Earlier than changing into the malignant faith often known as “voodoo,” vodun or vodoun was the title for the ancestral customs and beliefs of West Africa. Most intently related to the Fon folks of contemporary Benin, vodun, with its speak about religious possession and examples of ecstatic worship, gave the impression to be nothing lower than satan worship to the primary Europeans who encountered it. Although Francophone and Lusophone vodun, as practiced in locations like Haiti, Louisiana, and Brazil, accommodates many Roman Catholic components and profess a veneration of Jesus and Mom Mary, “voodoo” continues to be a byword for diabolism.

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This was very true on the flip of the twentieth century. Again then voodoo was synonymous with the “barbaric” practices of deepest, darkest Africa and her descendants in the US and the West Indies. Each time unusual killings occurred in New Orleans or the swamps of Florida, it was frequent to place the blame of voodoo. This was very true when the victims and perpetrators had been black.

Between 1911 and 1912, voodoo was cited as the basis trigger for a string of horrible ax murders in Louisiana and Texas. The uncommon killer, a supposed voodoo priestess named Clementine Barnabet, in the end managed to flee into the bayou earlier than assembly the hangman’s noose. However earlier than escaping from actuality into legend, Barnabet hinted at one thing as scary because it was unbelievable. Was there a murderous voodoo cult at work? Learn on and discover out.

10 The First Bloodletting

West of Lafayette, Louisiana is town of Crowley. There, on February 11, 1911, murder investigators discovered the lifeless our bodies of Walter J. Byers, his spouse, and their younger son. Judging from the proof on the crime scene, the unknown assailant had entered the Byers residence from the rear window of close by home. That different home was positioned within the “coloured quarter” of town. This meant one factor to the investigators—the killer was black.

Bloodletting wasn’t uncommon in Crowley, particularly within the coloured aspect of city. Nevertheless, this crime was totally different. The sleeping Byers household had been “brained with an ax”. Moreover being unimaginably merciless, the killer additionally gave the impression to be brazen. She or he hadn’t bothered to cover the homicide weapon, because the blood-splattered ax was discovered dripping gore on the ground inside the Byers household residence.

9 The Swing of the Ax

Lower than two weeks later, on the morning of February 24, 1911, Nina Martin’s normal morning routine was interrupted. At roughly 7:00 a.m., Nina and her Lafayette, Louisiana residence grew to become adjoining to against the law scene when her son, Lezimie Felix, burst into the kitchen and stated that Nina’s sister and brother-in-law had been murdered. Nina rushed over to her sister’s residence and located an abattoir: Alexandre Andrus and his spouse Meme (some sources write Mimi), together with their son Joachim and daughter Agnes, had been discovered murdered. Similar to within the Byers case, the homicide weapon was an ax and it was discovered on the foot of the household’s mattress.

4 days later, the “Lafayette Advertiser” ran a brief article quoting Deputy Coroner Clark, who asserted that the deceased had been “brained with an ax”. The article included different surprising information, a few of which had been absolutely offered by Sheriff Louis LaCoste. Particularly, the newspaper famous that the Andrus household had been killed whereas they slept, in all probability someday after midnight. Alexandre and Meme had been moved after demise, with the killer placing them in a kneeling place beside the mattress. Alexandre and Meme gave the impression to be praying.

Sheriff LaCoste and his males suspected that the assassin of the Andrus household was additionally the killer of the Byers household. Higher but, Sheriff LaCoste named their main suspect—a lately escaped lunatic named Garcon Godfry.

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8 Homicide Strikes to Texas

The subsequent killing occurred exterior of Louisiana. On March 22, 1911, Louis Cassaway, his spouse, and their three kids suffered the identical terrible destiny because the Andrus and Byers households. They too had been mercilessly bludgeoned to demise with an ax.

As comparable because the homicide of the Cassaway household appeared to the earlier crimes, there have been some main variations that caught investigators unexpectedly. Initially, the Cassaway household lived in San Antonio, Texas (a number of sources say Beaumont, Texas). Second, whereas the entire earlier victims had been black, one of many sufferer’s on this case, Mrs. Cassaway, was white. This reality initially satisfied detectives {that a} hatred of mixed-raced {couples} was on the root of this terrible crime.

After the homicide of the Cassaways, Sheriff LaCoste had a brand new suspect within the type of Raymond Barnabet. Barnabet was a petty prison and sharecropper who lived in Lafayette. Raymond had an extended rap sheet and was recognized to have a violent mood. The case towards Raymond broke vast open when his mistress approached police and informed them that Raymond had confessed to committing murders throughout considered one of their frequent quarrels.

7 The Trial of Raymond Barnabet

Within the autumn of 1911, Raymond Barnabet stood trial in Louisiana for the murders of three entire households. Zepherin and Clementine Barnabet, Raymond’s personal kids, testified towards their father. Whereas on the witness stand, Clementine Barnabet informed a graphic story about how her father got here residence one evening lined in blood. Zepherin seconded this story, and he went one step additional by claiming that Raymond had introduced one evening that he had “killed the entire rattling Andrus household”.

Then as now it was extremely uncommon for kids to testify towards their mother and father. Nevertheless, Clementine and Zepherin justified their actions by claiming that they had been afraid of their father. It was higher for everybody if Raymond Barnabet, a lifelong prison, was behind bars. In October 1911, a Louisiana jury convicted Raymond Barnabet of homicide. This conviction wouldn’t final to the top of October, however Raymond would stay confined till November 1911. He was let go as a result of one other homicide proved his innocence.

6 Extra Murders

On October 27, 1911, Raymond Barnabet was granted a brand new trial. The cause for this resolution was threefold: Raymond had been drunk all through the sooner trial, thus calling his testimony into query; the jury had did not observe the choose’s directions throughout deliberation; and the prosecution had by no means bothered to supply a motive for the murders.

Whereas Raymond languished within the Lafayette Parish Jail, police in Lafayette stumbled upon a brand new crime scene. On November 27, 1911, the our bodies of Norbert Randall, his spouse Azema, and the 4 kids had been discovered murdered inside their cabin positioned on Lafayette Avenue. Just like the others, 8-year-old Albert Sise, 6-year-old Renee Randall, 5-year-old Norbert, Jr., and 2-year-old Agnes had been crushed to demise with the blunt aspect of an ax. Norbert had been shot within the head earlier than he too was brained with an ax. As per normal, the homicide weapon was discovered on the crime scene, though police found that this ax had been partially washed.

5 One other Responsible Barnabet

The horrific slaying of the Randall household despatched the residents of Lafayette right into a panic. Rumors circulated that the Randall kids had been mutilated by their killer. Due to this, properly over 150 folks met on the Good Hope Baptist Church in Lafayette. The assembly reminded residents to sleep with weapons close by. It additionally demanded motion from the police. Particularly, the nice, God-fearing folks of Lafayette thought that the police ought to take a look at different members of the Barnabet household.

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When police returned to the Barnabet household residence looking for new proof, they discovered a number of units of bloody garments belonging to 17-year-old Clementine. The particular objects of horror included a go well with of girl’s clothes lined in blood and mind matter. Blood was additionally discovered on the door resulting in Clementine’s room.

Though few believed then {that a} 17-year-old girl may perform such grotesque crimes, Clementine was arrested and set to the identical Lafayette Parish Jail as Raymond Barnabet.

4 Ritualistic Killings?

Whereas each Raymond and Clementine Barnabet languished in jail, a killer used a blood-hungry ax to snuff out one other household. In Janauary 1912, the Broussard household of Lake Charles, Louisiana—father Felix, his spouse, and their three kids—had been ambushed by a mad killer. This crime scene was essentially the most surprising of all. It not solely recommended that Louisiana was the house of a crazed serial assassin, but additionally a serial assassin who appeared to know a factor or two concerning the occult.

The murdered Broussard kids had had their blood drained into buckets left on the stated of their beds. A message written in blood was left on one of many residence’s partitions. It learn: “When he maketh the inquisition for blood, He forgetteth not the cry of the standard”. For many years this inscription has been cited as coming from Psalm 9:12 of the King James Bible. Nevertheless, the King James Bible really reads: “When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them: he forgetteth not the cry of the standard”. The biblical citation left behind on the Broussard crime scene was really taken from the novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” which had initially misquoted the verse.

Different information of the Broussard crime scene had been quickly sensationalized by the regional media. The “El Paso Herald” of El Paso, Texas known as the murders a “sacrifice” and famous that the youngest victims had been discovered with their fingers splayed and secured with items of paper and pins. The phrases “Human 5” had been discovered scribbled on the crime scene as properly. The newspaper wasted little time in blaming “voodoo worshippers” for the murders.

3 Clementine Barnabet, Voodoo Murderess

Regardless of being behind bars on the time of the Broussard household murders, Clementine Barnabet confessed to having a hand within the killings. Clementine, whose demeanor and habits was deemed odd by investigators and newspapermen alike, additionally claimed that she was chargeable for extra murders than the general public knew about. Clementine in the end confessed to her involvement within the homicide of some 35 folks between 1911 and 1912. Seventeen of those victims had been reportedly murdered by Clementine herself.

After her confession, Clementine was examined by a number of medical doctors, most of whom deduced that she was completely sane. As a result of severity of her crimes, Clementine was despatched to the notorious Angola State Penitentiary close to the Louisiana state capital of Baton Rouge. On July 31, 1913, Clementine tried to flee from jail, however was captured by officers on the identical day. For no matter cause, this escape try was forgotten, and in 1918 Clementine was given the job of cane cutter. This meant that Clementine was allowed to work exterior with minimal commentary. 5 years later, on Saturday, August 28, 1923, Clementine Barnabet was allowed to go away Angola because of years of excellent habits.

The story of Clementine Barnabet remained a thriller till just some years in the past. In accordance with one Web consumer named “voodoogalll,” she visited her 103-year-old nice grandmother in 1985. Throughout that go to, the pair had been joined by one other girl who informed all of them a narrative a couple of forgotten string of voodoo murders. That very same 12 months, after the mysterious storyteller died, “voodoogalll” and different attendees on the funeral observed {that a} youthful image of the lady matched newspaper pictures of serial killer Clementine Barnabet.

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2 The Church of Sacrifice

As a part of her confession, Clementine Barnabet claimed that she belonged to a secret cult often known as the Church of Sacrifice. This cult and its secretive “Human 5 Gang” had been supposedly a part of the Christ Sanctified Holy Church, an evangelical church headed by a person named King Harrison. The church may very well be discovered all alongside the Southern Pacific Railroad, and in keeping with Clementine’s confession, Harrison inspired his congregation to make use of deadly self-discipline towards any wayward members. Clementine stated that the Randalls had been an instance of such backsliding. On prime of all of this, Clementine additionally informed Louisiana authorities that she was a voodoo sorceress who loved supernatural safety from punishment.

Sheriff LaCoste and others investigated Clementine’s claims, however got here up empty in nearly each occasion. District Legal professional Howard E. Bruner, who categorized Clementine as a “ethical pervert” as a result of she admitted to “caressing” among the corpses after killing them, believed that a lot of the murders Clementine admitted to had been copycat crimes.

A number of years later, in 1942, when the Federal Writers Challenge wrote down the historical past of Clementine’s trial, they famous that confusion was the one fixed within the case. In actual fact, on condition that newspapers had already recommended {that a} voodoo cult was behind the murders, Clementine may have been influenced by such protection and cooked up the Church of Sacrifice as a part of her confession. Tragically, after Clementine’s story circulated across the Southeast, many white residents started to suspect that their black neighbors belonged to the murderous Sacrifice Church. This perception led to a handful of violent encounters and false arrests.

1 The Man From the Prepare

Of their 2017 ebook, “The Man from the Prepare,” writers Invoice James and Rachel McCarthy James make the case {that a} slimy German immigrant named Paul Mueller is the truth is the deadliest serial killer in American historical past. After murdering the Newton household of Westbrook, Massachusetts in 1897, Invoice and Rachel James consider that Mueller started touring the railroads in America and Canada, murdering complete households alongside the best way. His demise toll was someplace round 90. Mueller’s crimes nearly all the time noticed him break into houses after midnight and homicide the entire occupants with the blunt aspect of an ax. Mueller additionally had a behavior of leaving his homicide weapons on the crime scenes.

Though Invoice and Rachel James settle for that Clementine Barnabet confessed to committing a number of murders, they’re satisfied that almost all, if not the entire crimes related to Clementine Barnabet had been really carried out by Mueller, aka the Man from the Prepare.


Benjamin Welton

Benjamin Welton is a West Virginia native at the moment residing in Boston. He works as a contract author and has been printed in The Weekly Commonplace, The Atlantic, Listtopick, and different publications.

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