Originally posted by Brodee
We have alot of old hags running around this town. Give her a Jackson and she'll give
Some Vampire Witches of the Carribean and South America
The asema is a vampiric witch or sorcerer found in the lore of the South American country of Surinam, once a colony called Dutch Guiana. The asema was usually an old man or woman who lived undetected in a community. At night the asema takes off his or her skin and flies through the air as a ball of light, entered houses, and sucks the blood of sleeping people. One way to personally protect oneself against the asema is to consume garlic or cerain other herbs which make one's blood taste unpleasant to the asema . A way to prevent an asema from entering a home is to place a sesame seeds or rice grains mixed with the nails of a ground owl before the entrances. The asema is compelled to count the seeds or grains but each time it inadvertently picks up an owl's nail it lets go off all the seeds or grains it had counted and is forced to start over again. If the dawn comes while the asema is so occupied, the sunlight kills him or her. The ultimate way to kill an asema is to pore salt or pepper on the skin that he or she leaves behind at night. This shrinks the skin, and, when the asema returns to it near dawn, he or she can no longer fit into it.
Belief in the asema is an import from slaves brought to Surinam from West Africa. It seems likely that the name asema is derived from the Dahomean name asiman . But the compulsion of the asema to count seeds or grains might be due to European influence. The undead vampires in European lore often have such an obsession. But then such an obsessian can be found to attributed to vampires in Asian lore as well.
In the lore of Caribbean islands there is the loogaroo and the soukoyan . Both have close similarities to the asema In the lore of Caribbean islands there is the loogaroo and the soukoyan. Both have close similarities to the asema .
The name loogaroo occurs in islands or, in the case of Haiti, part of an island that was colonized by the French who imported African slaves to do the hard labor on their plantations. The name loogaroo is obviously derived from loups garou , a French name for the werewolf which literally means "wolf-man" and was originally applied in France to werewolves. But the loogaroo exists primarily in Afro-Carribean lore and no doubt is more closely a derivative of West African vampiric witches such as the obayifu and the asiman.
According to the Voodoo lore of Haiti, the loogaroo is most often a woman. At night she frees herself of her skin by rubbing a magical concoction made of herbs on her body. She then hides her skin in a cool place where it will not shrink. She then makes certain movements which cause turkey wings to sprout on her back. Flames shoot out from her armpits and anus. She then flies through the thatch of her hut. Flying though the sky, she leaves a luminous trail behind her. She sucks the blood of her victims, most often infants and children, and causes them to have illnesses which are sometimes fatal. To enter a dwelling where her little victim lies, the Haitian loogaroo takes the form of a cockroach or some other insect. She may also insert a long straw through the thatch composing the walls of a dwelling until it rests against her victim's cheek. She then sucks the blood through the straw. Her nocturnal flights for prey occur on the 7'th, 13'th, and 17'th of each month.
On the island of Granada, the loogaroo is also most often a woman. She flies each night. In her natural human form, she goes to a silk-cotton-tree. Botanists call this tree by the Latin name bombax ceiba . But in Granada it is known as the Devil's tree or the Jumbie tree. There the woman gets out of her skin which she then carefully folds and hides. Then the loogaroo transforms into a ball of light and flies through the air. The loogaroo in Granada often drinks the blood of adults, causing them to wake up tired and languid. This witch or sorcerer can pass through any tiny crack to get into dwelling. But if enough grains of rice or sand are scattered around the outside of the dwelling, he or she is compelled to count them until dawn.
The soukoyan is part of the lore of the islands of Dominica and Trinidad. According to one account from Trinidad, the soukoyan is much like the loogaroo of Granada. The soukoyan leaves his or her skin at night in a cool place and flies off at night in the form of a ball of light to drink the blood of humans. In one account there is added the detail that she can be destroyed if salt is poured on her skin to shrink it. In an account from Dominica that I've read, the loogaroo is most often a man.
The Obayifu and the Asiman of West Africa
According to Ashanti lore in Ghana, the obayifu is a witch who leaves her body at night in the form of a small ball of light which flies through the air and sucks the blood of sleeping people, especially infants and children. The Dahomeans have essentially the same belief, but they call this type of witch the asiman.
Compulsions Regarding Grains, Seeds, Knots, etc.
In Europe, in China, in India, and in South America there was found the practice of using such things as seeds, grains of rice or millet, pebbles, and iron filings as a means to hamper undead vampires or blood sucking sorcerers and witches.
But here the vampire is not repelled or pierced by the objects. Rather he is compelled to either eat them or to count them one at a time.
In Eastern and Central Europe following a burial of a person who might become undead, seeds and organic grains were sometimes placed in the coffin, in the grave, over the grave, on the paths from the cemetery to the homes of the living, and on the thresholds and roofs of the homes.
In his book Mythologie du Vampire en Roumanie (1981), Adriene Cremene gives an anecdote from Romania where the relatives of a dead person would leave the cemetery after his burial, throwing grains of millet in the path and saying "Let the strigoi eat each year one grain of millet and not eat the hearts of his family."
In Macedonian Folklore by G. F. Abbot (1903), there is a case described where a vampire hunter lured a vampire (vrykolakis) into a barn where there was a heap of millet grains. The vampire became so pre-occupied with counting these grains that the vampire hunter was able to nail him to a wall without any resistance on the part of the vampire. Abbot also wrote that some Macedonians protected themselves from a possible vampire following a burial by placing mustard seeds on the roof and thorny plants outside the doors
An interesting variation of the belief occurs in Afro-American lore in the South American country of Surinam. Here, the asema is a blood sucking sorcerer or witch who leave his or her skin at night and flies off in the form that appears to be a ball of light. One way to prevent the night-flying asema from entering a home is to place a sesame seeds or rice grains mixed with the nails of a ground owl before the entrances. The asema is compelled to count the seeds or grains, but each time it inadvertently picks up an owl's nail it lets go off all the seeds or grains it had counted and is forced to start over again.
In Central Europe, nets were sometimes placed in the coffin in the belief that if the corpse became undead., then the vampire would be compelled to either untie all the knots or to count them
I don't know of any examples of such beliefs being used in modern fiction. But sometimes I wonder if there was not a second pun intended when the The Count , a vampire who specializes in counting, was invented for the entertaining and educating television program for young children, Sesame Street.