Back when I was a young and Internet-naive Christian, I avoided Wikipedia because I thought it had something to do with Wicca.
Yup. I did.
Yup. I did.
Police in Fairfield, Conn., say new DNA evidence may help them catch the suspect who strangled a newborn boy and left his body by the banks of Lake Mohegan 26 years ago. But as police and reporters return the case to the public eye, they’re also resurrecting rumors that Santeria or Palo Mayombewere involved in the killing.
The infant’s body was laid on a piece of burlap pinned with crosses of St. Lazarus, surrounded by pieces of fruit, coins and food, according to police. Some inspectors claimed these were signs that the killing was part of a ritual, even though neither faith practices human sacrifice.
Police admitted the connection to Santeria was just a guess: “We called it Santeria because we had to label it something,” Fairfield Police Lt. Mike Gagner told the Fairfield Citizen. “There are similar religions; we just don’t know enough about the practices to say.” Local television took it further, connecting the crime to Palo Mayombe, which a reporter erroneously called “a dark offshoot of the Santeria religion.”
Santeria and Palo Mayombe, which are not related faiths, both developed in Africa. Neither is particularly well understood in the United States. Santeria has just tens of thousands of followers, most of whom keep their beliefs to themselves. It’s unlikely most Americans will knowingly encounter someone who follows Santeria or Palo Mayombe. Most of their exposure is through horror movies and the news, which usually don’t portray them accurately.
That leaves the public’s imagination wide open to suggestion when it comes to crimes with an occult element. Because reporters are eager to grab readers’ attention, it’s tempting to include an occult hook when there is one. Doing so without evidence, however, means spreading false — even defamatory — information about minority faiths and their followers.
Please, please read the rest of the article, at Poynter
Boosting the signal.
The police referring to what they found as “Santeria” because they “had to call it something” just sickens me. THAT’S NOT HOW ANYTHING WORKS.
There seems to be a theme of violence in the news this morning, and before I attempt to wrap my head around the concept of idol-worship (stay tuned!) I want to talk about violence.
The first regards a local story on WSB of an investigation into child abuse because of a Santeria ritual. A daycare called the police after finding cuts on a 4-year-old girl’s chest. Apparently the cross-shaped cuts are made as part of a religious ritual in order to boost the girls strength. This isn’t a ritual I think I would do, but it doesn’t sound particularly horrible. Then again, I was one of those kids whose arms and legs were often covered in cuts and bruises from my tomboyish antics, so my perspective may be different.
What concerns me is that this is only being investigated as child abuse because it’s an uncommon ritual in the US. If the daycare called to report suspected abuse because an infant’s foreskin had been cut of in a religious ritual, we wouldn’t give the claim any merit. Yet this young girls cuts will heal in a week or so, and the male infant will have his sexual health impacted for the rest of his life without ever having been given a choice. Our priorities seem to be out of alignment here.
Read more at Pantheon
In the last post, I mentioned that John Ramirez seemed a bit phony to me. I dug deeper and let’s just say this guy couldn’t be waving more red flags if he tried.
For those unfamiliar with most ex-occult frauds, there’s a general formula their tales follow.
So I found a video on YouTube where Ramirez gives his testimony. First he claims that he was basically a Santerian missionary and lured “whole households” into witchcraft. Then he says that at the age of 33, he sold his soul to the devil - literally, with a contract and everything.
Yeah, um. Santerians really aren’t that huge on proselytizing, and Satan isn’t even in their pantheon.
He claims that for twenty-five years, he wasn’t even able to say the word “Jesus.” Er, since when are non-Christians allergic to the Latinized Hellenized rendition of a fairly common first-century Hebrew name?
He claims to have controlled the Bronx region, and nothing happened in the Bronx (Santeria-wise) without his say-so. Then he says that he started going to church with the intent of mocking Christianity, but found it impossible because, as the Bible says, “God cannot be mocked.” (Which raises some interesting questions about how memes like Religion Pigeon can even exist…)
One night, while considering giving his daughter his life insurance policy and committing suicide (apparently unaware that suicide tends to render those things null and void), he claims to have felt Jesus pressuring him into accepting Christianity and resisted as long as he could. “Lord, you’re not bigger than the devil I serve, so please, back off and leave me alone”
Santerians do not refer to their deities as devils - they’re called orishas. And again, Satan’s not in the pantheon.
John reached the point where he finally gave Jesus an ultimatum: show up in his dream that night, and he’d serve him, and that’s just what happened. Or sort of, anyway. John dreamed he was on a train headed to Hell, where he had to fight the devil off with a cross. After that, he immediately converted to Christianity.
Also, in the video he mentions that money doesn’t matter. So naturally, you have to buy his book Out of the Devil’s Cauldron of you want to learn all of the juicy details.
There’s a sample of his book on Amazon. In his book he refers to a ceremony to summon someone known as “Nafumbe,” which he says is “the devil himself.”
I can’t find any references to “Nafumbe” outside of his book. Google suggests nfumbe. Wikipedia has this to say about nfumbe:
The main practice of Palo focuses upon the religious receptacle or altar known as a Nganga or Prenda. This is a consecrated vessel filled with sacred earth, sticks (palos), human remains, bones and other items. Each Nganga is dedicated to a specific spiritual Nkisi. This religious vessel is also inhabited by a muerto or spirit of the dead (almost never the direct ancestor of the object’s owner), also referred to as “Nfumbe”, who acts as a guide for all religious activities which are performed with the Nganga.
Obviously, not Satan.
Ramirez claims that as a child, he had a pentacle cut into his right arm to mark him as a future tata, or high priest. He refers to this as “the mark of the beast.” John’s Apocalypse/Revelation explicitly describes the mark of the beast as the number six hundred and sixty six, and it’s supposed to be put on the forehead or the right hand. There’s no way a pentacle on the right arm can be interpreted as the mark of the beast.
He also claims that the devil and his demons adopt the names of Santerian deities to fool people. (Because blasphemy is okay when it’s Christian-on-pagan.)
Also, Ramirez frequently uses blanket terms like “witchcraft” and “occult” in such a way that he implies that Santeria’s blood-drinking and animal sacrifice practices are standard pagan fare - which of course they are not.
Unfortunately, I’m not very familiar with Santeria and there’s very little information about it on the Internet, so it’s hard for me to say whether it’s likely that John is a complete liar, whether he really was involved in Santeria and is exaggerating and/or making up details, or whether he’s telling the truth as he understands it and is simply reinterpreting everything that happened through a fundy perspective.
One thing’s for sure, though - I will be keeping an eye on this guy.