John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

Unsolved Connecticut: The Murder of Baby Doe: Was it a Ritual Killing?

Unsolved Connecticut: The Murder of Baby Doe: Was it a Ritual Killing?

John William Tuohy

On the cold and rain filled morning March 14, 1986, a road crew found the body of infant boy, perhaps only several hours old. He had been strangled, his jaw was broken, and his face mutilated. Yet he was wrapped in white blood stained blankets. Someone had laid coins, pieces of fruit, and other objects around the body and a burlap altar was placed near the body as well. Close by the corpse, police found bloody pajama top and bottom that probably belonged to the infant’s mother. Because of that, in a case without almost any leads at all, the police do have a full DNA profile of the baby's unknown mother.

Whoever butchered the child made no attempts to hide the body which told investigators several things; the murderer left the corpse out in the open near the banks of Lake Mohegan in Fairfield, Connecticut where they knew it would be discovered.

In what might be a related incident, the police learned that just 18 hours before the baby was found dead on the lake shore that someone had delivered a baby in a bathroom stall of a building that then housed a bank data-processing center. Someone who worked there read about the baby at the lake and notified investigators but “Unfortunately” an investigator said “the cleaning crew cleaned it up. We didn't find out about it until two days later, when someone from the building read about the baby found at Lake Mohegan."

The coins, pieces of fruit, and other objects lying around the baby’s body seemed to indicate that the baby was part of a ritual involving Palo Mayombe or perhaps the secrecy surrounded Santeria, a combination of religious traditions drawn from the Yoruba faith, with roots in Africa and South America, and the worship of Catholic saints. Both Santeria and Palo Mayombe (An offshoot of Santeria) are known to ritually use human remains.
The organizational structure of both Santeria and Palo Mayombe follows the model of a family, a left over from the days of slavery when blood families often were broken up by slave holders, this model was particularly significant and taken literally. 

Considering that fact, it was odd that years after the killing, police detectives followed a clue about a local drug gang called "Number One Family" which led the police to a home in Bridgeport, Connecticut where foster children were living in 1986. "We discovered” an investigators said “there were a lot of complaints of sexual abuse that were happening in the home" but the clues led to nowhere. The case is still open.

Santeria is said to be widely used by Caribbean dope dealers operating in the United States and investigators have reported finding Santeria altars in drug dealer’s homes on numerous occasions. So was the murder related to a dope deal?

“They wanted him to be found” the cops said “it was probably a message killing” and the killer knew that such a horrific murder would get plenty of press coverage. The location of the body also told the police that the killer or killers knew were familiar with the area because "The north end of the lake is not a place you would stumble upon."

But there have been other ritual related cases in the nutmeg state. On April 22, 2007 Imani Joyner, died and been buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Stamford. Born by an emergency Caesarean section, at 27 weeks Imani weighed only 2 pounds and 12 ounces. Doctors determined that she had semilobar holoprosencephaly, a condition that causes babies to die before birth or shortly after. However Imani survived until she was 2 and half years old. She had been considered a miracle baby by her doctors.

In 2009, two men were fishing in Passaic River in Clifton, NJ and found Imani Joyner body in a sealed plastic garbage bag at the shoreline. Police were able to identify the corpse from a bracelet on the girl's wrist from the hospice where she was being treated when she died which led them to Imani’s grave. When they exhumed the site all they found was an empty coffin that had been broken into.

"The casket was broken and smashed in and it looks like the body was pulled up through that hole," an investigator said. State Police think that the child’s corpse was stolen for use in ritual to capture her "fighting spirit."

Good words to have

The exact origins of the word hoodlum are not known, but one theory is that the word derives from hudelum, an adjective that means "disorderly" in dialects of German spoken in and around the region of Swabia.

A young troublemaker is sometimes called a hooligan, it most likely derives from the name of Patrick Hooligan, an Irish youth purported to have wreaked havoc in the streets of Southwark, England, in the late 19th century.

English speakers created acerbic in the 19th century by adding -ic to the adjective acerb. Acerb had been around since the 17th century, but for most of that time it had been used only to describe foods with a sour taste. (Acerb is still around today, but now it's simply a less common synonym of acerbic.) Acerbic and acerb ultimately come from the Latin adjective acerbus, which can mean "harsh" or "unpleasant." Another English word that comes from acerbus is exacerbate, which means "to make more violent or severe."

Gemutlich: (guh-MOOT-lik, -MUT-likh)  Cozy; comfortable; pleasant; friendly. From German gemüetlich (cozy, comfortable, etc.), from Gemüt (nature, mind, soul) + -lich (-ly).

Baroque came to English from the French word barroque, meaning "irregularly shaped." At first, the word in French was used mostly to refer to pearls. Eventually, it came to describe an extravagant style of art characterized by curving lines, gilt, and gold.

Peregrinate. PAIR-uh-gruh-nayt  1: to travel especially on foot : walk 2: to walk or travel over : travers. Latin word peregrinatus, the past participle of peregrinari, which means "to travel in foreign lands." The verb is derived from the Latin word for "foreigner," peregrinus, which was earlier used as an adjective meaning "foreign."That term also gave us the words pilgrim and peregrine, the latter of which once meant "alien" but is now used as an adjective meaning "tending to wander" and as a noun naming a kind of falcon.

Refurbish was borrowed into English in the 14th century from Anglo-French furbiss-, a distant relative of Old High German furben, meaning "to polish." In its earliest uses furbish also meant "to polish," but it developed an extended sense of "renovate" shortly before English speakers created refurbish with the same meaning in the 17th century.

Myriad (MIR-ee-ehd) A large number. From Greek myriás (ten thousand, countless)

Nugatory (NOO-guh-tor-ee, NYOO-)  Of little value; trifling.From Latin nugatorius (trifling), from nugari (to trifle). In Greek mythology, Lethe was the name of a river in the underworld that was also called "the River of Unmindfulness" or "the River of Forgetfulness." Legend held that when someone died, he or she was given a drink of water from the river Lethe to forget all about his or her past life. Eventually this act of forgetting came to be associated with feelings of sluggishness, inactivity, or indifference. The name of the river and the word lethargic, as well as the related noun lethargy, all derive from lēthē, Greek for "forgetfulness."

Au courant (o koo-RAN) 1. Up-to-date; fully-informed. 2. Fashionable.From French au courant (literally, in the current, i.e. knowledgeable or up-to-date), from Latin currere (to run). Ultimately from the Indo-European root kers- (to run), which also gave us car, career, carpenter, occur, discharge, caricature, cark, discursive, and succor.

Plethora (PLETH-uhr-uh)  An abundance or excess. From Latin plethora, from Greek plethore (fullness), from plethein (to be full). In the beginning the word was applied to an excess of a humor, especially blood, in the body.

Satellite Images May Have Solved the Mystery of Peru’s Nazca Lines

I’ve been there several times and although I am the furthest thing a man can be from an engineer, even I knew I was a water system for the farms. The area flood, so the water systems were moved season by season, hence the large number of “drawing”, well that, and boys will be boys.

Satellite Images May Have Solved the Mystery of Peru’s Nazca Lines
By Alanna Martinez

Lovers of ancient wonders and viewers of History Channel’s Ancient Aliens, I have bad news for you. One of the Earth’s great mysterious man-made monuments may not be the handiwork of visitors from a galaxy far, far away after all, much to the chagrin of conspiracy theorists. Stories about ancient hot air balloons and snapshots of alien visits recorded in stone may be convenient for the sake of explaining Nazca’s incredible images of geometric plants and animals, a well-preserved, large-scale series of geoglyphs carved into the Peruvian desert which can only be seen in their entirety from above. But now, new satellite imagery may shed light on the UNESCO World Heritage site’s true purpose: water irrigation.
In a recent episode of Motherboard’s podcast “Science Solved It,” senior researcher Rosa Lasaponara of the National Research Council in Rome tells Vice that satellite images of the site link the unusual designs—which are believed to have been created between 500 B.C. and 500 A.D.—to a series of spiral-shaped holes nearby called puquios. The holes, she says, were used for irrigation, and fed into an intricate underground aqueduct system that allowed the Nazca “to transform the desert into a garden.”
Further evaluation of the satellite imagery, which can detect not only existing formations on the surface but the remnants of former structures as well, suggest that the Nazca built a sophisticated system of settlements and canals in the region, and that the landscape would have appeared far more cultivated and lush than the arid desert it is today.
On the million dollar question—why did the Nazca create their giant designs, and for whom?—Lasaponara believes that the imagery may have been a way to show thanks to the gods for bringing water to the valley.
Also appearing on Motherboard’s podcast is Atlas Obscura co-founder Dylan Thuras, who provides background on three of the more outlandish, but still widely popular, theories about the lines. The theories mentioned propose that the imagery may have been a marking system for astrological phenomenon, meditative ceremonial walking paths or an artistic collaboration between the Nazca and visiting aliens.
“If you only look at it in one framework, that it’s a giant carving to be seen from above, you get completely hung up on trying to figure out how it was possible,” Thuras told Vice. “But if you understand its relation to water sources, it doesn’t seem so impossible.”
Alas, Lasaponara and her colleagues’ findings suggest an even more exciting possibility than aliens, if such a thing is possible: that the Nazca were a far more sophisticated civilization than previously believed.



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Welcome to the best and most supportive festival in US Play and Musicals between 5 and 90 minutes accepted


Submissions Accepted from Everywhere in the US Shows from outside NY and NJ can only run if the entire cast and crew are from New York City.

In cooperation with Write Out Loud and in association with the Playwrights Project, the Descendants of Early San Diego announced a play writing project where submissions are to be used for TwainFest at Old Town San Diego State Park August 2017. The Descendants of Early San Diego (Formerly known as the Old Town San Diego Descendants Group or Committee), announces that they are soliciting submissions of short monologues for presentation specifically for TwainFest to be held at Old Town San Diego State Park in August annually. TwainFest is an annual event celebrating the 1800’s with a specific focus on literature from that period, which is sponsored by Write Out Loud.
Cone Man Running Productions is announcing a nationwide call for the third iteration of our series ‘Five Minute Mile – Theatre on the Run.’ The series will perform at The Beacon Theatre in Houston Texas on November 2nd – 18th, 2017. Michael Weems will serve as Artistic Director for the series. We will be again staging this one-of-a-kind theatre festival. Each evening, twenty (20) plays will be performed off book by a core ensemble of actors. Eight (8) of those plays will be set for each evening, six (6) will be drawn at random by audience members and the last six (6) will be voted on by the audience (based on title, the blurb you provide, and word of mouth). Every night will be a different experience! If the playwright is able to attend, we will work with them to assure their play is one of the set plays performed that evening.
We're looking for remarkable playwrights from all walks of life. Do you have a great play that vibes off of Shakespeare's canon? Can you write a great play to be a companion piece to one of Shakespeare's plays? We want to see it.  Is your play ready to go? For the first round, we're looking for submissions that vibe off of The Merry Wives of Windsor; Henry IV, Part 1; The Comedy of Errors; or The Winter’s Tale. The first two productions will be mounted during our 2018/19 Artistic Year. The first, in the 2019 Actors’ Renaissance Season (January - early-April) will accompany either The Merry Wives of Windsor or Henry IV, Part 1. The second, during the 2019 Spring Season (mid-April - mid-June) will accompany either The Comedy of Errors or The Winter's Tale.

*** FOR MORE INFORMATION about these and other opportunities see the web site at http://www.nycplaywrights.org ***

Vaclav Havel: Dissident playwright who became the first president of the new Czech Republic. Havel had been writing for several years and in 1963 the theatre staged his first play Nahradni Slavost (translated into English as The Garden Party, 1969). Over the next five years he wrote two more, Vyrozumeni (1965, translated as The Memorandum, 1980) and Ztizena Moznost Soustredeni (1968, translated as The Increased Difficulty of Concentration, 1972), establishing his reputation as the leading Czech playwright.
Why Saadallah Wannous’s rarely seen work still has the power to shock. Before his death in 1997, Wannous achieved renown not just as a Syrian dissident writer, but as a playwright on a par with Bertolt Brecht and Wole Soyinka. Politically, his plays in Arabic were akin to Vaclav Havel’s in Iron Curtain Czechoslovakia: They used the thin fictions of the theater to offer social criticism that would be otherwise unthinkable.
Like Havel, Wannous always saw himself as more than a playwright: He spent his life articulating a critique of authoritarianism, religious hypocrisy, and social repression. Up until his death, he was convinced that his plays were laying the groundwork for a complete reinvention of Arab society.

Antonio Buero Vallejo, a highly admired Spanish playwright who made his name as a dissident during Franco's long rule and who in 1986 was awarded the Cervantes Prize, the country's highest literary honor, died on April 28 in a hospital in Madrid. He was 83. Mr. Buero Vallejo, whose work was distinguished by a commitment to freedom and justice, was among a small circle of Spanish intellectuals who remained in Spain as dissidents during the Franco dictatorship.
Theater was always central to his life. He was born in Guadalajara, Spain, and enjoyed playing puppet theater as a child. When he was a teenager, he moved to Madrid to study at the School of Fine Arts.
But his literary ambitions were interrupted when the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936. His father was immediately arrested and executed by Franco's forces, leading the young man to join the Republican forces.


Georgi Ivanov Markov was a Bulgarian dissident writer. Markov originally worked as a novelist and playwright in his native country, then governed by a communist regime under chairman Todor Zhivkov, until his defection from Bulgaria in 1969. After relocating, he worked as a broadcaster and journalist for the BBC World Service, the US-funded Radio Free Europe, and Germany's Deutsche Welle. Markov used such forums to conduct a campaign of sarcastic criticism against the incumbent Bulgarian regime, which, according to his wife at the time of death, eventually became "vitriolic" and included "really smearing mud on the people in the inner circles".[1]
He was assassinated on a London street via a micro-engineered pellet containing ricin, fired into his leg via an umbrella wielded by someone associated with the Bulgarian secret police. It has been speculated that they asked the KGB for help.[2]
For his first play, Hodge (best known as a screenwriter for Trainspotting, among other films) dips into the real history of Mikhail Bulgakov, a dissident playwright in the USSR before World War II. Though Bulgakov has problems getting his works published, let alone staged, Josef Stalin is a big fan. The particulars of their relationship blossom in Hodge’s imagination.
Jed Allen Harris gleefully directs a talented cast, led by the mercurial Tony Bingham as Bulgakov opposite the deceptively jovial Martin Giles as Stalin, and Dana Hardy as the former’s increasingly fearful wife. There are some real sparks in the married couple, contrasted with the hard dissonances between the men, veering from silly to chilling. Ken Bolden has an unusual turn as a villain who gets the threats churning. As his fellow scary secret policeman, Joe Rittenhouse has little dialogue, but his distinctive profile is all the language he needs.
Dissident playwright Slawomir Mrozek, considered by many to be one of Poland's greatest writers for the stage, was buried during a state ceremony on Tuesday.
People waited in the rain in the southern historic city of Krakow, where Mrozek's career began, to sign a condolence book. Then a hearse drawn by two black horses took the metal urn to its resting place at St. Peter and Paul church. The funeral Mass was conducted by Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, who served as a personal secretary of the late Pope John Paul II.
"We are bidding farewell to a master of wise grotesque that was filled with deep thought," Culture Minister Bogdan Zdrojewski said during the service, which was attended by other government officials and Mrozek's publishers from Poland and abroad.
Munier Choudhury was a Bangladeshi educationist, playwright, literary critic and political dissident.
Choudhury actively participated in the Language Movement of 1952, and was imprisoned by the Pakistan government. He wrote his famous symbolic drama, Kabar (The Grave) in Bengali during his imprisonment. 'Kabar' is a translation of Irwin Shaw's 'Bury the Dead' written in English. He also fought against any type of cultural repression during the late 1950s and 1960s. In 1967, he protested the Pakistan government's ban on Tagore songs on radio and television. In the late 1960s there was a movement in Pakistan to replace the Bengali language alphabet with the Arabic alphabet. As a linguist and writer, Choudhury protested this move to undermine the native language of East Pakistan. He actively participated in the non-co-operation movement during the early part of 1971 and renounced his award Sitara-e-Imtiaz (awarded by Pakistan Govt in 1966).


Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
(Article 19, Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
PEN International brings together writers, journalists, poets – all those using the written word to promote ideas – in the common belief that it is through this sharing that bridges of understanding can be built between peoples. These bridges cross political, geographical, ethnic, cultural, religious and other divides.
It is for this reason that the protection of the right to freedom of expression – the freedom to express ideas without fear of attack, arrest or other persecution – has been at the heart of International PEN’s work since it was formed in 1921. PEN’s Charter pledges that all members will oppose any form of suppression of freedom of expression in the country and community to which they belong, as well as throughout the world wherever this is possible.
Click on the links below to read more about PEN’s work on freedom of expression.
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And yet my country hands the Chinese government TRILLIONS of dollars in trade

Meadows, Cruz push for release of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo
Mark Barrett , mbarrett@citizen-times.

Eleventh District U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-Buncombe, and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, are trying to have the area in front of the Chinese embassy in Washington named for a prominent Chinese dissident.

The two on Thursday introduced bills in their respective chambers that would name the space Liu Xiaobo Plaza after the literary critic, professor and human rights activist who was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

Liu was an adviser to participants in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 and released a document in 2008 calling for more political freedom in China that was signed by academics and others. The same year, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison and remains there today. His wife is under house arrest.
The renaming would be a way to remind China of concern over Liu's fate and the state of human rights in the country. In 1984, the U.S. named a section of street in front of the then-Soviet Embassy for Andrei Sakharov, also a Peace Prize winner, as a way of bringing attention to the dissident's internal exile.

Cruz introduced a bill calling for a Liu Xiaobo Plaza in 2016 and it passed the Senate unanimously that February. In the House, it remained stuck in the Oversight Committee, where Meadows is a subcommittee chairman, and never made it to the House floor.
Officials in the administration of President Barack Obama said at the time that Obama would veto the bill if it reached him because it would actually harm U.S. efforts to pressure China to improve its human rights record. China opposed the legislation then and a spokesman called it a "political farce." The position of the Trump administration on the idea is unknown.

In a prepared statement, Cruz said: "Bold diplomacy works, and I urge my colleagues in both the House and the Senate, as well as the administration to make Dr. Liu and his brave fellow dissidents' plight central to all our dealings with the" People's Republic of China.
Meadows said the bill would "both recognize the work of Dr. Liu Xiaobo and send a clear message regarding the United States' position on basic human rights in the world. Dr. Liu's life is a symbol of the power of political freedom and justice, and I firmly believe the Chinese people both desire to and are capable of moving forward toward that end."