9. The Weird Scam That Snowballed Into Human Sacrifice
Lying and scamming have many drawbacks, not least among them the difficulty of keeping the deception going once suspicions are aroused. When that happens, one option for the scammer is to simply cut and run. Another is to double down, and defend the original lie and scam with more lies and scams. The latter option could easily snowball, as illustrated by a series of weird events that took place in the small Mexican town of Yerba Buena, Tamaulipas.
Brothers Santos and Cayetano Hernandez, two small-time crooks, arrived there in 1962, and convinced the impoverished and mostly illiterate inhabitants that they were prophets of the old-time Aztec gods, and would lead them to hidden treasure. By the time it was over, things had gone seriously awry, and descended into a grisly cult that cut out the hearts from the chests of its still-living victims, then drank their blood.