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La Diablesse is a devil woman in Trinidad and Tobago folklore.


La Diablesse is sometimes personified as an old crone, who steps forth with her cloven hoof from behind a tree on a lonely road, the sound of chains mingling with the rustle of her petticoat. Sometimes she takes the form of a beautiful woman, to lure some unsuspecting passerby to his death or perhaps to madness. Sometimes she appears as a tall, handsome creole woman who with swinging gait and erect stature, passes through a cane or cocoa field at noon and catches the eye of a man who then proceeds to follow her, and, never being able to catch up with her - her feet hardly touch the ground - finds himself lost, bewildered, far from home and he is never himself again.

She may have a bag of bones, grave yard dirt and shells, she may cast a spell and be perceived as young and desirable, her rich perfume blending with the smell of damp and decaying things. Although she may appear young, she will be dressed in the ancient costume of these islands: a brilliant madras turban, chemise with half sleeves and much embroidery and lace, "zepingue tremblant" (trembling pins of gold), and all the finery of the by-gone days.


La Diablesse turns up at village dances, where she is immediately disliked by the women present, but she utterly charms the men and then asks one of them to take her home. He follows her, totally under her spell. She leads him deep into the woods and then suddenly she disappears. Unable to find his way home, the poor fellow stumbles around in the dark wood until he either falls into a ravine or a river to his death or gets attacked by wild hogs.


If you feel you may encounter La Diablesse on your way home, take off all your clothes, turn them inside out and put them on again, and this will surely protect you from La Diablesse.


Trinidad View