Via First Coast News:
In what St. Petersburg police are calling a weird religious ritual, they have arrested 35-year old Danielle Harkins for encouraging several teenagers to cut and burn themselves.Via New York Daily News:
The cutting was said to release evil spirits from their body, and the cauterizing of the wounds with fire was to prevent the spirits from getting back in.
The event happened close to the St. Petersburg Pier downtown.
Police say only two of the teenagers were actually cut.
According to authorities, she caused second-degree burns in an attempt to "brand" one of the students' hands with a cigarette lighter. Because of windy conditions next to the pier, the flame wouldn't stay, so she poured perfume on the wound and set it on fire.
"There was apparently some chanting and then dancing around this fire that was taking place," St. Petersburg Police Department spokesman Mike Puetz told Fox Tampa Bay.
Two kids were cut, and one sustained second-degree burns after the teacher allegedly poured perfume on his wound and lit it with a cigarette lighter, investigators told WTSP.
One of them was cut in the neck with a broken bottle and the wound was cauterized with a heated-up house key, authorities told Bay News 9.