38. The Low Key Con That Snowballed Into a Human Sacrifice Cult
One of the drawbacks of lying and scamming is the difficulty of keeping the deception going once suspicions are aroused. One option is for the scammer to simply cut and run. Another is to double down, and defend the original lie and scam with more lies and scams. The latter option could easily snowball, as illustrated by a series of unfortunate events that took place in the small Mexican town of Yerba Buena, Tamaulipas.
Brothers Santos and Cayetano Hernandez, two smalltime crooks, arrived there in 1962, and convinced the impoverished and mostly illiterate inhabitants that they were prophets of the olden native gods, and would lead them to hidden Aztec treasure. By the time it was over, things had gone seriously haywire, and descended into a grisly cult that cut out the hearts from the chests of its still-living victims, and drank their blood.