A Goddess Returns: The True Story of Magdalena Solis
I was sitting here in front of my laptop trying to think of the perfect scary story that I could tell in honor of Halloween (the BEST time of year, in my opinion). While I was perusing my list of possibilities (and that list if fucking massive) I came across this diddy that I haven’t thought about in ages. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do - in a macabre sort of way.
So, let’s all sit quietly in the dark while I share the true story of Magdalena Solis - a woman who convinced herself and her followers that she was a reincarnated Aztec Goddess and the High Priestess of Blood. To see the artwork that was inspired by this story, scroll down to the bottom of this page or visit the SHOP page.
Before Solis enters the picture we need to back it up to late 1962 in a small working town in Mexico called Yerba Buena with around 50 residents. This town was stricken with poverty and the majority of the population were illiterate which served the Hernandez brothers well. Brothers Santos and Cayetano Hernandez were petty criminals looking to score it big and they happened upon Yerba Buena. As they sauntered into the small town they proclaimed that they were the high priests of the “powerful and exiled Inca Gods!” Unfortunately, the townspeople were so isolated and uneducated that they didn’t question the statement of “Inca Gods” in Northern Mexico. Inca’s came from Peru. If the Hernandez brothers had really known their history they would have known that this area was more centralized around Aztec mythology. Which is what their cult eventually evolved into mimicking. Santos and Cayetano instructed the villagers to worship them and that the Gods would lead them to the treasures that were hidden in the caves in the nearby mountains. The brothers stated very clearly that the Gods would claim authority over their kingdom again and punish any and all nonbelievers.
To pay proper tribute, the “Gods” demanded undivided loyalty and even sexual favors. The impoverished people of the town obediently handed over the little money that they had and began to partake in drug-fueled orgies. The Hernandez brothers pulled off this scam successfully for a while until members of the cult began to see through the sham, as their tributes were not being rewarded.
At this point, the brothers went to Monterrey to find (preferably a prostitute or other petty criminal) to include in their farce. This is where they found Magdalena and her brother Eleazar Solis.
Magdalena was a sex worker being pimped out by her brother. They had been “working” this way for a few years and were glad to get off the streets and find a better “gig”. Once back in Yerba Buena, the Hernandez brothers called all of their followers to a cave where Magdalena magically appeared out of a puff of smoke. In reality, they used cheap magic tricks. Magdalena was presented as the reincarnated goddess Coatlicue and claimed the title “High Priestess of Blood”. Her brother, Eleazar, became another high priest.
As time passed into 1963, Solis began to believe this fairy tale herself. She was eating her own bullshit cereal. Before leading the cult she had been suffering from delusions of grandeur and extreme sexual perversions which she liked to express through vampirism. Yep, she liked to drink blood so being the High Priestess of Blood was just the thing that she felt she was called to do. Along with this kink, she was a self-proclaimed sadist, enjoyed an incestuous relationship with her brother, had extreme fetishes, and sometimes delved into the world of pedophilia. Of course, during this time in history, most of these descriptive words weren’t used but this was her in a nutshell.
A few weeks after Solis entered this world, two of the group members wanted out. The sexual and drug abuse was at an all-time high and they were having difficulty coping. They were tired of being sex slaves - understandable. These two individuals were taken before the “Goddess” and she immediately sentenced them to death. They were lynched that same day and the remainder of the cult members were terrified and vowed to never leave or speak of leaving. The scare tactics were effective. This was the jumping off point for their cult to evolve. They saw that fear worked.
They began performing “blood rituals” that were inspired by the Aztecs. These blood rituals were performed to preserve their immortality and keep them young forever. They also began to get more violent with their members. The “ritual” they created targeted the weaker members or those that were thinking of escaping. The sacrifice was usually exposed to beatings, burnings, cuttings, and the other members of the cult were instructed to hurt the sacrifice in any way possible. The person being sacrificed was basically the victim of a mob. These “rituals” were being performed to honor their “Gods” and give them tribute. Along with these sacrificial acts, the inner sanctum practiced bloodletting and would drain blood from the cult members, mix it with chicken blood in a challis and each drink from it in turn. By mixing this with narcotics, peyote, and marijuana they would succumb to the belief that they were being blessed with supernatural powers by the Gods.
For the first six weeks after in the introduction of Magdalena, six people were sacrificed. The ante was upped towards the end when Magdalena started removing the heart of the victim as they were still alive (of course, you can't survive that for long).
In May 1963, the cult began its downward spiral. A 14-year-old local boy, Sebastian Guerrero, was drawn to one of the caves that the cult practiced their rituals in by lights and sounds. He silently witnessed as a person was brutally sacrificed. Being understandably terrified, he ran to the closest police station in Villa Gran, which was 25 km (roughly 15 miles) from the cave. As he entered the station, exhausted and in a state of shock, he began to ramble about what he saw, "a group of murderers...who were gluttonously drinking human blood...like vampires." The officers laughed at him, straight up laughed in his face. They were under the impression that he was high or mentally disturbed. He was tossed in a cell to "sleep it off".
In the morning, investigator Luis Martinez was tasked with escorting the youth home. On the way, he agreed to look in the cave where this "supposed" murder took place.
Neither the investigator or Sebastian were ever seen again. Not alive anyway.
After their disappearance, the police in Villa Gran took the report seriously and began an investigation. They were concerned about possible satanic cult activity.
On May 31, 1963, the police, in conjunction with the army, descended upon the cave. The cult members that were inside, attempted to barricade themselves. They were armed and a firefight erupted which ended with many of the cult members being shot. The bodies of those they sacrificed were found littered in the area around the cave. Magdalena and Eleazar were found on a farm not far away and apprehended in possession of a large amount of marijuana. The bodies of investigator Martinez and Sebastian were discovered on the farm property. Martinez's heart had been removed in the style of Aztec sacrifice.
The brothers didn't make it out alive. Cayetano Hernandez was killed by one of the cult members that took out all of their repressed rage on him. Santos Hernandez was shot while resisting arrest by an officer. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
Magdalena and Eleazar were both sentenced to 50-years for the murders of Guerrero and Martinez. Their participation in the other murders could not be confirmed because all of the cult members that were arrested would not speak or testify. They got off light in my opinion. The other members were each sentenced to 30-years for six counts of murder under the heading, "group or gang murder or lynching." Some members would later talk about the horrors they experienced but others never spoke of that period in their life again.
Let me give you a little background about what the Aztec rituals were actually like.
Most rituals and ceremonies were related to agriculture, fertility, nature, renewal, trade, or hunting. A person would be chosen as the sacrifice and for up to a year they would impersonate a God or Goddess. During the time they impersonated the God/Goddess they would dress like them and be treated to the highest of standards.
The ceremonies themselves were all planned and coordinated by the priests so they went smoothly. During the actual time of the ritual, the community would celebrate with a festival like atmosphere. There were feasts, nice clothes, and dancing.
Though the ritual itself was bloody. Very bloody to say the least. Human sacrifice was a vital element to Aztec religion and life. They believed that their Gods had sacrificed their lives and blood to create the world and everything in it - including man. To honor and pay respect to their creators they would sacrifice their blood and life. Most people went willingly. The sacrifice would be stretched over a special stone, their chest cut open, heart removed with an obsidian or flint knife, and placed in a stone vessel. This was then burnt in offering to a specific God or group of Gods/Goddesses. In some circumstances, the sacrifice was beheaded and/or dismembered, though this was usually reserved for females (I’m not really sure why…). If the head had been removed it would put out on display.
People were not always the focal point of these rituals. Sometimes, small animals would be sacrificed or the priest would cut themselves as an offering to the Gods.
There was one ceremony, in particular, that got my attention above others. Ready for this? The ceremony honoring the God of vegetation was extra, extra gruesome. The sacrificed person would have their skin flayed from their body and the priest would wear the skin for 20-days. Can you imagine the smell? The bugs? The juices that would run all over your body?
So, I wanted to share the truth behind why the Aztec's sacrificed people vs why Magdalena and her crew sacrificed people.
The Aztec's did it in respect and honor of their deeply rooted beliefs, while Solis and her "inner sanctum" were just there to have crazy sex, do drugs, and have power over people.
This is the scary part.
People are susceptible to this level of brainwashing and that's terrifying. People are capable of doing this and other atrocious acts against people - and that’s terrifying.
In conclusion, people are the monsters we should all be afraid of.
Stay Curious & Don’t Panic
Inspired by this story but not the physical likeness of Solis. I am in love with this piece!! I hope you are too.
This piece is 18” x 24” and set in a simple black frame. It is now for sale in my shop!