The loogaroo is a bizarre creature that has characteristics of both a witch and a vampire. It is also known as a soucouyant or soucirant and occurs in many parts of the French speaking Carribean and Mauritius (which is where the loogaroo name is most widely used). Etymologically the name may be a corruption of loup-garou - a form of werewolf with a similar method of transformation whilst soucouyant would seem to derive from the French soucer ("to worry"). It is thought to belong to the general class of Afro-Carribean evil spirits known as jumbees.
Witch-like the creature is normally an old woman who has made a pact with a demon for magical powers, at least part of which requires that she pay the demon a regular tribute in blood. To do this she strips off her skin at night and transforms into a ball of fire, in which shape she flies through the night into people's homes and steals their blood for her master. Young women and children are particularly prized targets.
The soucouyant can be defeated in a variety of ways, but the most efficaceous would seem to be finding her discarded skin and sprinkling it with salt so that she cannot put it back on and expires when the sun rises - the discarded skin can then be used as a power source for your own magic. The Guyanans, who call her Ole-Higue believe that a similar trick can be performed with hot peppers. Like many vampiric entities she is also believed to obsessively count grains of rice and similar things - this can be made even more effective by hiding any container that she could count them into and leaving out more grains than she can hold in one hand1, thus making her prone to drop them and have to start again. Some treatments also suggest that the creature enters a home through the keyhole and can be crushed if the key is turned in the lock as she does so. Given that an ole-higue who is caught counting a rice trap can be beaten to death with a broom, it's also highly likely that violence works just as well as anything else if the creature can be caught in human form.
Again, like a vampire those who die of a soucirant's feeding are said to sometimes rise as its spawn … possibly the patron demon offers to deliver them from death if they are prepared to serve it.
Game and Story Use
- An amusing variant creature for your PCs to fight, probably starting with a rash of unexplained cot-deaths.