Just the Facts?: ‘La Santa Muerte’ Spreading Across US -- USAF Sergeant Abducted -- Bigfoot Hair For Sale
‘La Santa Muerte’ spreading across US
Popular in Mexico, and sometimes linked to the illicit drug trade, the skeleton saint known as La Santa Muerte in recent years has found a robust and diverse following north of the border: immigrant small business owners, artists, gay activists and the poor, among others _ many of them non-Latinos and not all involved with organized religion.
Clad in a black nun’s robe and holding a scythe in one hand, Santa Muerte appeals to people seeking all manner of otherworldly help: from fending off wrongdoing and carrying out vengeance to stopping lovers from cheating and landing better jobs. And others seek her protection for their drug shipments and to ward off law enforcement.
“Her growth in the United States has been extraordinary,” said Andrew Chesnut, author of “Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint” and the Bishop Walter F. Sullivan Chair in Catholic Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. “Because you can ask her for anything, she has mass appeal and is now gaining a diverse group of followers throughout the country. She’s the ultimate multi-tasker.”
Exact numbers of her followers are impossible to determine, but they are clearly growing, Chesnut said.
The saint is especially popular among Mexican-American Catholics, rivaling that of St. Jude and La Virgen de Guadalupe as a favorite for miracle requests, even as the Catholic Church in Mexico denounces Santa Muerte as satanic, experts say.
Her image has been used on prayers cards citing vengeance and protection, which are sometimes found at scenes of massacred bodies and on shipments of drugs.
U.S. Marshal Robert Almonte in West Texas said he has testified about La Santa Muerte in at least five drug trafficking cases where her image aided prosecutors with convictions. Last year, Almonte testified that a Santa Muerte statue prayer card, found with a kilogram of methamphetamine in a couple’s car in New Mexico, were “tools of the trade” for drug traffickers to protect them from law enforcement. The testimony was used to help convict the couple of drug trafficking.
Almonte has visited shrines throughout Mexico, and given workshops to law enforcement agencies on the cult of the saint.
“Criminals pray to La Santa Muerte to protect them from law enforcement,” Almonte said. “But there are good people who pray to her who aren’t involved in any criminal activity so we have to be careful.”
Devotees say La Santa Muerte has helped them find love, find better jobs and launch careers.
Gregory Beasley Jr., 35, believes he landed acting roles on “Breaking Bad” and the 2008 movie “Linewatch” after a traditional Mexican-American healer introduced him to La Santa Muerte.
“All my success … I owe to her,” he said. “She cleansed me and showed me the way.”
Some devotees pray to the saint by building altars and offering votive candles, fruits, tequila, cigarettes _ even lines of cocaine in some cases _ in exchange for wishes, Chesnut said. A red La Santa Muerte, her best-selling image, helps in matters of love. Gold ones aid with employment and white ones give protection. Meanwhile, a black Santa Muerte can provide vengeance.
“She’s my queen,” said Arely Vazquez Gonzalez, a Mexican immigrant and transgender woman who oversees a large altar inside her Queens, New York apartment. Against one wall of her bedroom altar is a tall, sitting Santa Muerte statue in a black dress surrounded by offerings of tequila.
Gonzalez, who sports a tattoo of La Santa Muerte on her back, holds an annual event in August in the saint’s honor, with mariachis and a feast.
“All I have to do I ask for her guidance and she provides me with what I need,” she said.
The origins of La Santa Muerte are unclear. Some followers say she is an incarnation of an Aztec goddess of death who ruled the underworld. Some scholars say she originated in medieval Spain through the image of La Parca, a female Grim Reaper, who was used by friars for the later evangelization of indigenous populations in the Americas.
For decades, though, La Santa Muerte remained an underground figure in isolated regions of Mexico and served largely as an unofficial Catholic saint that women called upon to help with cheating spouses, Chesnut said.
It wasn’t until 2001 when a devotee unveiled a public La Santa Muerte shrine in Mexico City that followers in greater numbers began to display their devotion for helping them with relationships and loved ones in prison. Economic uncertainty and a violent drug war against cartels that has claimed an estimated 40,000 lives also are credited for La Santa Muerte’s growth.
Oscar Hagelsieb, assistant special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations in El Paso, said agents have found that most members of the Gulf and Zeta Cartels mainly pray to Santa Muerte while those from the Sinaloa and Sonora Cartels honor folk saint Jesus Malverde.
“Altars are very intricate. We have found some with food and others with blood from animals,” Hagelsieb said.
The association with cartels and denunciations by some priests has resulted in some non-devotees destroying makeshift roadside altars. Recently, assailants smashed a life-size statue of La Santa Muerte in a South Texas cemetery. Police in Pasadena, Calif. recently found human bones at a home with a Santa Muerte altar outside. The owners say they bought the bones online.
But the vast majority of devotees aren’t crooks.
Kiko Torres, owner of the Masks y Mas art store in Albuquerque, said sales of La Santa Muerte statues, incense, and oils have skyrocketed in recent months.
“Most people who buy the stuff are regular people who just recently found out about her,” he said. “Some probably have no idea about her connection to that other world.”
One such devotee is Steven Bragg, 36, who said he was introduced to La Santa Muerte in 2001 and began praying to her for a variety of different reasons, including a plea for a life companion. Recently, the New Orleans man built a public chapel to her and holds rosary services that attract around a dozen people.
He also just formed a nonprofit to support the “New Orleans Chapel of the Santisima Muerte,” the official name of his public altar.
“It’s something I decided to do after all that La Santa Muerte has provided,” Bragg said. “She has never failed me.” - forwarded by email
Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint
Santa Muerte: Mexico's Mysterious Saint of Death
Mexican Spiritualism, Spells & Rituals
Soviet war veteran found in Afghanistan after 33 years
A Soviet soldier who went missing in Afghanistan nearly 33 years ago has been found living with Afghans in the western province of Herat.
The soldier is semi-nomadic, has the adopted Afghan name Sheikh Abdullah and practises herbal medicine, Russia's RIA news agency reports.
An ethnic Uzbek, he was found by ex-Soviet veterans of the war.
He was wounded in battle in 1980, only months after the Soviet invasion, and was rescued by local Afghans.
The head of the official veterans' committee, Ruslan Aushev, said Sheikh Abdullah - real name Bakhretdin Khakimov - was tracked down in Shindand district after a year-long search. He had served with a motorised rifle unit.
The committee lists 264 Soviet soldiers as still missing in Afghanistan, half of them Russians. In the first decade after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 the committee found 29 missing soldiers - and 22 of them decided to return home, while seven opted to stay in Afghanistan, RIA reports.
The committee says it is determined to track all of the missing men down.
Sheikh Abdullah was married but his wife died and he has no children.
The committee's deputy chairman, Alexander Lavrentyev, said Sheikh Abdullah bore the scars of his war wounds - a shaking hand and shoulder and nervous tic. The ex-soldier, from the city of Samarkand, was able to name his former place of residence in Uzbekistan and the names of his relatives, Mr Lavrentyev said.
He understood Russian but spoke it very poorly.
In 2009 the BBC's Lyse Doucet interviewed two ex-soldiers from Ukraine, now Muslims and living with Afghans in northern Afghanistan.
Some 15,000 Red Army soldiers and more than a million Afghans were killed in a decade of fighting between a Soviet-backed government in Kabul and mujahideen fighters armed by the West and Islamic neighbours. - BBC
Bigfoot hair on sale at eBay
In august of 2012, my mother in law told me that she had seen a 'bigfoot creature' on her property and she needed help getting it to leave. I thought for sure she had been mistaken, so i went there to check out the situation. She said that she heard screams coming from the woods after dark, and that some of the rabbits she kept in pens had gone missing. I told her that i would stay and keep watch for her, but i really didn't expect anything. I would go there around sunset & stay til between 11pm and 12am. I saw and heard nothing. This went on for a few nights until i told her that i thought she had nothing to worry about. The morning after the first night that i didn't stay i got a call at work. My mother in law frantically told me that she had gone out to the rabbit pen around dawn and spotted 'one of those bigfoots' taking her last two rabbits. When she angrily yelled at it, she said it looked shocked to see her & in two steps was out of the yard, clearing an old barbed wire fence 'as if it wasn't there'. I went out to her property that afternoon and looked around. There were no clear footprints, but you could see where something heavy had trampled the grass through part of her yard, over the fence & to the tree line. I found a tuft of jet black hair stuck to the fence and took it. I was not really interested in bigfoot up to that point, but seeing the evidence & hearing the story first hand made me a believer. I now spend as much time as i can searching the woods around her property. I have heard the screams and wood knockings, but i have yet to see one. My mother in law describes the one she saw as 'more than seven feet tall' and looked like 'a really ugly person, kind of like a caveman covered in black fur'. Since i can only go by her story, i can only offer this hair as coming from a bigfoot b/c she told me thats what is. I hope you enjoy your sample, she has since installed security lights. This is for #2 of 100.
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George W. Bush to be Held Accountable for War Crimes
When the George W. Bush Library and Policy Institute is dedicated on April 25, 2013, at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas, protestors will be there to demand the ex-president be held accountable for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and violations of U.S. and international law. President Barack Obama, former U.S. presidents and many heads of state are expected to attend the dedication ceremony.
A coalition of local, state and national peace and justice groups organizing the protest is inviting people from across the country to participate in an event called “The People’s Response.” According to Leslie Harris of CODEPINK Greater Dallas, “The illegal invasion of a sovereign nation was declared a ‘supreme crime’ at the Nuremberg trials. That Bush and his advisors walk free today is unconscionable; there must be accountability so history won’t repeat itself.”
In addition to demonstrations, organizers are planning on- and off-campus activities to highlight crimes of the Bush administration and the far-reaching effects of an executive branch that was able to act with impunity. Teach-ins and panel discussions on the illegality and consequences of the Iraq war, torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prisons and warrantless surveillance are planned. A film festival showcasing documentaries about the Bush years is also being planned.
Rev. Bill McElvaney, professor emeritus, Perkins School of Theology at SMU, an early opponent of locating the George W. Bush Institute on campus, said, “The invasion of Iraq, and the approval of torture are violations of the United Methodist Social Principles, thus placing Southern Methodist University in contradiction to its own heritage as an institution of The United Methodist Church.”
According to Texas State Representative Lon Burnam, “We demand justice for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian deaths and the thousands of American soldiers who died in this illegal and unjustifiable war.” - Global Research
George W. Bush, War Criminal?: The Bush Administration's Liability for 269 War Crimes
The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder - Vincent Bugliosi, who successfully prosecuted Charles Manson and his murdering followers, describes the case against former president George W. Bush - very interesting read. Lon
Before the International Criminal Court: In the Matter of George W. Bush, Richard Cheney et al
Air Force Sergeant Abducted
Alamogordo, New Mexico would be the location of a UFO encounter involving Air Force Sergeant Charles L. Moody on August 13, 1975. Moody was in the desert observing a meteor shower at about 1:15 A.M. when he saw a glowing, metallic, disk-shaped object falling toward the ground about 300 feet away.
The UFO was about fifty feet long and eighteen to twenty feet wide. As it descended to an altitude of fifteen to twenty feet, it wobbled on its own axis.
Then it began moving slowly and steadily toward Moody. He jumped into his car but was unable to start it. The UFO came to a stop about seventy feet away. Moody could hear a high-pitched humming sound. He noticed a rectangular window in the craft through which he could see shadows resembling human forms. The noise stopped and he felt a numbness crawling over his body.
The next thing he would remember was seeing the object rising up into the sky and disappearing into the distance.
Moody turned the ignition key and his car started immediately. Terrified, he drove off quickly. When he arrived home, he noticed, to his surprise, that the time was 3:00 A. M. He felt that he had somehow lost about one and a half hours. The following day Moody experienced a pain in his lower back.
Within a few days, a rash broke out over his lower body. Upon the recommendation of a physician, he began to practice self-hypnosis in an effort to recall what had occurred during the lost time period.
Over the next few weeks, he was able to piece together an almost complete picture of the events. According to Moody’s subsequent recollection, after being overcome by numbness on August 13, 1975, he had observed two beings approaching his car.
About six feet tall, the creatures wore skintight black clothing. After a brief scuffle with them, he was rendered unconscious. He awoke on a slab inside the craft. His limbs felt leaden and immovable. Next to him stood the alien leader.
The latter was distinguishable from Moody’s two captors by his short stature of about five feet, and the silvery white color of his suit. However, like the others he had a large hairless head, a protruding brow, roundish eyes, small ears and nose, and very thin lips. His skin was whitish-gray.
The leader asked Moody telepathically if he was prepared to behave peacefully. When Moody agreed to do so, the leader applied a rodlike device to his back which relieved the paralysis.
Moody was taken to another part of the ship where he was shown the drive unit, a device consisting of a large rod surrounded by three glass-canopied holes. Each hole contained a central crystalline object with one rod on each side of it. One rod had a spherical head, while the other was topped by a T-bar.
As he moved about the craft, Moody noticed a sweet, stifling odor. He was told that the alien mother ship was situated miles away above Earth. He was promised a future meeting with the occupants but warned that closer contact with Earth men would not be attempted for another twenty years.
The aliens told Moody that he would have no recollection of the incident until about two weeks later. The leader placed his hands on the sides of Moody’s head, rendering him unconscious once more.
An analysis of Moody’s claims by Charles McQuiston, co-inventor of the Psychological Stress Evaluator, indicated that he was telling the truth. Investigator Jim Lorenzen, however, questions a couple of contradictions in Moody’s accounts of the incident. In an early telling, Moody related that the alien mother ship was located 400 miles above Earth.
Later, however, he said it was 6,000 miles away. Another point which Lorenzen notes is that Moody at one time referred to his two captors as frail creatures, yet later described them as being six feet tall. - World UFO Photos
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