Alex Constantine - July 3, 2009
Fort Wadsworth dog walkers discover remains of animals wrapped in sheets
By JOHN ANNESE
STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE
July 02, 2009
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- For two consecutive days, dog walkers inside a Fort Wadsworth park have stumbled upon a gory mystery -- a mutilated animal, possibly a dog or a goat, wrapped in a white sheet. Parkgoers found two such animals in Von Briesen Park in Fort Wadsworth on Tuesday and yesterday morning, city Parks Department officials confirmed.
The discovery has sparked speculation about ritual sacrifice and cult activity, and has led one Port Richmond woman to douse part of the ground where one animal was found with holy water, in an attempt to ward off what she believes is an evil presence. Several alluded to Santeria, which blends elements of Yoruba, an African religion, with Catholicism and can involve animal sacrifice in some of its rituals.
Daya Madison of St. George came upon the first carcass at about 10 or 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, when her pet terrier, Katie Baby, led her to it. The carcass was laid out on a clean white sheet, she said, and at first glance, it looked like a dog.
"I didn't look at it that carefully. All I saw was a lot of flies flying around it, and the insides taken out," she said. "It was gruesome."
Though she said got no help from 311, she was able to find a Parks Department employee, who told her the animal looked more like a goat.
The second carcass appeared yesterday, wrapped in a white sheet under a curved tree not far from a path a few hundred feet into the park.
"This is not good, doing this," said Nancy Kelcho of Port Richmond, who was walking her Scottish terrier, Tara Lynn, yesterday morning when a friend pointed out the mutilated animal. "This is evil. I just pray to God to take away the evil spirits."
Ms. Kelcho, a firm believer in the supernatural, claimed to have had run-ins with malevolent forces in the past. She recounted an experience near the Conference House in Tottenville when her car started shaking after it rolled over a manhole covered by a pentagram, then turned of its own volition.
She chanted prayers yesterday afternoon as she sprayed holy water on the ground, at one point gasping, "Evil! Evil! Evil!"