Douens, Soucouyant, La Diablesse , Buck and Jumbee…Caribbean folklore at its best


“Douens (Dwens) are the souls of children who have died before they were baptized. They are doomed to roam the earth forever. They are seen playing in forests and near rivers and the odd thing about them is that they have no faces and their feet are turned backwards. They may approach children and lead them astray in the forest until they are lost, or they may come near people’s houses at night, crying and whimpering. To prevent the Douens from calling your children into the forest at dusk, never shout their names in open places, as the Duennes will take their names, call them and lure them away.”


“The soucouyant or soucriant in Caribbean and specifically Dominican, Trinidadian and Guadeloupean folklore, and also known as Ole-Higue or Loogaroo in other Caribbean folklore, is a creature equivalent of a vampire that lives by day as an old woman at the end of the village. By night, however, she strips off her wrinkled skin, puts it in a mortar, and flies in the shape of a fireball through the darkness, looking for a victim. Still in the shape of a fireball, the soucouyant enters the home of her victim through the keyhole or any crack or crevice. Soucouyants suck the blood of people from their arms, legs and other soft parts while they sleep. If the soucouyant draws out too much blood from her victim, it is believed that the victim will die and become a soucouyant herself, or else perish entirely, leaving her killer to assume her skin.”

La Diablesse

“A La Diablesse (Lajables), the Devil Woman, roams at  night. She has eyes like burning coals and a face resembling that of a corpse, but hides it  under a beautiful wide-brimmed hat. She is dressed exquisitely in a blouse with puffy sleeves and long, petticoated, skirts. She has one cloven foot, which she tries to hide  under her long skirts. She 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.”


A Buck is a term used to refer to a member of a fictitious tribe of people from the rain forests of Guyana. They are described as very short people who are believed to have magical powers. It is rumored that superstitious people from all over the world try to obtain them so that they can bring them wealth. The person aspiring to attain riches usually would have to feed him milk and allow him to live in his attic. If the wealth searcher ever stops providing the food and shelter for the Buck all sorts of bad things will start happening to the family.


“Jumbee, Jumbie or Mendo is a type of mythological spirit or demon. Jumbies are said to possess humans during ceremonies called jumbie dances, which are accompanied by jumbie drums. Jumbies receive numerous small offerings from Montserratians, such as a few drops of rum or food; they are also the subject of numerous superstitions.The spirit separates from the body three days after death, and so the havoc begins. Jumbies can shape-shift, usually taking the form of a dog, pig or more likely a cat. So heed warnings about playing with random animals. There are many recommended ways to avoid or escape jumbie encounter. Examples: Leaving a pair of shoes outside your door; jumbies don’t have feet and would spend the entire night trying on the shoes to get them to fit before moving onto you. When coming home late at night, walk backwards so that the jumbie would be unable to follow you inside.”

When you heard these stories growing up, it provoked all kind of fear in you. You did not want to walk the streets late at night by yourself. I’m sure some even walked in the house backwards to prevent any evil spirits from following you. Douens was by far the scariest of them all for me, imagine getting swept away and never to be seen again. Also God forbid you woke up and saw a red mark on your body you were so scared because you thought it was a “soucouyant” bite, when it could have simply been a mosquito bite. I remembered it had one particular house I was so scared to pass by it because I thought a “buck” lived in it. It’s funny how we don’t hear or believe in these stories anymore back then you could not tell me they weren’t real. Is it because we don’t live in the Caribbean anymore or did we just outgrow the stories?


3 Responses to “Douens, Soucouyant, La Diablesse , Buck and Jumbee…Caribbean folklore at its best”

  1. 1 unknown
    February 1, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    also i heard from my grandparents that when u see one you ask it 2 come with you then once he grants your wish you have 2 grant his and most of the times they ask for the life of a loved one….

  2. 2 elmo
    January 23, 2013 at 10:44 am

    these stories are real .. i am from the Caribbean ( Trinidad ) and i have seen with my own eyes a sousouyant and a phantom ( jumbie ) many people would not believe in it because it sounds fake. but as the saying goes seeing is believing

  3. 3 a5813_m
    June 28, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    its nice to know about caribbean folklore….

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