Saturday 31 October, 2020

Flashback Friday: Unforgettable Bajan horror stories, folklore

People around the world celebrate Halloween in the month of October and although here in the Caribbean that event may not be on our radar, in Barbados there are more than a few scary tales to keep us up at night.

Some of these tales are as old as time- the origins unknown but one thing is sure: the fear and mystery surrounding these topics remains as strong today as it was in the past.


-Heart Man:  If you grew up with your grandmother or grandfather, you would know well the threat of “yuh better behave before the Heart Man come and get you”. This character was a man, dressed in all black who carves out the hearts of people, especially bad-behaved children and feeds them to the devil. He supposedly drove a black hearse and frequented the parishes to the north of the island. Young or old, the Heart Man was feared by all.

-Steel Donkey: Imagine walking on a road late at night and you hear the clink-clank of chains behind you. If you are brave enough, you turn around and see the bloodshot red eyes of a donkey wrapped in chains. This is the description of the Steel Donkey- this animal is said to roam the streets at night though no one has actually seen it.

-Baccoo/Baku Man: The tale of the Baccoo Man is not synonymous to Barbados, it also features in Guyanese and Trinidad folklore. Think of a tiny man with a long beard who terrified residents by constantly moving object around in the house. The Baku man was supposedly owned by East Indians and when customers lapsed on payments for goods received, this little man would be summoned to put fear in the hearts of those who owed debt.  

- La Diablesse also called La Jah Bless: Not as popular in Barbados but still well-known. Men have been warned if they see a strange woman standing on the side of the road, avoid her at all costs. Dressed in long frock that concealed her secret- a goat leg and in some stories it is reported she had a cow leg. For those men who became bewitched by her beauty, they would be seduced, led into the bushes, only to be devoured by the devil in disguise.

-The Chase Vault – Though not a tale of folklore, the history behind the Chase Vault, located in the cemetery at the Christ Church Parish Church, has bewildered many Barbadians to this day. The vault was built around the 1700’s and since then, every coffin which was placed inside it has been moved and in some cases thrown around by evil forces inside.

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