Urban Legends of Louisiana – The Rougarou

rougarouHere’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!

Louisiana Urban Legends – The Fifolet

fifoletI’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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Urban Legends of Louisiana – George Washington Carver High School

gwc1School 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

Urban Legends of Louisiana – The Honey Island Swamp Monster

hism11    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.

hism2Ford 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.

 

 

 

 

hism4Since 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!

“Assured” eternal resting places……..

bars    Many cultures have taken precautionary measures concerning the passing of those suspected to be vampire.  For thousands of years mankind has cast spells, installed talismans or amulets, prayed on and otherwise thrown the proverbial  “kitchen sink” at final resting places of those thought to be infected by vampire.  Any inkling of a suspicion would result in desperate, and might I add, futile attempts to entomb “infected” corpses beneath the earth, never again to rise in search of blood.

 

 

spellProof can still be found in faded artwork within the ancient tombs of Egypt.  Many tombs have ancient spells which not only prevented the dead from rising but also insured that evil spirits could not penetrate tomb thus inhabiting the body that had been laid to rest within the tomb.  Within the archives of this blog you can find legends about Egyptian Vampire legends such as Menes and Sekhmet.

 

 

 

polish     In Slavic cultures, corpses of the undead still lie beneath mounds of rubble, their mouths held agape by bricks, their bones pinned to the ground by stakes and spikes.  Burial rituals vary from region to region, evidence of such can still be found today.  Some of which has been preserved by man, some of which is presently being excavated.

 

 

 

 

 

c4     Later in Victorian times, cages were installed over mortared grave sites, intent on  preventing the dead to rise.  Though an entirely explanation has been given to prevent panic within the public.  “Some” say that the cages were installed to prevent robbers from desecrating the graves and removing jewelry or other valuables that had been placed in the coffin with the deceased.

 

 

 

decap     Those suspected, in some cultures, were not necessarily “bitten” by one of the undead.  Many believed that it was possible to become vampire after having passed violently, or by suicide.  Extreme measures were sometimes executed to insure that the deceased would not rise from their graves.  In some cases the head would be removed and placed face down between the feet of the corpse.  Many rituals included removing the heart, sometimes burning it, or the entire corpse.

 

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Vampire Warfare

sexy     As difficult as it is to comprehend, there are those among the living who refuse to succumb to the embrace of the immortal.

For those of you who insist on stockpiling garlic cloves and spend your evenings whittling stakes, I thought you would have interest in knowing the history concerning Vampire repellents!

As you well know, legends of the undead have existed for nearly as long as mankind has walked the earth. Artifacts have been excavated from ancient dig sites which validate their long-lived legends.  Not all of these ancient relics exalt their existence, some, in fact, were created with the intention of protecting the bearer from the wiles of the blood sucking wretches that were known to both civilize and destroy.

The Lilith Amulet

lilith-51     This particular amulet (and others like it) were excavated at a burial site in Ur; it is dated back beyond 2500 B.C.E.   Lilith and her children were said to roam the land during this era.  (More information on the Legend of Lilith can be found in my past blogs)  It was a well known fact, in these times, that Lilith herself vowed no harm would come to those who wore the amulet, particularly pregnant women or their infant children.

Scarab Amulet

scarab     Also found in the same and later eras was the Scarab amulet.  Both the Egyptians and Sumerians associated the Scarab with the sun God Ra.  Ra was given praise for rolling the new sun across the sky therefor renewing the bodies of his worshipers both is a physical and spiritual sense.  The light of Ra’s sun was known to cleanse both humans and earth of the evil spirits that roamed the land during the dark hours.

Garlic

garlicherb     Everyone knows that Vampires detest even the sight of Garlic, but why?  Garlic was known to be a sacred herb, so highly regarded was it’s worth that half of the pyramid builders wages were paid in garlic.  The herb was used in the embalming process; it was believed that its powers would repel evil spirits from inhabiting the bodies of the deceased therefore prohibiting the soul of that person from finding his way back to his body in the afterlife.  The mystical powers of garlic do not end here.  Amid many other beliefs, ancient Europeans knew that the pungent aroma would deter blood sucking insects.  Other cultures, along with that of the Egyptian lore, believed that garlic cured infections and killed bacteria.  It was in early European legends where the conception of Vampirism was first initiated via a virus.

Crucifixes, silver and sunlight

crucifixsilversun    Three of the most commonly known Vampire deterrents known through history all hale from the same legend.  The story of Judas Iscariot, betrayer of Christ, is one of the more well known Vampire origination theories.  Judas, after having been paid in silver coins to betray Jesus, was so distraught by his own actions that he hanged himself in a nearby tree.  This is where the story ends in most traditional religious literature.  Ah, but as legend would have it; there is always more.  After Judas’ soul abandoned his body, God brought him back to life, in a matter of speaking.  Judas was cursed by God to wander the earth in darkness until the day of reckoning.  In his eternal wandering, Judas would know the pain of losing all he knew and loved lest he cast his own curse upon them.  Never again would Judas feel the warmth of the sun on his face and forever he would thirst for the blood of the living.  It is because of Judas’ betrayal that Vampires loathe the symbol of the cross and silver, it is an ever present reminder to them of how they came to be the tormented souls that they are.

Running water repels Vampires

river     This belief stems from both Greek and Asian legends.  It was thought that the purity of running water was seen as offensive to the Vampire.   The Greeks would often relocate those suspected of being or becoming Vampire to isolated islands with the belief that they would not be able to tolerate the salt water for long enough to make their return to the mainland and feast on those that had opposed them.

Wooden Stakes through the heart

stake     The act of staking or impaling has endured for centuries, even in the time of ancient Babylonia.  The belief was a stake driven through the heart of a possessed or reanimated body would rid it of the evil that had claimed it.  Later in European regions, anyone that dies while suspected of being or becoming one of the undead was typically staked to the ground and decapitated thus preventing the body of rising from its grave.

Vampires and OCD

seeds     European folklore concerning Vampires often depicts them with arithmomania, such as a compulsion to count seeds or grains of rice.  It was for this reason that seeds would be scattered about the grave of those suspected of being or becoming Vampire.  Legend states that the newly undead would be so distracted by counting that they would never make it far from their grave before sunrise.

 

 

So there you have it, the history behind most of the well known Vampire deterrents known throughout legend and lore.  Much more information concerning the legends of Vampire origination can be found by searching my blog.

Valentines Day 2016 is approaching!

The Countdown is on!

The 7 day count down is on, Valentines Day is next Sunday! An autographed set of “The Adrian Trilogy” series is a great gift. Roses die, chocolates disappear but the passion of the Vampire is eternal!    Inbox me on FaceBook for special V-day pricing!

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