An elderly woman and her two sons have been found dead at their home in Pensacola, Fla., the apparent victims of what police are calling a ritualistic murder that coincided with last week's blue moon (ie the second full moon in July). Voncile Smith, 77, Richard Thomas Smith, 49, and John William Smith, 47, were all found with slit throats and blunt force hammer wounds, while the older son—who held a high-level position with the Homeland Security Department—also suffered a gunshot to the ear, reports the New York Daily News. They appear to have been killed sometime after 7pm Tuesday, July 28—three days before the actual blue moon, which occurs roughly once every three years.
"It’s witchcraft, I’ll say that right now," the sheriff said, noting, in part, the positioning of the bodies. Meanwhile, a person of interest, who is a white male, reportedly knew the family, and there were no signs of forced entry at the victims' home, reports the Pensacola News Journal. Investigators have ruled out robbery as a motive because they found a safe with "a substantial amount of cash" at the house. Apparently the family was "reclusive," as the sheriff put it; none of the neighbors interviewed had ever been in the home. "The elements of this case are odd at best," he said. Adds a neighbor: "To find out that it was this weird, satanic cult, witchcraft whatever, is just really unsettling." (Read more witchcraft stories.)