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7759: lougawou (fwd)
Lougawou's in Haiti have more to do with the American Salem witches than they
have to do with vodou. A lougawou is a single woman, living alone, whose
neighbor has a sick child or a child who dies. Then the woman is accused of
"manje timoun". Manje does not mean eating flesh but it means destryoing for
evil purposes. When people live in darkness, hunger, poor healthcare, and
intense heat lougawou's are more common than when they live in good
conditions. Lougawou's do not travel to the US. Lougawou's have more to do
with scapegoating women for the evils of life in Haiti. Go ask the police if
they have any in their jail. You will find them. They are poor older women
who do not have children.
Children in Haiti have bad dreams when they sleep in intense heat. I did.
One of my sisters did. As a teacher I read the stories children wrote about
the time a lougawou came to get them at night. The stories are usually about
an illness or about waking up at night with fear. The nightmares are often
about being squeezed down on the bed because the heat is oppressive, or being
followed by weird looking adults.
Those who believe Lougawou's exist should think about the poor childless
single woman's point of view when a crowd is trying to stone her to death
because a child has died of natural causes in the neighborhood. During my
childhood in Petion-Ville there was a woman who the neighborhood children
called Elizabeth Lougawou. She was a white person with red hair who drove a
black car and seemed to have no friends or family. In my neighborhood in
Cambridge, MA there was a woman that the children thought was a witch. She
was an elderly woman living alone whose house and yard look full of junk.
She sometimes fell asleep outside on a lounge chair in the middle of her
junk. No one dared knock at her door on Halloween night.