A few weeks ago, we told readers about the pentagram smeared in animal blood painted on the top of Bernal Hill. The story and photos sparked much debate about who left the eerie symbol and perhaps more importantly, why.
The neighborhood was already shaken up after a decapitated goat and dead chicken were found strewn across the sidewalk along Capp Street. People started blaming practicing Santerians, who, some say, routinely participate in animal sacrificing as part of their religion. Others claimed it was the work of local Satanists -- and the pentagram found shortly after crystallized that fear.
But as our Exhibitionist blog notes today, Santeria -- a religion based in West African, Caribbean, Catholic, and Native American traditions -- is markedly different than Satanism.
In short, those who practice Santeria do sacrifice animals (for healing purposes only), but they don't leave behind bloody pentagrams. That's an important distinction!
So then who did plaster this pentagram across the hill? And were the animal deaths part of a real religious ritual?
Probably not, says Randall Lockwood, senior vice president of anticruelty services for
the American SPCA. "Sacrificial remains found in parks,
especially those adorned with talismans like candles or pennies, are