Fortean / Oddball News – 7/26/2010

Ailing Man Loses Hotel Business to Voodoo Practitioner

SHNewsService – A sick Lee County, Fla. hotelier worried about his finances and stomach problems looked in the Yellow Pages under herbs, found the Botanica 7 Potensias Africanas shop in Fort Myers, then sought treatment and help.

On that day in October 2007, Enzo Vincenzi, 43, paid the owner, Miriam Pacheco, $50. A self-styled “Santeria Africana” spiritual adviser and healer, Pacheco warned he was in grave danger and said only she could help.

Over weeks and months, there were ritualistic ceremonies involving a dead bird, a sacrificed rooster, liquid potions, prayers and chants by Pacheco, who calls herself Madrina Miriam (godmother Miriam). Joining in was Pacheco’s “god-daughter,” Maria Teresa Torres, and another god-daughter.

In the end, Pacheco took Vincenzi to a Fort Myers lawyer, and Vincenzi signed documents that Pacheco prepared, signing away his motel in order to free himself from the curse.

Those are the allegations in a lawsuit Vincenzi and the Sabal Oasis Inn filed in Lee County Circuit Court against Pacheco, 57, and Torres, 43.

“It was a very bizarre case,” Naples attorney Michael D. Randolph, who filed a related lawsuit against Pacheco and Torres, said of Vincenzi’s allegations.

But attorney Joseph Hoffman, who represented Pacheco and Torres, just considers it a case involving a language barrier: Vincenzi speaks English, while Pacheco and Torres only speak Spanish.

“I’ve had weirder cases,” Hoffman said. “I’m not saying this was plain vanilla. But it’s a property dispute. That’s all it was.”

His clients have denied allegations of ritualistic ceremonies, fraud or coercing Vincenzi into turning over his motel.

According to court documents, Pacheco cautioned Vincenzi he was in danger of demonic spirits and the devil, and said the hotel’s prior owners had buried the devil. She told him he was in grave danger, faced IRS problems and had prostitutes working at his motel.

She said she could help by becoming his Santeria Africana godmother. At a card reading and St. Lazarus ritualistic ceremony, she warned he was a “walking dead man” and his housekeeper was poisoning his food.

“During the course of the ceremony, Pacheco killed a bird and passed it over Vincenzi’s stomach while praying and chanting, which she claimed would heal his stomach ailments,” Vincenzi’s lawsuit says. “Pacheco also covered Vincenzi’s eyes, made him drink an unidentified liquid and laid her hands on him ? all of which she claimed would help heal him.”

A week later, she sacrificed a rooster, saying it would protect him from the motel’s former owners, who were trying to kill him. She told him to pay her $500 so he could move into the home she shared with Torres, the lawsuit alleges. He remained there, confined to a bed, for about two months as she and Torres served as spiritual advisers.

At one point, Pacheco took Vincenzi to a beach and performed a “Queen of the Seas” ceremony, chanting and praying over him as he lay in the sand. She urged him to see her attorney, who could help with legal problems she was predicting.

She coerced him into transferring the property, promising to save him from demonic spirits and attempts on his life.

She took him to her attorney and Vincenzi signed deeds Pacheco prepared, transferring the motel to her and Torres without cost, the suit alleged. He lost his Jaguar, pickup truck, motorboat and possessions after she evicted him; they deny taking his vehicles.

In April, a Lee County Circuit Court jury awarded Vincenzi $37,000 for intentional infliction of emotional stress. Months after the rituals, Vincenzi had gone off the emotional deep end because of the loss of his motel and his fears that the “seer’s” predictions of doom and death would come true, and wound up involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital

The jury also awarded Vincenzi $99,500 for the loss of his 13-room motel and attached home, finding fraudulent misrepresentation by Pacheco and Torres.

Collecting the cash is another thing. Pacheco says she doesn’t have it. Vincenzi’s attorney, Bradley Lang of Naples, is working on a rescission of deed so Vincenzi can get his motel back.

Vincenzi is hopeful.

“They made me homeless,” Vincenzi said after the hearing, adding that he’s unemployed and faces nearly $20,000 in medical bills. “They traumatized me, I ended up in the hospital, I’m drowning in debt ? and they’re still in my house.”

**********

Michael Jackson’s Secret Nazi Film Collection

metrolyrics – Michael Jackson had a secret collection of Nazi documentaries, it emerged yesterday.

The late King of Pop hunted out specialist video sellers who were able to discreetly sell him hard-to-find films and documentaries.

Alarmingly, given the child sex allegations against him, these included TV specials and dramas depicting troubled boys in dysfunctional families.

But most shockingly they also included a thirst for information depicting the horrific Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler.

Seller Norman Scherer says he helped Jacko form “a really good collection” and adds he provided him with titles like, ‘Nazis: Of Pure Blood’, ‘Oasis of the Zombies’ and ‘Hitler’s Children’.

He says Jackson then displayed the tapes along the walls of his video vault at the Neverland ranch.

“Michael Jackson was a very special client to me,” insisted Scherer, who owned a videotape distribution company in the 1990s.

He says in 1995 that he was approached by a New Yorker looking to place big orders for a “famous” client. He was told the deal could only work if he vowed to be discreet.

Jackson’s former personal assistant, Scott Schaffer, had hunted him down and acted as the go-between.

“I knew what [Jackson] wanted,” Schaffer said.

Asked about the Hitler videos, Scherer says he assumed that the singer just loved the military uniforms, and the lockstep marching.

**********

Great Britain’s ‘Witch Children’

channel4 – Dispatches goes undercover in some African churches in the UK, where evangelical pastors perpetuate a strong belief in witchcraft. They preach that some people are possessed by evil spirits, and that these spirits bring bad luck into the lives of others.

The only way to rid the possessed from the witchcraft spell and lift their curse is to ‘deliver’ them: a kind of exorcism that can be very traumatic. Some pastors charge significant sums of money to perform these deliverances.

Often it is children who are denounced as witches by these pastors, and this labelling can lead to the physical and emotional abuse of those children at the hands of their families. In extreme cases it has led to the deaths of some children.

In parts of Africa, branding a child a witch is now outlawed, but in Britain this practise is perfectly legal, despite the fact it can have horrific consequences.

Dispatches reveals just what goes on behind closed doors in these African churches, exposing the pastors who exploit the religious beliefs of the most vulnerable.

**********

‘Minority Report’: Prediction Software Being Used By Police

techradar – Police forces are now trialing prediction software to work out who is likely to commit a crime and stop it happening, in what is inevitably being compared to Philip K Dick’s Minority Report.

The book saw a troika of precogs making predictions as to who would offend and where it would happen, but IBM’s Criminal Reduction Utilising Statistical History (Crush) software is very much computer based.

According to The Observer, the software looks at the police databases – including briefings, criminal records and weather reports – and makes its predictions.

Big investment

Apparently the software is a result of $11 billion worth of investment in analytics by computer giant IBM.

John Williams, of the Memphis Crime Analysis Unit, told The Observer: “This is more of a proactive tool than reacting after crimes have occurred.

“This pretty much puts officers in the area at the time that the crimes are being committed.”

Of course, the computer is essentially looking for patterns – a technique used by the police for years in the fight against crime.

But as long as they are developing sicksticks to slow down the ‘pre-offenders’ when they get to them we’re all for it.

**********

Let me tell you something….

Click for video

NOTE: I wouldn’t want to be within 20 feet of this woman if CBS decides to cancel ‘Criminal Minds’. Have pity on the CBS operator that gets that call…Lon

Fortean / Oddball News – 7/26/2010