19:49 GMT24 February 2021
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    Constructed in 1900, the “Halloween House” served both as an “exotic place” for one of the Church of Satan's members to express his beliefs, and as a venue for the local community to celebrate Halloween.

    Members of the Church of Satan residing in the city of Poughkeepsie, New York mourned the destruction of the so called "Halloween House", an iconic piece of property previously owned by Joe "Netherworld" Mendillo, a high-ranking member of the group who passed away last year.

    According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, the building went up in flames Thursday, with local police saying that a surveillance tape shows an individual walking up to the structure early in the morning carrying two fuel cans, splashing a liquid on the porch, igniting it and running away; the two people who were inside the house during the fire managed to escape without injury.

    "Everybody’s in shock and everyone in the neighbourhood is worried. Whoever did this is going to be hexed by all of us," said one of the members of the church who goes by the stage name Isis Vermouth. "I feel like this was definitely malicious. Someone showed up in a hazmat suit and poured two huge jugs of gasoline on the porch while everyone was sleeping."

    ​City Councilman Chris Petsas also decried the act, stating that Poughkeepsie is a "city of many different and diverse backgrounds and religions", and that "regardless of what people practice as their religion, no one has a right to torch a property".

    The 1900 building was built by Mendillo, a former stage prop designer, to be both "an exotic showplace of his beliefs" and "a place for the community to come together and celebrate Halloween", the media outlet adds.

    While the arsonist's identity is currently unknown, the nature of the crime has reportedly led the church members and the authorities to believe that this wasn't a random act.

    arson, church, Satan, US
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