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  • Writer's pictureS. N. Linn

Soucouyant, the Terrifying Folklore of Antigua and Barbuda

Updated: Jan 1

A sinister old hag with glaring eyes and sharp teeth, covered in flames

Soucouyant is a malevolent vampiric hag in the folklore of Antigua and Barbuda.

By day, she appears as a seemingly ordinary elderly woman. However, as night falls, she undergoes a ghastly transformation when she sheds her wrinkled skin and assumes the form of a ball of flame.

In this form, she has the ability to fly in the sky and enter the homes of unsuspecting victims through openings of any size. She then feeds off the blood of her prey, often targeting vulnerable individuals such as the elderly and the infirm. The soucouyant is said to bite the flesh of her victims to drain their blood, leaving behind painful and unhealable wounds.

Depending on the version, soucouyant are sometimes depicted as beautiful women who gain entry into their prey’s home using their charm and beauty. Once inside, they reveal their true nature and viciously attack the prey.

Certain versions of the legend suggests that women bitten by a soucouyant may either die or turn into one themselves.

Despite the varying portrayals of the soucouyant, one consistent trait is her compulsion to count rice grains. To thwart her, one can toss rice grains in her path, preferably as many as possible, so they may escape while she is busy counting.


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About the writer:

S. N. Linn is a blogger and author of books on folklore, legends, and heart-pounding ghost stories and paranormal adventures. You can find more of her work on her website:

Copyrighted by Su Nandar Linn


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