Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology

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OBAYIFO

(Oh-BAY-if-oh)
Variation: Abayifo, ASEMA, ASIMAN, Obey-ifo, Obayifu
The Ashanti people of the Gold Coast of Africa have in their vampiric lore a witch who uses his powers to drain the life and energy from children and crops. He is called an obayifo ("sorcery"). The Ashanti believe that people are born with the predisposition to become an obayifo, that it is not something that can be taught or passed on to another. In all respects the obayifo is human. Unless he is in a physical confrontation in front of witnesses, his secret may never be known, for when confronted with violence, his skin emits phosphorescence. This witch will oftentimes have a vampiric creature known as a SASABONSAM as a servant or familiar.
At night the obayifo, who has something of an obsession with food, leaves his body and flies off in search of prey (children and crops), but he is especially fond of the cacao bean tree, whose seeds are the primary ingredient in chocolate. When draining the life-energy from a person, it is a long, drawn-out, painful process, and it may take days or even weeks for the victim to finally die. Obayifo also has the ability, after drinking a magical elixir made of fruit and vegetable juices, to shape-shift into various animal forms in which it will adopt to kill people as well.
The Ashanti's neighboring tribe, the Dahomean, calls its version of the OBAYIFO an ASIMAN.
Source: Bryant, Handbook of Death, 99; Field, Search for Security, 35, 234­36; Stefoff, Vampires, Zombies, and Shape-Shifters, 17; Williams, Voodoos and Obeahs, 120­ 33
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