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7668: Loup Garou in Haitian Folk Belief (fwd)
In Haiti there is a folk belief in beings called "loup garou", lougarou in Creole. This term has been
translated in English as "werewolf", but this is not the sense in which it is used in Haiti. A person who
becomes a lougarou is a person who magically flies at night, either by turning into a bird or by removing
their skin, and goes about doing harm, especially by killing children.
There are scores of tales about lougarou, and most Haitians can tell you who in their district has a
child who was killed by a lougarou. They can imitate the characteristic screech of a lougarou, they can tell you what to do if a lougarou attacks one's house, and how to identify which person in the community is the lougarou.
I present a narrative given to me this morning by a Haitian man, age 28, who has lived for some time in
Jacmel and some time in Port-au-Prince, and who has worked as a commercial truck driver. Both he and his uncle, a notable farmer and community figure, work magic according to Vodou principles, though neither are initiated. They work together to treat people made ill through magical means, including children made ill by lougarou.
"You can tell when a person is a lougarou. You can tell! How can you tell? Well... you can tell.
Because the person gets up at night, and they turn into any animal with wings - a turkey, for instance. Then they go fly and get on top of a person's house, and any child inside, they eat it. They don't eat the child's flesh, they suck the strength out of the child.
"What benefit do they get from that? None! They just do it to be mean.
"How do you know which person? You can tell! How can you tell? Well... you can tell. Because the person will get caught while they are outdoors, saluting the four directions before they turn into a turkey. They have fire all over them, a light that shines. Then when they become an animal, the animal's eyes shine strangely, they are red too. Or the person might be seen running back to their house if a neighbor wakes up and chases them while they are on top of someone's house. They fly away in the form of a turkey, but they have to come back to the ground and turn into a person again.
"Men can be lougarou as well as women.
"There is a woman in my neighborhood who is a lougarou. We can tell! How can we tell? Well... we can tell. People have seen things, and people talk. No, no one has actually seen her changing into a turkey. She was seen running back to her house at night, though.
"She is a commercante and she used to have a big business, she used to do commerce and make money. And she was always going to Houngans' houses, you know, to do things. She had money, so she could pay Houngans. She bothered one Houngan too much, and he made her a lougarou. Now her commerce is down to nothing, all she can sell is little candies.
"What did the Houngan benefit by making her a lougarou? Nothing! He just did it to be mean, because the woman bothered him too much."
Peace and love,
Bon Mambo Racine Sans Bout Sa Te La Daginen
"Se bon ki ra" - Good is rare
The VODOU Page - http://members.aol.com/racine125/index.html
(Posting from Jacmel, Haiti)