Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology

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SOUCAYANT

(Soo-CA-yant)
Variations: Heg, Ol'Higue, Soucouyant, Soucouyen, Soukoyan
On the island of Trinidad there is a vampiric creature called a soucayant that looks like an old woman who sleeps all day. However, at night, it removes its skin and emerges as a ball of light, resembling a CORPSE CANDLE, and flies out looking for sleeping people to attack in order to drink their blood. Victims of the attack will have two small bite marks side by side someplace on the body.
If the soucayant is seen before it attacks, the vampire can be driven off by beating it with a stick. The next day the victim can search the community for an old woman who is covered in bruises. When he finds her, he has found the soucayant. Like many of the vampires who can remove their skin and turn into a ball of light, such as the ASEMA and the ASWANG MANNANANGGAL, if one can find its shed skin and rub it with SALT, its hide will shrivel up. When the soucayant returns, it will not be able to fit back into its skin and will die when the sun rises. Also, like the ASEMA and the CH'ING SHIH, the soucayant is compelled to count seeds it comes across. The easiest way to kill a soucayant is to toss a handful of poppy seeds down at the crossroads, as the vampire will be compelled to count them all, a feat that will take all night. The light from the rising sun will then destroy it.
Source: Besson, Folklore and Legends of Trinidad and Tobago, 31­33; Liverpool, Rituals of Power and Rebellion, 202, 210, 237; Russell, Legends of the Bocas, 49­51; University College of the West Indies, Caribbean Quarterly, vol. 45, 72
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