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Occult author wounds wife, kills self

WHATELY, Mass. -- A local farmer, who co-authored a popular book on the occult in the 1980s and claimed to be possessed by the devil, shot and killed himself after wounding his estranged wife at the their home in western Massachusetts, police said Wednesday.

Maurice Theriault was found dead of a bullet wound to the head in the rented house in Whately Tuesday night after his wife, Nancy, staggered out the door and collapsed on a neighbor's front steps.

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She was was taken to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield where she was reported in fair condition Wednesday with bullet wounds to her left arm and side.

Theriault, in his 50s, was co-author of 'Satan's Harvest,' a book on the occult published in 1985, in which he claimed to be possessed by the devil. The work attracted wide attention among devil-worship enthusiasts at the time, and Theriault made several national television appearances promoting the book.

Neighbors said Theriault had moved out of the house in recent months and that his wife had recently filed for divorce and obtained a restraining order to keep her husband away.

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