" He Gave His Only Begotten Son "    (This is NOT a biblical story!)   by  Isaiah Gallagher


I've never told anyone about this. No one would believe me anyway, so I don't expect you to believe me either. All I know is that I have to tell somebody what he did.

My brother and I had different fathers. His father, Ed Sturgis, was a thief, liar and womanizer. He was suppose to be my dad as well, but I never claimed that bastard.

Ed Sturgis  and his family believed in 'roots'. Roots is the practice of casting spells, using powerful herbs, roots and dead matter  to make the spells work. Its rituals are derived from African practices, mixed with Hoodoo (Voodoo) and Christianity. 

Ed Sturgis's sister was a 'root woman'. People paid her a lot of money to cast spells. Afterwards she'd give them a 'MoJoe' that they wore on them or placed in their homes. A  MoJoe is a tiny bag or root that contained powerful things or spirits to protect you and to make sure the spell  worked.

I overheard Ed Sturgis and his sister talking one day when I was around 6 years old. With him being a thief and all, he needed extra protection from the police. It never occurred to him that the best protection was to stop stealing.

As his sister cast the spell, I heard them say that Ed Sturgis was offering his son in exchange for his life. That S.O.B. was actually sacrificing my brother! That scared me so bad, I quickly got away from that door. He just gave his son to the devil; no telling what he'd do to me if they knew I had over heard them.

I desperately wanted to tell mom, but I was to scared to say anything. By the next day, it all seemed like a bad dream anyway. Even years later, when the evidence proved it was true, I still didn't want to believe.  

One night I had a nightmare and ran to mom's room for comfort. Ed Sturgis was asleep nearest the door. Before I could wake mom up, something caught my eye; something he was wearing around his neck. As I inched closer, I saw that it was a MoJoe. Scared as I was, I still wanted to touch it. Kids are like that. It felt like human skin and seemed to be breathing! I got the hell out of there. Forget the nightmare, that was just a dream; this monster was for real.

The following year everything changed. Ed Sturgis got arrested. Him and his brother broke into a man's home, thinking he stashed lots of money in there. His brother killed the man. There was no money in the house by the way.  Both were charged with 1st degree murder. He snitched on his brother and his brother was found hung in his cell. Ed Sturgis was sentenced to life in prison anyway, so his snitching didn't work. It only got his brother killed. 

By the time my brother was 14, him and our cousin were stealing also. They got caught robbing a telephone warehouse and were sent to juvenile school for 6 months. That stint in juvey didn't help. They got out and kept on stealing. 

Nine years after his father was arrested, my brother was arrested for the exact same thing. Him and our cousin robbed a home. My cousin killed the man by accident. Both were charged with 1st degree murder, only this time my brother didn't snitch on his co-defendant.

They were held in the county jail for 2 years before going to trial. When they turned 17, they were sentenced to life in prison. I kept insisting that our cousin tell the truth and he finally did. It took him almost 20 years before he told the parole board that he was the one that accidentally killed the man.


My brother wouldn't listen to me when I kept telling him that as long as our cousin didn't tell the truth, both of them would remain in prison. He insisted that because the cousin already pleaded guilty and he didn't, that was sufficient. It wasn't.

After I had cousin sign a statement admitting everything, my brother used that to sue the parole board into releasing him. However as a consequence for not listening to me, my brother spent 38 years in prison, 22 years longer than he had to. Cousin in still in prison.


When they first got arrested, the state didn't want a father and son in the same prison, so they made a decision. By then Ed Sturgis had done 11 years, was a model inmate and a snitch for the warden.  He was granted parole. 

The MoJoe worked. Ed Sturgis got out of prison. His son went in.