‘Bahamian Halloween is a ting ay?’ We thought the same thing until we began examining tales of supernatural encounters in the Bahamas. Most of our folktales don’t include horror stories or chilling encounters. Instead, they usually feature strange experiences, contact with mythical creatures, or versions of African folklore like Brer Rabbit (an African tale of a trickster figure that was brought to the New World by slaves and adapted into North American folklore in the early 1900s.).
Open the doors of your imagination as we take you on a spookily Bahamian journey that just might change your mind about going trick or treating this Halloween.
In the deep, dark forests of Andros lies our first fabled beast. The Chickcharney is a very ugly, owl-like animal said to have control over fate and fortune. In Bahamian folklore, if someone meets this grotesque creature skulking around the forest and treats it well, they will be met with good luck. However, if one mistreats a Chickcharney they will fall upon hard times. The Chickcharney is said to be 3 ft. tall and flightless, instead having four limbs, all with scrawny, elongated claws and a sharp, curved beak. We don’t know about you, but the Chickcharney doesn’t exactly sound like the character we’d invite into our homes for a snack.
Caesar Riley is basically the Bahamian version of Edward Scissorhands and also happens to be a diabolical fiend that haunts you while you sleep. The story of Caesar Riley is told through old Bahamian song, which features a peculiar rhyme scheme that perfectly matches the rhythm of Bahamian dialect.
Caesar Ril’ is a hell of a joker, Hello, Caesar.
Stick his ma wid a great big poker, Hello, Caesar Ri-ley.
Caesar is a hell of a cruel Hello, Caesar.
Something come out like a flour gruel, Hello, Caesar Riley.
Lay on my belly heap more sweat, ma Hello, Caesar.
Lay on my back, sweat more worser, Hello, Caesar Riley.
Originating with African slaves, Obeah is the name of a special kind of sorcery that is well-known throughout the Bahamas and is practiced around the Caribbean. Stories of Obeah and dark crafts have been told around these islands for as long as anyone can remember.
Here’s a captivating poem called “Obeah. O-BEE-AH” by Geno Cattouse, that tells the tale of a band of women who used Obeah to control an old out-island town.
Old women sit around in smokey rooms.
Pulling on Stinking cigars. Lights turned low.
The red ends glow like big bloodshot eyes.
They wink in and out.
Murmuring chants and singing in low oblique tones.
Your soul is in question your will directed.
Have a cure with your man's cheating ways. Obeah.
You been having a bad streak of luck. One thing then the next. Obeah on you. Go see lady cross town. Bring money. Obeah.
You strongly believe someone put Hudu on you.
You been sick for some time now and the pills just wont do. Obeah
Somebody put bad eye on you too. Obeah
The closest thing we have to the Loch Ness Monster, the Lusca is a giant creature of the deep, lying in wait for unlucky passersby in the cavernous blue holes of Andros. According to a few eyewitness accounts, the Lusca is an eel-squid hybrid that’s anywhere from 75 - 200 ft. long. Not much is known about its origin since there are very few reports of anyone actually surviving a Lusca encounter.
Accounts of sighting of ghosts remain one of our favourite kinda of stories told in the Bahamas. From sightings in Arthur’s Town to Gordons, Long Island, there always seems to be a mysterious poltergeist lurking. We’ve never encountered ones ourselves, but we sure wouldn’t like to this Halloween!
Ghost Hunt, Anyone?
Tales of horror and hauntings surface all around this country. You just have to know where to find them. From haunted houses and poltergeists to mythical creatures that might be lurking in your very back yard, you never know what you might find when you turn a corner. Happy Bahamian Halloween!