Date of Discovery
It is speculated that Baron Samedi came into being when African tribes were forced into slavery and were relocated to Haiti during the 1700s.
Most famously known as Baron Samedi, where Samedi is French for “Saturday.” He is also known as Baron Saturday, Baron Samdi, Bawon Samedi, Sameid, and Bawon Sanmdi. Among his numerous other incarnations, he is known as Baron Cimetière, Baron La Croix, and Baron Kriminel.
Baron Samedi appears as an African man with a skull in place of his face and he speaks with a deep nasal tone. His attire is identical to what a Haitian male would traditionally be dressed in upon being buried–this means he dons a black top hat and tuxedo, wears dark glasses and even has cotton nose plugs.
Baron Samedi originated as a part of the Voodoo religion that originated in the West Indies country of Haiti, during the French Colonial Period. The people from the tribal religions of West Africa were forced into slavery and brought to Haiti in the seventeenth century, and the loa of the voodoo religion is considered a huge part of the practice to this day.
Mythology and Lore
One of the main loa within the voodoo religion, Baron Samedi is considered the “Master of the dead,” one who guards the cemeteries and the veil between the living and the dead. Baron Samedi is the spirit who controls the gates to the underworld within the voodoo religion, he has complete control over who passes into or out of the afterlife. As the head of the Guede family of loa, he has the strongest links to magic, ancestor worship, as well as death–the rest of the Guede family consists mostly of lesser loa, who dress similarly to Baron Samedi. Like Baron Samedi, they tend to have rude or cruel attitudes but lack the charm that he possesses.
Even though his appearance is so iconic both within the voodoo community and without, he spends most of his time in the invisible realm, lingering at the crossroads of life and death. When he is on the earthly plane, he is famous for being a rum-drinking, cigar-smoking, outrageous and uncouth personality. Despite his marriage to Maman Brigitte, he is said to be a suave womanizer of mortal women, which is aided by his unnaturally suave demeanor. When a person dies, he is said to meet them at their grave, when their soul departs, then usher them to the underworld; he is the only loa wit the ability to allow a person to pass to the afterlife. Baron Samedi is an entrepreneur of sorts since he is the only loa that can ensure a deceased person remains in their grave, he demands payment in order to keep a person from coming back as a zombie.
In his less morbid capacities, he is also considered a giver of life as he possesses the ability to cure any mortal of diseases or life-threatening injuries but only does so if he believes it will benefit himself. At the same time, he will also keep a person from dying from a curse or hex at the behest of another individual, if he does not agree to dig their grave.
What mythology and lore are associated with this demon/deity? Are there any mythological horror-related tales or articles about this demon/deity? Provide a general description of any tales that are told about this creature, if able, use this section to interlink back to associated articles or original stories on PBH.
Modern Pop-Culture References
Books & Literature
- Devil’s Cape (2008)
- Live and Let Die (1973)
- Grimm (2011 – 2017)
Is there anything we missed about Baron Samedi? Let us know in the comments section below!
Author. Artist. A little bit Alaskan. Mary lives with her dog in a rural cabin outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. They explore the bounty of the Alaskan wilderness during the summer and cozy up in their log cabin during the winter.