By C. Michael Forsyth
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Police have rescued an American college coed who was held prisoner by an alleged voodoo priest for four harrowing years!
Authorities say that Kaitlan Orangeby, 24, was abducted by Henri Duclaire and “turned into a zombie by means of a powder.”
“The powerful potion put her in a deep trance and she became one of the ‘walking dead,’ ” police spokeswoman Marie Pressant said at a press conference. “She was unable to resist Mr. Duclaire’s commands.
“From what we’ve been able to piece together from the victim’s account, her body was used in every way imaginable — and in some ways you could not even begin to imagine.”
Kaitlan, who was pulled out of a squalid hut on her captor’s lavish estate on October 29, is now recovering from her nightmarish ordeal in her parents’ home in Darien, Conn.
Mercifully, her memories of her years as a zombie are dim. But in a phone interview, she said, “Henri told me I was dead and that he was my master. I totally believed him – I felt like I WAS dead. It was like I was sleepwalking and couldn’t wake up.
“Way in the back of my mind, part of me wanted to resist him, but I couldn’t. I was totally at his mercy. He’d snap his fingers and say something like, ‘Give me a foot massage,’ and I’d find myself doing it.”
The attractive blonde coed’s journey into Hell began on July 16, 2006, when she was vacationing on the island with her wealthy parents. The trip was great fun, with plenty of sunbathing, souvenir-shopping and touring, until their fateful visit to the rural town of L’Estere.
“The voodoo master was giving a lecture under a tent and we stopped to listen,” recalled Kaitlan’s mother Stephanie.
“When he got to the part about zombies, Kaitlan – who was wearing white ‘short shorts’ and a tank top that showed off her midriff — started to giggle. The voodoo man asked her what was so funny and Kaitlan said, ‘You are.’ ”
“Everyone in the small crowd laughed and Kaitlan laughed louder than anyone. He gave her this angry look and I remember a chill going up my spine.”
The family returned to their hotel in the capital. While the student’s parents slept that night, Kaitlan went partying at a popular nightclub – and never returned. Her frantic mom and dad hired a private detective to track her down, to no avail.
“It was as if she’d vanished into thin air,” her mother said.
Revealed Kaitlan, “I remember being force-fed this strange powdery stuff and the next thing I knew I was lying in a cold pit and someone was shoveling dirt on top of me. I realized I was being buried but I couldn’t get up or move.”
After what seemed like hours underground, she was unearthed and hauled from the grave.
“I felt really funny and when I climbed out of the grave I moved slowly and stiffly,” Kaitlan said. “I saw the voodoo priest standing there with this gleeful little smile on his face. He told me, ‘You are one of the walking dead now and I am your master.’
“I wanted to say, ‘Screw you, numb nuts,’ or something like that, but my mouth wouldn’t work. I found myself nodding.”
The young beauty remained totally mute for the duration of her captivity. Kaitlan, who was accustomed to designer clothes, was forced to wear a plain, raggedy white skirt and sleep in the tiny wooden shack near the successful voodoo practioner’s sprawling 20,000-square-foot mansion.
“I slept on a wooden bench and had to do my business in a slop bucket,” she recalled.
“Whenever Henri summoned me with his gong, I would rise and shuffle over to the big house with my arms raised. When I got there I would do whatever Henri commanded.”
To add insult to injury, Kaitlan was also forced to do light housekeeping in the mansion. To the once-pampered New England rich girl, this was more degrading than anything else.
“I had to sweep, scrub toilets, make beds,” Kaitlan said tearfully. “I had never cleaned a toilet in my life before then. We always had maids to do that. It was humiliating, but I couldn’t stop myself. I was like a mind-controlled robot.”
The nightmare finally ended when a heavily armed police task force conducted a raid on the estate, looking for a suspected drug den. No illegal drugs were found in the search – but the cops did find the bedraggled blonde zoned out in her hut.
“I saw her glassy-eyed stare and I knew immediately what the score was,” said Police Corporal Marcel Celestine. “I’ve seen the look before in other pitiful wretches we’ve rescued from zombism.”
Kaitlan was taken to a hospital in Port-au-Prince, where an antidote to the zombie potion was administered.
Until the 1980s, zombies were generally believed to be the stuff of Hollywood myth. But that misconception was put to rest when Harvard ethnopharmacologist Wade Davis traveled to Haiti to investigate the zombie mystery. He discovered that potent chemicals from plants and animals – including the puffer fish – are used to create a secret zombie powder. The drug paralyzes the victim, who is buried alive. When revived, the hapless victim is in a deep trance, with their free will evaporated, Davis revealed in his groundbreaking 1985 book “The Serpent and the Rainbow.”
“Zombies really do exist,” confirmed Haitian researcher Dr. Claude Bosquet. “But they are not the flesh-eating monsters you see in movies. They are actually quite docile creatures who are often exploited for farm work and menial chores.
“They are more to be pitied than feared.”
Outrageously, although Duclaire was caught red-handed, the evil sex fiend will probably never serve a day in jail for his heinous acts. Haitian law does not acknowledge the existence of voodoo, and the substance used to make zombies has not been banned.
“My client has done nothing illegal,” insisted attorney Yves Rimbaud. “Any love acts were completely consensual. The police report clearly states than no ropes, chains, or restraining devices of any type were found on the premises. The so-called ‘victim’ was free to go at any time.
“The notion that ‘voodoo’ can be used to control someone’s mind is superstitious nonsense.”
Brave survivor Kaitlan is expected to make a full recovery. She plans to return to college in the spring and to resume her studies.
“I guess it goes without saying I don’t plan to spend spring break in Haiti any time soon,” she said.
Copyright C. Michael Forsyth. All rights reserved.
Has Duclaire struck before? A story I wrote under a pseudonym in Weekly World News a decade ago about still-missing Baltimore woman Alison Bundwith suggests the twisted fiend may have preyed on other vacationers. http://books.google.com/books?id=CvADAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA33&ots=CrZlijt4Mg&dq=weekly%20world%20news%20zombie%20kidnapped%20sister&pg=PA33#v=onepage&q&f=false. And, yes, I did do that illustration!
To hear what’s being called “the most shocking opening scene in the history of horror,” CLICK HERE, then Audio Clip.