History shows us where many ancient cultures would perform blood sacrifices, often to gain the favour of the gods, as a means of getting rid of prisoners of war, or even cannibalistic practices. Sacrificing the blood of another living being has been associated with power, and these inhumane practices are still being performed.
- The sacrificing of albinos to gain good fortune.
Albinism is a condition which impairs a person’s ability to produce melanin, resulting in an extremely fair complexion. A number of African communities believe that the parts of albinos hold magical powers, including medicinal uses or to make someone else ‘invisible’ to the naked eye. They are hunted down and killed for the benefit of others. The removal of the body parts is called ‘muti’ (potion) and the magical properties are believed to be enhanced by decapitating the albino while they are alive, because of the pain they have to endure. They are then sold as talismans to bring wealth, luck or health, with an entire body being worth up to US$75000.
In Tanzania, albinos are also killed, or buried alive, with tribal chiefs. They are called ‘zeru zeru,’ meaning ghost, and will help the chief navigate the afterlife.
- Human sacrifice in Liberia for political gain.
A former rebel commander during the Liberian civil war, Milton Blahyi, had been initiated as a tribal priest, and participated in his first human sacrifice at the age of 11. During the ritual, Blahyi claims the Devil told him to continue making regular sacrifices to ensure a lifetime of great power and influence. He was later appointed as a high priest and became the advisor to the Liberian President, Samuel Doe. In 1996, Blahyi had a change of heart after he heard God condemn him for doing the work of Satan, and became an Evangelical preacher. Despite the reports of numerous human sacrifices performed between 1979 – 1993, Blahyi has never been prosecuted for his crimes.
- The sacrifice of one child for another.
In Indian culture, a family often requires a son to become the provider for the family as the parents age. For this reason, many couples will go to great lengths to produce a male heir. Despite giving birth to a daughter, Madan and Murti Simaru could not have a boy, and visited a tantrik guru for advice. The guru told them to sacrifice a boy on the banks of the river, and chanted mantras while the family murdered a six-year-old they had kidnapped. After the death Mr. Simaru completed the ritual by bathing in the youngster’s blood. The couple, along with Simaru’s brother, were arrested and charged for the heinous act.