Los Hermanos Hernández
In 1962 the brothers Santos and Cayetano Hernández convinced 50 or so residents of the village of Yerba Buena, Mexico (pictured) that they were priests sent by ancient gods to ask for sexual and monetary sacrifices in exchange for a great treasure hidden in the nearby mountains. Tribute from the villagers in the form of money and sex from their followers was duly rendered, but some began to doubt. The brothers introduced prostitute Magdalena Solis and her pimp brother Eleazar as incarnated deities, with a ceremony in a mountain cave, with a theatrical puff of smoke for effect.
Over the following six weeks, eight villagers were beaten to death as part of religious ceremonies, their blood was mixed with chicken blood and consumed by the faithful in something called "el ritual de la sangre." The murders became more complex, with beatings, burning and machetes. A boy, Sebastian Guerrero, 14, witnessed one of the ceremonies and was so scared that he ran the 17 miles to the neighboring town of Villagran to tell authorities what he saw. No one believed him, but they did send an officer back to the scene with the boy. When neither returned, on May 31, 1963, police and soldiers raided the site and found the body of the officer with his heart cut out and the boy hacked to pieces, along with evidence of the other murders. Santos, whose brother had just been killed in an altercation with a villager, died in a shootout with police. Magdalena, her brother and the 12 villagers that remained faithful were captured, disarmed and arrested. Magdalena and Eleazar were tried and convicted of the murders of two villagers, receiving a sentence of 50 years each. The rest were tried on charges of group homicide or lynching and each sentenced to 30 years. (Source.)
By Cora Van Olson