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The Voodoo Murders of 1887

In 1887, the Harris family, a family of eleven, became sick after eating a meal together one evening. Before they died, their sickness became so bad that it rendered them unconscious. A doctor, pharmacist, and college professor were called to the scene. After examining the bodies, poison was immediately suspected.


It was said John Harris, the father, had a fight with his brother-in-law, Jim Bonner, who was supposedly a practitioner of voodoo. He was said to gather medicinal plants and roots from nearby swamps to use in his practices. Bonner, out of anger, told Harris that since he didn’t believe in voodoo or its power, his whole family would “meet the grim reaper within one month.” After four of his children and wife passed away, Harris became very mentally ill and was thrown into Central Sate Hospital. After a few days in the asylum, he passed away from convulsions.


Bonner was arrested on suspicion of murder. He was jailed for a time but was released due to lack of evidence. Mrs. Harris’ stomach was sent to Athens to be tested for poisoning, but the results yielded no evidence of poisoning at all. Another theory was that spoiled food contributed to their deaths, but no proof has ever come forth. To this day, it is still unknown as to what actually happened to the Harrises.

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