In December, Tumblr and then the larger Internet blew up over a Facebook post by a self-described New Orleans-based witch named Ender Darling, who was offering human bones for “curse work.” Darling freely revealed that they were getting the bones from a potter’s field cemetery. You really, truly can’t do that, and Darling’s home was raided by state agents soon after, who seized human bones and teeth.

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The New Orleans Advocate, in a story we saw via New York mag’s Following, reports that Darling’s home was raided in January by agents from the state Attorney General’s Office.

Darling, who uses gender-neutral pronouns, posted in a private Facebook group in December that they would frequently visit a “poor man’s graveyard” after heavy rains and take bones that had washed aground. A screencap of the post quickly made its way to Tumblr, where it is still viewable:

The Tumblr post called Darling out using both their Facebook and Tumblr names (“PSA: tumblr user littlefuckinmonster is stealing human bones from cemeteries in Louisiana. Please don’t let them get away with this and spread the word/signal boost!”). It spread far and fast, even, as the Advocate reports, catching the eye of state authorities, who frown on even the lightest of grave-robbing.

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The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office determined from Facebook photos Darling shared with potential customers that the cemetery in question was likely Holt Cemetery, a historic potter’s field that has fallen into disrepair. Soon after, Darling’s house was put under “periodic surveillance” for six days and subsequently raided, the Advocate reports:

[C]ourt records obtained by The New Orleans Advocate show the authorities recovered at least 11 bones and four teeth from a “fishbowl type” container inside the South Solomon Street house.

“I had them on an altar,” Darling, who has since moved to Florida, said in a phone interview Tuesday. “It was just a bunch of little shards of bones and pieces of teeth I had picked up off the ground. I said (to the agents), ‘Here you go. There’s probably human bones in there, but I know better than to give you that answer.’ ”

Darling is unrepentant, arguing that “nature” provided them with the bones and anyway, they weren’t selling them, exactly:

“I wasn’t selling anything,” Darling said. “It was, ‘You cover how much it takes to ship it.’ This is me passing along something I feel nature has given me. I don’t want money for this.”

Darling’s Facebook post prompted outrage online and led to Darling and other residents of the house receiving a flood of threats.

The self-styled witch even moved away from New Orleans in part out of concern over a daughter. “People were getting really serious about this, and it was all over me picking up bones,” Darling said. “It’s a very special place to me, but my physical safety is more important.”

Darling uses human bones for “energy work” — not merely curses but also healing rituals — a purpose the witch said is far better than having the remains merely “laying on the ground” after a heavy rain.

“It’s easier for someone to connect with something that has human energy in it,” the witch said. “That’s what I use them for.”

It’s unclear whether Darling will be criminally charged, the Advocate reports: “So far, Darling and the other occupants of the home have received only summonses for marijuana possession.” The AG’s office told the paper the investigation is ongoing.

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New Orleans’ cemeteries are in need of extensive cleanup, preservation, and protection. It’s entirely possible to help out with that, through a nonprofit, say, instead of stealing human remains and claiming that “nature” gifted them to you.


Holt Cemetery, seen in disrepair soon after Hurricane Katrina, September 2005. Photo via AP Images