Here’s another Louisiana legend that varies from community to community. As a matter of fact, there are nearly as many versions of the legend as there are variations in spelling the name, Ro…
Here’s another Louisiana legend that varies from community to community. As a matter of fact, there are nearly as many versions of the legend as there are variations in spelling the name, Rougarou.
This legend took root in Midieval French culture and was born into Louisiana when the first French Canadian immigrant settled among us. To the French settlers, the tale was spun to keep children in line and out of the woods, especially at night. To locals, well versed in the effects of VooDoo, the Rougarou became an even more fierce creature. Said to stand between 7 and 8 feet in height, the beast has a human body but the head of a wolf, with razor sharp teeth and glaring red eyes. Some believe that you must not look into the eyes of the Rougarou, lest you befall the curse and become one yourself!
There are several theories on how to become a Rougarou. First, If you were to kill a Rougarou, you could become infected with the curse if you are exposed to its’ blood. To further this belief, If one were to kill a Rougarou and witness the beast returned to its’ true form, he should not tell anyone of the encounter for 1 year and a day else he would see the same fate. Other legends, no doubt put in place by the Catholic church, states that if one does not abide by the rules of Lent for seven years, he will become a Rougarou. And yet another version of the legend says that a person who is turned into a Rougarou is cursed for 101 days, upon the last day the curse is passed to the first victim that the beast draws blood from. The Rougarou will then permanently return to his human form, the victim will turn into a Rougarou at sunset that day. Lastly, it is said that one can be cursed by a witch an become a Rougarou as well.
So, what do you do if you are turned into a Rougarou? I’m glad you asked! Legend states that you will retain your human form during daylight hours, though you will appear quite sickly to those around you. At night you will prowl around the swamps and bayous of Louisiana, and sometimes within the city of New Orleans itself. In these areas you most certainly would not be alone in your prowling however, you would likely be the only one searching for prey, human prey that is! The Rougarou is said to have and insatiable hunger for blood and unfortunately, it seems to search out those that he knows in his human form to feed upon.
Though there are some parallels between the Rougarou, Vampires and Werewolves, the three are not the same. The Werewolf has an intolerance for silver, the Vampire detests holy relics, garlic, silver and sunlight. I have only found these references to talismans used to ward off the Rougarou; a man would place a leaf inside of his wallet, a woman would paint a hexagon beneath her bed. I don’t know about you, but I find these two forms of protection a bit on the weak side for my liking!
So how would one defend himself against this beast? Looks like to me, you would have to kill it! So silver bullets are out and so is the good old stake through the heart approach. Thank God the Legends are thorough! Cajun Legends state that the Rougarou must be decapitated and his body mutilated or burned, to keep him dead!
So when and where was the last Rougarou spotted? Well, it has been a very long time and there is no photographic evidence as found in the case of the Honey Island Swamp monster (sometimes claimed to be akin to the Rougarou). However, let’s not write the creature off just yet! Since the massive flooding brought about by hurricane Katrina, there have been reports of something large moving about in the swamps just beyond the suburbs of New Orleans. Howls and screeching noises can be heard echoing through the bayous at night beneath the Louisiana moon! Perhaps this is the resurgence of the Rougarou, warning the inhabitants of the suburbs to stay out of the swamps, especially at night!
I’ve heard a couple of variations of the Fifolet legends, I like the back story on this one! Louisiana has it’s share of dark history and among tales of ghost, vampires and Voo Doo there are also pirates!
The most notorious, Jean LaFitte, has a footprint in Louisana history; and of course there are tales of buried treasure! Legend has it that when LaFitte would bury his treasures, he would kill a crewman and bury his body along with his loot. The crewman was then bound to vengefully guard the treasure for eternity. The spirit of the murdered crewman would then arise as a Fifolet. Accounts from those having encountered the being, describe the Fifolet as a glowing orb, typically light blue in hue.
There is a tale of two railway workers having encountered the Fifolet near Lake Ponchartrain. They were awoken by a soft glowing light as it moved through the trees surrounding their camp. The workers, familiar with local legend, grabbed their shovels before pursuing the Fifolet, their minds set heavily on buried treasure.
Suddenly the glowing orb sank into the ground. The two men rushed to the spot and began digging at the relentless muck beneath their feet. Suddenly one of the men’s shovel hit something solid. Eager to find what had made the solid thud, they began to dig with their hands until they did indeed uncover a wooden treasure chest. Frenzied by the discovery and fueled by greed, one of the men suddenly struck the other in his head with one of the shovels. With his cohort unconscious, the man began trying to pull the chest from the muck. The harder the man pulled, the further he sank into the water-logged soil. Soon he found himself fighting against the swamp, sinking to his death. His partner, having been awakened by his screams, woke to see the man and the treasure chest sink into the ground. Fearing that he may suffer the same fate, he fled the scene spending the remainder of the night shivering in fear within his tent. When daylight came, the man returned to the spot where the treasure, and his partner had sank deep into the ground. When he arrived, he found that the ground was hardened and appeared undisturbed, other than the two shovels that lay across the spot where the treasure had been discovered.
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School days, school days, good old golden rule days! Reading, writing and ‘rithmatic taught to the tune of a hickory stick! The song brings back memories of book sacks and lunch boxes with the underlying dread of an upcoming spelling test. Things weren’t that simple for the students of George Washington Carver High.
Though only standing today by the grace of God, God has nothing to do with what has and still is going on within this crumbling monument of suffering. Opened in 1957 the school would only remain functional for 16 years before closing it’s doors in 1973. GWC High was a school for segregated black children of all ages, complete with school colors (white and green) and a mascot (a hornet). Things started out well but did not remain so for long.
Several children disappeared while attending the institution, it wasn’t until later that the facts were discovered. Along with the missing girls was a Janitor that had been in the employ of the school system. All evidence pointed to him as the abductor. The girls had been tortured and molested before being murdered. As if the hauntings of these tormented girls was not enough to stir the legend, it is said that the main structure caught fire a few years after, also killing several of the students.
Today the building is said to be a meeting place for members of the occult. Upon investigation by la local television station, a decapitated boar was found hanging just inside the door. Pentagrams and other satanic emblems have been painted on the walls and floors, remnants of burned candles and other items accompany the damning evidence.
George Washington Carver High has been investigated many times by mediums, ghost hunters and other paranormal enthusiasts. The results of the studies vary however there is always one similarity; each of them resulted in some type of paranormal activity or experiences. Some of the things documented are; sounds of children screaming as well as odd noises emitting from a disembodied man.
Thrill seekers from every spectrum still visit the school and grounds today, will you be the next to investigate George Washington Carver High
Oh yes, the Honey Island Swamp Monster even has roots within my own family. He’s been around for a long long time but was first officially documented in 1974. Harlan Ford was the lucky one to stumble across the monster with a camera. He later added to his photographic evidence by pouring plaster into the footprints of the beast. These plaster casts were absolutely earth-shattering evidence of the creatures’ existence. Both the casts and Harlan Ford made their rounds in print media and television.
Ford was hero to the local population. For years stories of sightings circulated around family dinner tables and local pubs; those that had been assumed to have spun a tall tale were finally vindicated by Harlan’s evidence.
Since 1974, many treks have been made deep into the Honey Island swamp in search of more or new evidence of the monster’s presence. Some have returned disappointed, some returned further fueled by their experiences and still some never returned at all. There have been many recording of the creature’s agitated screeches and even more plaster casts of footprints matching those cast by Ford.
The creature is said to be in excess of 7 feet tall, the plaster casts are approximately 12 inches long, suggesting that the estimated height is possible. Those that have witnessed the monster first hand describe him as a hairy beast with yellow eyes, it also said that when the monster is near, a putrid stench follows him.
If you find yourself near Pearl River Louisiana take a detour out into the swamp but don’t go alone and be sure to have your camera handy!