The Washington Post is reporting on the case of two women who were arrested in January after permanently disfiguring a five year-old girl whom they thought was possessed by a devil.
According to police reports, Peggy LaBossiere, 51, and Rachel Hilaire, 40, of East Bridgewater, Massachusetts tied the girl’s hands to a long stick over her head and then performed a ritual on her that involved cutting her on the arm and collar area with a pointed object, then blowing flames from a burning stick over her face. LaBossiere put some kind of caustic chemical on the girl’s head and in her eyes which caused a burn that doctors say will leave her permanently disfigured.
LaBossiere also threatened to cut the head off of the girl’s 8-year-old brother with a machete.
In addition, the women told police that they performed “cleansing baths” on the children which involved the use of essential oils such as frankincense and eucalyptus as well as sea salt which was rubbed on their bodies while burning myrrh.
All of these rituals were conducted with the intention of driving out demons which the women claimed were making the children misbehave.
The women are facing multiple charges. The children have been removed from the household and taken into state custody.
Not long after this incident, 43-year-old Latarsha Sanders of Brockton, Massachusetts was arrested and charged with the murder of her two sons, 8-year-old Edson Brito and 5-year-old Lason Brito during a voodoo ritual intended to rid the children of demons.
According to the Boston Globe, Sanders showed up at the home of her mother, Earline Sanders, just before the crime and was ranting about needing to kill someone so she could obtain a human heart to give to her dying father. She said both of her children, who were with her at the time, were sick and needed to be taken to the hospital. The boys were found dead two days later, stabbed to death and covered with blankets.
Police said she stabbed Edson 50 times before turning on his younger brother and killing him as well.
Earline told police that her daughter was “mentally unstable and crazy” but refused mental health treatment. She had become obsessed with the Illuminati, a secret society and “stumbled into a strange world of rituals, numerology, and sacrifices,” her mother said.
When confronted by police, Latarsha claimed she was motivated by “voodoo stuff” and other reasons for the murders.
According to Fox News, the violent crimes have sparked fear in the hearts of local voodoo practitioners who say the religion does not condone violence of any kind.
They claim the practice, which they spell as voodou to distinguish it from other variants, is all about healing; however, it does involve the ritualistic killing of small animals, usually chickens, pigs, goats and bulls.
The god of the Voodouist is called Bondye and is not believed to intercede in human affairs. For this reason, worship is directed to lesser spirits called loa, each of which is responsible for certain aspects of life. Voodousts develop relationships with these spirits by making offerings to them and performing ceremonies with music, dance and spirit possession. Divination and magic are also part of the practice with many of these rituals employing a variety of objects such as voodoo dolls and essential oils known as “Conjure Oils.”
Voodoo originated in Nigeria and became entangled with Christianity when enslaved Africans were forced to convert to the Faith. This is why the voodoo practiced in some countries, such as Haiti, often contain elements of Roman Catholicism.
Lunine Pierre-Jerome, a Randolph, Massachusetts resident who was raised in a Haitian Vodou household and still practices privately, told Fox that what is being described as “voodoo” in these cases is not a reflection of her culture.
“Some see us as worshiping the devil or evil spirits, but that’s far from what it is,” said Pierre-Jerome, who teaches at Cambridge College in Boston and was a longtime administrator in the Boston public school system.
Jeffrey Anderson, a history professor at the University of Louisiana Monroe who studied Louisiana Voodoo and Haitian Voodou, said the “cleanings baths” used to free a person of spiritual beings are common but said he was unaware of any ritual that involves the intentional burning of a child’s face such as what was done to the girl in the East Bridgewater case.
As for the case involving the murder of the two boys by a mentally challenged mother, this tragic outcome is an example of what can happen when the unstable begin to dabble in occult arts where demonic spirits are only too happy to “assist.”
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