Arts and Living Editor
With Jack-o-Lanterns lining front porches, skeletons hanging from trees and the sound of a witch’s cackle floating through the chilly air, Halloween is here at last! Everyone knows the tales of Frankenstein and Dracula, but what are the spooks like for the more humid of the 50 states?
Here are some homegrown Louisiana tales of myth and horror that are sure to make you terrified to call the bayou state home.
Beware of the Rougarou
Lurking menacingly between the swamps of southeast Louisiana from the depth of Cajun folklore is the petrifying Rougarou.
A wolf-like creature who can shift into a human originally deemed the “loup-garou,” the French word for werewolf, the Rougarou serves as a menacing warning for Catholics to keep to lent and children to remain on their best behavior.
It is said that the Rougarou wanders the streets at night in human form, hoping to antagonize someone to attack it. Once humans fall for its trap, the Rougarou will reveal itself to them.
If they speak of the encounter before a year is up, humans will turn into a Rougarou themselves.
Luckily, there is a way to keep the monster at bay. To ward him off your doorstep, place 13 pennies on your stairs or windowsill.
This bayou-dwelling creature does not know a number beyond 12 and will keep counting until sunrise when he will have no choice but to retreat back down the bayou.
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1
Marie Laveau has remained prevalent in New Orleans’s culture and myths since the early 1800s, and the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans cannot be stopped by death itself. In fact, she can even grant you your greatest wish if you’re brave enough to ask.
You need only to attend her final resting place, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, and perform a very particular ritual.
One must break off a piece of brick from another tomb, immediately spin around three times, draw three Xs and knock ever so politely. The final step is to leave an offering, and then your desire will be granted.
Whether it is thought to be a fun tradition or a silly game, there are many who claim Laveau’s magic has aided fatal illness and convicts on death row. When visiting, make sure to keep an eye out for the Xs which have been circled — those are the wishes that have come true.
Show your horns and have a free drink
The Devil Man of Algiers is a frightening figure of Louisiana lore that was first sighted in 1938.
Described as having black horns, bright pink ears shaped like sunflowers and eyes like a chicken, the legend states he has a knack for wrecking bars and insulting women.
True to his name, The Devil Man is known for his partialness for the bars of New Orleans, frequenting a particular establishment which attracted many eager customers who wished to get a glimpse.
Eventually, the alleged real Devil Man was arrested after telling police that King Zulu, advisor of Neptune, had sent him there.
Yet, while this suspect was in custody on the night of Sept. 13, 1938, police received over two hundred called in reports that the devil incarnate was getting free drinks by showing the bartenders his horns.
The vampire brothers of New Orleans
Wayne and John Carter exist in a strange in-between of reality and myth. The Carters were a pair of brothers who lived together in the French Quarter and had unsuspecting personalities alongside every-day jobs.
Their dark truth was only revealed when a girl escaped from their shared apartment with various deep cuts. The police instantly raided the Carters’ shared apartment in which they discovered numerous dead bodies and a few tied up survivors with the same deep cuts.
The girl stated that the Carters would come home and drain and drink the blood of their victims.
While some stories allege the Carters took on half the police force, they were charged and executed.
Strangely enough, it is said that their bodies mysteriously vanished from their family’s grave vault shortly after the brothers’ deaths.
To this day, New Orleans residents claim they can see the Carter brothers roaming the French Quarter at night, believing that they never truly died at all.
From wolf monsters dwelling in the bayou to unsuspecting men in work boots with a taste for blood, be on the lookout for red men with sunflower ears. Count your Xs this Halloween night. In Louisiana, Dracula and Frankenstein are the least of your worries!