Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Twin Cities Killer Targets Mall Santas

AP: Minneapolis

Someone is killing the shopping mall Santas of Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Since Black Friday—a name which, in retrospect, sounds increasingly ominous—a total of nine Santas at Twin Cities area malls have been found murdered and, grotesquely, beheaded.

“Clearly, we've got a sick, twisted serial killer on our hands,” said Chief Stefano Pozzo of the Minneapolis Police Department. “These look like revenge killings, but revenge for what? Coal in the stocking?”

Authorities are mystified. Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of the killings has been the presence of piles of animal droppings at every crime scene.

In each case, University of Minnesota experts have identified the droppings as those of a sheep or a goat.

Not everyone, though, is mystified by the murders.

“The droppings clinch it,” said Stephanie Fox, high priestess emerita of Minneapolis. “It's Berchta for sure.”

“Mother” Berchta—also known as Babushka, Befana, Holle, Hulda, Gryla, and the Grue—is the cannibalistic Yule ogress renowned for bringing to pagan children at Yule each year not what they want, but what they deserve.

“She's been very angry this year, what with an incompetent White House and now Congress's blatant rape of the American taxpayer,” she added. “Bad governance always displeases her.”

She cited a stanza from a popular carol about Mother Berchta:

From her belt, a severed head is dangling:

whose it was is easy to infer.

Santa Claus had a date with Mother Berchta;

he sure learned a thing or two from her!

Fox reports local law enforcement to have been so far unreceptive to her conclusions.

“They just won't want to listen,” she said, shaking her head. “So much the worse for them. Anyone who knows anything about Berchta knows that you ignore her at your own peril.”

Interestingly, Mother Berchta, seen here in a 2013 photo, is well known for riding through the sky on the back of a giant goat.

Twin Cities authorities, currently following all “non-preternatural” leads, say they have not yet ruled out the possibility of terrorism.




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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


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