On the Bank

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Today is another photo from the pond I shot last week in Vermont. To get this one, I was just about on the very edge of the land and as damp as the grass was, I was concerned that I might slip into the water. But, all’s well that ends well!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: on this day in 1988, Roch Theriault fatally shot Solange Boislard in Ontario, Canada. Theriault, the leader of the most bizarre and violent cult in Canadian history, often physically abused his followers. Obsessed with anatomy and medicine, Theriault performed crude intestinal surgery on Boislard by slicing open her abdomen and ripping out a piece of intestine with his bare hands. He then ordered another follower to stitch up the wound with a needle and thread. When she died the next day in agonizing pain, he sawed off the top of her head, and then assaulted her. Before burying the woman, he removed a rib, which he wore around his neck.

Theriault was arrested and charged with murder the following year after another cult member, whose arm had been hacked off by Theriault with a meat cleaver, told hospital authorities what had happened. At his trial in 1993, even more horrific tales came to light. The cult leader had burned women with a welding torch, put vice-grips on sensitive parts of their bodies, and cut their fingers off with a wire cutter. The alcoholic and delusional Theriault apparently thought he was driving the devil out of them.

Theriault also demanded sex from all of the women members in an attempt to increase the number of cult members through children. After a new member of the cult, an escapee from a mental hospital, beat a child at the compound, Theriault performed “surgery” on the child. When the child then died, Theriault castrated the man as punishment. After authorities learned about some of the activities at the ranch, they removed all of the children.

The 1993 trial came to an abrupt end when Theriault pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to life in prison and remains incarcerated.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: both Harvard and Stanford turn away about 50% of their applicants who score a perfect 800 on their SAT exams.

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