To many people, religion is something turned to for comfort, an answer to life’s unknown mysteries, and a place offering solutions to its hardest questions. Unfortunately, others see this information and use it to turn religion into a tool to increase their power, preying on the faith and innocence of susceptible minds. Of course, it isn’t that big a deal when shady mega-church pastors misappropriate collection plate funds to make prettier stained-glass windows for their congregation. However, when vicious criminals defile the concept of religion to start murdering people, things become especially terrifying for their believers, and police intervention is a must.
Despite what she would go on to do, there’s no indication Magdalena Solís intended to lead a cult until the day two mysterious brothers approached her and her brother, asking them to pose as gods. Santos and Cayetano Hernandez had already successfully convinced the small village of Yerba Buena, Mexico that they were Incan prophets, conning the residents out of all their money and forcing them to grant countless degrading sexual favors. Eventually, however, the villagers needed more convincing than these false prophets, which is where the Solís family came in.
What Magdalena Solís then did with the Hernandezes and her brother Eleazar is so shocking and despicable it’s hard to believe it happened barely over 50 years ago. People like to believe the world is largely civilized today and that even a poor Mexican town should be wise enough to recognize a vicious cult when they see it, and yet at least eight lives were lost because Solís and her crew were able to warp the entire town’s minds. For all the chilling details, keep reading for 15 horrifying facts about the “High Priestess of Blood,” Magdalena Solís.
15 She Was A Pr-------e Pimped By Her Own Brother
While the very beginning of Magdalena Solís’s story is more or less a mystery, by the time her life started getting documented, it had already taken a seriously dark turn. Still extremely poor by the time she reached her teens, Solís became a prostitute the minute it became viable for her to do so. Creating a warped family business, Magdalena’s own brother Eleazar served as her pimp, initially selling her body to their close friends before moving on to random customers. Given the scenario, there’s also a chance the two may have been involved in an incestuous and/or abusive relationship, although little concrete evidence supports the idea, and neither has commented on it. Either way, it’s extremely disturbing to imagine a teenager selling his sister’s body, not to mention the fact she seemed to be okay with it. Based on what she would do later, it may well have been her idea all along.
14 The Real Story Begins With Two Brothers
Before one can truly get into what exactly it was Magdalena Solís did to earn her dark moniker as the “High Priestess of Blood,” we need to explain the actions of two other men, brothers Santos and Cayetano Hernandez. In the early 1960s, the two brothers were drifters and criminals, who, together, conspired to con the small town of Yerba Buena, Mexico out of every last penny the residents had. Not only was the city sparsely populated and far away from society; the vast majority of townspeople were also farmers and therefore illiterate, making it that much easier for everyone to believe the words of two charismatic strangers claiming they descended from gods. The Hernandez brothers did exactly that, convincing Yerba Buena they were messengers from Inca deities, demanding all their money and unconditional loyalty, lest the gods show their wrath. The residents naturally complied, becoming worshippers and slaves virtually overnight, and money wasn’t all they lost…
13 The Hernandez Brothers Forced Villagers Into S-----l Slavery
Had the Hernandez brothers merely conned the people of Yerba Buena out of their money and left without a trace, there wouldn’t be a whole lot separating their story from that of any other short-lived cult throughout history. The real villain of the tale, Magdalena Solís, hadn’t even gotten involved yet, and it would still be some time until she did. That said, the Hernandez brothers had already started taking their manipulative powers to deeper, darker levels by using their status as godly messengers to force villagers into sexual servitude. The exact details here have never been made clear, but forced sex of any kind is an abhorrent misuse of power, made all the worse due to the fact the brothers got away with it using made-up religion as their justification. The sexual element is also what caused things to spiral out of control, as residents soon demanded proof of the Hernandezes' godliness once they started feeling taken advantage of.
12 She Was Born Into Poverty
For as sensational and horrific as Magdalena Solís’s life and crimes were, very little has been written about her life, in general. Most accounts imply she appeared more or less out of the blue when the Hernandez brothers needed an accomplice, making it that much easier for villagers to believe the story that she was a goddess. Though her story is, to a large degree, underreported, small bits of information have gradually come out, albeit none that necessarily give clues as to how she became so evil. All anyone really knows is that Magdalena was raised in extreme poverty and that her family has been described as “dysfunctional.” This may or may not have led to young Magdalena suffering religious delusions, which made it easy for her to get so into character when chosen as a stand-in deity. Of course, without any specific details, this comes off as little more than mere speculation, as we don’t even know what exactly constituted as “dysfunction” in this case.
11 The Brothers Roped Solís Into Their Evil Scheme… And She Made Things Worse
Tasked with proving they were actually messengers of an Inca god and not con men ripping off the town of Yerba Buena hand over fist, the Hernandez brothers were in a desperate situation, to say the least. In what they must have considered a stroke of luck, the pair soon stumbled upon Magdalena Solís and her brother/pimp Eleazar, informed them of the situation, and asked the young Magdalena to pose as their goddess. She readily accepted. Immediately after Magdalena made her first appearance from behind a smoke screen while the Hernandezes distracted villagers with an elaborate summoning ritual, the villagers were satisfied with her power and readily accepted the story she was a living deity. So blind was their faith that they didn’t even question her when she began demanding villagers die for even the mildest forms of dissent; nor did they mind the sexual undertones her public executions often held.
10 She Convinced A Small Town She Was An Aztec Goddess
In many respects, the story of Magdalena Solís doubles as a warning to small towns from being so easily manipulated by outsiders claiming a supernatural connection to religion. Had Yerba Buena been a little better educated about faith and religion in general, they might've seen through the holes in Solís's and the Hernandez brothers' stories right from the very beginning. For example, though the Hernandez brothers repeatedly proclaimed themselves messengers of an Inca goddess, when Solís actually appeared, she declared herself the second coming of Coatlicue—an Aztec deity. In fairness to Yerba Buena residents, there’s probably a good chance even most people today don’t know the differences between Incas and Aztecs. Of course, the only important detail is that there's a difference at all, making it clear both parties were lying through their teeth about the whole thing.
9 She Was Obsessed With Aztec Mythology
Realistically speaking, Magdalena Solís and the Hernandez brothers may have been fully aware of their Inca/Aztec error and ignored it on the assumption the Yerba Buena villagers wouldn’t notice or care. After all, that’s exactly what happened, and they’d gotten the residents to believe absolutely everything else they said that far, so one more lie wasn’t a stretch. Even if it took some convincing, Magdalena probably would've made the switch anyway, because it was the Aztecs' well-known practice of human sacrifice that made her interested in the role from the start. While both Inca and Aztec religions did commit sacrifices, the practice was far more common amongst the latter, who employed it as a form of punishment, as well as a way to appease the gods. There was also the fact that Coatlicue, the goddess Solís claimed to be, was eternally youthful, a status Magdalena claimed was achieved by drinking human blood.
8 All Of Her Dissenters Were Immediately Sentenced To Death
Even the small town of illiterate farmers with no concept of modern-day religion started to realize something was amiss when Magdalena Solís started her reign of terror. The Hernandez brothers were disturbing thieves demanding sexual favors, but Solís had added sadomasochism and sexual torture to the mix, eventually causing select villagers to stand against her and demand proof of her godliness. In a sense doing just that, Solís ordered the dissenter to be murdered immediately, a sentence the other townspeople immediately enacted. Unsurprisingly, this largely stopped people from speaking out against her for some time, and whenever a brave soul would somehow summon the courage to do so, he or she would meet the same fate. As more people questioned Solís and her power, the punishments became more severe than simple lynchings, with elaborate torture ceremonies soon developing over time.
7 She Performed “Blood Rituals” On Her Followers
Suffering from religious delusions and truly believing she was the Aztec goddess Coatlicue, as she claimed, it wasn’t enough for Magdalena Solís to silence her victims through death. Earning her vile nickname, the High Priestess of Blood, sacrifices made to Solís were elaborate, bloody, and torturous affairs, with escalating hints of sadomasochism as she realized that that added to her sick, twisted fun. After beating, maiming, and setting her dissenters on fire, Solís slowly drained their blood, poured it into a chalice, and drank it. Solís then passed the blood around to the Hernandezes and her brother Eleazar -- her fellow “high priests” -- claiming drinking the blood of their sacrifices would grant them eternal youth. By the time they were caught, these rituals went so far as to dissect the still beating hearts of their victims, not dissimilar from the cult seen in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
6 A Child Who Witnessed Their Actions Informed Police
Given how remote and sparsely populated the town of Yerba Buena was when Magdalena Solís and the Hernandez brothers decided to make them victims, their cult may well have existed until every last resident was killed unless an outside force intervened. Surprisingly, the saving grace in this scenario was a young child, who, unfortunately, met a terrible fate before Solís and company were truly stopped. Nonetheless, it was Sebastian Guerrero, a teenager exploring what he believed to be abandoned caves, who first caught wind of what Solís was doing. Upon witnessing one of their blood rituals, Guerrero naturally ran to the police, who had trouble believing his fantastical ideas about “vampires.” Still, to appease the clearly terrified youth, an officer named "Luis Martinez" agreed to investigate the cave. Neither Guerrero nor Martinez was ever seen alive again, and the rest of the police force realized there had to be a connection.
5 She Constantly Smoked Marijuana And Peyote During Her Murders
Most people will probably never comprehend how a prostitute could so quickly assume the personality of a vicious murdering goddess the way Magdalena Solís did. It may be tempting to imagine ourselves having the power and respect of a god, yet it takes a particularly sick and perverted soul to use it for such evil and vile means as murdering for sexual pleasure and drinking the victims' blood. Of course, how Solís could be driven to such madness becomes a little more clear with the knowledge that mixed in with the blood were large amounts of peyote, a powerful hallucinogenic drug. Reports indicate Solís, her brother, and the Hernandezes were also extremely heavy users of marijuana, although to be fair, most people who smoke pot don’t turn into murderous madmen. The same is generally true of peyote unless users happen to be predisposed to violent thoughts, in which case, their hallucinations could easily lead to a chaotic reality.
4 She Killed At Least 8 Known Victims
Technically speaking, Magdalena Solís’s status as a cult leader has earned her another dubious distinction in history, as the multiple deaths her organization were responsible for also officially make her a serial killer. It’s not entirely clear if Solís herself ripped out the victims' hearts or delivered the death blows, but it's obvious that she was the ring leader from the moment she arrived. The killings didn’t begin until she started demanding they did, making her the one guilty of murder in the first degree, and all the rest, her accomplices. Ultimately, Solís took the lives of 8 innocent victims, six of whom were residents of Yerba Buena dissenting from her cult. The other two were Sebastian Guerrero, the young man who informed police of her scheme, and the first officer to investigate the boy’s claims. In court, Solís was ultimately only charged with the last two murders due to a lack of evidence, but it’s pretty obvious how and why the bodies found with her cult wound up dead.
3 The Hernandez Brothers Died When Police Raided The Cult
After a police officer disappeared investigating a teenager’s claims about Magdalena Solís and her cult, the rest of his department couldn’t ignore the situation any longer. In hindsight, it was probably a mistake for them to send a lone investigator alongside a child companion into such a vicious cult, but of course, they had no idea how far Solís’s operation ran before getting to Yerba Buena. Still, the death toll was already high enough that police knew to take caution during their second attempt, sending far more officers to the scene, all carrying weapons and prepared for a dangerous situation. As predicted, a shootout took place immediately as police arrived, ultimately taking the life of Santos Hernandez. During the ensuing chaos, Cayetano Hernandez was also killed by one of the cult members who had previously attempted to join in on the blood-drinking ceremony. This left Magdalena and her brother Eleazar, who were soon captured and taken into custody.
2 She And Her Brother Were Sentenced To 50 Years In Prison
It didn’t take long for a jury to convict Magdalena and Eleazar Solís of the two murders levied against them, those being that of Sebastian Guerrero and Officer Luis Martinez. In June of 1963, the pair were both sentenced to 50 years in a Mexican jail for what they had done, which would mean it’s possible they’ve been released and are walking the streets again today. If that’s the case, their identities have been well concealed, as little information is known about their lives since getting arrested. In some respects, no news might be good news, as it means no other victims have fallen prey to their manipulative powers. However, silence can also be deadly in relation to former serial killers who may well have slipped through the cracks of history and been set free. Hopefully, that wasn’t the case with the High Priestess of Blood.
1 All Of Her Cult Members Refused To Testify
Quite frankly, the most shocking element of Magdalena Solís’s story isn’t the fact she murdered eight people, drank their blood, or desecrated their bodies in bizarre Aztec ceremonies. No, the truly terrifying aspect of Magdalena’s crime is that she made an entire town fully believe she was a goddess and that her killings were therefore acceptable. Even after authorities captured Solís and put her cult to an end, her worshippers refused to testify against her or say anything that would betray their goddess, despite many of them facing 30-year prison sentences as her primary accomplices. To this day, few Yerba Buena survivors speak about the terror Solís inflicted upon their town, although part of the issue may be how little-reported the story is. After all, what are they going to say if no one has the courage to ask? And do we really even want to know the answers?
Sources: Cool Interesting Stuff, Bizarrepedia, The Line-Up