Baron Samedi

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.

Name

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.

Physical Description

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.

Origin

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.

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Maman Brigitte

Vèvè of Maman Brigitte

Date of Discovery

It is speculated that Maman Brigitte came into being when African tribes were forced into slavery and were relocated to Haiti during the 1700s.

Name

Her name is Maman Brigitte, or Manman Brijit, which in English roughly translates to “Mama Brigid.” In other regions, she’s also referred to as Saint Brigid or Gran Brigitte.

Physical Description

Maman Brigitte is the only fair-skinned loa and the consensus is that she didn’t originate from Africa like her fellow loa. Instead, Maman Brigitte is thought to come from Ireland, a representation of the Celtic Goddess Brigid, or the Christianized version of the pagan deity, Saint Brigid of Kildare.

Origin

While it may seem strange that a European deity would be in the company of loa that originated from Africa, it’s theorized that due to the trend of indentured servitude that brought many English, Scottish, and Irish people to the Caribbean and United States. These indentured servants were overwhelmingly female in number, so they brought with them the tradition of the Goddess Brigid, who came to keep company with the loa that were brought with the enslaved peoples of Africa.

Mythology and Lore

Due to a heavy Catholic influence upon voodoo, Maman Brigitte is often referred to as a sort of Mary Magdalene; because of her origins, Maman Brigitte is portrayed as a red-headed, fair-skinned and wispy woman. Like her consort, Baron Samedi, she is part of the family of loa who has authority over the cemeteries and death. Maman Brigitte stands guard over graves and tombstones; in typical voodoo tradition, in a new cemetery, the first woman who has been buried within bears a special cross at her grave and is said to belong specifically to Maman Brigitte. Maman Brigitte is associated with death, but also with life–her particular brand of power is healing, especially sexually transmitted diseases, fertility, and divine authorities and judgment. While she heals those who deserve it, she is also a champion for those who have been wrong, by severely punishing the wicked.

Devotees of Maman Brigitte will leave this loa an offering of candles, black roosters, as well as pepper-infused rum. As the protector of women, she is primarily worshipped by females and she is often called upon to assist women who are battered, cheated on, or during rough childbirth.



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