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  #1  
Old 08-29-2010, 03:31 PM
Ed Zotti Ed Zotti is offline
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Dead rooster in intersection = gang ritual? Voodoo rite? [INCL LINK TO CECIL's SD-Chi]

This came in via e-mail:

A dead rooster was dropped in the middle of an intersection in our
neighborhood recently (Springfield and Belle Plaine). It was smashed
(from having been run over?) and seemed to have had its entrails
pulled out deliberately. A neighbor reports having seen other dead
roosters over the years, in the same intersection as well as in
others. Our police department liaison says its unlikely that there's a
cock-fighting connection but can't come up with any other explanation.
Gang initiation? Voodoo ritual? Urban-chicken rumble? What's the poop,
Cece? --My Aim Is True
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  #2  
Old 08-29-2010, 04:54 PM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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In Haitian voudoun, Papa Legba is associated with crossroads, and is sacrificed roosters. In other traditions more or less the same guy is called Eshu or Ellegua. Could be one of those.
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:12 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Maybe I'm missing the obvious here... when animals get crushed under the wheels of a road vehicle, the guts coming out is pretty much the norm. Couldn't it just be a poultry RTA?
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:22 PM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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If it was just one I'd say yes, but neighbors say they're noticing a pattern. Someone asked at the Chicago Tribune as well:

Quote:
Curiously, dead roosters occasionally appear in the middle of intersections in our Northwest Side neighborhood. We've had at least two this summer, and though I've never seen one, other residents report having seen others over the years. Some appear to have been carefully disemboweled.
Cock a Doodle Don't (scroll down a bit)
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  #5  
Old 08-29-2010, 08:38 PM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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Here's some more from Wikipedia. Exu is the name for Eshu in Quimbanda in Brazil.

Quote:
Marginal Locations
‘Marginal locations’ refer to areas containing magical and spiritual significance where rituals are executed. Many Quimbanda rituals are performed at crossroads, as Exu is the Lord of the seven crossroads and Ogum is the Lord of the center of the crossroads. Other marginal locations include the streets at night (since exus are referred to as ‘people of the streets’), cemeteries, beaches, and forests, all during the nighttime.[10]

Animal Sacrifices
Animal sacrifices have many usages in Quimbanda rituals. In certain rituals, devotees offer sacrificial pigeons, hens, roosters, goats, sheep, and bulls to help an exu spirit progress in power and capability.[11] Other rituals use animal sacrifices to help enlist the help of a spirit to carry out a deed. In a particular trabalho, one kills a black rooster at a crossroads and puts into a vase the parts of the rooster that correspond to the parts of the body of the person one wishes to harm.
Quimbanda
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  #6  
Old 08-29-2010, 08:39 PM
AClockworkMelon AClockworkMelon is offline
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I live in a major urban center but there are a bunch of people who own roosters and chickens in these parts. To immediately assume that voodoo rituals have been taking place is sort of silly. It was probably just roadkill and I wouldn't be surprised if the "careful decapitations" are exaggerated descriptions conjured from overactive imaginations.
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Last edited by AClockworkMelon; 08-29-2010 at 08:40 PM..
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  #7  
Old 08-29-2010, 08:55 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is online now
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I thought it was just proof that they don't always make it across.
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  #8  
Old 08-29-2010, 09:02 PM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AClockworkMelon View Post
I live in a major urban center but there are a bunch of people who own roosters and chickens in these parts. To immediately assume that voodoo rituals have been taking place is sort of silly. It was probably just roadkill and I wouldn't be surprised if the "careful decapitations" are exaggerated descriptions conjured from overactive imaginations.
Hey, I'm not assuming anything, just throwing it out there since the question was asked. Voodoo and Santeria aren't entirely unheard of down here on the Gulf, and they do sacrifice chickens; they even had a case heard in the U.S. Supreme Court guaranteeing them the right, Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah. Chances are pretty good it's just roadkill, but if they had enough roosters in their neighborhood that they're getting out and getting squashed on a regular basis, they'd probably know it - the damn things are loud.

Last edited by pravnik; 08-29-2010 at 09:05 PM..
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  #9  
Old 08-30-2010, 07:07 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pravnik View Post
If it was just one I'd say yes, but neighbors say they're noticing a pattern.
Maybe there is something going on, but someone living nearby and keeping chickens within a poorly-maintained fence could just as easily result in a similar pattern.

Not saying it isn't some sort of ritual - it's just that the evidence doesn't seem utterly compelling.
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  #10  
Old 08-30-2010, 10:32 AM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
Maybe there is something going on, but someone living nearby and keeping chickens within a poorly-maintained fence could just as easily result in a similar pattern.

Not saying it isn't some sort of ritual - it's just that the evidence doesn't seem utterly compelling.
Yeah - if I happened across multiple dead roosters in the intersection of the neighborhood I live in now it might raise an eyebrow, but in the neighborhood downtown of my old office my reaction would be more like "those guys need to keep their roosters locked up better."

Last edited by pravnik; 08-30-2010 at 10:32 AM..
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  #11  
Old 08-31-2010, 10:44 AM
TubaDiva TubaDiva is offline
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Desperate Cubs fans.



Seriously, keeping chickens in urban areas (for pets/for eggs) is one of those old fashioned new ideas that's gained some popularity. Chickens will get out and run around if they can, with sometimes tragic results.
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  #12  
Old 08-31-2010, 09:38 PM
cards cards is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus View Post
I thought it was just proof that they don't always make it across.
Still doesn't explain why...

but you win the thread
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  #13  
Old 08-31-2010, 09:42 PM
GHO57 GHO57 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cards View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus View Post
I thought it was just proof that they don't always make it across.
Still doesn't explain why...

but you win the thread
He probably went after the chicken that did get across.

Why the chicken crossed... no idea. *shrug*
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  #14  
Old 10-10-2010, 08:53 PM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by TubaDiva View Post
Desperate Cubs fans.



Seriously, keeping chickens in urban areas (for pets/for eggs) is one of those old fashioned new ideas that's gained some popularity. Chickens will get out and run around if they can, with sometimes tragic results.
You get eggs from a rooster, Honeychile, and I'll call that real
voodoo!
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  #15  
Old 10-10-2010, 09:27 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
Maybe there is something going on, but someone living nearby and keeping chickens within a poorly-maintained fence could just as easily result in a similar pattern.

Not saying it isn't some sort of ritual - it's just that the evidence doesn't seem utterly compelling.
Given the location and the local population, Vodou isn't a bad guess at all. It's far more likely than chicken raising in that neighborhood. I believe raising chickens is still illegal here, although Evanston to the north just made raising up to 10 hens (only hens) legal.

Given the reported location of the ex-chicken in the middle of the intersection, I'd be more inclined to lean toward ritual than a darting chicken getting nipped by a car - most road kill is near the curb, not the middle of the intersection. However, I'd also expect an offering to Papa Legba to have some writing underneath it. Cryptic looking symbols, most often with something looking like a compass in the center. Like this, but probably in chalk or corn meal. Either that was left out of the report, or it wasn't present. If not present, then it's more likely to be kids playing at Vodou than real Vodou.

The local Ifa group contains themselves to mostly indoor ritual, and pigeons are their sacrifice of choice for rituals where the meat can't be consumed. So I doubt it's them. (I'm not part of their group, but have several friends who have worked with them.)

I don't know why people are so quick to think it couldn't be Vodou. There are more Vodou practitioners than homesteaded chickens on the North/Northwest Side of Chicago!
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  #16  
Old 10-11-2010, 01:38 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
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Thinking it over, I decided to check on the chicken legality thing. It's...hard to parse. There are lots of articles at least one rather funny YouTube video where police and city officials claim you can't do it, but no one's able to cite an ordinance or law specifically about it.

This article, written in March, assumes the legality of raising chickens, and claims that there are 148 members of "An online community group called “Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts”," but admits they have no idea how closely that number correlates with the actual number of chicken raisers in the City.

Likewise, I can't give you a number of Vodou/Ifa/Santeria/Yoruba/Umbanda etc. practitioners in the city. I know roughly 60 personally, but that's a small portion of the whole. But again, given the populations (lots of West African and Haitian immigrants) in that area, I still bet it's more than chicken owners. And what chicken owners there are may very well be raising them FOR the sacrifice.
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  #17  
Old 10-24-2010, 09:08 PM
Cheryl44 Cheryl44 is offline
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I was thinking Santeria--there's a larger-than-you'd-think community on the northwest side.
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  #18  
Old 10-25-2010, 01:22 PM
Ed Zotti Ed Zotti is offline
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Do you have any contacts in the Santeria community? Email me at edzotti at aol dot com if so. Cecil may wish to inquire further.
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  #19  
Old 10-29-2010, 08:01 AM
Ed Zotti Ed Zotti is offline
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http://chicago.straightdope.com/sdc20101028.php
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  #20  
Old 10-29-2010, 08:27 AM
karentiede karentiede is offline
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Dogs and urban chickens

Quote:
Originally Posted by TubaDiva View Post

Seriously, keeping chickens in urban areas (for pets/for eggs) is one of those old fashioned new ideas that's gained some popularity. Chickens will get out and run around if they can, with sometimes tragic results.
My neighbor keeps urban chickens. She doesn't cull the hatchlings, and therefore the flock becomes 50% roosters pretty quickly. The alpha males stay home and take over the flock; the betas go on walkabout. Some number of loser roosters fly into my backyard, where they meet my dog, who loves fresh chicken.

Depending on how recently he's eaten, he may leave a chicken with "guts hanging out." If I didn't have better options for getting rid of the carcass, I'd consider dropping it out the window in the middle of an intersection.
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  #21  
Old 10-29-2010, 10:24 AM
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Zotti View Post
This came in via e-mail:

A dead rooster was dropped in the middle of an intersection in our
neighborhood recently (Springfield and Belle Plaine). It was smashed
(from having been run over?) and seemed to have had its entrails
pulled out deliberately.
Given the damage I've seen done to roadkill my area, I'm not sure how you would distinguish between "entrails pulled out deliberately" and "guts squeezed out and dragged along the road by tires". Roosters being birds and thus somewhat fragile for their size, getting run over smashes them pretty completely and distorts the carcass.

On the other hand, if the corpse is intact enough to identify it as a rooster it may not have been run over, or just got a glancing hit from a vehicle.

Cockfighting roosters typically have their combs removed (less for an opponent to hang on to, I guess - I am not, nor do I want to be, an authority on cockfighting) and thus may be harder to identify as to gender - I'm curious how the person in the e-mail is identifying the bird as a rooster as opposed to a chicken, but I'll go with the assumption the birds are indeed roosters.

My experience with Santeria and Voodoo is limited but I DO know there is a larger than most people realize community of both, as well as Ife, in Chicago. What I do know indicates that sacrifice of the rooster is usually by twisting the head off (a lot quicker than you might think IF someone knows what they're doing) and not ritual disembowelment. Most animal sacrifices in those religions are eaten, and thus would be disemboweled as for any butchering operation, but then they would be EATEN, not tossed in an intersection. I am not aware of any ritual that calls for disemboweling of a non-eaten sacrifice.

However, there are a lot of imitators of Voodoo/Santeria/Ife that could result in such things.

It would be helpful to know of any patterns in placement, drawings underneath (Voodoo makes extensive use of "veves" or ritual drawings), whether the roosters tend to be of a particular color, and so forth - things that might be difficult to see or unsafe to investigate in a busy intersection.

There is also the "escaped rooster" angle - in my area the local chickens do get out. In fact, just down the road from me is a rooster who, when he gets loose, stands in the middle of the road and challenges passing cars, including spurring the front bumper. It's a wonder he hasn't been found flattened in the road. But roadkill chickens tend to get flung to the roadside, not the middle of the pavement. Predator-killed chickens also tend not to appear in the the middle of roads, either.
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