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Folklore of Rougarou - Our Cajun Werewolf Friend

At this point, everyone has heard of werewolves. It's a creature that has not only graced today's screens and books but one that contains folklore in a plethora of different cultures as far as the 2nd Century BCE.

In France, the loup-garou roamed, Slavic mythology has the Wilkołak, and in our humble Bayou of Louisiana, we have the Rougarou.

Stalking the bayou and woodlands of Lousiana, the Rougarou has the perfect backdrop for his hunting grounds. Known to have the body of a human with the head of a wolf, sharp teeth, and glowing red eyes, it is easy to strike fear into all that would come across.

And what culture do we have to thank for our American werewolf?

France of course (if you are unaware of the French settlers in Louisana or their influence on Cajun culture, please do some research as it's fascinating).

Back in the days of medieval Europe, beasts known as the loup-garou (Loup meaning wolf, garou meaning one that turns into an animal) became infamous across the land of France.

Various crimes and events were blamed on the loup-garous even to the point that resulted in the execution of thousands of individuals who were thought to be loup-garous. This went hand in hand with witchcraft cases at the time.

Unsurprisingly, the tales of the loup-garous heavy influence on French History (and Europe in general), was brought with our friendly French settlers to America.

Take those tales, mix them with some Cajun flavor, and bam.

We have the Rougarou.

The tales of the Rougarou are (much like many folklore) a largely oral tradition.

The Rougarou Curse

According to some legends, once someone has been turned into a Rougarou, they will be stuck in that form for 101 days with the sole purpose of drawing another person's blood in order to pass on the curse to free them.

Other legends believe one can only become a Rougarou through a witches curse (if someone knows that spell DM me please - research purposes only).

Regardless of the cause, Rougarous is often depicted as a bloodthirsty creature hell-bent on sticking to their "animal instincts" of death and destruction.

Theories on Protection

Let's be honest, even if a Rougarou was the friendliest of creatures, it doesn't really strike the warm fuzzies our furry dog friends do.

So it's unsurprising that we have lore to also provide us protection from our fearsome foes.

Luckily for you, my first guidance is one that doesn't require expensive silver bullets.

Instead, lay 13 items outside your home.

Yep, you heard me right, the Rougarou is thought to only be able to count to 12. Therefore it's believed that you can confuse one by leaving 13 items.

This way they will keep having to go back to the beginning to start counting all over again. Over and over until sunlight is achieved and it is transformed back into a human (or runs away in fear of being discovered).

Another safeguard one can deploy is painting a hexagonal shape on the floor in tandem with prayers (*cough* spells *cough*), carrying leaves in your wallet, or overall just being a tricky little being (i.e. pretending to not be home).

Our Wolfish Boogeyman

Such as many folklore, the Rougarou's is thought to be tale created for the sole purpose to frighten children (and adults) into "behaving".

It was a warning to naughty children.

Behave or the Rougarou will know and get ya.

However, our "bigfoot of the swamp", the most well-known purpose is to scare Catholics into ensuring they follow the rules of Lent. Lending to the claim, that Rougarou will hunt down those who are not upholding Lent. Especially if Lent was broken 7 years in a row.

Seems like breaking lent was a common error many made.

I mean, 40 days of self-discipline seems easy when faced with the possibility of being eaten by a creature of the night.

Although the Rougarou is a tale that is becoming less known (likely due to its oral traditions of it), you can rest assured there are those who still are carrying on.

Houma, LA hosts a Rougarou Festival every year in remembrance of our furry friend.

And I, for one, will be now looking into tickets in order to attend.


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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

My name's Maven and witchy momma and writer documentating the wonderfully mundane aspects of the Occult. I like to share my experience with folk, kitchen, and green magick along with other tidbits I find along my journey.

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