Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Human Sacrifice Rites near Inez

In Tomahawk, KY (near Inez in Martin County), February 1933, an elderly woman was voluntarily killed by her own family during an ecstatic frenzy of a peculiar religious sect. This sect intended to attach the woman's corpse on fire on a cross-shaped altar in an extremely confused twisting of the Old Testament concept of the "burnt offering", or holocaust. The group were raided by police - too late to save the victim, alas - having been tipped off by suspicious neighbors.

According to the New York Times, Mrs. Lucinda Mills was "choked to death in a religious frenzy to prove their power over death" during a ritual celebrating "the death of sin". This ritual reportedly involved a week of prior dancing, fasting, and glossolalia. According to family members, the woman willingly agreed to be a human sacrifice, murdered by her own son's hand.

From the Marion, Ohio Star, February 9, 1933:

Praying for deliverance in a gutteral, unearthly chant, eight members of a mountain family are in jail today, seven of them charged with murder following the cult "sacrifice" of an aged mother.

Police said they crashed their way through barred doors into the desolate Mills homestead as plans were made to place the body of Mrs. Lucinda Mills, 72, on an altar. Interrupting the haunting ritual of fasting and mystic rites, which police say started last Friday, culminating in a mad frenzy of ardor, the officers arrested two daughters, two sons, a grandson, and two sons-in-laws and a daughter-in-law of the slain woman...

An inquest conducted by Judge T. J. Hardin brought a verdict that Mrs. Mills died "at the hands of her son John and others."

Questioned at the jail, members of the family told police that hours of praying, shouting, singing and dancing - a part of the bizarre ceremony - called forth "divine commands" that the life of one person presented be offered in "human sacrifice". Mrs. Mills was chosen, they said, and John grasped his mother by the neck as others looked on.

Blaine McGinnis told authorities he wanted to prevent the "sacrifice" but that "a feeling" impelled him to stand back. He said that his mother-in-law was strangled, a chain fastened about her throat, and preparations made for a "burnt offering"...

Police say the cult members claim they perform miracles, such as converting water into wine, and transforming grapevine stalks into curling snakes.

John H. Mills, the son who strangled his own mother, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment on April 12, 1933. He was 36. I'm currently trying to determine where he was buried, as well as Lucinda. Anyone have a clue?


C said...

Another great story. Makes you wonder how much of this still goes on around us every day.

cletismills said...

Lucinda was my grandmother, and John H. Mills my uncle. To get to John's grave you need to go to Tomahawk between Paintsville and Inez. Take the Rockhouse Road appx 2 miles and turn left at Horse Branch. Cemetery will be on the hill on the left. Lucinda is buried on up the road behind the Freewill Baptist church, up on the hill. Her grave, like many others, is not marked.

Cletis Mills

mmills24 said...

hello, i am a Mills by marriage, living in Fl and have heard of this story over the years. Could you please tell me if the book about this event was ever published, i know at one time it was supposed to and then people were trying to stop its going to print. My husbands father was the grandson, i believe, in the story. He never talked about it very much, so we dont know the whole story. His name was Kelly C Mills, he is now deceased. Thank you for any help you can be in this matter. Marge Mills

SharynT said...

My mother Alma Lee Mills (Porter) is a grandaughter of Lucinda Mills. The grandson in the story was Ballard Mills. Mom was living with Molly,Blaine, Ballard & Roy McGinnis. Ballard was Molly & Blaine's nephew. Roy their son. Mom was 11 when her grandmom was killed & remembers them having a meeting in the house she was living in a few days before the murder. She was awakened in the night by the group & Ballard hollered at her "You aint got all thats coming to you yet." She got scared, jumped out of bed & ran across the creek to Molly's sons house.( Elmer & Ethel McGinnis.) They were not in the group. The murder took place at Lucinda's daughter's (Talitha) house. Mom says none of them stayed in prison long. Not even John, the one that strangled her.

Sharon Thompson