Real Story

Irenia Cotner – The Wicked Witch of the Midwest

Irenia Cotner Convinces 'Coven' To Murder Someone

Irenia Cotner used her witch coven to target her ex’s pregnant girlfriend, but other people were caught in the crossfire.

The Witching Hour

In 2005 in a little town in Illinois, three people—two men and a woman—walked into the strange living room inside of an apartment. On the ground was the circle of lit candles, and the trio, without saying anything, just marched into the circle of candles and took seats cross-legged on the ground, all looking inward toward each other. Then, after sitting there for a second, it was like suddenly the air in the room seemed to change. When that happened, the woman began to speak. Except it wasn’t her voice; it was like this dark, guttural voice that almost sounded like a man speaking, but it was clearly coming out of her mouth.

The two men who were sitting in the circle, watching this woman, were expecting this, so they sat there, listening intently for their instructions. After they got their instructions, the two men waited for the woman to stop talking. When she did, she handed them a special tool for the ritual. Then, the two men stood up, said their goodbyes, turned around, marched outside, hopped in the car, and began driving towards their target.

Just before midnight on August 22nd, 2005, 38-year-old Rick knocked on the front door of an apartment in the tiny Midwestern Farm Town of Claremont, Illinois. As Rick waited for the door to open, he could barely stand still because he was so excited about what he was going to be doing that night. Finally, the door swung open, and Rick saw right in front of him this very skinny and gaunt-looking woman with dark hair and dark eyes staring back at him. Her name was Irenia Cotner, and she was 34 years old. By day, she worked at Walmart, but at night, she became the real version of herself. She was a witch who actually led a group of witches known as a coven that Rick was a part of.

Irenia Cotner - Oscar R. Eck aka "Rick"
Oscar R. Eck aka “Rick”

Without saying anything, Irenia Cotner motioned for Rick to follow her into her apartment. Then Irenia turned and began walking away, and Rick, before stepping over the threshold, paused for a moment and just turned to the guy he had brought with him, a tall, muscular man named David Lindner. Rick nodded at David, and David nodded back. Then the two of them walked inside.

Irenia Cotner
Irenia Cotner

As Rick and David followed Irenia into her apartment, Rick still could barely contain his excitement. He had only joined this coven recently, about a year and a half ago, and so witchcraft, which is something they were going to be doing that night, was kind of new to him. But it was very exciting. Rick had been inspired to become a witch and join this coven after watching the Harry Potter movies. And so he was hopeful that tonight would go something like Harry Potter. Rick knew David, the guy he had brought along, was this very powerful warlock, which is a male witch. And so he figured, you know, if David’s here, this is bound to go to plan. Rick just hoped he’d be able to keep up with David or at least play some sort of meaningful support role.

coven Irenia Cotner

Irenia Cotner eventually led Rick and David down this dark hallway to the small living room where, in the middle of the floor, was a ring of lit candles. As soon as Rick and David stepped into the room with Irenia, they were hit with this powerful smell of incense that had been burning in the room. Also, there was all the smoke hovering in the air from the various things that Irenia had been burning in preparation for tonight’s event.

Rick, David, and Irenia Cotner walked quietly into the middle of the circle of candles and sat down cross-legged in a circle facing each other. Then they got ready to begin.

David Lindner - Irenia Cotner
David Lindner

Life in the town of Claremont was normally very quiet and peaceful. This is a town that literally has more cornfields than people. Claremont was over 100 miles away from the nearest city. But beneath the calm exterior, Claremont had a dark side. Amongst the 200 or so residents of Claremont were several very dark witches. Not this coven, not Irenia, Rick, and David; they were the good guys. The dark witches, they were kind of out and about in this town, doing bad things like practicing evil magic and evil witchcraft. And so this coven, led by Irenia Cotner, was actually in place to try to combat these evil witches in their midst.

And tonight, Rick, David, and Irenia were going to attempt to perform their most ambitious and important magic yet. The coven was going to attempt to break a powerful hex, which is kind of like a curse. This hex was cast by a person who might very well be the worst of all the dark witches in Claremont, a 16-year-old girl named Lindsay Casinger.

As Rick sat cross-legged in the middle of the circle, he found himself staring at the two slightly bigger candles that sat in the dead center of the circle, right between Rick, David, and Irenia. David, as he stared at these two candles, saw etched in each of the candles’ bodies were words. On one candle, it said “Lindsay,” and on the other candle, it was etched “baby” because it would turn out this very evil dark witch, Lindsay, was pregnant. So instead of having to combat one dark soul, the coven would have to combat two because Lindsay and her baby were kind of intertwined.

Before that night, the coven repeatedly attempted to break Lindsay’s hex. Initially, they thought the curse targeted Irenia due to her struggles with depression, anxiety, and love. Despite multiple failed attempts, the hex intensified, spreading from Irenia to absent coven members, causing symptoms like depression and severe headaches in a 20-year-old woman.

And so that was why, on this night, the coven had decided to really beef up their attack on this hex. And so that was why Rick had gone out and brought in David, the experienced warlock from St. Louis, Missouri, who claimed he had broken a hex before and he could do it again for them.

As Rick, Irenia Cotner, and Dave all sat in the circle, they looked at each other. Then they began chanting in unison to bring out the dead, to join them in the living room right now. And as they began this chant, Rick found himself intensely staring at those two candles with “Lindsay” and “baby” on them. As he stared at the flames dancing across the top of them, Rick started to feel like he was kind of drifting off into a trance-like state. And he knew that based on his prior teachings from Irenia, the leader of this coven, that this must be what it feels like when the spirit world opens up, which means the dead really were coming into the room.

Then, as Rick is kind of dealing with this trance-like state, he heard Irenia begin to talk. But it wasn’t her normal voice; it was the slow and deep-sounding voice, almost like something had inhabited her body and taken it over and was now speaking through her mouth. And Irenia, in this kind of slow and strange voice, would tell Rick and David that the curse is still growing. And then she would say something that totally caught Rick by surprise. She said, again in that slow, strange voice, that the hex now was also on Rick and his entire family. And if they didn’t break this hex immediately, Rick and his family would all perish.

And when Rick heard this, he’s still in this trance-like state, but his heart began racing because he didn’t know this hex could potentially affect his loved ones. And so this was a really big deal; they needed to end this hex tonight.

Rick listened intently as Irenia Cotner began to say in this strange voice what their plan was for that night to break this hex. Basically, Rick and David were going to perform a sacred ritual, and Irenia, she began to say to the spirits in the room that Rick and David, they were ready, but they needed help. And so after she said this, she went quiet. So, too, did Rick and David. And they all just sat there, kind of waiting for something to happen.

After about a minute of total silence, Irenia began to speak again, still in this strange, slow, bizarre voice. But Rick and David knew now it was a different voice coming out of her. Now, Irenia was speaking on behalf of the spirit world that was in the room with them. And Irenia, she would say in this voice, “I grant you five demons to help you on your quest to break this hex.” And then, after saying this, Irenia opened her eyes. She looked kind of confused for a moment, then got her bearings. She looked at David and Rick and told them, now in her normal voice, that they had to perform this sacred ritual before the two candles in the middle, with “Lindsay” and “baby” etched on them, burned out. So, basically, Rick and David needed to get this done tonight.

Then, Irenia Cotner handed David a sacred tool that would be used that night in this sacred ritual. And then, Rick and David stood up to leave. Before they left, Irenia gave them the typical witch send-off, which was “blessed be.” Rick and David nodded their heads, turned, and walked out of the apartment. As soon as they were out into the night, Rick could have sworn he saw dark shadows moving around all over the place. And he knew right then and there that he and David would be safe that night because clearly, the shadows moving around had to be those five demons that Irenia had called forth from the spirit world to protect them this night.

Feeling very safe and empowered, Rick and David went straight into Rick’s car. Rick turned it on, pulled away from the curb, and began heading towards their destination.

The other day, old seagull lung was looking pretty down and so naturally I offered him some of my iced wilderbeast retinas to suck on, but he just shook his head and said, “Dad, thank you, but what I really need right now is, you know, a bloodthirsty horde of zombies to descend on this town so I can savagely destroy them with various DIY weaponry.” But alas, zombies aren’t real, and so my dream will never come true.

Now a few miles away at the house where the 16-year-old evil witch Lindsay Casinger lived, a 20-year-old Army private named Joshua Bennett was sitting at the kitchen table in Lindsay’s house eating chicken wings and just kind of enjoying his night. Josh didn’t know Lindsay very well, but he wasn’t at her house to see Lindsay; he was at her house to see his own mother.

lindsey kasinger's house - Irenia Cotner
lindsey kasinger’s house

Josh and his mother had a lot of catching up to do. She had abandoned him and his father when he was young, and so Josh’s dad had raised him, and then when Josh was old enough, he had joined the military. Now he was about to deploy to the Middle East to go to war, but unexpectedly, Josh’s father had died, and so Josh had come back to Illinois for the funeral.

Joshua Bennett - Irenia Cotner
Joshua Bennett

It was at the funeral where he saw his mother; she was in attendance as well. Even though he was upset with his mother for abandoning him, he felt like, “You know what? I want to reconnect with her.” So, he’d gone over and he’d given her a hug. His mother had been so touched that she had asked Josh to come by her house in Claremont, Illinois, where she lived with her boyfriend, because she really wanted some alone time to actually hear about Josh’s life and kind of get back together again. Of course, Josh had said yes. So, here he was at this house in Claremont.

Now, Josh had arrived at this house a little bit earlier and was surprised to discover that it was not just his mother and her boyfriend living there, but also his mother’s boyfriend’s son, whose name was Jackie, was also living there along with his pregnant girlfriend, the evil witch Lindsay Casinger.

But Josh didn’t really mind that there were extra people; it was just maybe a little bit confusing that this was kind of a big roommate situation. But it seemed like Jackie and his girlfriend Lindsay were very nice people, and they quickly went downstairs to the apartment in the basement and kind of just stayed out of the way so Josh and his mother could catch up.

Joshua Bennett - Irenia Cotner
Joshua Bennett

After Josh finished eating his wings, his mother came into the kitchen, and the two of them chatted for hours. Finally, at about midnight that night, Josh decided to go to bed. So, he said good night to his mom, retreated to the bedroom, and he laid in bed.

But he couldn’t really sleep right away because he had a lot going on in his life. I mean, he had just lost his dad a couple of weeks ago, and then at the same time, he had reconnected with his estranged mother, and he’s about to deploy to Iraq. He felt ready for that, but at the same time, he was kind of apprehensive. You know, it’s about to happen; you know, I hope I’ll be able to do my job.

With all these kind of intense thoughts swirling around his head, he just kind of laid there and didn’t really expect to sleep anytime soon. Eventually, Josh did fall asleep. However, it felt like he had only been asleep for a couple of minutes when he was abruptly woken up by the sound of barking coming from the kitchen. Jackie’s dog was going crazy.

Joshua Bennett
Joshua Bennett

Josh grabbed his phone and checked the time, seeing it was 3:00 in the morning. Instead of going out there and dealing with this dog, he just thought, “You know what? It’s going to stop eventually.” So, Josh grabbed his pillow, put it over his head, and tried to muffle the sounds so he could fall back asleep. But it didn’t work; the dog just kept on barking.

When Josh took the pillow off his head and sat up wondering what he should do about this dog situation, he heard the sound of a man’s voice, a stranger’s voice, saying, “I bring you forth from the dark.” After Josh heard this, he heard the sound of a woman screaming, and it sounded like his mom.

Joshua Bennett
Joshua Bennett

Acting on instinct, Josh leapt from his bed, ran out of the room, and he goes into the kitchen.

He sees the dog jumping and barking, his mom is screaming, and there’s this guy grabbing her, grappling with her, who’s wearing black gloves and a ski mask. There’s another guy next to him with the same get-up; it’s absolute chaos. Before Josh could run over and save his mother, suddenly his chest felt like it was on fire, and then he went blind. His eyes had this burning pain in them, and then he couldn’t breathe. He was stumbling backward, barely able to stand.

Minutes later, Rick, who was one of the witches from the coven, bolted out of the front door of Lindsay’s house where all this chaos was happening. He just took off running across the street directly into a cornfield. As he ran, he felt this throbbing pain in his leg and could feel blood pooling in his shoe. Rick ran until he couldn’t run any farther, then he collapsed onto the ground. He began thinking about what an absolute disaster it had been inside the evil Witch’s House. Not only had they failed to break the hex cast by Lindsay, but also Rick was concerned that David, his partner who was still at the house, was dead.

Rick began looking around wildly, hoping all those demons that were sent to help them from the spirit world would be nearby and know what to do. Rick looked around, but there was no one. So, Rick thought, “Oh my gosh, Lindsay’s hex must be stronger than any of us realized. We have to do something now; we have to end this before me and my family get killed too.” Rick pulled out his phone and called Irenia, the leader of the coven, to get her advice about what they should do next. But Irenia didn’t respond to what Rick was saying the way he expected her to. Instead, she seemed very cold and almost enraged at what he was saying.

Before Rick could figure out what was going on with Irenia, he heard off in the distance the sound of sirens making their way to the evil Witch’s House.

Over the next few days, police detectives would speak to everyone inside of Irenia’s coven, as well as everyone who knew both Irenia and Lindsay. Slowly but surely, the police would put together what actually happened inside of Lindsay the evil Witch’s House in the early morning hours of August 23rd, 2005.

Crime Scene
Crime Scene

At about 3:00 a.m. on August 23rd, 2005, Rick and David pulled up onto Lindsay Street and parked their car a little ways away from Lindsay’s house. After parking, Rick and David donned their ski masks and gloves. After looking at each other and nodding, they hopped out and began walking towards Lindsay’s house. Their plan was to sneak in through one of Lindsay’s windows and confront Lindsay the evil witch directly. They’d break the hex by performing a sacred ritual. After this ritual was over, they had a second ritual to perform that would send Lindsay’s evil soul through the gates of hell. To do that, they needed the help of the five demons that had been sent along by Irenia Cotner from the spirit world.

Rick and David felt like this was a great plan. However, as soon as they got to Lindsay’s house and David began trying to climb into one of the windows, everything fell apart. First, the dog began to bark inside of Lindsay’s house, alerting Josh’s mother. She came into the kitchen and saw the dog and David falling through the window. Rick, who didn’t really know what was happening inside the house, climbed through the window after David. When he stood up in the kitchen, he realized it was too late; they were totally caught.

Rick, not really knowing what to do, saw all this yelling and chaos happening. He looked over at David, who grabbed something from his belt and pulled it out: the tool that Irenia Cotner had given them when they left her apartment to go carry out this sacred ritual. This tool was part of that sacred ritual, a long, sharp knife. They were going to stab the evil witch Lindsay Casinger to death with it; that was how they were going to break the hex. After they killed Lindsay, they were going to perform this weird ritual with her clothing that would send her soul through the gates of hell.

Rick did understand that this was the plan; they were going to murder Lindsay. Perhaps he didn’t really know how serious David was about carrying it out or the fact that David was not really a warlock as much as he was a violent criminal who had bragged to Irenia Cotner about previously murdering someone who had cast a separate hex. So, by killing this person, that was how David had broken the hex previously. Also, Rick may not have known that David had been instructed by Irenia to not let anything stand in their way to break this hex, to carry out this sacred ritual on Lindsay.

Rick just watched as David raised the knife and began stabbing Josh’s mother over and over again in the chest while screaming, “I bring you forth from the dark.” It was at this point that Josh, the Army private who heard all this happening, came charging out in his underwear into the kitchen. Rick watched as David went from stabbing Josh’s mother to turning and immediately stabbing Josh directly in the chest.

Rick, at this point, just jumped right in on it and pulled out his pepper spray, spraying Josh in the eyes. That was why Josh felt the burning sensation and then went blind, couldn’t breathe, and fell to the ground. Now it is absolute chaos inside this kitchen, and the actual target of David and Rick, Lindsay the evil witch, she managed to run out of the house and to a nearby neighbor’s house to get help.

Meanwhile, the evil witch’s boyfriend, Jackie, he comes upstairs carrying a shotgun. At this point, Josh is on the ground, clearly dying from the stab wound to his chest. His mother, as well, is struggling on the ground, and David is going totally nuts, saying all these strange things and whipping his knife around. Rick is just totally panicking and doesn’t know what to do. When Jackie ran at Rick with this shotgun, Rick pulled out his own knife and attempted to stab Jackie. But somehow, he missed Jackie and stabbed himself in the leg. That was why his leg was throbbing and bleeding because he had stabbed himself.

After Rick had stabbed himself, Jackie walked over and Spartan kicked Rick down the stairs into the basement.

Jackie turned his attention from Rick to David, who was still just going nuts with this knife, being a total maniac. Jackie walked over to David, and David tried to move the barrel out of the way. But then somehow, he only managed to point the gun directly at his own stomach. At which point, Jackie just fired a slug directly into David’s gut.

It was at this moment, as David is crumpling to the ground with this horrible stomach wound, that the neighbor that Lindsay the evil witch had gone to get had come to the house. They went inside and found a scene of absolute carnage. Before the neighbor could even do anything, Rick, who had stabbed himself in the leg and been kicked down into the basement, had scrambled up the steps and just run right past all the bodies on the ground, past the neighbor who didn’t even do anything outside. Rick just kept on running out into that cornfield.

At this point, the neighbor didn’t even try to figure out what happened. He just called 911, but it was already too late for Josh, the Army private who was only at this house to reconnect with his estranged mother before he deployed to Iraq. And here he was, dead on the ground from this totally bizarre attack.

Joshua Bennett
Joshua Bennett

It would turn out Rick, David, and really the entire coven of witches that fell under Irenia Cotner had been totally duped. They all fully believed that Lindsay was, in fact, an evil witch who had cast this hex on Irenia, which was spreading to all the other members of the coven. But in reality, Irenia, the leader of this coven, she didn’t believe there was a hex; that had nothing to do with any of them. The whole coven thing was totally made up. She was just jealous that Lindsay was dating Jackie. Irenia had previously dated Jackie, and they had broken up. And Irenia still wanted to get back together, but Jackie didn’t. And so now that Jackie was with Lindsay, Irenia just couldn’t handle it.

So naturally, Irenia Cotner had constructed this whole thing about Lindsay being one of the dark witches in Claremont, Illinois, and she’s cast this hex, and now, you, my witches in this coven, you need to go and kill her. But of course, Lindsay did not end up getting killed. And instead, it was the totally innocent person, Josh, the Army private who had nothing to do with any of this, who got killed. In addition to Josh dying, David, the Warlock from St Louis, he died from the shotgun blast to his stomach. And then Josh’s mother, who had been stabbed repeatedly by David, she would actually survive her attack.

Irenia Cotner would ultimately be found guilty of first-degree murder, and she would be sentenced to 57 years in prison. Rick pleaded guilty to murder as well, and he was sentenced to 20 years. And a third member of the coven who was not present for the attack but who, after the fact, helped cover it up, they were sentenced to 32 years in prison.

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