A man has claimed he was being offered as a human sacrifice to Mother Earth after waking up and finding himself trapped in a coffin following a drinking binge.
Terrified 30-year-old Víctor Hugo Mica Alvarez smashed out of the casket in Achacachi, about 50 miles from where he passed out in the city of El Alto in Bolivia.
He had been drinking heavily the night before at the opening of the Mother Earth festival – where indigenous people offer everything from live animals and sheep foetuses to sweets and coca leaves to the goddess, who they believe ‘opens her mouth’ for offerings in August.
Victor, who was covered in mud and concrete after his apparent escape, said he was among the human sacrifices some believe are still being offered in ancient-style rituals to satisfy Mother Earth.
“Last night was the pre-entry of the festival, we went dancing. And afterwards I don’t remember,” he told the media. “The only thing I remember is that I thought I was in my bed, I wanted to get up to go urinate and I couldn’t move.”
He added: “When I pushed the coffin, I was able to break a glass that it had and that way I was able to get out.
“When I pushed the coffin I barely broke the glass and, through the glass, dirt began to enter. They wanted to use me as a sullu.”
When Victor reported the incident to the police, they didn’t believe him. They told him he was too drunk to know exactly why he ended up buried alive.
Victor further told the media: “We’ve gone dancing… and I don’t remember anymore.
“I have broken the glass, my whole hand has been hurt, I have barely gone out, but I went to the police and they told me that I am drunk.
“‘You’re going to come healthy,”’ they told me.”
The term sullu refers to any offerings commonly made to give back to Mother Earth or ‘Pachamama’ throughout the month of August in Bolivia.
While they often take the form of colourful sweets, desiccated llamas, medicinal plants, eggs, minerals, some believe and warn that human sacrifices are still being carried out.
On the Day of Mother Earth, followers go to the highest elevations they can to burn wood stacks with animal fat, coloured paper and sweets to show gratitude to the goddess.
The faithful believe Mother Earth is exhausted after providing for humanity, and, so want to ‘reward and rejuvenate’ her every August.