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Headless chicken, candles, honey jar found in cemetery


YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: An open jar of honey, partially burned candles and a decapitated chicken were found in a Saddle Brook graveyard, and police are trying to find out who’s responsible. “Cemetery settings are designed for people to honor and pay their respects to loved ones, not for those who execute strange rituals and who may very well have a distracted or unsound mind,” Police Chief Robert J. Kugler told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.


A concerned citizen called police after finding the ritual’s remains late Wednesday afternoon at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Kugler said.

He asked that anyone with information about the incident call police: (201) 843-7000

All calls will be kept confidential.

One could speculate that the incident might involve a ritual such as that practiced by followers of Santería, who use animals, honey and candles.

However, the animals are sacrificed in Santeria as food, rather than for any obscure mystical purpose. Santeross believe the blood of the chicken is sacred, and they do not customarily leave the carcass behind. As a rule, the rituals also aren’t conducted publicly, either.

Santeria — a Spanish word roughly translated as “worship of the saints” — originated in Africa, in the area now known as Nigeria. It was brought to this side of the world by slaves who were concentrated in South America and the Caribbean.

Its masters were Spanish Catholics, and they were forced to worship a Catholic God. But they also saw similarities in the religions — particularly with regard to a single deity surrounded by saints — and so they incorporated their masters’ into their own.

Sacrifices are performed for life events such as birth, marriage, and death. They are also used for healing. And in case you were wondering, the U.S. Supreme Court has granted protection of ritual sacrifices provided they are done humanely. In most cases, that means a single knife stroke across the carotid artery.

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