Most people interested in the paranormal are familiar with such cryptids as El Chupacabra and the Jersey Devil. But have you ever heard of a woman with a cow’s hoof, or a youngster whose feet are turned backwards? Probably not, but you should. Caribbean folklore is rich in strange creatures with mystical powers and/or sinister intent.
Papa Bois: The guardian of the forests, Papa Bois often appears as a haggard, old man complete with moss laden beard. Don’t be fooled though. His sinewy body hides a reservoir of strength. Disrespect nature and you’ll incur his wrath, leaving you lost and wandering. But he does have a soft side and has been known to lead nature lovers out of danger.
La Diablesse: Unlike Papa Bois, La Diablesse has no good intentions. Her sole purpose is to seduce unsuspecting men and lead them to their deaths. Her appearance is ghastly, with a face like a corpse and one foot malformed into a cloven hoof. How then does she have the power to entice? Her deformities are typically hidden under a wide-brimmed hat and flowing dress. However, some say she has the power to cast a spell and transform herself into a beautiful young woman.
Douennes: Douennes and Jumbies are the spirits of children who passed before they could be baptized. They look like children, albeit naked children, but their faceless heads are hidden by straw hats and their feet are turned backwards. At their best, they can be pranksters. At their worst, they try to lure living children into the forest.
The Lagahoo: This is a modification of the French Loup-Garou, or werewolf. Unlike that creature, the Lagahoo can transform into a wolf or any number of creatures including dogs, pigs, and other livestock. In his human form, for he is usually an elderly man, he is typically a practitioner of black magic and can pass down the curse to his children. He is not invincible and it is said that any damage done to the Lagahoo will show up when he reverts to human form.
The Soucouyant: The Soucouyant, or Old Higue, is the Caribbean’s version of the vampire. Often thought to be an old woman who lives on her own, she is capable of shedding her skin at night and flying through the sky as a ball of fire in her search for blood. She can only be destroyed by finding her discarded skin and rubbing it with salt. She will then be unable to wear it and will be killed by the morning sun.
Presented for your pleasure is but a sampling. If you’re hungry for more on Caribbean folklore, you should check out this eBook.