Author Topic: The True Stories of History´s Deadliest Women  (Read 90 times)

0 Members and 0 Guests are viewing this topic.

raul

  • { ∅, { ∅ } }
  • Posts: 3194
The True Stories of History´s Deadliest Women
« on: November 26, 2022, 02:14:38 pm »
CLEMENTINE BARNABET
(1894–?)
In February 1911, a Louisiana paper reported what they called “the most brutal murder in the history of this section.” The Byers, a Black family in West Crowley, Louisiana, had been hacked to death. The mother, father, and young son had been found in their bed with an ax wound in each of their heads. A basin filled with blood was in the corner, and bloody tracks marked the floor. The ax was at the head of the bed.

The Byers were the first. They would not be the last.

Less than two weeks later, on February 24, the Andrus family of four, also Black, was similarly slaughtered. Again, the ax rested at the head of the bed.

While murders were common enough in lower-income parts of Louisiana, ax murders were not. The police initially assumed that the murderer must have been motivated by racial hatred. They certainly did not suspect Clementine Barnabet, a seventeen-year-old Black woman running a murder cult.

Based on some suspicions, the police initially assumed that Clementine’s father committed the crimes. He had a violent reputation, and more importantly, his demure daughter Clementine told the police she had seen him covered in blood and brains. It is very probable that he would have been found guilty, if another crime had not occurred while he was in jail awaiting trial.

This time, a full suit covered in blood was found in Clementine’s room. When it was discovered, Clementine began laughing at the police, which is exactly how you would expect a serial killer to behave in this situation. But Clementine was physically very delicate, and the police couldn’t figure out how she could have committed so many murders with an ax, which would have required considerable physical strength. Still, her strange behavior was reason enough for the police to arrest her as well as her brother and two other men.

But the murders continued in Louisiana and then in Texas, even with Clementine in jail.

Soon a spiritual aspect to the murders became apparent. At one home, the Bible inscription “When he maketh the inquest for blood, he forgetteth not the cries of the humble” was found written in blood above the bodies.15 It was signed “The Human Five.”

Due to the religious element in the murders, suspicion fell on a small Pentecostal congregation known as the Church of Sacrifice. Their preacher, Reverend Harris, was arrested.16 He was released shortly after when he explained that he had no idea how any of his sermons could have inspired such bloody murders. He was likely as confused by Clementine’s actions as the Beatles would have been by Charlie Manson.

If there was any truly bloodthirsty cult at work, Clementine appeared to be its leader. In April of 1912, she made a full confession, admitting to the murder of at least seventeen people by her own hand. She explained that she had dressed in male clothing and hopped aboard trains to commit the murders, and rather more disturbingly, she had lain in the beds and fondled the corpses. Clementine also claimed that she had numerous followers, including her brother and father, who she incited to commit murders on her behalf. She also said that her followers were unafraid of being caught because of voodoo charms offering them protection.17

After Clementine’s confession, the Mitchell Commercial reported, “As many women belonged to the cult as men, and they shared equally with the men in the sacrifice of human lives.” I suppose, in that regard, you could say they really struck a blow for equality.

Still, perhaps Clementine wasn’t entirely wrong about her followers being protected. Despite several attempts to find and arrest them in the following years, most of them (if they existed) were never found. Murders continued until 1913, and then ceased without explanation.

As for Clementine herself, people were certain that she would be sentenced to the death penalty. Instead, perhaps again because death seemed too harsh a fate to mete out to such a young woman, she was sentenced to life in Angola State Penitentiary. Ten years later she simply walked out. No one knows how this happened, but it’s only one part of the enduring mystery surrounding her.

Because where she walked to is also largely unknown. The closest we have to any information about what became of her came from 2002, when a woman called Voodoogal recalled her grandmother telling her the story of Clementine, “a Black woman so beautiful with alabaster skin and eyes so piercing she would look at you and turn you to stone.”19 It was only when she attended the funeral in the 1980s and saw pictures of her grandmother as a young woman that she realized her grandmother was Clementine Barnabet.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter