Beware The Douen

Douen are mythical creatures with backwards feet that live in the forest and are supposedly the lost souls of children. If a Douen learns a child’s name they are able to call out to the child in their parents voices to lure them into the forest. The backwards footprints confuse both the children and anyone looking for the children. The children are never seen again.

The informant told me this story while we were talking about working in the entertainment industry. C told me that he loved the industry because of its diversity and community. I originally asked about the folklore of the industry but once I said the word “folklore” his face lit up and he told me this story. While working on the show “Saint X”, one of the Dominican crew members told him this legend of the Douen. It stuck with C because of the physical description of the creature, with the backwards feet.

The Douen, although not well known in America, is a piece of Caribbean folklore that seemingly resonated with C. The only physical description that my informant gave me was the backwards feet, implying the rest of the creature is fairly humanoid. I believe this resonated with my informant because of the common proverb in American culture “stranger danger”. The danger of the Douen is directed towards children, emphasizing their ability to be easily manipulated or tricked, which echos the same warning as “stranger danger”. The detail of the Douen needing to know the child’s name is interesting because it serves as a warning against sharing personal information with anyone/anything. It also could stem from magical folklore, where using or knowing someones name can be considered powerful.