We all know about vampires and werewolves, or at least we think we do. The legends and myths that inspired these monsters are sometimes surprisingly different, but no less chilling. In this series of posts, Monster Monday, we’ll investigate the monsters that have informed our modern notions, as well as some lesser known monsters. Today, we talk about the Soucouyant.
A soucouyant is a vampire-like creature in Caribbean folklore. Its origin is probably French vampire myths mixed with legends from African folklore. A soucouyant appears to be an old woman during the day, but at night, she takes off her skin and flies through the air in the form of a fireball searching for victims. While she is gone she stores her skin in a mortar.
When a soucouyant finds a victim, she can enter the house through a keyhole or any small crack. She sucks blood from her victims, leaving blue or black marks on the victim’s skin. If she drinks too much, then the person will become ill and die. A soucouyant is also considered to be a witch and sometimes uses the blood for practicing black magic.
To protect against a soucouyant, a person can throw grains of rice around the perimeter of the house. The soucouyant will have to stop and count the grains and won’t be able to enter the house before dawn when she had to fly back to her house and put her skin back on. If someone finds a soucouyant’s skin, then putting salt on the skin will prevent the soucouyant from putting it back on, killing her.