch. Another man came forward and said Harris had threatened him the day before the Smith killing, and said "now is the time for Crucifixings".

The cult supposedly had a "hit list" of many Detroit city leaders who were to be killed as well as international figures like King of England. Leaders of the Detroit's Negro community began a drive to stamp out the Voodoo-Muslim hybrid cult. Rev. J.D. Howell of Stephen's African Methodist Episcopal Church denounced the cult (as well as all Muslims) in a series of sermons and called for an inter-racial commission to be formed for the purpose of driving the cult out. With mounting pressure from the media and both black and white community leaders, membership in the cult seemed to evaporate. Harris was deemed insane and spent the rest of his life in an asylum.


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