Are the cases on True Detective based on true events?

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True Detective

True Detective — Photo Credit: HBO

The HBO crime drama True Detective is widely considered one of the most thrilling and compelling shows on television, and part of that comes from the horrifying crime stories detailed through each individual season

A dark anthology series that captured the minds of every true crime and psychological-thriller fan in the world, True Detective is a crime series that stands out from the mountain of other investigative series on television, setting up a new case and different set of detectives each season. It’s no Monk or Criminal Minds where the killer is found in 60 minutes and the characters aren’t too damaged that they can’t be helped after a nice talking to.

The series isn’t just good TV, it’s also unforgettable thanks to the wildly unbelievable crimes the detectives investigate. Season 1 had a pedophile sex cult, Season 2 had a Mafia-type town takeover, and the currently running Season 3 is a conspirator’s dream with so many questions it hurts your head. Pile all that with personal drama and interesting characters, Rust Cohle’s got them all beat, and you have one hell of a show.

The crimes are so shocking, it’s hard to imagine them ever occurring in real life, but are they based on fact? Did a sex cult really thrive in Louisiana or are the series writers just naturally twisted individuals?

Season 1: The Louisiana Sex Abuse Ritual

Season 1 of True Detective was one of a kind and it remains as one of the greatest seasons of an anthology series of all time, and as a standalone season, one of the greatest TV series ever made. Starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, the HBO series made by Nic Pizzolatto follows two detectives as they solve a murder case that appears to be sitting in a web of conspiracies.

At the very end of the case, Rust (McConaughey) and Marty (Harrelson) uncover a secret pedophile sex ring under their very noses, “The Kingdom of Carcosa”. Located in the backwoods of Louisiana, the group is organized by a bunch of wealthy Louisiana politicians and church leaders carrying out ritualistic sex with children. The members worship someone referred to as the “Yellow King.”

Though the series was largely influenced by Lovecraftian horror, it’s a real crime that took place in Louisiana that likely served as inspiration for the setting, despite Pizzolatto’s claims that the inspiration came primarily from literature. It’s hard not to hear about the sexual abuse scandal of the Hosanna Church in Louisiana, and not think of True Detective. Pizzolatto never cites the scandal as an influence, but in an interview with EW, he says that on Googling the terms “Satanism”, “preschool” and “Louisiana”, a lot of shocking things pop up. Googling those three terms together almost always brings you to the Hosanna case.

The Hosana Church and Louis Lamonica

The Hosanna Church in Tangipahoa Parish was once a thriving evangelical church run by Reverend Louis Lamonica that was known in the community for its dedication to children. However, inside the church was a scene straight out of a nightmare. Running the church wasn’t anything holy, but a ring of Satanic pedophiles ritually abusing children for years.

Lamonica and eight other Church members were accused of raping up to 25 children, as well as performing animal sacrifices. Inside the church was a crudely made pentagram on the floor that someone attempted to erase, and eight boxes of hooded black costumes. The kind of thing no one believes exists until it comes pounding on your doorstep.

The police didn’t find it on their own. The man in charge, Lamonica, randomly confessed one day. He admitted everything out of the blue and turned his associates, as well as himself, in. Lamonica claimed to have drunk cat’s blood and poured it over the bodies of his victims, some of whom were the abusers’ own children. The New York Times wrote about the case in 2005.

Nine people have been arrested in the past week. A dozen computers have been seized, at least some of which the police believe contain child pornography, as well as dozens of videotapes, hundreds of computer disks and eight large boxes of documents and photographs. Inside the shuttered church compound, in a “youth hall” behind the sanctuary, the police found the faint imprint of pentagrams on the floor that someone had apparently tried to scrub away.

Some of those arrested, the police said, described rituals within those pentagrams involving cats’ blood and people dressed in black robes.

The abuse victims ranged in age from 1 to 16, the police said. Several are in protective custody, and a search is under way for others, who may have moved or are known to the police only by first name or nickname.

There seem to be several characters in the HBO series that came straight from the Hosana case. On True Detective, there is a character called Billy Lee Tuttle who is a powerful pastor and cousin to the show’s fictional Louisiana Governor Ed Tuttle who shares similarities with Hosana linked Eddie Robinson.

Eddie Robinson, assistant pastor at the 5,000-member Harvest World Outreach Ministries in nearby Hammond – to which many Hosanna members migrated – says what happened is clear. He told congregants on Sunday that a prophecy of “witchcraft” problems had been revealed in recent weeks.

Another similarity is the involvement of a dirty policeman. In True Detective, Rust suspects that someone in law enforcement is involved in the case and in real life, a sheriff deputy was implicated in the Hosana case.

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