It's hard to believe some barbaric acts are still passed off in the name of irreconcilable cultural differences. In the central state of Chhattisgarh, India, a seven-year-old girl was murdered and "her liver offered to the gods" -- in return for a good harvest.
Two men have been arrested (and subsequently confessed) in connection with the ritual sacrifice of Lalita Tati after her body went missing and was later discovered.
Although the practice is illegal, in some districts in India human sacrifices are still made, as they are thought to appease the gods, spirits and deities.
In 2010, a factory worker was found decapitated in a temple in West Bengal, and in 2006, The Guardian reported that a woman and her sons sacrificed a three-year-old boy on the advice of a tantrik or traveling "holy man":
"They dragged him into their home and the eldest son performed a puja ceremony, reciting a mantra and waving incense. Sumitra smeared sandalwood paste and globules of ghee over the terrified child's body. The two men then used a knife to slice off the child's nose, ears and hands before laying him, bleeding, in front of Kali's image."
Superstition is a potent force in India, particularly in remote rural areas which are largely illiterate.
"Modern India is home to hundreds of millions who can't read or write, but who often seek refuge from life's realities through astrology or the magical arts of shamans," said president of the Indian Rationalist Association, Sanal Edamaruku. "Unfortunately these people focus their horrific attention on society's weaker members, mainly women and children who are easier to handle and kidnap."
Forget the Twilight trilogy or the Hunger Games. If your tween is hankering after a terrifying yarn, she need only pick up an Indian newspaper. Reality is stranger, and scarier, than any fiction.