Skull May Have Been Used in Ritual, Officers Say

A skull unearthed by construction workers last week may have been part of an occult ritual, authorities said, but it is too old to be identified.

The jawless skull was found in a duffel bag buried near railroad tracks.

Unearthed nearby were a black caldron filled with ashes, chicken legs, pig or goat hoofs, deer antlers, a horseshoe, railroad spikes, a skeleton key, coins, a silver bracelet, handcuffs, a knife and a thick rope of white and red beads.

"Those are common to several different forms of the occult," said Sgt. Richard Valdemar, an expert with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's special investigations bureau.

He said the skull and other items were probably part of a ritual to cast a curse on someone.

A forensic anthropologist working with the coroner's office determined that the skull was too old and toothless to be identified, and that it was probably stolen from a school.

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