douen

Douen. Trinidadian folklore. Carnival. Trinidad and Tobago.

The Douen is a character from Trinidad and Tobago folklore, it is believed they are the lost souls of children that had not yet been baptized or christened. Their most recognized characteristic are their feet that are said to be backwards, with the heel facing the front.

Douen - 

A child spirit from Caribbean folklore, Douens are feared by both parents and children. They are the spirits of children who died before they were baptized or christened so they have been cursed to roam the forests forever. The Douen is often described as a mainly naked child, sometimes wearing a banana leaf or loincloth on their lower half. They are about three feet tall and have a featureless face with only a small mouth. Their faces are normally hidden under a huge straw hat which allows them to pass as a normal child until you see them up close. The most identifiable trait of a Douen is that their feet are turned backwards. 

 Douens are malicious creatures. When the moon is full they will lure children deep into the forests, sometimes the child is found shortly after but in most cases the child will never be seen again. They will learn a child’s name and lure them away from their home by calling their name. To avoid this parents try to avoid calling a child’s name too loudly in open areas. Douens will also play with children in order to lure them away from their homes and into the forest. A Douen can also become fond of a particular person and come to their house continually crying and knocking on doors to ask them to be their parent. When they like a person they can be near impossible to get rid off as they can be very persistent and clingy. The Douen have a soft side though, they have been known to help injured animals and mimic animal cries in order to throw hunters off track to protect wildlife. It is also possible to summon a Douen and ask it to play pranks on people of your choosing, but their clinginess can make them tricky to get rid off once you have summoned them. 

To release a Douen from its cursed state you must sprinkle it with holy water and recite the baptismal prayer. It can then rest in peace.