Until a few days ago, no one had ever heard of Revelations of a Schizophrenic. No wonder. The macabre tale, penned by a certain Jorge Negromonte and telling of black magic killings replete with torture and cannibalism, could be easily dismissed as the ravings of an altered mind or outtakes from the script of a B-horror flick.
But last week when police in Garanhuns, a city of 111,000 in rural northeast Brazil, knocked on Negromonte’s door and stumbled on a hideous crime scene and a copy of the Revelations, suddenly everything fell into place.
On April 11, Garanhuns police arrested Negromonte, 50, and two women—his wife, Isabel Cristina, aged 51, and his mistress, Bruna Cristina de Oliveira, 25--and charged them in the murders of two women who had been reported missing. Giselly Helena da Silva, aged 31, was last seen on Feb. 25, and Alexandra da Silva Falcão da Silva, 20, on March 12.
According to the police, the trio lured their victims to a small house on the edge of town on the promise of work and then beat them to death in a gruesome “purification” ritual that included hacking up the bodies, draining their blood, and eating body parts before burying the remains.
Negromonte has confessed to the killings, though he denied committing murder (he called them purifications) or torturing his victims. His companions denied taking part in the killings, though Negromonte claimed they were both involved in luring the victims to the house.
Later, in custody, Isabel Cristina told police inspector Wesley Fernandes she had baked pastries stuffed with bits of the victims’ flesh and peddled them to the unknowing proprietors of local bars and eateries.
Not since native son Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva became president of Brazil in 2003 had this thriving town in the arid northeast backlands made the national news. From Afro-Spirit cults, such as Candomblé, to boisterous Pentecostal Protestant sects, Brazilians are no strangers to the call of the supernatural. But aficionados of black magic are a marginal demographic in this country of 190 million and their practice widely reviled as an aberration. Jolted by the brutal crime, residents of Garanhuns stormed the scene of the crime after the police bust, twice setting the house ablaze.
Police say they located the small house in the Jardim Petropolis district of Garanhuns on a tip from one of the victims’ mothers, who kept receiving credit card bills in her daughter’s name well after she had gone missing. There the police found vestiges of the alleged ritual killing, including an apparently bloodstained wooden mallet and scraps of torn clothes.
With the help of a 5-year-old girl, who apparently lived there, police investigators dug up the bones of the dismembered bodies buried in backyard makeshift graves. Negromonte, in custody, admitted to police that the girl was his daughter with a woman named Jessica, apparently another of his victims, murdered in another town, in 2008.
With the help of a 5-year-old girl, who apparently lived there, police investigators dug up the remains of the dismembered bodies buried in backyard makeshift graves.
Even more chilling than the crime scene was the fact that the rash of ritual killings may have been entirely predictable. The details of the 2008 murder, as well as other crimes, are spelled out in vivid detail in Revelations of a Schizophrenic, the self-published 34-chapter manuscript which Negromonte wrote, illustrated, and had printed up. He then made a point of registering the title with a local notary public on March 28.
“Looking at the lifeless body of the evil adolescent, I feel relief. I take a razor blade and begin to remove the skin and then share it,” he wrote.
With icy calm, Negromonte, who has a history of mental illness, freely told reporters from his jail cell how he carried out his crimes. Prior to each killing, “arrows came into my head, images, millions of images,” compelling him “to deliver these people to God,” he told a reporter for a local broadcaster, TV Jornal Caruaru. The victims, all women, were selected, he claimed, according to some eccentric numerology, whereby anyone carrying personal ID bearing a combination of “bad numbers,” such as 66 or 666, was deemed “evil” and in need of “cleansing.”
Negromonte said he acted on instructions from two supernatural beings--not demons but “a cherubim and an archangel,” one white and one black, who instructed him to carry out a “mission of mercy,” killing to purify what he claimed were tainted souls.
Why did he choose women? Because women, though not born evil, had "cursed wombs,” he told police inspector Wesley Fernandes. In jail this week, Negromonte denied he was “crazy.” When asked by a reporter if he believed he was innocent, he shot back, “Is anyone innocent in a war?”
The mood in Garanhuns has calmed some since the grieving families buried their loved ones’ remains last Saturday. But local media report that sales of pastries have plunged.