After we posted our third story about found skulls and missing bodies in the last few weeks, Steve e-mailed me, "Do you think anything's up with all this weird stuff?" To recap:
- Back in mid-June, during a drug bust, Bridgeport police found bloody walls and a human skull in house. The human skull was on an altar of sorts with an alligator skull, a goat's head, beads and goat's blood.
- In early July, a grieving family found a pair of human skulls on their recently buried father's grave. Stuffed inside the skulls were eight blood-stained papers, each containing a name.
- Then a young child's body was stolen from its Stamford grave and discovered in a New Jersey river a few days later. The child was a referred to as "a miracle baby" because she had been born with a severe brain deformity and had managed to survive for two and a half years.
"It's highly uncommon to find three skulls in ritualistic settings in six weeks," said [Bridgeport police Capt. James] Viadero. "We don't believe the incidents are connected. " Both departments contacted experts in ritualistic practices. They can't say for certain what religion or practice is involved. What [Stamford police Capt. Richard] Conklin has learned is this is an active period for rituals because of the phases of the moon with a new moon forming July 21. "A lot of sects believe magic becomes more powerful around the time of a lunar eclipse and the new moon," said Amy Blackthorn, who has a Ph.D. in theology and lectures on various religions. Conklin also believes Stamford's "Miracle Baby" was targeted for its supposedly "mystical powers" allowing it too live so long.Creepy, right? After eliminating Santeria, Voodoo and Hoodoo, amongst other ritualistic religions, there's some speculation that it might be the work and worship of those who believe in Regla de Palo, an Cuban-African religion that originated from slaves in Cuba taken from the Congo region. Others speculate that the Stamford incident could be related to those who practice Palo Mayombe, which is a variation of the same main religion -- Palo -- but is a type of darker magic. (You can also read more about Palo here.) Either way, these beliefs center around magical rites and harnessing the power of spirits to do one's bidding -- pretty much like any religion, right? I mean, is praying to God to deliver you from sin in Christian church (with kneeling, praying and rituals) really all that different than a Wiccan calling on the Goddess to provide strength and wisdom, or a Muslim venerating Allah to give them guidance in following the five pillars of Islam? It's called different things by different people and it can have different rules, but a lot of it is the same thing ultimately. Some of them just use symbolic blood and sacrifices, others, actual. Anyway, it may not be a stretch to suggest that the recent weirdness with random skulls, corpse tampering, chicken blood, goat heads, etc., really is all somehow related ... Okay, this sounds like an episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, doesn't it? Just don't expect me to be crawling around any abandoned junkyards, sewing up the mouths of zombies!