I was recently talking about this with a friend and had spent a little time in my hometown visiting family not long ago, and this was brought to the front of my mind. I then got in touch with some other childhood friends to firm up a few things, on both pieces below.
Luther as the Devil's Bagpipes Eduard Schoen They were said to meet on the Parke County side just outside of Lyford at night and dance around a campfire and perform animal sacrifices. One of my closest friends insisted that his mom worked with one of them at a local school, and this person had admitted to the dancing and hinted at the sacrifices. His mom would refuse to talk about it, though, but certainly did seem to stay clammed up due to fear and not due to her son telling tall tales — something he was not prone to do in any case.
I can say that there were two things that I personally encountered that lends truth to the tales. The first was a large pile of animal skins that I found while hiking in the woods near my house, up by the railroad tracks. This was no small pile, either. It was quite large, with more than a dozen skins. These were obviously cat skins. Why do I say obvious? Beyond growing up in a way that gave knowledge of fauna in general, there were enough pieces of the heads and tails that the bodies were most definitely feline.
It was very disturbing, slightly surreal, and extremely maddening, as I found myself more angry than scared. The second was that, after having found the animal furs, a couple of friends and I made a pact to sneak up on them if we ever saw their campfire. We had heard the cult was going to do something big during the Festival, but nothing ever arose out of that gossip.
We were hoping to catch them performing whatever ceremony they were doing. So we walked through the woods and closed in on the campfire. There was definitely music and dancing. To this day, my best guess is that I heard Ozzy Osbourne music playing, but seeing as he was one of my favorite artists, that could have just been in my head. Saint Wolfgang and the Devil Michael Pacher — I heard later, through the gossip grapevine, that it more than likely was. Osculum Infame the shameful kiss — image from the Malleus Maleficarum It starts with the Reverend John Lyford, the first ordained Christian minister to come to American shores.
The reason he came to America in the first place was due to raping a woman in Ireland and he needed to avoid her husband. Once in the States, he was exiled from Plymouth Colony for indecent and immoral behaviors, part of which had to do with whispers of witchcraft, but definitely had to do with having affairs, one of which resulted in an out-of-wedlock bastard. Though I could write a whole section on John Lyford, it is his bastard that leads directly to our little hamlet of Lyford.
While his father passed away still on the eastern seaboard in , his son rambled across the burgeoning colonies, eventually setting up his own church on the western side of either Massachusetts or the eastern side of what was soon going to become the colony of New York, the exact location being a little fuzzy.
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