As ghoulish deities go, the Flayed Lord is up there. He sounds like something from Game of Thrones, but while he is just as fictional as any other god, the Flayed Lord once had multitudes of real-life worshipers — in Mexico, some 700–1,000 years ago.
Mexican archaeologists have discovered what they say is the first temple of a pre-Hispanic fertility god known as the Flayed Lord who is depicted as a skinned human corpse. … Experts found two skull-like stone carvings and a stone trunk depicting the god Xipe Totec.
An extra hand dangling from the arm of one of the statues suggests to archeologists that
Jame Gumb Mr. Totec is wearing the skin of a victim (so, a different interpretation from the one imposed on this three-handed “god”). According to the Associated Press,
Priests worshipped Xipe Totec by skinning human victims and then donning their skins. The ritual was seen as a way to ensure fertility and regeneration. … Authorities believe the victims who lost their skin were involved in gladiator-style combat and were later flayed.
Xipe Totec is one of untold thousands of gods who wound up on the ash heap of history, a fact that gives support to non-believers’ often-heard assertion that everyone is an atheist; we just go one deity further than Christians, Jews, and Muslims.
(Screenshot via Newsweek)