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Welcome to the shrine of Santa Muerte (Holy Death). Every day hundreds of people flock to the gritty Tepito neighborhood in Mexico City’s colonial center to ask Santa Muerte—also known as La Niña Blanca (The White Girl)—for health, wealth, prosperity and happiness.  Though traditional Roman Catholicism is still by far the dominant religion in Mexico, the Santa Muerte is the fastest growing belief system in the country. It boasts between 5 million and 10 million followers, and even more if you count Mexican immigrants in the United States. The Santa Muerte has become so popular that Holy Death paraphernalia now outsell those of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico’s traditional Catholic patron saint.

Not everyone is happy … In recent years, Catholic priests claim that exorcisms are sharply on the rise in Mexico due to the “satanic” cult of Santa Muerte. Officially sanctioned exorcists complain they can barely handle the number of demonic possessions. Several years ago in Soriano, a town just north of Mexico City, local priests even inaugurated a chapel specifically aimed at banishing dark forces.

There is, however, a certain link between Mexico’s violent drug cartels and Holy Death. Altars devoted to her have frequently been found in the houses of drug smugglers and hit men, who pray to her for success.

Mexico’s fastest growing DEATH CULT...  

The arrest last year of eight people charged with murdering two children and a woman in the course of Holy Death worship served to confirm that the Niña Blanca (White Girl), as she is sometimes known, can be invoked in dreadful ways.

National Geographic in 2013.  The super-popular death cult’s old news, even… I’m so 2000-and-late, and death cults are so 2008…?  Here’s the FBI talking about it: “This rise in deviant spirituality has not come as a surprise.”  They mention other competing systems even: “evidence suggests that the numbers of defections to the cults that worship a perverted Christian god (e.g., La Familia Michoacana and Los Caballeros Templarios) and the various unsanctioned saints (e.g., Jesús Malverde, Juan Soldado, and Santa Muerte) have grown for years.”  

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