Cults are known for secrecy, rituals, and commitment to a cause above all. Most of the time, the cause seems misguided to most of the outside world. The individuals who participate in these cults are often regular people, with no tendency to violence whatsoever. We dismiss them as “wackos”, but anyone can be vulnerable to these fanatical ideas. They can take normal people, who would never commit an act of violence, and make them perpetrate unthinkable acts.
The crimes included in this list may have been committed by a few misguided fanatics or stone-cold killers, but they were so strange and ritualistic that the most probable explanation is occult involvement. In addition, the fact that there was so much silence and intrigue surrounding the cases which suggest they were more than just the acts of a naturally violent few.
1. Charles Walton
Charles Watson was well known to the people of Lower Quinton, England, but it was for a reason that some considered peculiar. He appeared to be able to communicate with animals, feeding birds out of his own hand and commanding wild animals with his voice. On Valentine’s Day in 1945, at the age of 74 Walton met a brutal end. He was found with his throat cut, a pitchfork pinning him into the ground and a cross carved into his chest. Rumors surrounding his death were mostly based on the theory that he was a witch who had cast a spell on someone, and to break it, the subject killed him. The circumstance became even stranger when police found a book called Folklore, Old Customs and Superstitions in Shakespearland. The book told the story of a man named Charles Walton, who died in 1865 after an apparent ghost sighting. This led many in the village to believe that the two Charles Waltons were the same person. No one was ever arrested for his murder and the case remains a baffling mystery.
2. Patrick Erhabor
The torso of a young boy emerged from the River Thames in London in September 2001. It had been floating for over a week and was unidentifiable. A medical examiner concluded that the boy had been dismembered by a professional, as the limbs were removed with only a single cut. Everything indicated a ritual murder, and it was evident that the boy had been smuggled into the country for this killing. The boy was from Nigeria, but a medical report showed that he had eaten German food shortly before he died.
In 2002, a smuggler named Kingsley Ojo was arrested in connection with the murder. When his apartment was searched, police found a video entitled, ‘rituals’ on which police could see a ritualistic dissection of a human sacrifice. They found a mixture of bone, sand and gold that had also been found in the stomach of the unidentified child. Unfortunately, there was no physical evidence linking Ojo with the dead body, so he was only charged with human trafficking. He was sentenced to four and a half years, but was eventually deported back to Nigeria. Years later, the body was later identified as Patrick Erhabor by a caretaker who had cared for the boy during his time in Germany. No one else was arrested in connection with these ritualistic dissections.
3. Leroy Carter Jr.
Leroy Carter Jr. was sleeping rough in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, on a February night in 1981. His body was found the next day, minus his head, and with a chicken head stuffed Carter’s exposed neck cavity. Due to the odd nature of the killing, the police consulted an expert in the occult to help them with their investigation. The expert concluded that the murder was likely a part of a ritual of Palo Mayombe, a dark magic sect of the Santeria religion. This practice involves making a brew from the victim’s brain, with a dash of ears or nose.
The expert advised that the head would return in 42 days, when the ritual was over. Sure enough, right on schedule the head was returned to the crime scene 42 days later. However, despite having been called in, the occult expert was not taken seriously, and no one was watching the crime scene to make the arrest.
4. Baby X
Baby X was the name given to a baby found burned, dismembered and disemboweled in a barrel in rural Rupert, Idaho, in 1989. Satanists were, understandably, the first suspects although local self-described Satanists claimed they had no involvement. The baby could not be identified, and no family members came forward. The police had a possible witness in a nine-year-old who claimed to see a ritualistic killing in which a baby was killed and burned, but the child was troubled. He had conflicting stories and was deemed not credible. Possible theories included a mother burning the dead body of her child with pneumonia, but Satanists remained the most plausible suspects. The killer(s) was never found and the infant was never identified.
5. Santa Rosa Hitchhikers
The first of the string of hitchhiking murders took place in February of 1972, when two 13-year-olds vanished while hitchhiking in Santa Rosa, California. Their naked bodies were found almost a year later. For the next two years, five more women were found dead in similar circumstances. Although many of the bodies had decomposed by the time police found them, it is believed that they were sexually assaulted as well. Ties to the occult emerged when police found a square made out of twigs on one of the bodies – an artefact related to witchcraft. They were also all killed during the waning moon. Although many people were suspects, there were never any convictions for the killings. Both Ted Bundy and the Zodiac killer were active at this time, but neither claimed responsibility or were reportedly in the area during the murders. It remains a mystery whether this was one deranged person or if the murders were part of a larger occult ritual.
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