Prompt Day #322: Write an encyclopedia entry about an infamous (but completely fictional) massacre. For a model, pick your favorite at the Wikipedia list of massacres.
This was not really my favorite. Maybe because I was so tired post call, maybe because you couldn’t really write the story you wanted you just had to do it without passion. Anyways, it’s finished and I am one day closer to completing the prompts!
The Samhain Massacre
The Samhain Massacre was a mass murder committed by Gabriel James Weathers, 21 and Kyle Aaron Tolbert, 19 two students of Boston Baptist College in the woods near the Danvers River in Danvers, Massachusetts. In the early morning hours of Sunday November 1, 1992, Weathers and Tolbert disrupted a group of pagan witches gathered to celebrate Samhain and opened fire, killing thirteen and wounding six. When the police arrived, Weathers and Tolbert were kneeling in the midst of the bodies, praying, guns still in hands. After receiving several warnings to drop their weapons, Weathers and Tolbert were shot and killed by police.
Location: Danvers, Massachusetts, United States
Date: November 1, 1992
Attack type: Mass Murder, Suicide by Police
Weapons: Winchester 1300 Defender shotgun
Ruger P944 .40-caliber handgun
Deaths: 13 (15 including the perpetrators)
Non-fatal injuries: 6
Perpetrators: Gabriel James Weathers and Kyle Aaron Tolbert
Prior to the shooting
The Pagan Witches Association had been planning a larger gathering in Danvers Massachusetts to pay tribute to their ancestors in the 300th year anniversary of the Salem Witch Trials (having actually occurred in what is now Danvers). The PWA had made no secret of their plans to worship the devil, celebrate in the nude and participate in orgiastic blood rituals in honor of those who had to practice in secret and died for their beliefs three hundred years before. Many local religious groups announced plans to protest including Weathers and Tolbert who had established a group called The Lord’s Militia. Their group preached violence against any non-Christian group and promised to “send sinners to Hell for the Lord.”
At dusk on October 31, the PWA gathered around a bonfire and all stripped nude. They began singing and chanting around the fire throughout the night. Protestors stayed on the opposite side of the Danvers River keeping much space between the two groups. Just after midnight in the morning of November 1, the PWA began their orgy.
It is not known where the two were hiding up until this point but it was during this time that Weathers and Tolbert stepped out from the woods into the clearing and opened fire. Thirteen witches were killed immediately, several ran and one was burnt in the bonfire, another suffered a compound fracture after tripping on a stump. Tolbert caught up to both the burn victim and the one with the fracture and shot them both in the head.
The violence was noted by the nonviolent protesters and police were called. When they arrived, the killers were kneeling among the dead and appeared to be praying. Officers called out several times requesting the two men drop their weapon which were laying across their laps. Instead, the men stood, still clutching the guns in their hands, and began to walk towards the officers. Shots were fired and both were killed.
The shooting itself lasted twenty minutes.
Following the shooting, a tent was found further in the woods. It contained a bible, lanterns and a Bushmaster XM15 E2S rifle, a handgun, several boxes of ammunition, a baseball bat and a machete. The apartment the killers shared was searched. Several flyers about the PWAs Samhain celebration was found beside a bible with several passages highlighted from Leviticus and Revelations.
There were also several books on the Salem Witch Trials, and what appeared to be schematics of the various “witch testing” devices utilized during that time. Including a pressing board and a dunking chair. It appeared that their first intent was to reenact the witch trials but ultimately decided gunning down the group would be quicker.
Gabriel James Weathers (September 22, 1971-November 1, 1992) was a junior in early Christian Theology at Boston Baptist College. Friends said he was fervent in his religious beliefs and had a special interest in the occult. He was studying demon possession and had performed several exorcisms as a freelance exorcist.
There are no records of him ever being in trouble with the law and friends say he was quiet and brooding. He did not have a girlfriend and those close to him say they thought there might be a relationship between him and Mr. Tolbert who Weathers called his “protégé”
Kyle Aaron Tolbert (March 3, 1973-November 1, 1992) was a sophomore majoring in ancient languages at BBC. He was awkward and introverted acquaintances say. When he first met Weathers, he was enamored with the man and did indeed become somewhat of a disciple. Kyle had several run-ins with the law as a juvenile. He spent a cumulative total of three years in detention for several acts of arson. It was there he met a Baptist minister and dedicated his life to God and doing God’s work. Tolbert’s parents believe that it wasn’t until Kyle met Weathers that his religious beliefs turned into a delusional fervor.
The Samhain Massacre was the worst mass killing in Massachusetts since the original Salem witch killings three hundred years before.
Many locals decried the Christian college as repeating sins of the past and condemning innocents to death because they practiced different beliefs. The Christians fought back stating the area has glorified witch craft for a profit since the trials, thereby also disrespecting the victims of that terrible time.
This single act started a religious war that still exists today although now it is more of a cold war, and unspoken disagreement between believers of different faiths.
The Danvers Curse
Since the killings, sightings of a bonfire and the sounds of chanting can be heard. Many making the pilgrimage to Salem, also travel to Danvers in the hopes of viewing the witches in their celebration. The Baptist church one mile down the river from the site of the massacre burned to the ground mysteriously on the one year anniversary of the killings. After an attempt to rebuild and a second fire, the church was abandoned. There has not been a church built or survive closer than thirteen miles in diameter from the site of the massacre since then.