Halloween in Cajun country means watch out for the rougarou. Now that October is almost over, and being that today is Halloween, it just seemed fitting to write about the creature that wanders across south Louisiana at night - the one known as the rougarou.
Many people may know about a werewolf but not a rougarou.
The word rougarou comes from the word "loup-garou" with "loup" being French for wold and "garou" coming from the old Frankish form "wari-wulf." Bela Lugosi step aside.
Although the legends of the rougarou are closely related to European werewolf tales, there are several distinctions between the European werewolf, the French loup-garou and the night lurking, bayou-wandering creature called the rougarou.
The most common theme if a night time exposure to the rougarou. The person who comes across the rougarou draws one of three drops of blood, that person then has the spell, and then the tale can be either light or dark. The darker version of the story means the person who does the encountering dies usually within a year.
At the first drop of blood the animal will return to its human form, at which point he will tell the attacker who he is.
Often the rougarou is someone the witness knows or has heard of, and the rougarou usually tells the witness if he informs others of this encounter within one year and a day, he too will become a rougarou.
HOW TO KEEP THE ROUGAROU AWAY!
There are different methods used to keep the rougarou away. Some say men carry a certain leaf rolled up in their wallets to ward it off or of old women who paint some sort of hexagon shape on the middle of the floor and say certain prayers to keep the rougarou away.
Many liken the stories of the rougarou to the "boogeyman" - and the children are told the rougarou is going to get them.
The term rougarou has even become so popular in south Louisiana that it has evolved into a descriptive adjective, "rougarouing," used to describe a person who runs around or stays up late at night.
The truth is it is very easy to find stories about the rougarou, but difficult to find people who actually believe in its existance.
We all know it is part of any culture to hold on to a story, the rougarou will always play a significant role in Cajun culture just like crawfish boils do.