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Severed goat head found in St. Paul park

Things you find in a park: Goat heads!
Things you find in a park: Goat heads!

St. Paul Police and Animal Control officials are looking into something you don't see every day: a severed goat head. Someone found it in Marydale Park in St. Paul's North End on Saturday.

"A woman was walking in the park, and saw something in a paper grocery bag," said St. Paul Police spokesman John Keating. "When she saw the goat head inside, she called the police."

The head was taken to animal headquarters, and Keating said Animal Control and the Police Department have an open investigation into the incident.

As it turns out, the St. Paul incident is only the latest in a string of severed-goat-head findings across the country in recent months.

Last April, a severed goat head was found in a park in Bridgeport, Connecticut. In October, one was found in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. A month later, a goat head as well as mutilated chicken heads were found in a park in New Rochelle, New York.

In those cases, investigators assumed that the severed heads were part of a traditional Santeria ritual sacrifice to an Orisha, or a spiritual manifestation of God. Santeria is a Caribbean religion that combines elements of Catholicism and West-African Yoruba religion.

In 1993 the Supreme Court ruled that laws forbidding Santeria animal sacrifice are unconstitutional.

Alternately, it's possible that someone came home last weekend only to realize that they had misplaced a key ingredient for their goathead soup, or their spiced goat head.


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