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Spanish divers find human bones and ritual charms

Spanish divers find human bones and ritual charms

Scuba divers off Calpe, near Valencia in eastern Spain, have discovered bundles containing human bones and charms associated with voodoo-like rituals.

“We were doing a course in the area of ​​Roca Plana, and saw what I at first thought was a garbage bag,” a diving instructor called Cristian from Les Basetes dive-centre told El Pais newspaper.

“I went down for it, and as I approached I saw what looked like a knotted sheet. I opened it a little and saw a doll. I went up, gave the bundle to the boss and continued diving.”

On opening the bundle fully on shore the divers found not only the doll but human bones, a bracelet, a chain, feathers, split-cane sticks marked with names and a pot containing a liquid.

They alerted the Civil Guard, who sent divers to investigate that night. They spotted two further bundles a few metres from where the first had been, around 20m deep.

After analysing the items for DNA traces, a forensics laboratory concluded that the human bones had been buried for 30 or 40 years but had been thrown into the sea only two or three days before the discovery.

With no signs to indicate a violent death, the Civil Guard has been investigating whether the bones might have been taken from a local cemetery. It has also been consulting experts to see whether the items correspond with those used in the rituals of Santeria, or Worship of Saints.

This voodoo-like religion, originally practised by West African slaves in the Caribbean, still has thousands of adherents, mainly in Spanish-speaking parts of the Americas.

The Rock of Ifach, a prominent landmark overlooking the dive-site, is a popular spot for the scattering of ashes. “Calpe is a very quiet village. Nobody says anything. If you do not ask, people avoid talking about it,” an elderly resident told El Pais.

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03-Sep-16

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