Nine Assumed Human Skulls Found In Compton Santeria Store

The magic of Southern California strip malls is that though they fall into somewhat predictable archetypes of nail spots, weed stores, and Middle Eastern food joints, ultimately you never know what you're going to find.

Like on Friday, in Compton, when somebody called the L.A. County Sheriff's Department to investigate claims of animal cruelty at a storefront Santeria religious institution on Long Beach Boulevard, according ABC 7. Once there, Sheriff's Deputies discovered what they believed were nine human skulls.

To investigate further, the Sheriff's department called in the L.A. County Coroner's department. Coroner's investigators found several other bones along with the skulls, though they were unable to immediately determine whether or not they were animal or human in origin.

Possessing skeletal human remains is legal in California, though it can be challenging to navigate through the state's health-and safety bureaucracy to do so. The job of the Sheriff' and Coroner's departments is to now determine if the bones actually are human, and if they are, whether or not the Santeria store legally obtained them.

"There is nothing sinister here," said Sheriff's Homicide Capt. Steve Katz to the Los Angeles Times. "The skull and possible eight other skulls in vessels were being used in Santeria. The question is were the skeletal remains acquired appropriately."

Santeria is a Caribbean religion said to have originated with the West African Yoruba people, and was transmitted across the Atlantic through the slave trade. There, the religion mingled with Catholicism until it became the mix that it is today.

At this particular Compton location, spiritual advisors dressed in all white during ceremonies, and pontificated they could cast away negative energy bonded to ceremony participants.

Sometimes the ceremonies involved the sacrifice of live chicken or goat, leading to original animal cruelty call.

Like we said, you never know what you'll find in your average, unassuming strip mall.