Accused church arsonist Holden Matthews used a second Facebook account to make comments claiming Baptist worshipers were “brainwashed people” days before his arrest in the arsons of three historically black Baptist churches in his St. Landry Parish community.

Originally reported by CNN, the secondary account was listed under the name Noctis Matthews. An acquaintance of Matthews’, Nygyl Bryyn, confirmed to the outlet the account belonged to Matthews.

The Acadiana Advocate reviewed comments, photos and posts on the Noctis Matthews account and confirmed photos posted from the account match existing photos of Matthews. Additionally, the account lists the user’s location as Opelousas, Louisiana and describes the user as “a metal fan to the bone. Born in 1997, raising hell ever since.”

Matthews was an Opelousas resident and was born in September 1997, according to arrest records and court documents.

In a post comment from February 2017, Matthews says he created the Noctis Matthews account after his other Facebook profile was banned for 30 days. It’s unclear why his profile was blocked.

Using this second account, Matthews commented on an April 6 post about “Afrikan spirituality,” saying he “can’t stand all these Baptists around here, bunch of brainwashed people trying to find happiness in a religion that was forced on their ancestors just as it was on mine. I wish more blacks people would look into ancient beliefs of pre Christian Africa.”

Four days later, Matthews was arrested as the primary suspect in the three church arsons. The three churches burned were St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre on March 26; Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas on April 2; and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas on April 4.

Matthews was a self-described singer-songwriter for black metal groups and a YouTube video connected to one of his groups features Matthews singing about a church burning. Versions of the song were posted on March 19 and March 28, two days after the first church fire was reported. 

In a video posted by YouTube user “Malice,” Matthews sings about a church burning in the song “Diabolical Soul Feast.”

"The holy church is now destroyed," Matthews sings in the final verse. "Burning down in Odin's name."


Can't see video below? Click here.


Bryyn, Matthews’ acquaintance, confirmed to CNN Matthews wrote and sang the song.

Album photos featured in the YouTube videos mirror or exactly match photos shared on the Noctis Matthews account. The photos feature Matthews donning white and black face makeup, and one includes him wielding a sword.

One video on the YouTube account references the Noctis Matthews Facebook account and others describe the featured songs as “Louisiana black metal.”

Other connections between the Noctis Matthews account and a Facebook page under Matthews’ name include activity on pagan and Norse mythology pages where Holden Matthews was documented as an active member.

One group common on both accounts, “Followers of the old ways,” denounced Matthews Thursday. The group has over 75,000 members.

“Due to actions taken outside this group Holden Matthews is no longer a member of this group. We as admins condemn his actions and do not approve of them. While he has not broken any of the group rules for use of our page, his actions outside of this page shows that he is not worthy to be a member of FOTOW,” page administrator Henrik Balslev Jørgensen said.

Matthews’ beliefs in paganism, Norse mythology and interest in black metal have become a point of interest to investigators. At a press conference Thursday, law enforcement said they were looking into Matthews’ black metal background to determine if it influenced his reported crimes.

Black metal is a Scandinavian subgenre that has been linked to church burnings in Norway in the 1990s. One of the genre's most notorious figures, Norwegian bass player Varg Vikernes of the band Mayhem, was arrested and accused of setting the string of church fires, as well as killing one of his bandmates.


Follow Katie Gagliano on Twitter, @katie_gagliano.