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Loogaroo

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The loogaroos are often witches, in the folklore of Haiti and other islands in the West Indies, who made pacts with the devil. The devil would ask for warm blood each night, and in return, give the loogaroo magical powers. When retrieving blood, they would take their skin off, and take the form of a fiery ball of light.


Quote

"In Grenada, particularly, the vampire is known as a "Loogaroo," a corruption of loupgarou, and the attributes generally assigned to the loogaroo, as well as the current stories told of these ghastly beings, show that the demonology of the French colonists of the seventeenth century was soon welded with Negro witchcraft and voodoo.

The West Indian natives hold that loogaroos are human beings, especially old women, who have made a pact with the devil, by which the fiend bestows upon them certain magic powers on condition that every night they provide him with a quantity of rich warm blood. So every night the loogaroos make their way to the occult silk-cotton tree, often known as the Devil's tree, and there, having divested themselves of their skins which are carefully folded up and concealed in the form of a ball of sulphurous fire, they speed abroad on their horrid business.

Even today visitors to Grenada have been called out of the house late at night by servants to see the loogaroos, and their attention is directed to any solitary light which happens to flash through the darkness. Until dawn the loogaroos are at work, and any native who feels tired and languid upon waking will swear that the vampire has sucked his blood. Doors and shutters are no barrier to the monster who can slip through the tiniest chink, but if only rice and sand are scattered before a cabin the loogaroo must perforce stay until he has numbered every grain, and so morning will assuredly surprise him ere the tale is told.

It is said that the human skin of a loogaroo has been found hidden in the bushes under a silk-cotton tree. In this case it must be seized fast and pounded in a mortar with pepper and salt. So the vampire will be unable to assume a human shape again and will perish miserably.

Now and again Negroes have been discovered bold enough to play the loogaroo to cover up their nightly depredations. Two confederates will plan the robbing of a cocoa piece, and whilst one fellow will climb the tree to strip off the pods, his friend will pass softly up and down in the vicinity waving a lantern fashioned from an empty calabash cut to imitate grotesque features, and lighted by a candle set in a socket. The tradition, however, has its more serious sides and obscene, if not bloody, rites are practised in secret places where the white man will hardly dare venture.

The loogaroo is particularly obnoxious to dogs, and any person at whom apparently without cause dogs will bark furiously, or even endeavour to attack, is accounted infected with the vampire taint. It is supposed that the loogaroo will frequently molest animals of all kinds, and indeed in Trinidad and especially on the Spanish Main the horses suffer greatly from the attacks of large vampire bats. It is necessary that all the windows and ventilation holes of the stables and cattle pens should be firmly secured by wire netting to prevent the entrance of the bats, which are greatly able to harm any animal in whose flesh they manage to fasten their teeth."

Source

MONTAGUE SUMMERS' GUIDE TO VAMPIRES