Vampires we know and love #19: Vampires: Soucouyant/Soucriant: Great balls of fire

Think vampires are all the same? Think again! Vampires come in more flavors than Baskin-Robbins ice cream. So, this special DotW feature, Vampires we know and love, spotlights different kinds of bloodsucking fiends from around the world.

Soucouyant/Soucriant: Great balls of fire

There are a couple of vampires who turn themselves into balls of fire to hunt. The Soucouyant/Soucriant of the Caribbean (my sources say especially either Trinidad or Dominica in the Lesser Antilles) is one of them. In its flaming form, the Soucouyant attacks people, draining their blood. The Soucouyant rarely kills, just leaves victims comatose. If it does happen to go the extra mile, the victim will rise as a Soucouyant herself.

By day, the Soucouyant is that little old lady who lives next door. (So, I hope that if she does actually kill by mistake, she kills a woman, or else some dude will have an extra nasty surprise.) The Soucouyant has to make sure she gets back into her skin every morning before dawn. If the rays of the sun hit her, her energy will disperse and she won’t be able to re-form, though she won’t be dead either.

To protect against this vampire, sprinkle rice or flour in front of the door to your house. Like other vampires, the Soucouyant has to stop and count the grains before entering. This will keep her occupied until the sun hits her.

If you can manage it, try to find the skin left behind and sell it to your local magic practitioner. In Obeah (Caribbean magic), these skins are used in charms and potions. If you manage to find the skin while the vampire is out of it, you can prevent her from crawling back inside by sprinkling it with either salt (Maberry) or hot pepper (Guiley). Just to be safe, you can season it up with both.

Sources

Vampire Universe: The Dark World of Supernatural Beings That Haunt Us, Hunt Us, and Hunger for Us
Vampire Universe: The Dark World of Supernatural Beings That Haunt Us, Hunt Us, and Hunger for Us
(Paperback)
by Jonathan Maberry

The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters
The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters

by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

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That Voodoo That You Do 3: Jumbie/Duppy

No, not the drink, I’m talking about another kind of spirit.

A jumbie is a general term for a spirit, but also the specific term for a restless spirit of the dead. Caucasian cultures usually portray ghosts as white, but the Caribbean jumbie manifests as a black shadowy figure. (The term duppy refers to the same thing.)

The aspects and ways of dealing with the jumbie vary in different Caribbean cultures. In some parts of Montserrat, there’s a jumbie dance (Not this one, but cool anyway. (Notice the people on the stilts in the background of that dance? Check this out.)), which goes on until someone is possessed by a jumbie.

To deal with a jumbie, leave a pair of shoes outside your house. It will spend the night trying to put them on (but they don’t have feet, so it won’t succeed — but still, one appreciates the fashion sense).

Jumbies/duppies can be vampiric, as well. Bob Marley’s song Duppy Conqueror is actually talking about his human leeches, though.

Sources

The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters
The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters

by Rosemary Ellen Guiley