Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Loango

The Loango is a type of shapeshifting undead bat creature (a revenant) from the folklore and legends of the Ashanti and the Asanbosam peoples of Africa. This creature is created when a sorcerer or a practitioner of black magic dies, and is similar in some ways to the Vampire of European folklore.
The Loango’s attacks are closely linked to the waxing and waning phases of the moon, from which it derives its power. With the waxing of the moon, the creature’s power increases. On nights of the full moon, the monster’s physical strength increases to the point where it has ten times the strength of a grown man. On moonless nights, the Loango has no power at all and prefers to sleep in its coffin until the moon once again shines down upon the earth. One might think that the creature’s strength would be affected by the moon being obscured by clouds, but vampire expert Theresa Bane says otherwise. According to her professional opinion, cloud cover makes no difference at all.
During the day, the Loango lies in a coffin within the relative safety of it’s grave with its eyes wide open. By night, the creature takes the form of a bat and flies off into the night to feed. Ashanti mythology never quite mentions what the Loango feeds on, but there are clues that say that the monster feeds on what the Ashanti value the most socially. Exactly what that something is varies from tribe to tribe. For example, in one tribe it may be goats. In others, it may be the most beautiful child in one of the local families. However, it may be simple in that the Loango may simply feed on the warm flesh and blood of any human that it encounters.
It is unknown as to whether the Loango’s shapeshifting abilities extend to taking any other animal forms, or even if the monster can still use the same type of black magic that it commanded during its lifetime. Given the Loango’s shapeshifting abilities, this seems likely (assuming that it was practicing magic that gave the practitioner those abilities in the first place). On the other hand, however, one must look at the nature of the magic that the Ashanti use. Just as likely is the fact that the Loango may not be able to use its magic as a revenant may be due to the belief that one must be a living being (in other words, one must have a soul) in order to use this magic. The shapeshifting abilities might just be one of this particular Vampire’s natural abilities. But regardless of whether or not this monster is able to command the forces of magic, it pays to stay inside on moonlit nights.


I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank Theresa Bane for helping to clarify and expand on the information found in this particular entry. Thanks, Theresa!!
Bane, Theresa. Actual Factual Dracula: A Compendium of Vampires. Randleman, NC: NeDeo Press. Copyright ©2007 by Theresa Bane.
Haining, Peter. A Dictionary of Vampires. London, England: Robert Hale Limited. Copyright ©Peter Haining 2000.

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