Haiti quake raises fears of child-eating spirits
The earthquake that shattered Haiti has unleashed fears that child-eating spirits, mythological figures entrenched in Haitian culture, are prowling homeless camps in search of young prey.
The ‘loup-garou,’ which means ‘wolf man,’ is similar to werewolf legends in other parts of the world, but in Haitian folklore it is a person who is possessed by a spirit and can turn into a beast or even a dog, cat, chicken, snake or another animal to suck the blood of babies and young children.
Haitians fear loups-garous in the best of times and even more since a powerful earthquake wrecked the capital of Port-au-Prince two weeks ago, killing as many as 200,000 people and forcing hundreds of thousands more to sleep outside in vast camps or on the streets.
Most of Haiti’s 9 million people are Roman Catholics but many also practice voodoo, a religion with African roots. The belief in loups-garous cuts across religious identity and is most strongly adhered to among Haiti’s poor, which are the majority in the most impoverished country in the western hemisphere.