In what usually is a peaceful and calm Amish settlement outside of Bergholz, Ohio, a mysterious clan of Amish men have been terrorizing fellow Amish... by forcibly cutting chunks of their hair. These bizarre "hair attacks" have left many men with bald spots in their beards as well as many women with bare patches on their scalps.
The attacks are linked to a man named (hilariously) Sam Mullet, due to a rift between the regular Amish community and followers of Mullet, a 66-year-old bishop leading a breakaway group in the 800-acre Ohio compound.
While Mullet has not been making the beard-cutting attacks himself, Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla previously told The Huffington Post, "Those people don't make a move out there without his orders... He calls all the shots."
According to the New York Times, Mullet is seeking revenge for having been "bitterly estranged from mainstream Amish communities" when he tried to excommunicate families who moved away from the settlement years ago. Since he failed at shunning the families who "wronged" him, he has gone to great lengths (literally) to punish the wrongdoers.
And a severe punishment for the Amish, apparently, is hair and beard cutting.
As the New York Times wrote:
“The beard is a key symbol of masculine Amish identity,” said Donald B. Kraybill, a sociologist and expert on the Amish at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. The women view their long hair, kept in a bun, as their “glory,” Dr. Kraybill said, and shearing it was “an attack on her personal identity and religious teaching.”
The hair-stealing epidemic has left many Amish families distraught. It's left us very, very intrigued. Read more about the hair-stealing here.
And for a reminder of what Amish beards look like: