The strange case of Daniel Waswa, a member of the Dini ya msambwa sect, who imagined that God had ordered him to die on the cross “for the sins of all Kenyans.” So he had his wife nail him to a cross, which she did. She then promptly dropped dead (of shock?). As for him:
Waswa hung on his cross for several days, rejecting appeals from Christian friends to be taken down. Villagers gathered around to offer their prayers. He was eventually taken down from the cross, dying from the nail wounds, which had become infected. He refused all medical help and died on a Sunday, exactly two weeks after his crucifixion.
I'd never heard of the Dini ya msambwa sect before, but some googling reveals that the name is better translated as "Religion of the Ancestral Customs" (not Creed of the Cross). It was founded by Elijah Masinde. The stories about Waswa make it sound like a radical Christian cult, but Wikipedia defines it as "an African traditional religion that has been labeled an anti-colonial religion."
The most distinctive practice of the Aetherius Society is its use of Spiritual Energy Batteries. The prayers and chanting of members are focused through trained leaders, and poured into a battery where they can be stored indefinitely. In times of crisis, such as war, earthquake or famine, thousands of hours of stored prayer energy can be released in one moment.
Created around 20 years ago in Syosset, New York. The figure of Onionhead is supposed to represent "peeling our feelings, as a way of healing our feelings." Onionhead's motto is: "peel it—feel it—heal it."
In 2014, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued a company for forcing its employees to participate in Onionhead-related religious activities. From businessinsurance.com:
The EEOC said Syosset, New York-based United Health Programs of America Inc. and its parent company, Cost Containment Group Inc., which provide customer service on behalf of various insurance providers, has coerced employees to participate in ongoing religious activities since 2007, including group prayers, candle burning and discussions of “spiritual” tests.
The EEOC said the religious practices are part of a belief system that the defendants’ family members created called “Onionhead.” It said employees were told to wear Onionhead buttons, pull Onionhead cards to place near their work stations, and keep only dim lighting in the workplace, none of which was work-related. Employees who opposed taking part in these religious activities or did not participate fully were terminated, the agency said.
Dr. Terwilliger said ‘Batman,’ the once-popular television show, was an instance of subliminal religion. He said Batman is a Messianic cult in a fantasy. “He is invoked. He comes with his miracles. The problems he solves are demonic. He is purely an ambiguous savior but he satisfied a sort of religious need,” the speaker said.
(L) Wilkes-Barre Times Leader - Apr 5, 1968; (R) R: Wilkes-Barre Times Leader - Aug 8, 1966
In 1051 at Goslar, a town in what is today Germany, a group accused of heresy was examined by ecclesiastical authorities. The heretics:
"were finally condemned when one of the bishops, more zealous in his presentation of the case than mindful of the dignity of his rank, presented them with a live chicken and ordered them to wring its neck. They refused to kill the bird, and were deemed beyond hope of redemption. Ignoring the arguments and threats of the assembly, they refused to recant and were hanged upon a gibbet."
The execution of these heretics, as near as can be determined by modern scholars, was ordered because it was felt that "their attitude implied a dualist-type belief in the transmigration of souls through the animal kingdom" and suggested that they were Manichaeans. The events at Goslar — and this group was not alone among persecuted Christian groups in the eleventh century C.E. in its refusal to kill animals — are often treated by scholars as an important step toward the twelfth century full-blown assault on heresy by the Church linked to the newly proclaimed death penalty for heresy.
The creation of William Lane, who envisioned selling them to Catholics who couldn't eat meat on Fridays. Lane also planned to expand his offerings to include Mar-tunies, a cocktail size hot dog, and Sea-lomi, a salami substitute.
It's not clear what became of Tunies. A reporter from Star News speculates that they may have been a victim of the Pope’s decision to rescind meatless Fridays in 1967 (although did the Pope ever weigh in on this issue? Some googling suggests it was actually the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops which made this decision, in 1966). Anyway, I can't find any evidence of Tunies being sold after 1962.
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Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
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