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In Trinidad lore, the Soucouyant or Soucoyah, Sukuya, also called Old Hag, is a supernatural being who has made a pact with the devil to be able to change herself into all kinds of different forms.


In Trinidad, if somebody walks around with a "hicky" (soukie) on his neck, he may get remarks from his friends like: " Eh, Eh, Soucoyant suck yuh or wha ? "


This blood-sucking shapeshifter belongs to a class of evil spirits known as jumbies.


The Soucouyant appears as an old woman who sheds her skin at night. The skinless phantom flies through the air, usually appearing as a ball of fire, which enable her to enter the house of victims though a hole or a keyhole but she has to slip back into that skin before dawn breaks and the cock crows, otherwise she will not be able to get back into it.


Thought to be an old woman, the Soucouyant is said to hide her skin under a stone mortar, the one she uses to grind her food. The Soucouyant is said to cast spells on people and suck the blood from her victims. If too much blood is drained, some stories say victims may die and become Soucoyant themselves.


Skins shed by the Soucouyant are very valuable in order to practice the Obeah magic. The Soucouyant must return to her skin by morning, hence possession of the skin by an Obeah gives control over the Soucouyant.

Soucouyants may be stopped by scattering rice or flour at the front of the doorway. They will be forced to stop and count all the grains. If there is a large amount enough, she can be surprised by dawn and destroyed.

How to kill a Soucouyant

A Soucouyant can be killed by visiting her place when she left her skin and sprinkling it with salt, for she will burn to death once they try to put it back on.


See Also


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