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Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Narco-Saint

"I am the Devil. Dance with me," the recorded voice shrieks. "I can give you sex. I can give you drugs. I can give you house." The audience watches, transfixed. Some carry statues of La Santísima Muerte and peer at the whirling young girl under the blade of the saint's sickle.

So reads a Washington Post article about Jesús Malverde, a folk hero from the Mexican State of Sinaloa. There are conflicting stories about who he was, how he met his end at the hands of the Mexican government and his existence has never actually been verified. But he's a popular figure in the north due to his reputation as a kind of Robin Hood, often called the "narco-saint" after having been adoped by drug traffickers as their patron; his shrine in Culiacán attracts thousand each year, despite not being recognized in any way by the Catholic church. Nonetheless, miracles and healing have been attributed to him.

The ritual described in the Post article is fascinating and bizarre, recommended reading from the Laws of Silence.

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