Great Spider

Date of Discovery

First discovered in the 1890s, the Great Spider has been sighted as recently as 2014. The first sighting of the J’ba Fofi by a western observer was in the 1980s near Lake Nyasa when British missionary Arthur John Simes and his men stumbled upon one of the creatures. Having gotten themselves tangled in the enormous web, a male and female spider came out of their tunnel and attacked them. Despite being bitten, Simes managed to escape after shooting one of them with a pistol, but afterward exhibited symptoms that suggested he was poisoned—paleness, chills, and swelling around the bite. These symptoms worsened, Simes became delirious, before falling unconscious and ultimately succumbing to his wounds and dying.

Name

Giant Spider
Photography by Andre Tan

The Great Spider is also known as J’ba Fofi, or the Congolese Giant Spider.

Physical Description

The Great Spider is known to be a spider-like cryptid, but much larger than the average house spider.

Origin

This giant arachnid can be found in the Congo, Uganda, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, the state of Louisiana, as well as Zimbabwe.

Mythology and Lore

Said to inhabit the forests of the Congo, it is suspected to represent a new species of arachnid—behaviorally speaking it is classified as a burrowing spider, digging shallow tunnels under tree roots and camouflaging it with large screens of leaves. Their webs are said to be nearly invisible when stretched between their burrow and a neighboring tree, which act as a network of trip lines and alert the spider when new prey is in the immediate area. This type of behavior is said to be reminiscent of a trapdoor spider, which leads investigators to believe that it really is just a new, unclassified species of trapdoor spider.

Natives to the area say that the J’ba Fofi lays pale yellow eggs, then the hatchlings are bright yellow with a purple abdomen, but as they mature, their coloration deepens, darkens, and browns. Many natives actually suggest that these giant spiders have always been in existence, that their prevalence used to be in much greater number, but they have since become more of a rarity. That encroachment of civilization has driven the spiders from their natural habitats.

A far more believed account, again by western sources, was in a book dedicated to cryptozoology by George Eberhart, where he relates the experiences of an English couple traveling through a region of the jungle in the Congo. He says that “R. K. Lloyd and his wife were motoring in the Belgium Congo in 1938 when they saw a large object crossing the trail in front of them. At first, they thought it was a cat or a monkey, but they soon realized it was a spider with legs nearly 3 feet (in length).”

William J. Gibbons, a cryptozoologist and naturalist believed he was hunting what was called the Congolese dinosaur, or Mokele-mbembe, when he came across natives who told him of their experience with the J’ba Fofi, in his narrative he said that “on this third expedition to Equatorial Africa, I took the opportunity to inquire if the pygmies new of such a giant spider, and indeed they did! They speak of the J’ba Fofi, which is a “giant” or “great spider.” They describe a spider that is generally brown in color with a purple mark on the abdomen. They grow to quite an enormous size with a leg span of at least five feet. The giant arachnids weave together a lair made of leaves similar in shape to a traditional pygmy hut and spin a circular web (said to be very strong) between two trees with a strand stretched across a game trail.”



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Lafittes Bar – New Orleans Louisiana

This haunted bar dates back to 1803 around the time of the Louisiana purchase. Jean Lafitte was a famous French pirate who plundered vessels at the mouth of the Mississippi river and proprietor of the bar. The bar is claimed to be the first bar in New Orleans and it started off as a meeting place for pirates, smugglers and other criminals in the area. It was known to be a rough place where more than one murder may have occurred.

The haunting is said to be the spirit of a young man who had his mind set on becoming a pirate in Jean Lafitte’s crew.

This young man had stolen a silver necklace and had taken it to Lafitte’s bar to both sell it and gain recognition for his skills as a burglar. His hope was that Lafitte himself would catchword of his deeds and bring him aboard his ship. As word spread in the bar that he had a stolen necklace to sell he was approached by a pirate. this pirate asked to see the necklace. After sharing his prize the pirate let the young man know that he had stolen that necklace from his very own sister. It is rumored that the pirate brutally murdered the young wannabe shipmate right there in the bar.

Since that murder occurred many people have sighted the spirit of the young man over the years. He is said to be seen holding his neck and stomach where he may have been stabbed. He has been reported staggering around the bar only to vanish when interacted with.

Lafitte’s Bar is considered one of the most haunted bars in the United States.

Lalaurie Mansion – New Orleans Louisiana

The Lalaurie Mansion is considered one of the most haunted houses in the United States. It is located in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. Delphine LaLaurie inhabited the mansion with her third husband Dr. Louis Lalaurie. Delphine had a mysterious past being that her first two husbands both mysteriously died. She inherited a great fortune from those marriages and her wealth only grew when she married Louis LaLaurie. They moved into the mansion around 1831 and it was known as a high brow spot for entertaining and parties. Delphine was known to abuse the house slaves with a very short temper and it seems possible she got pleasure out of the torture.

On one occasion during a party at the house, Delphine became enraged at a slave girl and allegedly pushed her over the stair rail to her death in the courtyard. She was later accused of barbarism for how she treated her slaves which at the time was illegal. Due to the Lalaurie’s status though they were quickly able to regain their slaves and continue with little re-corse. On April 10th, 1834 during another party the house experienced a kitchen fire. It was discovered that another slave had set fire to the kitchen on purpose as she would rather die than remain chained to the kitchen stove where she had been shackled for days.

When the fire brigade arrived and began investigating they found a chamber upstairs with as many as seven deceased slaves that had been tortured, possibly experimented on in a medical fashion, and all were chained to the walls or floors.

After the gruesome discovery and angry mob formed but Delphine, Louis, and their two children escaped justice in a carriage. They were never again found so the mystery of what happened in that torture chamber continues on to this day.

This haunted house has reports of liquid leaking from the walls, banging and screaming coming from the upstairs chamber and a history of being cursed. No one who has owned the house has kept it for more than a few years and several experienced financial ruins while owning it. At one-time actor, Nicholas Cage owned the house, but he also quickly turned it over.

Due to the hideous activities that occurred in the house, it is often considered one of America’s most haunted mansions. This paranormal story still has gaps though. Where did the family escape too and did they continue torturing and killing people?

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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Vèvè

Date of Discovery

Vèvè came into being around the same time as voodoo was established in Haiti sometime during the 18th century, however, the predecessors to these symbols existed long before voodoo evolved in the Americas.

Name

Vèvè is also known as veve, and vevè.

Physical Description

Vèvès are traditionally complex line-art style symbols (when pictured), but when used in a ritual they are drawn in sands or other powders.

Origin

The tradition of creating vèvè has quite a long tradition that originates from the ancient kingdom of Dahomey–a region that is now southern Benin. Using palm oil, the practitioner would draw specific geometric figures, including frequent use of rectangles and squares, upon the ground. The ritual drawing of vèvè can also be attested as a typical practice in Central Africa and within the Taino and Arawak peoples of Haiti, all of which converged within the African slave population that was forcibly brought to Haiti.

Mythology and Lore

In Haitian Vodou, the vèvè are symbols that represent the loa, or lwa. They are ritually drawn upon the floor with some type of powder, typically cornmeal, wheat flour, bark, red brick powder, or gunpowder. In Haitian Vodou specifically, cornmeal and wood-ash mixtures are generally preferred. The substance used to draw the vèvè depends upon the loa being called or honored, as well as the ritual which is being performed. Alternatively, vèvès can also be drawn, printed, or painted and used in artwork, jewelry, banners, or other wall-hangings.

Whether simple or elaborate, these ritualistic symbols are still drawn upon the floor of the temple or ritual grounds. Instead of palm oil, they are drawn with cornmeal or ashes with a great deal of precision by an Oungan or Manbo.

These symbols are an integral part of Voodoo rituals, within the concept of their use they are used to bring the loa to the earthly plane to assist the practitioner in their ritual goal. Each of these loa has its own symbol to represent them in order to establish a personal connection to the spirit in question.

Modern Pop-Culture References

Books & Literature

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Puzzle Box Horror Presents – Anna

https://puzzleboxhorror.com/anna-chapter-two-finding-the-bokor/






Follow Alaskan born Anna as she wades through the mysteries and perils of the paranormal and supernatural forces that are at work in the world.

In this installment, Anna has caught wind of a sinister voodoo cult that has been potentially bringing the dead back to life. What will she find when she visits the Big Easy to get to the truth of what’s behind this unbelievable rumor.


Read Articles Relating to Vèvè

Learn about vèvès and how they relate to the religion from which they came, you’ll be surprised at what you find out!



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