Clementine Barnabet was born in Louisiana in 1894 and was an African American serial killer credited with murdering at least one person but believed to have killed up to 35. Her story is nothing short of terrifying, as it is filled with tales of satanic cults, witchcraft, and voodoo.
Clementine Barnabet had a rough start in life. Her father, Raymond Barnabet, was an unsympathetic character. He was sometimes violent, and he did not treat his family well at all. Since his line of work brought in very little cash, he also turned to petty theft for money – no matter how hard it was on his family. He was allegedly often unfaithful to Clementine’s mother, Nina.
Murders and Arrest
12 families slain by axe murderer (1911)
Between 1911 and 1912, in towns along a stretch of the Southern Pacific Railroad running through southeastern Louisiana and southwestern Texas, as many as twelve African American families were slain at night inside their homes. Usually, the victims’ skulls were fractured with some kind of axe. Only Clementine Barnabet was ever punished for any of these homicides.
Andrus family (February 1911)
When the Andrus family of Lafayette, Louisiana was murdered in February 1911, the authorities arrested Raymond Barnabet who was Clementine’s father. He was immediately released for lack of evidence but re-arrested later and eventually convicted of the Andrus family murders. Barnabet’s children (Clementine and Zepherin) testified against their father, claiming he had returned home with bloodied clothes and boasting of the Andrus murders. Raymond’s attorneys filed a successful appeal but he remained incarcerated pending a new trial.
Raymond Barnabet was jailed but axe murders continued – Norbert’s family
When Raymond Barnabet was imprisoned, there were six other murders of Norbert’s family that had taken place that resembled the previous murders of using an axe. Clementine Barnabet had been living a few blocks away from the slain victims and was connected to the murders because a smear of blood was found on the fence latch of her house and also clothes stained with blood were in Clementine Barnabet’s bedroom. She was arrested along with Zepherin.
Confession to the murders and ties to the Church of Sacrifice
Clementine Barnabet eventually confessed to 35 serial murders. As it turns out, she had ties to the Church of Sacrifice, an offshoot of a Christ’s Sanctified Holy Church congregation in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Clementine Barnabet further claimed that she often carried a Good Luck Charm with her. It was a magical charm given to her and her friends by a High Priestess from the Church of Sacrifice, who said it would make them belong to an elite group of individuals possessed by magic and undetectable to the law.
Clementine Barnabet’s confession was described in contemporary reports as “self-contradictory”. She claimed, at times, to have committed the murders alone and other times to have done so alongside others, but none of the people she named was charged with a crime.
Clementine was sentenced to life in the Louisiana State Penitentiary in October 1912. In July 1913, she escaped from jail only to be caught a few hours later. In August 1923, Clementine Barnabet was released from prison after an unnamed surgery was believed to have cured her. After Barnabet’s release, no further knowledge exists by the public of her whereabouts.