This morning I found something ugly on my FB feed. Last Friday, or maybe Tuesday, a family was brutally murdered in Pensacola, Florida, and police are calling it a “Wiccan Ritual Killing.”
Now that we have our feelings out of the way, we can discuss this like calm, reasonable adults— something I suspect there may not be among the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.
The first thing I wanted to know was what evidence there was that would lead anyone to think this, because Wiccans are not really known for violence. In a statement attributed to Sgt. Andrew Hobbes by the NBC article, and attributed to Sheriff David Morgan by The Daily Mail, the department stated:
“The method of the murder, blunt force trauma, slit throats, positions of bodies, and then our person of interest has some ties to a faith and/or religion that is indicative of that. The time of death, we believe on Tuesday, also coincides with what’s referred to as a Blue Moon, which occurs every three years. It’s witchcraft. I’ll say that right now.”
You can watch this department representative, whoever he is, put his foot in his mouth for yourselves here.
There are some serious discrepancies in this statement. Firstly, was the murder on Tuesday, or Friday? Because if it was Tuesday (either last week or this week), the murder wasn’t timed to coincide with the blue moon. And while we’re on the subject of blue moons, if you’re using the calendar definition, they happen more often than every three years. If you’re using the seasonal definition, where they happen every three years, then there isn’t one until next year. Does the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office not have access to even Wikipedia?
Let’s move on to the murder weapons. Yes, weapons, plural, because someone, whether it was Mr. or Mrs. Smith varies depending on the article, was shot in the ear. That does not seem like death by blunt force trauma, but I’ll suspend my disbelief on this particular point and posit that it is possible to survive being shot in the head. We’ve all seen the end of Fight Club and/or season 8 of Weeds, right?
The blunt force trauma was supposedly (because I’m now taking everything the department says as possibly untrue) a claw hammer. Peg Aloi from Pathos sums up the rest of my feelings on the murder weapons better than I can:
“A hammer? Effective as a murder weapon, to be sure. But since when are hammers one of the ritual tools used in Wicca? Nothing is said about the weapon used to slit the victim’s throats, nor does the article draw any connection between this and the allegation that Wicca is somehow involved.”
So hide your children and your athames, folks. There’s idiocy afoot.