Occultism and playing with the dead: When rituals go wrong

Medico-Legal Journal, Ahead of Print.
There have been at least two deaths in Albania linked to ritualistic/satanic practices, which have provoked considerable public concern. Until the 1990s, Albania was strictly atheist. However, since then some religious sects have been establishing themselves. In fact, satanic killings and ritualistic deaths are rare in Albania. We describe two such cases that occurred in 2020 along with consideration of the psychological profiles of perpetrators and victims.The first case involved two deaths: a mother and daughter whose bodies were found near each other, with another daughter in attendance who was diagnosed as clearly psychotic, and legally did not face any charge thereafter. This daughter was witnessing the decomposition of her sister’s mummified corpse. She said she was waiting for the “Messiah” to resurrect her. Apparently, while performing ritualistic ceremonies, the daughter and her mother refused food until the mother died from starvation. It was at that point that police broke into the house and discovered the situation.The second case involved a young woman who was found dead, apparently following a trivial infection. Her body (abdomen and dorsum) had written symbols on it, suggesting Satanism and the occult.A detailed analysis of the death scenes and crime scenes provide valuable data for further proceedings, but psychological evaluation of the perpetrators may prove more difficult, and more so where the victims have died.

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