Deadly Superstition

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Dad kills kids, himself

Post by » Mon Sep 04, 2006 8:06 am

Dad kills kids, himself

'Why mine?' cries ma after voodoo-crazed beau with 2 other clans drowns her boy & girl

BY VERONIKA BELENKAYA, TAMER EL-GHOBASHY and ALISON GENDAR
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

She walked into her Staten Island home, saw her lover's wedding ring tossed onto a bookcase and knew something was horribly wrong.

"I went to the living room and I don't see my kids inside. And I walked to the bedroom and I don't see them," Staten Island mother Francoise Mercier wept yesterday.

"Something in my head told me go to the bathroom, and I saw them in the tub."

Mercier's lover - convinced he was the victim of a voodoo curse - had drowned their two helpless children while she was at work and then committed suicide by throwing himself in front of a Brooklyn subway.

In seven rambling suicide letters, Frantz Bordes, 39, raged against Mercier's relatives and accused them of casting evil spells over him, police said.

"They use everything against me," the unemployed Haitian immigrant wrote, according to police. "Most of all they use voodoo."

Six of the twisted letters were scattered throughout the St. George apartment where he drowned his kids - Sweitzer, 4, and Stephanie, 2-1/2 - in a bathtub Wednesday afternoon, police said.

The seventh suicide note was found tucked inside Bordes' jacket after cops pulled his decapitated body out from under a Q train at the Church Ave. station in Ditmas Park.

"My love for my children is a weapon to destroy me," he wrote.

Only hours after finding her murdered children, Mercier told the Daily News that she had recently discovered that Bordes - who has a wife and two children in Haiti - also had been hiding a third family in Queens, with two more kids.

"Why did he kill mine? He has two others here and two in Haiti. Why did he kill mine?" the 43-year-old mom wailed.

Her relatives said Bordes had threatened to murder the children at least once before. But Mercier insisted that while he was "a big fat liar" for hiding his Queens kids, she never dreamed he would harm their children.

"This is what is killing me: Why didn't I have a warning?" she asked. "I didn't see any signs. If only I saw any signs."

"If I was home, he would not be able to kill them," she cried. "He would have killed me, too - but that would have been good."

By the time she found her lifeless children late Wednesday, the bathtub had drained. Her son was naked. Her daughter was wearing only a disposable diaper, soaked with water, police said.

Mercier said she worked as a nurse's aide while Bordes cared for their kids and took finance classes at a city college.

Nothing seemed amiss at 2:20 p.m. Wednesday when she headed off to work at St. Elizabeth Ann's nursing home on Staten Island.

Mercier said she called home at 8:20 p.m. to check on her son and daughter. But no one answered the phone. She had no way to know that Bordes and their kids were already dead.

Cops notified Bordes' next of kin after finding him on the subway tracks, and his relatives then told police they were worried that his children had been left home alone. Police were heading to the apartment - but Mercier got home from work at 11:50 p.m. before they arrived.

"When I entered that door, I see the wedding band in the blue books in front of the entrance door and I said, 'What is this? Is it a joke?'" she told The News.

Minutes later, her horrible cries startled neighbors.

"My kids! My kids! They're dead!" she screamed.

Bordes' brother said he had complained to his family that Mercier's relatives would conduct voodoo ceremonies - using candles and oils - whenever the couple fought.

"A couple months ago he mentioned something like that to me. Since I'm a Christian, I never took it seriously," Edouard Bordes said after identifying the bodies of his brother, niece and nephew at the city morgue.

"But we are all from Haiti, so we all know people who practice. We all recognize what it is," Bordes added.

"He was having problems with the mother of the children from time to time. I never think that he would go that far."

Mercier and Frantz Bordes had known each other for six years and had been living together the last two. Mercier said she knew for several years that he had another family in Haiti, including two teenage children. It was only recently that she found out about his third family in Queens and confronted him.

"He said, 'I'm going to change.' That was a big fat lie," she said. "Because I had a good heart, this is what happened to me."

"He was to be a home dad, he was good with them," she said. "If I'm at work, he would feed them. He played with them. He loved them."

But Mercier's brother, Phraner Mercier, remembered Bordes much differently. He said none of his family could stand his sister's do-nothing lover - and worried he would hurt the kids.

"He threatened to kill the kids before," the brother said. "He said if anyone took the kids, he would kill them."

With Nicole Bode and Oren Yaniv

Timeline to tragedy

Francoise Mercier was away from her Staten Island home for less than 10 hours. While she was gone Wednesday, her lover killed their helpless children and committed suicide.

# 2:20 p.m. Mercier, 43, leaves her house on Daniel Low Terrace and heads to her job at a nearby nursing home. Her lover, Frantz Bordes, 39, stays at home to care for their son and daughter.
# 8:14 p.m. Bordes kills himself by jumping in front of the Q train at the Church Ave. subway station in Brooklyn.
# 8:20 p.m. Unaware that Bordes is dead, Mercier calls home to check on her 4-year-old son, Sweitzer, and 2½-year-old daughter, Stephanie. No one answers the phone.
# 11:5O p.m. Mercier gets home and finds her kids drowned in the bathtub.

Originally published on September 1, 2006

Empress Verite

There May Be More to this than Voodoo

Post by Empress Verite » Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:56 am

One all:

I followed the story closely in the print media and apparently the wife who was a few years older than him had recently learned that he had another family in Queens. (reported by Heartbeat News.)Well, I hate to emphasize a stereotype but promiscuous people tend to have venereal disease and this can cause mental illness. Another point that Ja alluded to that I would like to elaborate on is the fact that so many factors cloud our view and keep us from properly diagnosing mental illness.

For instance, I know this woman, actually, my children's grandmother who is a very dark skin black woman. She is very religious and goes to church regularly. She is a proud Christian and holds prayers at her home weekly. She addresses folks by the terms brother/sister so and so (at least her peers in the church.) Still, whenever something goes wrong to a member of her family of her generation she is accused of doing or sending bad voodoo on them! I am continually shocked at these accusations and I often feared that these folks would harm her. I know that the fact that she has so many sons who have proven themselves on the mean streets of Miami and the Bahamas is one reason why they have not hurt her. The accusations are so harsh and the folks who make them are so ardently sure about their contentions. I don't believe that she is guilty at all. Still, stereotypes persists and strong women and people who look a certain way and maintain a certain level of anonimity and independence especially women are often blamed. This is commonly found in West African societies.

Jackques Roumain wrote about one such situation in one of his novels. A mother and daughter who lived alone isolated from their village folks were accused of causing the problems in the community. Of course they had no recourse and could not protect themselves. They were harmed.

I hear folks make these accusations constantly in Miami in the print media and in person. They are quick to accuse the next Haitian with whom they have beef that s/he practices Voodoo or has sent some bad Voodoo on them. This in turn causes more strife and lead to criminal acts.

I want the truth to be aired in the open. I want the leaders in the Voodoo community in Ayiti and in the Dyaspora to lead the movement to demystify the inner workings of the religion. This would be one critical way of shedding the negative image that Voodoo has been cloaked with for so long. Hollywood has hurt us a great deal with the Zombi movies and even current Voodoo teen flicks but Haitian and perhaps African Voodoo practitioners need to come out and address this issue.

Until then.
EV

Empress Verite

The Folkloristics Definition of Superstition

Post by Empress Verite » Tue Sep 19, 2006 1:07 am

Hey Ja:

As a trained folklorist, I would like to say also that superstition which is one folklore genre that has been tremendously studied is generally defined as a cause and effect phenomena. In other words, a causes b. Folks who experience trauma and difficult time and are unable to explain their circumstances often revert to this kind of reasoning which can be detrimental. However, they should not be taken lightly at all. The phenomena has to be disected and the person who believes in that superstition has to be taken seriously. In other words, while to a non believer the number 13 is just another number to superstitious folks this number is evil. And although the tendency in our so-called civilized mind is to dismiss that we still have to relate to the believer or superstitious person and we have to come to terms with this belief in some way.

That man killed his children and went on to kill himself in a public place. Professional mental health workers will have many learned observations to make about this situation. However, they must contend with his notes in which he stated that he strongly believed that Voodoo was the cause of his problems. And how this led to his murder/suicide crime spree has to be addressed in a non judgmental fashion. I know that many Haitian psychiatrists have claimed that Haitians tend to live on their nerve. As a social scientist I feel strongly that this has a lot to do with the social conditions that require individuals to live for the moment. And you know it goes to one of the most accepted definitions of folklore "Communications in small group....and a moment in time".

Anyway, Haitian folklore has a lot to teach us about who we are as a people. And folkloristics can only help us to advance the cause.

Best,
EV

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Fri Sep 22, 2006 5:43 am

Zanf, kisa Vodoo a ye?
Oudimwen, eske ou konn oun bagay de vodoo?
Mwen konnen ke se youn relijion ki sOti an Afrik. Men eske se payan ou oun lOt bagay?
I believe that it would have been best for everyone to know more about it.
Personally, I would like to learn more about it instead of my deep ignorance.
It seems that it is a very secretive Religion? In fact, like Catholicism and almost all religions.
By the way this question is not adressed to Zanf alone. But, anyone who knows a lot about it.
Is it related to Buddhism which makes more senses to me than others!
Male,
Leonel

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Post by admin » Sun Sep 24, 2006 10:20 am

[quote]But Christianity is a religion that lives in the public eye, with an identifiable authorities that must take responsibility for her activity in society. [/quote]
There must be some missing words here, but I imagine that the claim is that "Christianity is a religion that lives in the public eye, with an identifiable hierarchy that must take responsibility for [Christian] activity in society".

Are we confusing Christianity and Catholicism here? Maybe, maybe not. In most Christian denominations, if not all, there appears to be an earthly leader, most identifiable in some denominations as the Pope (Catholic), the Patriarch (Greek Orthodox), the Archbishop of Canterbury (Anglican), appointed by the King or Queen of England (which one of them is the Chair, which one of them is the CEO?) and less clearly identifiable in other denominations led by committees such as the Southern Leadership Conference (some, but not all, Southern U.S. Baptists) and down to single, independent, small community churches where the lines of authority often end up with the local Pastor. When we talk about Christianity as a religion (as opposed to a loosely based association of Christian sects and denominations, including the regionally and racially identified U.S. White and Black churches), we do end up with a multi-headed and multi-threaded organizational structure that could be likened to organized crime where some bosses are most definitely stronger, richer and more powerful than others but no one is ever able to control (nor even identify at times) all the hoods and individual families.

To that confusing array of leadership, add in their intimate connections to other power structures, political and financial, where international banks (under whatever name) often play a big role. Again, this is not dissimilar to the connections between organized crime and the police, the legislature, the international drug trade and executive power. There is often much more than meets the eye.

Note that I have not even talked of secret societies which often decide on questions of leadership. Some are openly secretive with the self-attributed privileges of pursuing a divinely guided mission, others are secretly secretive due to the national security requirements of a certain manifest destiny. One might think that I am mixing apples and oranges here, but am I really?

All in all, the idea that two billion Christians on Earth have an identifiable hierarchy that takes responsibility for [Christian] activity in society is a holy one, though it is full of holes on closer inspection. In some denominations, the hierarchy undeniably exists, but not without its share of secretive elements. In other denominations, the hierarchy may be so diffuse as to be comparable to the always unstated power structure of Vodou societies in Haiti.

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