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Episode 98 The Cult of the Unknown Tongues

In February 1933 a church service in a Kentucky mountain town ended with the death of 72 year old Lucinda Mills. Nine relatives would be accused of murder while the media labelled her death a human sacrifice. What happened in that cabin?

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How does a week long revival end with the murder of a 72 year old woman? That’s the question people were asking in February 1933 when deputies entered a cabin in the mountains of Kentucky.

They found Lucinda Mills dead on the floor, her son kneeling on her body…with a chain twisted around her neck.

Within days rumors began to spread that Lucinda had volunteered to die at the hands of her son John, as a human sacrifice.

Why did John Mills feel compelled to kill his mother? Why did none of Lucinda’s relatives in the cabin with him, stop him?

Hear the story in the new episode of Southern Mysteries.

Episode Note: Lucinda Mill’s age has been listed as 65 and 72 in different publications and census records.

Boyd Cabin where Lucinda Mills was killed, just outside of Tomahawk, Kentucky. Image: Indianapolis Times 1933
Criminal trials were so rare in Martin County so the Mills trial drew large crowds. Image: Lexington Herald 1933
Image Source: Danville Daily Messenger, 1933

Episode Resources

Laben T. Mills Obituary. Big Sandy News. July 31,1914

Lucinda Ward Mills. Find A Grave. [Lucinda’s age listed as 65 here but based off of census records she was believed to have been 72] 

Burning of Body on Altar Halted by Inez Police. The Owensboro Inquirer. February 9, 1933 

Cult Victim Held Willing Sacrifice. The Courier-Journal. February 10, 1933

Insanity Plea Planned in Cult Slaying Case. The Courier-Journal. February 11, 1933

Bare Details of ‘Sacrifice’ Death Scene. Indianpolis Times. February 11, 1933

Mills Held Without Bond for Slaying Mother in Cult ‘Sacrifice’. The Lexington Herald. February 12, 1933

Nine Relatives of Cult Victim Are Indicted. The Owensboro Messenger. April 5, 1933

Insanity Held Slaying Cause. The Courier-Journal. April 7, 1933

Two Relative Freed In Cult Slaying Trial. The Lexington Leader. April 9, 1933

Prosecutor Contends Slayers of Mrs Mills Cold Blooded Murderers. The Courier-Journal. April 10, 1933

Mills Kneeling on Mother’s Body Fought Deputies. The Owensboro Inquirer. April 11, 1933

Cult Case Goes to Jury. The Courier Journal. April 12, 1933

Cult Leader Is Given Life Term for Matricide. The Courier-Journal. April 12, 1933

Blaine McGinnis is Given Pardon. Lexington Herald-Leader. November 3, 1933

The Mysterious “Order of the Odd Fellows”. Messy Nessy. January 2020. 

Odd Fellows Have Skeletons in Their Closets–and Their Walls and Attics. Los Angeles Times. April 2001.

Episode Music

Clean Soul, Concentration, Tranquility Base, Almost F in Tranquility, Drone in D and Loss by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. Source:

The Dark Glow of the Mountains and There’s Probably No Time by Chris Zabriske  Licensed under Creative Commons

Elegy by Asher Fulero Licensed under Creative Commons

Theme Song “Dark & Troubled” by Pantherburn. Special thanks to Phillip St Ours for permission for use.