Ermita, Manila on an overcast day.

At the beginning of May, a tragedy occurred within Ermita, Manila.

Ermita is a district within the city of Manila, the Philippines, and is a major financial, commercial and cultural part of the city. The district contains multiple casinoes, hotels and offices, and is also home to other famous landmarks and government buildings.

This, of course, was before the horrible tragedy that befell it. Being a heart of this city, Ermita was thought to be the most unlikely place for a hideous incident such as this.

It began when two rising religious organizations started preaching about the coming of the ‘Angels’. It ended with madness and death.

Esoteric “thrill-cults” have sprung forth with the resurgence of religious horror writer Alfonso Hazard, a so-called cosmicist, and author of The Virgin Dies at the start. The press have concluded that Hazard’s writings were involved in the incident.

The first group was La Iglesia de Estrellas (the Church of Stars), a shady group of mysterious characters that have roots in the richer families from the time of the Spanish rule. They proclaim (in joy and reverence) that the Angels of the Lord shall come with the emerging of their god’s son, birthed from a woman. They proclaim that the Angels will cleanse the Earth of all the evils of humanity. From the ashes of the world a new Eden would be created. Alfonso Hazard claimed to have been kicked out of this Order for “proselytizing”.

The other group was a pseudo-fraternity called Ang Anak ni Aiodeus, (the Children of Aiodeus) a less shady group of intellectuals influenced by an obscure myth of the ruler of the Underworld, Aiodeus, and His quest to rid the world of the Angels, who want to usurp him from his Throne and free the forces of hell. The “Angels”, to them were a threat to the world at large, driving every human being into insanity, and must be stopped. The cult is a collection of troubled youths who enjoy modern rock culture. Most of them, according to news reports, enjoy heavier music, and have extensive knowledge of the works of Alfonso Hazard.

On the night of May third, policemen conducted a raid on an Iglesia de Estrellas meeting, receiving a tip from an unidentified source that a drug-deal was taking place. The deal was supposedly to take place in a building near Ermita, Manila, in a sleepy neighbourhood. There were homeless people wandering the streets, but pickpockets and muggers were not reported around the area. A consultant of the police would later note that said vagrants were, for some reason, afraid of the Iglesia.

The police commenced the operation at seven o’clock in the evening, guns drawn and blazing. Yet the madness that lurked within the room was not a drug deal, but a sight of an eldritch ritual.

Bodies were strewn all over the carpeted floor. Man and woman alike were scattered all over the room, in the throes of a final agony. These bodies, once further examined, had blood leaking from their orifices; as if at one point in their unholy worship, they had heard or seen or smelled something that had made them bleed out.

The investigators grouped them into twos—members of the Anak, and members of the Iglesia. Those of the Anak wore black; black shoes, black pants, black shirts, black jackets, and the like. The Iglesia members, on the other hand, wore formal clothing; barong tagalogs and Filipino dresses.

At the center of the auditorium was the statue of a strange idol—one that was identified by an expert as the supposed leader of the aforementioned ‘angels’. There is no sufficient description of the creature, for the photos of the idol was destroyed in a fire.

The figure was only revealed to be “indescribable” and “hideous” by the policemen involved in the operation, with a set of stone tentacles emanating from the figure.

After the investigation was closed, the police officers involved in the operation remembered the next few moments fondly:

A pale, gaunt man in a tattered, yellow garment entered the fray, unwary of the policemen in the area. The man held in his hands a hideous-looking blade, with what officers concluded as a baby’s skull on the butt of the hilt. He raised this into the air and chanted a grotesque whining groan that was inhuman in nature. He embraced the stone idol, stabbing himself in the side as he screamed.

The police, planning to apprehend the man, withdrew their weapons. They closed in; one policeman snuck to flank him from behind. SPO1 Jhonathan Reyes, the flanking policeman, later commented that the man seemed to be necrotic—or, in his words, “was a walking dead man.”

The man uttered, in Tagalog, “The Messenger is amongst us!”

The policemen stood there, staring at the stage, unknowing what to do. It was up to SPO1 Reyes to tackle the man into submission. The yellow-robed man was practically suicidal. Dark blood seeped from the wounds at his side, yet he did not seem to cringe, as he continued to make stabbing motions.

As SP01 Reyes went for the kill, the yellow-robed man did what they feared: he stabbed himself through the heart, ensuring death. The man, later confirmed as Mariano Javier; a prestigious member of the Iglesia, was dead on the spot.

Further investigations showed that the Anak were holding weapons: balisongs, revolvers, knives, pistols, and, in one case, a sawed-off shotgun. Some of the Iglesia members were deemed to be killed physical means, i.e., by these weapons. However, most of the two groups died from unknown causes. Autopsy reports indicated that these people had their ear drums ruptured, and their eyes literally exploding, also from unknown reasons.

After the incident, the Philippine National Police began conducting a search for members of those organizations. The Catholic Church, whose clergymen have ties amongst the Iglesia de Estrellas, has condoned the massacre at Ermita as one of the worst ‘paganic blasphemies’ to have occurred within the century. The Moslem community have also condoned the said bloodshed to have been an “affront against Allah”.

As for the policemen involved in the incident, three of the twenty-five raiders committed suicide. Seven men—including SP01 Jhonatan Reyes—were committed to the National Center for Mental Health, at Mandaluyong city, for minor schizophrenia and dementia.

Most of the remaining fifteen took a leave of absence, and experienced what seemed to be post-traumatic stress disorder. Two weeks after the incident, the stone idol was found to be destroyed in a police station fire, which also led to the deaths of three of the twenty-five men.

The Incident, which is known as the Horror at Ermita, remains notorious today as an example of the horrors of the emerging cult subculture.