Date of Performance/Collection:
Description: They are ghosts of children who reside within the forest that lure children by calling out their names and having them follow their footsteps. The children eventually become lost and become Douens themselves.
Background: The informant has a prevalent interest in urban legends and found this story while searching for ghost stories and urban legends.
DT: One of my favorite ones I’ve looked up cause I like scary urban legend stuff is Douens, which are spirits of kids whose feet are on backwards. They call out other kids’ names if they are in the forest and make them follow in their footsteps, which make the kids become lost and eventually turn into Douens. Basically it’s a story they told kids to stop them from going into the forest alone.
Me: From where did the urban legend come from?
DT: I think it’s Caribbean. From Tobago I believe. They’re basically like imps and fuck with people pretty much, so there’s different versions of them on what they do or stories rather.
Ghost children are certainly a common occurrence across many types of folklore. While a terrible reality, children do die. Douens are interesting takes on those that disappear within the forest. Despite the simplicity, I see a lot of space of nuance. Unlike most monsters, who lure children for the sake of eating them or something similar, Douens are likely searching for companionship, luring children to transform them into one of their own. So while Douens are likely created for children to fear, there could be another perspective where they can be sympathized with as they are likely once children themselves.