USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘Magical Creature’
Folk Beliefs
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Magic

Succineers

These creatures are typically females who have sold their souls to the devil in exchange for power and earthly rewards. They shed their human skins at night and fly around as balls of fire. Often, they practice various forms of black magic and are generally evil beings. However, they are not immortal, and during the day cannot be distinguished between you and me. A way to kill them would be to find their human skins late at night, and put copious amounts of salt in them. The logic in this is that the salt would burn their flesh, and since they cannot exist as balls of fire in the day, the act of putting their skins back on would cause so much pain that they’d die as a result.

                  My informant heard this from her grandmother and her mother, who were both first generation immigrants from Trinidad. According to her grandmother, their neighbor in Trinidad was one of these creatures. One time, she told my informant’s grandmother that she had red roses from the Queen of England’s garden and then proceeded to produce to two red roses. While this might not be strange by itself, roses were not native to Trinidad and could not be found anywhere during that period of time. Additionally, when my informant’s grandmother was pregnant, she saw one in her room, trying to suck on her blood. However, they could not stand people who were associated with God and spat the blood out and left.

                  There are many things that skirt the edge of belief and this is one of them. This is an example of binary opposition in more agricultural/hunting cultures that exists in those islands. Note the Christian influences in this story. As learned in class, the idea of God and the Devil spawned from the missionaries that came to the various places that they spread the word of God. The missionaries tended to place a God vs. Satan spin on most of the folklore and culture that they touched and is evident here.

Folk Beliefs
general
Legends
Narrative

La Diablita (The Demoness)

The name literally means female demon. La Diablita appear late at night, only to male travelers. They appear to these males as one of the most beautiful women they’ve seen in their entire lives, and these creatures like to tempt these men off road and kill them. No man who have followed the La Diablita have survived to tell the tale. If, by some chance, light shines on them, they appear to have horns and a hoof instead of a foot.

            This was first told to my informant from her father. Her father is a first generation immigrant from Mexico. According to her father, these creatures were either the minions of the devil or the devil itself in female form. Even though she has had no first hand stories about the encounters with the La Diablita, there is more than a slight possibility of these creatures existing because Latin America is a place that that there are more than a few occurrences of black magic happening on this large continent. Additionally, it is also largely rural in nature, with much of the population being uneducated and superstitious.

            Latin America is mostly Catholic and from the name, those influences can be seen. La Diablita is translated into The Devil(Female), as Diablo is male, Diablita is female. Additionally, these stories could also serve as a warning to people not to wander the roads alone at night. From the fact that the victims were all men, also serve to show the roles of both male and female in societies, showing the fact that the unseen danger is a woman, but the visible one is male. This is due to the fact that many Latin American countries are rather turbulent and suffer dictatorships with men disappearing all the time. This particular ghoul could be a way for the folk to explain how people just disappear at night, to be never seen again, except in maybe a mass grave.

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