Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/302

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292 Obeah in the West Indies.

about twelve years old, from which both hands were missing. The body had been laid open from the throat almost to the navel. The breast-bone was missing, also the heart and left lung. The doctor also confirmed the state- ment that the boy had been strangled, and stated that a strip of the shirt was wound tightly round the neck of the corpse. He also was of opinion from their appearance that the hands had been removed before, or immediately after, death.

All three accused, after a short consideration of the verdicts, were found guilty by the respective juries, and were executed amidst general approval and satisfaction shortly afterwards in the gaol at Castries.

Considerable sensation was caused by the trial, for such revelations as were disclosed could scarcely be believed to have existed in any West Indian colony under the protec- tion of the British Crown.

The Chief Justice of St. Lucia (Mr. Walker), in sentenc- ing the prisoners to death, had, indeed, spoken of their crime as having been committed " in the doings of an act of obeah," for " there could be no doubt," he said, " that the boy had been murdered in order that parts of his body might be obtained for this abominable practice." But the prosecution had treated the case throughout as one of murder, pure and simple, and, whether designedly or not, made no reference whatever, so far as I can see, to its being connected with any " acts of obeah " or worship of voodoo.

In the explanatory introduction to the reprint of the trial reference is made to the previous history of Montoute Edmond, — the prime mover in the murder, — in which it is stated that Montoute, who bore a bad character and had been previously convicted of forgery, had escaped from confinement and gone to Hayti, where he stayed a long time, and only returned to St. Lucia some two years before the murder, and embraced the trade of a butcher under an assumed name. There at the " University of West Indian