Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Boo Hag

A terrifying entity is haunting the people of South Carolina. The Gullah people of this region have long said “Don’t let de hag ride ya!” before they settle into bed for the night. This is the dreaded Boo Hag, a regional variant of the Old Hag, which is a vampirelike creature that sits on the chests of sleeping people. It then steals the victim’s lifeforce by causing terrifying nightmares.

The Boo Hag (also known as the Slip-Skin Hag) is an entity that is very similar to the Vampire of Central and Eastern European folklore (although whether she is a witch, a ghost, a demon, or a revenant of some kind is unclear). It is said that, like her counterpart (the Old Hag), she sits on the chests of her victims and “rides” them. During the attack, the Hag steals their breath (the Spiritus Vitae, known as the “Breath of Life” or, put simply, the lifeforce). She is known to inhabit abandoned houses, which generally lie deep within the swamps of South Carolina that she calls home.

The Boo Hag herself is difficult to miss (or to forget, for that matter) once she reveals her true form (assuming that she isn’t invisible). The Boo Hag has no skin to call her own and, because of this, her muscles, tendons, and bulging arteries are horrifically exposed (the muscle itself is said to be blood-red). If a brave man were to attempt to grapple with the Hag, he would feel the unmistakable sensation of grabbing a hunk of raw meat. However, wrestling with the Boo Hag is hardly an advisable course of action, as the creature possesses supernatural strength and can easily overpower a full-grown man.

With that being said, the Boo Hag’s skin is not her own. She steals the skin from those victims that struggle during her attack and that she actually kills (usually young women, although she has been known to take the form of a man as well), and wears it as her own. Therefore, it is advisable not to fight her or otherwise struggle during an encounter with the Hag. During the day, she appears to be an ordinary woman. Most commonly, the Boo Hag appears as a young and beautiful lady, but she may also take the form of a harmless old woman. But by night, the Hag removes her skin and takes to the skies (some say as a ball of light), flying about in search of those whom she may harass and torture whilst they sleep. Victims of the Hag are said to experience sleep paralysis (during which one is aware of his surroundings, but is unable to move), may wake up with strange scratches, insomnia due to recurring nightmares, and will succumb to exhaustion and illness as a result. All together, these symptoms will lead to mental illness and inevitable death. But how does the Hag do this? Very simply, she “rides” her victims. She sits on the victim’s chest and, by doing so, she restricts or even completely stops the person’s breathing, which could lead to suffocation if the Boo Hag doesn’t stop before death occurs. If the victim is a man, she may even rape him (which gives the phrase “hag-ridden” a whole new meaning). But even if one figures out that he is being attacked by this creature, stopping her is extremely difficult. The Boo Hag may become invisible at will, and she can pass through the tiniest cracks, holes, or spaces in order to gain entry to a potential victim’s bedroom (keyholes seem to be a favorite entry point for her). Legends say that she is able to shapeshift into an insect as well. How can one hope to stop such evil?

For all of the Boo Hag’s power, there are a number of ways to keep her at bay and even to rid oneself of the Hag’s presence forever. The Boo Hag, like her European cousin the Vampire, suffers from a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder known as arithmomania. She feels compelled to count her actions or small objects in her surroundings, which is why one may hang a kitchen sieve over the bed (as she will feel compelled to count the holes). Scattering sesame seeds around the bed will accomplish this as well. Be aware, however, that some of these creatures are fast counters. Therefore, it may be necessary to have more than one sieve around or to use more than a handful of seeds. This counting will keep her occupied, as she cannot attack her victim until she is finished counting. With any luck, it will keep the Hag busy until sunrise. If she cannot make it back to her skin in time, the sun’s rays will destroy her.

If the Boo Hag should gain entry to one’s home, she may be kept out of the bedroom by placing a straw broom against the door. No Boo Hag may pass such a broom until she has counted every single bristle. By the time she’s finished, it will be nearly sunrise, and she will have to quickly retreat to her skin, or she will perish. But if that should fail, it is said that the Boo Hag, like other evil spirits (or haints, as the Gullah people know them), are repelled by the color indigo blue. Colors have a special significance in Gullah culture, in that each color represents a different aspect of their lives. In Gullah culture, the color blue is associated with the supernatural. It speaks of black magic and witchcraft to some, but to others it is protection against ghosts and creatures that dwell in the darkness. Painting the window frames, the front porch, or even the exterior doors of one’s house is guaranteed to prevent the Boo Hag from entering. In fact, the belief in this color’s powers of protection is so strong that it has been called “haint blue.” Tradition says that a smudge of this paint on the body will prevent a Boo Hag from attacking (the forehead is a good place for this). A tattoo in this color may ward off the creature, but it may only be effective if the tattoo is worn in plain sight. But not only would it keep evil spirits and creatures at bay, the Gullahs say that if the Hag even touches something covered with this paint, it will cause her searing pain.

Like all supernatural evil, the Boo Hag fears and hates salt. It can be sprinkled on a floor to keep her at bay, but the most effective use of this substance by far is to thoroughly salt her empty skin while she is  “out for the night" (although most legends say that one must use pepper as well). The Boo Hag, it is said, does not like the smell of asafoetida (Ferula assafoetida), and so it may be wise to place a bag of this pungent herb on one’s nightstand or bedside table. The Hag also detests sulfur and, as a result, she hates gunpowder as well. While it is not uncommon for people to place a loaded gun at their bedside, the Boo Hag is terrified by the smell of gunpowder. Thus, it serves a double purpose in South Carolina: to protect one’s family, and to ward off the attentions of the Hag. Placing a matchstick (common sense dictates that the match should be unlit) in one’s hair before bed will keep her at bay as well (since the match head contains sulfur as well). Additionally, a person should never disturb any kinds of mushrooms (known as “hag stools”). Apparently (and rather humorously), the Boo Hag likes to sit down on these mushrooms and relax while she “reads the newspapers”.

In addition to those mentioned above, there are other ways of protecting oneself from the Boo Hag as well. Reciting Psalm 121 is said to be great protection against the Hag for someone who is walking outside after nightfall. But almost any favorite piece of Scripture may be written down and carried in a pocket for protection. Likewise, sincere and fervent prayers to God will accomplish the same thing. It is said by some that if an individual knows the Boo Hag’s true identity, he should write her name with the word “Hag” above his front door. This will prevent her from entering the house. One may also place forks under his pillow, in order to prevent the Hag from “riding” them in the first place.

It should be known that the Boo Hag is a clever and malicious creature. In some folktales, the Hag will drop down from a tree onto a person and hitch a ride. Thus she gains entrance into a home, where she may torture the occupants at her leisure. In a similar manner, she will hide in clean clothes that have been left outside to dry on a clothesline all night. The next day, she will be carried in with the clothes. As she can become invisible at will, her innocent victims never know that she is coming. Therefore, all laundry should be put indoors before dark (and it is common sense to do so, too). But not only does the Boo Hag attack people, she also torments animals as well. Stories are told of the Hag stealing horses and riding them at night. If a horse is sweaty, the hairs of it’s tail and mane are knotted, or if the poor animal is acting especially tired or nervous, then it is likely that the Boo Hag has been riding the horse. If this continues, the animal will eventually drop dead.

Fortunately, there are some warning signs that a Boo Hag is close by. Some dogs are able to sense her presence, regardless of whether she is invisible or has taken human form. When a Hag is near, dogs will start howling and barking (and just generally start making a racket). Crows will also recognize a disguised Hag for what she truly is, and will cry out if she should pass by. If a Boo Hag is close, the very air will become hot and damp like a summer day. Then, the smell of rot and decay will follow and fill the air. If both of these portents should become obvious, one should immediately leave the area. But to rid oneself of the Boo Hag’s presence forever, a direct confrontation may become necessary. In other words, one must publicly accuse the suspected person of being a Boo Hag. Supposedly, doing so will rob her of the ability to do people any harm. If for some reason this doesn’t work, however, or the wrong person is accused, beware of the Boo Hag’s revenge!

As for actually destroying the Boo Hag, it is a very difficult (although not impossible) task to accomplish. As mentioned earlier, it is possible to take advantage of the Hag’s compulsive nature and force her to count seeds, the holes in a kitchen sieve or colander, or to count the bristles on a straw broom until dawn. At this time, she is extremely vulnerable and will be forced to seek out her skin. If she is too late, the rays of the morning sun will destroy her. In many folktales, she literally explodes. Another method of getting rid of the Boo Hag is to destroy her skin while she is seeking a victim during the night. To do this, one must first find the skin. The Hag is a crafty monster, and so she will hide it in a place that is hard to reach or otherwise difficult to get to. Once found, the skin should be thoroughly salted and peppered (red pepper is said to be very effective as well). Once the Boo Hag comes back and places the skin over her body, she will be seized by an agonizing pain that will cause her to wildly fly about into the open air, where the sun will destroy her. Finally, there is the use of magic to dispose of the Boo Hag. Men and women who dabble in Hoodoo (also known as root doctors, conjurers, or root workers) know of rituals, spells, and incantations that can be used to trap, repulse, and even to kill the Hag. One of the most common ways of doing this is to trap the Boo Hag in a bottle while she has taken the form of an insect. The insect is then killed, destroying the Boo Hag once and for all.

If anything or anyone fears the Boo Hag more than the rest, it is the Gullah people. The Gullah themselves are an offshoot of the West African slave trade, during which Africans with various cultural backgrounds were imprisoned in fairly large numbers together. Over time, these people have formed a diverse, cohesive culture that is all their own: the Gullah culture. Today, almost half a million Gullahs live along the eastern coast of the United States, ranging from North Carolina to Florida. They have persevered and endured centuries of war, natural disasters, and slavery, and will continue to do so. They are a fascinating people. When the Africans originally came together, they brought their own religious and spiritual beliefs with them. These superstitions and beliefs gradually blended together over time, with the addition of Christianity completing the mix. The dreadful Boo Hag is but one of the end results. The Gullah still believe in her to this very day, and they remain terrified of the Hag’s power over them. Perhaps there is indeed something to these beliefs, with a horrifying reality lurking behind the stories and legends. Maybe it is wisest to be on one’s guard. Humankind may never truly know what lurks outside in the darkest nights. And, as the Gullahs say, don’t let de hag ride ya!


Curran, Dr. Bob. American Vampires: Their True Bloody History From New York to California. Pompton Plains, New Jersey: The Career Press, Inc. Copyright ©2013 Dr. Bob Curran.

Zepke, Terrance. Ghosts and Legends of the Carolina Coasts. Sarasota, Florida: Pineapple Press, Inc. Copyright ©2005, 2008 by Terrance Zepke.

The Slip-Skin Hag

Roots and Stuff

The Boo Hag

Boo Hag Encounter

The Boo Hags of Gullah Culture

Boo Hag Legend

Boo Hag

Boo Hag (Wikipedia)

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Mummy with the Gray-Green Fungus: A Guest Entry by Rev. Robin Swope

In the late 1970s, a cemetery near Pittsburgh had built a new Mausoleum. It had been promised for years and the salesmen eager to make a lucrative commission had pre-sold crypts long before they were available. So many makeshift cement above ground crypts were quickly built for those who had purchased mausoleum spaces and had passed on before they were built.

When the mausoleum was finished it was the job of the gravediggers to disinter the bodies and place them in their new crypts. It was a disgusting and dirty job, for many of the caskets leaked the liquefied remains of the deceased. To make matters worse for the gravediggers, every body had to be physically identified by a mortician who had originally embalmed the victim and note clothing or jewelry to make sure the corpse in the casket was the person named on the make shift crypt.

The supervisor remembered each decaying face, for it was burned in his memory but one stood out. Most of the bodies had long since dried up and become desiccated. If any flesh was left, it was almost tanned leather hanging off the bony skeleton. Some looked as if they were made out of jello as the corpse had decomposed into a liquid goo. But one was odd.

When they opened the coffin of the old man it was like he had just been laid to rest, except for one disturbing and obvious fact. He was covered with a furry grey-green fungus. All his flesh had been eaten by the fungus, but it held the shape of his face so well it shocked the superintendent and the undertaker. Except for the odd color and the fleecelike look of his skin, he looked like he might just open his eyes or mouth at any moment.

They quickly got over the initial shock and noted that he was indeed who he was supposed to be, and put the coffin in the second level in the back of the newly constructed Mausoleum.

Monday morning, when the maintenance crew came to open up the office, they noticed the mausoleum door was open. As they near the open door they immediately knew something was wrong. Something was smeared on the glass door of the mausoleum, and as they looked inside one of the crypts was open. And it was empty.

Fearing they had graverobbers they went to call the police, but as they rounded the corner to head back to the office they passed the old make shift cement crypts. One was open and it held a casket.

It was the casket of the mold man, right back in the place he had been interned for the last five years. To be sure everything was all right and they did not have a grave robber playing a joke, they opened up the coffin. The body was still there and the jewelry he wore was still intact. They called the police, but there was nothing they could do but file a vandalism report. The body was placed back in the mausoleum.

After they sealed up the crypt again the staff noticed that the smear on the door was the same color as the mold that covered the man. Also disturbing there seemed to be small pieces of the stuff on the carpet that covered the floor from the crypt to the doorway. The body did not look molested at all, and the casket had shown no visible signs of forced opening, but it was still very disturbing.

Two weeks later, it happened again. Everything was the same, the crypt was opened and the casket was found resting in its old spot. Even the smear and pieces of mold scattered here and there. But one thing was different this time. It had recently rained and the ground was soft. A single trail of footprints ran from the mausoleum to the make shift crypt.

And they were almost erased by the tracks left by the dragged coffin.

There were only a single set of tracks.

And it was then that they noticed the handles of the coffin were also smeared with the gray green mold. It was if the mold man had somehow came out of the coffin and dragged it back to his original resting place.

But that was physically impossible…wasn’t it?

Nevertheless a close look at the corpse and the fallen mold made everyone present shiver. They were the same material. Once again the body was laid to rest in the mausoleum, and the funeral director brought in a Catholic Clergyman to once again give Last Rites and a blessing on the tomb. Mold man stayed put this time.

The maintenance crew always gave his crypt special attention. They always feared that one morning they would find it open again, and see the evidence of mold man once again walking the earth.

When you work at a cemetery for any length of time and meet others who have lived the life of a gravedigger for years, you hear some strange and unexplained stories.

And you hope that you are not the next one to come in the next morning with fear in their eyes and tell the others, “You are not going to believe this, but…”

Until Next Time,

Pastor Swope


When I first read this story, it was in Brad Steiger's 2010 book Real Zombies, the Living Dead, and Creatures of the Apocalypse. I thought that it was genuinely creepy, and it's clearly the story of a revenant who is displeased with his burial arrangements. I hope that you, my readers, enjoy it as well. I owe a huge "Thank You" to Robin for allowing me the privilege of reposting this story on my blog. The original story may be found here: Graveyard Tales: The Thing That Moves At Night.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Invunche

In the South American country of Chile, it is known and widely acknowledged that black magic and sorcery do exist. The people also know that such witchcraft can create truly vile, freakish beings. One such creature is the Invunche, a twisted and once-human facsimile of a man that acts as a guardian to its creator’s lair. As hideous as this monster is, know that there is more pain and sorrow in it’s existence than any man should have to bear in one lifetime. The name invunche (pronounced in-voon-chay) itself means “master of the hide” or, in the Mapudungun language, "monster person". The Invunche, also known as the Imbunche or achucho de la cueva, was once human. The creature’s creation begins when a firstborn male baby is kidnapped by a coven of witches or, worse yet, is bartered or sold to them by his own parents. Once in the hands of the sorcerers (which are known as Brujo Chilote), the child’s life in Hell begins. Firstly, they break one of the baby’s legs and twist it over the infant’s back. The leg is fixed there with crude surgery and incantations. Next, the hands, arms, and the other leg are dislocated and twisted into strange positions. In some legends, the right arm is forced through a hole cut under the right shoulder blade, so that the arm will protrude from the back. It is likely that, throughout this gruesome process, the only thing that is keeping the baby boy alive is the dark magic of the sorcerers. Furthermore, the head and the neck of the boy are gradually twisted over a period of time until they too are grotesquely misshapen. Finally, once all of the breaking and twisting is done, the witches smear a magic cream or salve all over the now-disfigured child’s body. This cream causes the boy’s skin to become darker and thicken, while at the same time causing course black hair to grow all over the boy’s body. At this point, the boy’s tongue is cut at the tip so that it more or less resembles the flickering tongue of a serpent.

Once the physical disfigurements and dark incantations are finished, it takes several years to complete the agonizingly slow transformation. In the interim, the child (if one may truly call the aberrant thing by that innocent name) is abused and subjected to yet more black magic, and is fed the milk from a gata (a word for a female cat, but it also makes reference to an “Indian wet nurse” as well). Later on, the Invunche is fed cabrito (the flesh of innocent children). Eventually, the monster is allowed to eat chivo (the flesh of an adult). Once the Invunche reaches adolescence, his mind and human intelligence are completely gone, and the transformation is at last complete.

As was said earlier, the Invunche serves as a guardian, watching over and protecting the lair of its master (which is almost always found at the bottom of a lake). The creature is particularly well-suited to this role, as the transformation from human to monster gives the creature some unique abilities. While it is not very quick or agile (it is in fact a slow, lumbering and very clumsy creature), the Invunche has great strength and the ability to paralyze intruders with the fear caused by it’s horrible bloodcurdling scream. Some even say that seeing the Invunche itself will cause a person to become so frightened that it freezes the intruder in place…permanently. Only the witches may look upon him without repercussions. But, according to Chilean folklore, the Invunche is said to have a minion of it’s own that does the beast’s bidding. This lesser creature is known as the Trelquehuecuve (yes, it’s a mouthful), a giant water monster which can be likened to a giant cowhide with eyes and claws around it’s perimeter that devours humans who get caught in the whirlpools (known elsewhere as El Cuero). This creature has been described as being brown in color, with splotches of white. When the Invunche is short on food (which is usually goat meat that, as the witch’s human sacrifices are considered to be too valuable to waste), the Trelquehuecuve lures young girls to the water’s edge, abducts the poor child, and presents them to the Invunche. The monster will then seize the girl and drain her blood completely. In some of the legends, the Invunche itself is allowed to leave the cave when food is scarce. It is said that he will hunt down young virgins and devour them.

As mentioned earlier, the Invunche itself is horribly misshapen and covered in thick black hair. The monster is described as having a round, balloon-shaped belly, long nails on its fingers, and a snake’s forked tongue. It walks about clumsily on two arms and its one good leg, although the creature is said to be able to leap about. Even though it was once human, the creature itself cannot speak and can only communicate by howling and grunting like an animal. Despite dwelling in a cave that is only accessible via a hidden subterranean lake, the Invunche cannot swim. And while the beast is usually forbidden from leaving the cave that it guards, on occasion the witches have a need to travel outside of the safety of their lair. For this, the witches use their shapeshifting abilities to fly their guardian slave out of the cave. The reason for this varies, as they may go out seeking food, human victims, or to spread evil amongst the local communities. What the coven’s goals truly are remains a mystery.

As tough as this abomination may be, it is possible to kill the Invunche. Because it was once human, the monster is still vulnerable to man-made weapons like cold steel and firearms. However, there is another difficult task to face beforehand: one must kill the Trelquehuecuve, the water beast that serves the Invunche. As this creature is said to be large in size and vicious towards humans, slaying the monster will not be an easy task. However, the Trelquehuecuve is more than likely susceptible to ordinary weapons. Only once it is dead can a man attempt to destroy the Invunche. As likely as not, killing this creature may prove to be difficult. It is said that not only can seeing the Invunche can permanently paralyze a person with fear: it may cause the victim’s mind to cross the boundaries of sanity into the realm of madness. Contemplating the horrific crimes against nature that the Invunche represents may accomplish the same result. In other words, trying to kill an Invunche is foolhardy and extremely dangerous. But if it is absolutely necessary, decapitation and excising the heart may prove to be a saving grace, followed by burning the remains. Legends do not give much detail as to how the Invunche may be dealt with.

However, there is a safer alternative. The Invunche guards the mouth of the cave, barring entry to all but the witches themselves. Legends say that, to gain admittance, one must kiss the Invunche on the ass. A bold, if somewhat frightening action. The reason for this may be that, culturally speaking, it is an utterly demeaning act that shows not only a hero’s inner strength, but his commitment to destroying evil and the willingness to humble himself for the greater good. The Invunche, for some unknown reason, will let him pass. Of course, once he’s dealt with the witches, he may have a fight to the death on his hands with the creature.

In the end, the Invunche represents an unspeakable crime against both God and humanity. It is an aberration, an unnatural creature born of evil and darkness. One is actually doing the monster a favor by putting the Invunche out of it’s misery before he deals with the witches. Then, God’s Wrath incarnate will come down upon them with a swift sword and send them both back to Hell, where they belong. In other words, do not follow in the footsteps of the Brujo Chilote!


Bane, Theresa. Actual Factual Dracula: A Compendium of Vampires. Randleman, NC: NeDeo Press. Copyright ©2007 by Theresa Bane.

Rose, Carol. Giants, Monsters & Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend, and Myth. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. Copyright ©2000 by Carol Rose.

Zenko, Darren. Field Guide to Monsters. Canada: Dragon Hill Publishing Ltd. Copyright ©2008 by Dragon Hill Publishing Ltd.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

El Lobizon (Argentinian Werewolf)

When someone mentions the word werewolf, images of a full moon, silver bullets, and hairy man-beasts with a hunger for human flesh come to mind. Although not every culture shares that image, shapeshifting beasts can be found all over the world in differing forms. In the South American country of Argentina, a creature called El Lobizon (sometimes known as the Lobison) is spoken of in hushed whispers. The word lobizon itself means “sons of the wolves.” While most of modern society refuses to believe in the existence of werewolves and other such creatures of the night, the terror that this beast holds over the people of Argentina is very real.

The Lobizon as the people of South America know it (the beast is also known and reported in Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil) is a bit different from the Western notion of the Werewolf. According to legend, the Lobizon is a type of Werewolf (some say that the beast is a weredog or a werefox of some kind) that is most often described as being quadrupedal (that is, walking on four legs), but is occasionally seen walking on its hind legs. But, unlike the Hollywood incarnation of the beast, El Lobizon is created not from the bite of another Werewolf, but is the result of a hereditary curse. Only the seventh son (that is to say, the seventh boy in an unbroken line of boys) may inherit the condition. This has caused immense fear in the people, and as a result has caused a lot of people to give up these children for adoption, to outright abandon them, and are even killed by their own families in some cases. And like the Hollywood version of the Werewolf, the Lobizon is subject to the cycles of the moon. Every night of the full moon, at the stroke of midnight (especially if the full moon falls on a Friday night), the boy in question undergoes an agonizing transformation into a ferocious wolflike beast of great size and strength that lives to hunt and to kill. At dawn the next morning, the boy reverts to his human form to once again assume a normal life, or at least until the next full moon. Apart from being born the seventh son, it is said that if the Lobizon’s saliva is sprinkled over another person, then they will gradually fall to the Lobizon’s curse as well.

Unlike the Hollywood Werewolf, as mentioned earlier, the Lobizon is generally said to be a quadrupedal beast. The Lobizon, according to eyewitness accounts, is described as being a very large wolf or a dog (one witness likened the beast to “a dog the size of a calf”), having a muscular body covered in dense, dark-colored fur, padded feet that end in sharp claws, an elongated snout, large doglike ears, a furry tail, and a mouthful of razor-sharp teeth. The beast is said to be fairly short in stature, and is sometimes seen as having legs like a child’s. One eyewitness, a junkyard manager, compared the creature to an “enormous monkey” when he encountered the monster late one night. Additionally, according to eyewitness testimony, the Lobizon has a chilling, evil stare (much like the infamous Beast of Bray Road from Wisconsin). And in addition to its fearsome appearance, the Lobizon is reported to be extremely savage. If cornered (not an easy task), the creature is said to be able to tear a bloody swathe through half a dozen men very quickly. Some say that, while the beast likes to feed on excrement, unbaptized babies, and the flesh of the recently dead, it is still dangerous to people. If the creature should encounter a lone person, the Lobizon will not hesitate to attack. And when it does attack, there’s only one thing to do: run like hell! El Lobizon is possessed of unnatural strength and speed, and the beast’s endurance ensures that any chase will be short-lived. And after the monster wears its prey out, the Lobizon’s ripping claws and teeth-filled, tearing jaws make very quick work of the victim and his body. In short, it is no trouble for the beast to tear a grown man to pieces.

Reports most often tell of the Lobizon attacking domestic dogs and farm animals, but the beast has also been known to menace people as well, even to the extent of invading their very homes. One particular report of such an incident from northern Argentina tells of a particularly bold Lobizon entering a private residence, only to be clubbed and beaten by the occupants until the beast was seemingly dead. Once they had dragged the body outside, the creature picked itself up, seemingly unharmed, and ran off into the night.

So, how does one kill such a beast? For that matter, how do people keep the beast at bay? Like the Hollywood version of the monster (and contrary to traditional European Werewolf lore), the Lobizon may be warded off with wolfsbane (Aconitum Septentrionale).  And while wolfsbane is not common in (or possibly even native to) South America, the herb was imported by wise travelers who feared to be without the plant’s protective powers. According to tradition, the herb’s seeds were sown into the soil of a freshly-dug grave. This way, wolfsbane’s apotropaic properties would keep the grave’s occupant at eternal peace.

As for actually killing the beast, one does not need silver bullets or a consecrated weapon to get the job done. Like any other animal, the Lobizon may be dispatched with cold steel and fire (guns and other firearms will work, too). Weapons like long spear and swords are recommended. But be warned: even if one has amassed a large group of men who are armed to the teeth, extreme caution is still advised. The Lobizon is extremely powerful, and moves with a quickness that belies the creature’s size. Trying to pierce vital organs from a relatively safe distance is always a good bet. Even once the beast is down and seems to be dead, the creature’s body should be decapitated with a sharp, heavy blade (like an axe or a sword). Next, the body should be burned to ashes (which may take several hours), and then the ashes should be scattered to the winds or dumped into flowing water. These measures will prevent El Lobizon from regenerating and returning to life. In this case, it is truly better to be safe than sorry.

While it is true that people still believe in the existence of werewolves all over the world, in Argentina the belief is so widespread that even the government is forced to acknowledge the existence of the beast. To this day, the government requires that all large families have their seventh sons baptized to avoid any of the social stigma or superstition associated with the birth of a seventh son.  In 1920, the president of Argentina Dr. Juan Hipolito Yrigoyen set forth an ingenious plan in order to rid his country of the superstition and evil that had made all seventh sons outcasts for decades. To that end, Yrigoyen officially decreed that he would henceforth be the legal godfather of any seventh son born in Argentina. He also declared that a gold medal would be presented to the boy’s parents during the baptism ceremony. As a token of his generosity, he proclaimed that all seventh sons, by law, would receive full educational scholarships until they reached the age of twenty-one years. As might be expected, the reports of infanticide and abandonment dropped dramatically. Even now, in the twenty-first century, those same laws are still in effect. The president himself still attends at least some of the baptism ceremonies, especially during election season. However, this has done little to quell the reports of ferocious, doglike creatures attacking livestock.

Despite Yrigoyen’s efforts and his generosity, El Lobizon has been seen by hundreds of eyewitnesses throughout the country. Not all of these sightings have been in rural areas (like farmlands), but the beast has also been seen in villages and small towns. These people swear that they have seen a werewolflike beast live and in the flesh. These people are deeply religious, so a hoax is very unlikely. But one man from the northern part of the country claims that he is a Lobizon. Not only that, but he actually tried to transform for the SyFy Channel’s original television series, Destination Truth (starring Josh Gates and his team of paranormal investigators). Although the “transformation” was highly dramatic, in the end there was no physical change to be had. Was this man simply delusional? Or was he having some fun at the expense of Josh and the rest of the team? Nobody really knows for sure.

It has long been speculated that El Lobizon came to South America with Portuguese settlers. But historical records say that the Lobizon first made its appearance in the early 1900s, and reports indicate that the beast is still encountered in the present day. More recently (and perhaps a bit strangely), some reports of the Lobizon haven linked with UFO activity. But while the fear that the Argentinian people feel is very real, the beast doesn’t seem to terrify them as much as some of the more gruesome monsters that are lurking in the darkness of the night. This could be due to the fact that this particular werebeast’s prey mainly consists of farm animals (like cows and chickens), as the Lobizon takes delight in the taste of raw meat. There are very few, if any, reliable reports of this creature having killed and eaten people. Perhaps the beast views humans as being too risky to prey upon. But even though the dread of being devoured by the creature is low, the people are still very frightened by the notion of El Lobizon’s curse coming down upon their humble families. Although skeptics may disagree, werewolves do indeed exist, and El Lobizon is no exception.


Brown, Nathan Robert. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Werewolves. New York: Penguin Group, Inc (USA). Copyright ©2009 by Nathan Robert Brown.

Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. The Encyclopedia of Vampires & Werewolves (Second Edition). New York: Checkmark Books. Copyright ©2011, 2005 by Visionary Living, Inc.

Maberry, Jonathan. The Vampire Slayers’ Field Guide to the Undead. Doylestown, Pennsylvania: Strider Nolan Publishing. Copyright ©2003 by Jonathan Maberry.

Maberry, Jonathan. Vampire Universe. New York: Kensington Publishing Corp. Copyright ©2006 by Jonathan Maberry.

The Lobizon: A Creature of Cryptozoology

Werewolf Legends in North, Central, and South America