During high school I worked at McDonald's. Only one Gruntonian knows the full extent of my weirdness during that time of my life. There was a group of guys that I worked with that called me "Pagan" or "Matt the Pagan". It started with the way that I made hamburgers on occasion. When I wanted to curse a patron, I made what I called a "Satan Burger". This burger was made with a beef patty with an upsidedown pentagram branded in the meat with a heated up spatula. I would get all giddy thinking what kind of horror would fill a customer's mind when they opened up their burger to see the mark.
I need to explain that as a teenager I was fascinated with occult symbols. I guess it was my way of rebelling against the seemingly strict religious community I was brought up in at the time. One summer, having to take a couple of courses so I could move on to high school, a fellow "failure" brought a book of witchcraft. I thought this book was fairly harmless, but started chanting the spells out loud by the candy machines where we would hang out at. This freaked out some of the students, but especially our teacher.
There was a bit of urban myth that there were some community members and teachers who were witches and satan worshippers. The stories were that they would steal your pets and sacrifice them up in the mountains. I spent many hours wondering who was a witch and where up in our foothills they would practice their rituals.
In the neighboring town to where I lived there was a tall stone cross hidden in a wooded ravine.This is a photograph of the cross. I understand that some dickhead blew it up with a pipe bomb. The cross was always a thing of much speculation and myth. The stories of what would happen there on a full moon or other eventful nights were rather wild. There were tales of hooded figures and animal sacrifice going on there. The few times I made the journey I only found one dead cat and I really couldn't say that it was sacrificed or just placed there to freak the shit out of us meddling kids.
There was only one time that I did come across a grizzly scene of animal sacrifice, or more likely, torture. A friend of mine and I were riding motorcycles in the hills above his house. We were always a bit curious about dead things and if we caught a whiff of death when up in the mountains we'd investigate and try to find the offender. We found Percival's dead horse he shot to put it out of its misery (the hoof tore from its leg after a fall). That was grotesque and about the worst smell I've ever had to intake. That day of riding, however, we caught a whiff of death and what we found was truly disturbing. We got off the bikes and walked through a thicket of oak brush. There, hanging from a tree, was a black dog skinned from the neck down, with its entrails laid down into a pattern of several symbols. I have no idea what must have taken place. All I can think of is the poor dog that was tortured to death. This is about the moment where those spooky fantasies of mine of witchcraft and the occult ended, and the reality of disturbed individuals began its torment upon my awareness.
I occasionally wonder if I have rubbed shoulders in that small town with the individual(s) who committed that horrible act. I guess I will never know.
3 years ago