to Trinidad superstition, a Soucouyant is an entity of evil
that overtakes a person, at their request (usually an old female
hermit). The Soucouyant thrives on blood and attacks its victim
while asleep, without creating a bite mark. Evidence of an attack,
is manifested by a 'black and blue' mark on the
victim's person, upon awakening.......
JoJo: Yuh hear what happen las' nite to Josie? Ah hear mih mudder
sayin' dis mornin' dat a Soucouyant suck she! Josie pass by
we an' tell mih mudder dat she wake up dis mornin tired,
tired wid she body stiff,stiff.....an' wen she examine sheself,
she fine a big black an' blue mark on she leg, she arm an' on
Toney: Yuh believe in dem nancy story, boy? In dis modern age?
Dem kinda ting went out wid gym boots!
Jojo: Well MY mudder an' mih gran'fadder tell me dat it still
have dem ting.....
Toney: Well how come we doan see dem? I does be out all kinda
hour in de nite 'til fohday morning an' ah nevah see none! Dey
mus be fraid me den!
Jojo: Mi gran'fadder tell me dat de onliest reason dey doan
come out so offen is because ah all dem electric lite dey have
now. He say dat long time it dey used to see plenty
Toney: Flyin'? So wat happen dey clip dey wings an' dem?
Jojo: Boy whey yuh from? Ah does forget dat yuh from Cariacou,
yes! Well is time yuh learn a little ah we histry or wat yuh
call it. Besides it good for yuh to know, because yuh nevah
know wen de Immgration ketch up wid yuh tail, wat dey go arkse
yuh! at leas' if yuh know a little ah we histry, dey go believe
yuh from here......
Toney: Okay! Okay! Yuh doan have to broadcas' to de worl'
dat ah here contraban'.... How dese tings does fly, if dey ent
have wings .... Dis songing like ah real nancy story.
Jojo: Well, mih gran'fadder tell mih dat dis ting dat dey does
call soucouyant, is really people dat does believe in bad ......
Wen de moon dark, dey does have to do dey simmy dimmy. He say
dey does say some kinda prayers and wen de power take dem over,
dey does peel orf dey skin.......
Toney: Yuh mean like ah macajuel?
Jojo: Yea! Den dey does put dey skin in a mortar to keep, until
dey come back home. Den dey does turn into a big ball ah fire
and fly 'way to who ever dey have to suck........
Toney: Wait! Wait! So suppose rain falln? It doh out de fire?
Jojo: Dat ah doh know! In any case ah doh tink dat dey does
use umbrella, because dat go jus' burn up. Ah mus' arkse mih
gran' fadder dat.... Anyhow dat is how dey does fly 'bout. Ah
hear dat wen dey reach de house of de person dey have
to suck, dey does make deyself small, small .... so small
dey could pass through a crack in de wall....
Toney: So wat happen, de fire does out? Because if dey pass
thru just so, it go burn dong de place!
Jojo: How yuh arksin' so much question? Yuh from de CID or wat?
How yuh expeck mih to know all dem fine details? I ent no Soucouyant!
How ah buy it, is so ah sellin' it!
Toney: Dat is why ah tink it is a nancy story. Anyhow yuh tink
ah it , it doh make sense .....So de fire out, de soucouyant
enter de house, do she suckin' an' she ready to fly back ..
she have to turn back to ah ball ah fire again, rite? So where
she get de matches from? It cyart be from she pocket, because
she leave even she skin home! yuh doh see dis damm ting is nancy
Jojo: So who tell yuh she have to use matches to start a fire
in de fus' place! Prayers boy! A kinda obeah prayers! Anyways,
wen she enter de house, she does put whoever she goin' to suck,
in a kinda trance so dey cyar wakeup while she suckin' dem.
Mih gran'fadder say dat dey like to suck young chilren an' sometimes
de chilren does get real mirasmie an' dead.
Toney: So nobody never wakeup an' ketch dem in de ack?
Jojo: Well from wat I hear, de onliest way to ketch a soucouyant
is, yuh mus' sprinkle salt rong yuh bed. on de floor leadin'
from yuh bedroon, out de yard, an' 'rong de house ......is only
so, yuh have a chance to ketch dem in de ack.
Toney: De more ah hear, de more ah tink dis is a cock an' bull
story! Yuh mean salt? Dat we does cook wid? Why you cant use
Jojo: Dat is de secret! Yuh remember ah did tell yuh she leave
she skin home in a mortar? Well jus' imagine if yuh get salt
on yuh an' yuh ent have no skin! It go burn like hell self!
And to prevent salt from gettin on she, de soucouyant
have to pickup all de salt, grain, by grain. Yuh know how salt
grain fine, beside in de dark it hard to find all, so it does
take a long time to take up all..... so whoever it is she suck,
does have time to wake up an' ketch she still takin' up salt
Toney: Well dat is a real stupid soucouyant ....like dey does
leave dey brains in de mortar too. If was me, is simple...ah
jus' turn to fire an' fly 'way.....
Jojo: It ent so easy, because de salt does neutralise de fire
process ... Mih gran'fadder tell me de las' time dey ketch a
soucouyant, dey half kill she wid blows until de Police come!.
Den de Police finish de job.... apparently soucouyant ent have
Toney: So who does turn Soucouyant?
Jojo: Dey say is usually some ole woman livin' by sheself. Dey
say dat if yuh suspeck somebody yuh could prove if dey is a
soucouyant or not. All yuh have to do is to mark a sign of de
cross on de road where de suspeck have to pass ......as soon
as she reach de cross, she go try to go 'rong it an' so yuh
go know she is a soucouyant....
Toney: Boy, I could jus' imagine how many ole people get accuse
for nutten long time...
Jojo: Ah hear too, dat if yuh come across de mortar wid dey
skin in it ..... an' yuh throw salt on de skin, de person cyar
change back an' dat is annoder way to ketch dem. Look ah tink
we should stop dis talk now, because ah see Carl, Josie neighbor
Toney: Hi Carl! Wha happenin' man? Is wat happen to yuh eye?
Carl: Last nite ah went to part a fight between Josie an' she
husban' after he ketch she wid anodder man in he bed. He put
a lot a blows on she and as how ah doh like to see advantage,
ah went to part dem...well ah didn't duck in time and ah get
a right hand strait to eye! Josie get she tail well buss up,
she black an' blue all over.....now ah hear dat she going rong
tellin' people, soucouyant suck she!
The moral of this story: Take everything with a pinch of salt!
January 20, 1999.