Friday, September 23, 2011

Florida Animal Sacrifices

My "magick using dead things" file just keeps getting bigger. Authorities in Florida are concerned over a growing number of animals that are turning up dead, apparently sacrificed in some sort of ritual context, over the course of the last year. The animals involved include goats and chickens, many of which have been found decapitated.

Just days ago, people in Port Saint Richie awoke to chicken feet tied with ribbons around their door knobs. Residents there speculated, "They're supposedly into Santeria or voo-doo."

Last Halloween, headless goats and chickens covered a Miami street, prompting neighbors to tell reporters, "It looks like witchcraft, some type of Santeria."

In Tampa several months back, a string of headless animals turned-up along the Bay at the eastern end of the Courtney Campbell Causeway. Coastal clean-up volunteers gasped at the discovery, calling it "gruesome."

June 23rd, a security guard found a cow's tongue in a box with 100 nails driven into it just outside the Hillsborough County Courthouse.

July 3rd, Sheriff's deputies found another box outside the Falkenburg Road Jail. This one held a white goat, two baby chicks, a rooster, and a dove -- all headless.

Back in July I covered those last two incidents here.

While there are a lot of Santeria practitioners in Florida, Dr. Mozella Mitchell of the University of South Florida explains that these sacrifices are not the result of conventional Santeria practices, but rather negative magical operations intended to produce specific effects. Mitchell is the chair of the department of religious studies at the university.

Those type of rituals and sacrifices, Dr. Mitchell says, are not associated with Santeria. She says they're individuals practicing some kind of black magic: trying to cast a hex to stop a liar, to free someone from jail, even curse someone with years of bad luck. In the worst cases, Mitchell says it can be someone practicing black magic to kill someone else.

"The powers in nature can be used for either good or evil," Dr. Mitchell says, "And there are those individuals who are evil and want to hurt other people and to use these various forces in nature to play tricks on people and hurt people, damage people." When we asked if any of that can actually happen, Mitchell quickly responded, "Yes, it can be accomplished. It can be accomplished."

I have to admit, it's nice to see an academic who takes magick this seriously. Many approach esoteric studies from a more skeptical perspective. It remains to be seen if there is any pattern to these sacrifices and if they are connected in some way. Could some sort of magical battle be underway among Tampa's magical practitioners? I suppose only time will tell whether or not they continue at the present rate.

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