View Full Version : The Many Legends of Loup Garou

04-02-2010, 08:22 AM
There are many different stories of “Monster” type things that haunt the Bayous of South Louisiana. There was one in Bayou Coquille, in Lafitte. It was nine feet tall. We would ride down to the shore of Bayou Coquille, late at night. It was located just past “Deadman’s Curve" on the Lafitte Highway. I would park on side of the road and follow the trail on the side of the bayou into the swamp.

I guarantee, I saw that huge dark shadow many times and hauled butt back to the vehicle, cranked the engine, floored the gas peddle, and smoked them tires leaving a cloud of dust and smoke in the air, in an attempt to “Save” the life of the girls I had with me.

I was their Hero!!!!

And there is the famous Honey Island Swamp Monster that many know of. I never even had enough courage to go near the Honey Island Swamp in fear from all the stories I had heard. Heck, I got goose bumps and shivered when I passed on the highway I-59 and saw the sign that stated “Honey Island Swamp Exit”.

And now, there is the Loup Garou also known to the people in Golden Meadows area as Roux-Garou or Rougarou. These are the French versions of the spelling.

As a kid I heard the term RouGarou, but had never seen it written. When I would visit a friends home in the swamps, he would say “We cannot go past that big cypress tree” deeper into the swamp, because "Papaw said the RouGarou will get us”. Or he would say "We have to be asleep by 9:00 pm, cause the RouGarou comes for children that are awake after 9:00 pm".

Here are some images of what many view as the Loup Garou:







04-02-2010, 08:27 AM
And then there is this version:

I had forgotten about the Rue Garou, as I knew it, until lately, when I met a Pensacola Fishing Forum member Loup Garou. Therefore, I have performed some Internet research for RouGarou and have found the following:

The Rougarou (alternately spelled as Roux-Ga-Roux, Rugaroo, or Rugaru), is a legendary creature in Laurentian French communities linked to European notions of the werewolf.

The stories of the creature known as a rougarou are as diverse as the spelling of its name, though they are all connected to francophone cultures through a common derived belief in the Loup-garou (French pronunciation: [lu ɡaˈʁu], English: /luː ɡəˈruː/). Loup is French for wolf, and garou (from Frankish garulf, cognate with English werewolf) is a man who transforms into an animal.

Louisiana folklore

Rougarou represents a variant pronunciation and spelling of the original French loup-garou. According to Barry Jean Ancelet, an academic expert on Cajunfolklore and professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the tale of the rougarou is a common legend across French Louisiana. Both words are used interchangeably in southern Louisiana. Some people call the monster rougarou; others refer to it as the loup garou.

The rougarou legend has been spread for many generations, either directly from French settlers to Louisiana (New France) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louisiana_(New_France)) or via the French Canadian immigrants centuries ago.

In the Cajun legends, the creature is said to prowl the swamps around Acadiana and Greater New Orleans, and possibly the fields or forests of the regions. The rougarou most often is described as a creature with a human body and the head of a wolf or dog, similar to the werewolf legend.

Often the story-telling has been used to inspire fear and obedience. One such example is stories that have been told by elders to persuade Cajun children to behave. According to another variation, the wolf-like beast will hunt down and kill Catholics who do not follow the rules of Lent. This coincides with the French Catholic loup-garou stories, according to which the method for turning into a werewolf is to break Lent seven years in a row.

A common blood sucking legend says that the rougarou is under the spell for 101 days. After that time, the curse is transferred from person to person when the rougarou draws another human’s blood. During the day the creature returns to human form. Although acting sickly, the human refrains from telling others of the situation for fear of being killed.

Other stories range from the rougarou as a headless horseman to the rougarou being derived from witchcraft. In the latter claim, only a witch can make a rougarou—either by turning into a wolf herself, or by cursing others with lycanthropy. [

Native American folklore

The creature, spelled Rugaru, has been associated with Native American legends, though there is some dispute. Such folklore versions of the rugaru vary from being mild bigfoot (sasquatch) creatures to cannibal-like Native American wendigos. Some dispute the connection between Native American folktales and the francophone rugaru.

As is the norm with legends transmitted by oral tradition, stories often contradict one another. The stories of the wendigo vary by tribe and region, but the most common cause of the change is typically related to cannibalism.

A modified example, not in the original wendigo legends, is that if a person sees a rugaru, that person will be transformed into one. Thereafter, the unfortunate victim will be doomed to wander in the form of this monster. That rugaru story bears some resemblance to a Native American version of the wendigo legend related in a short story by Algernon Blackwood. In Blackwood's fictional adaptation of the legend, seeing a wendigo causes one to turn into a wendigo.

It is important to note that rugaru is not a native Ojibwa word, nor is it derived from the languages of neighboring Native American peoples. However, it has a striking similarity to the French word for werewolf, loup garou.

It's possible the Turtle Mountain (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtle_Mountain_(plateau)) Ojibwa or Chippewa in North Dakota picked up the French name for "hairy human-like being" from the influence of French Canadian trappers and missionaries with whom they had extensive dealings. Somehow that term also had been referenced to their neighbors' stories of bigfoot.

Author Peter Matthiessen argues that the rugaru is a separate legend from that of the cannibal-like giant wendigo. While the wendigo is feared, he notes that the rugaru is seen as sacred and in tune with Mother Earth, somewhat like bigfoot legends are today.

Though identified with bigfoot, there is little evidence in the indigenous folklore that it is meant to refer the same or a similar creature.

04-02-2010, 08:34 AM
Now I found this story:

An Oyster-Culling Loup Garou


Loulan Pitre (http://www.lpb.org/programs/swappingstories/tellers.html#loulan)
Cut Off, Lafourche Parish
Collected by Pat Mire and Maida Owens on September 20, 1993.

My father was an oyster fisherman because that was his means of a livelihood. And people from his time didn't have anything to do at night. They'd gather--well, it's a gathering of working men instead of old men--and they'd tell each other stories, and they probably told each other stories so often that they'd believe them. They'd actually come to believe them. And this particular story is really amazing.

I don't want to go into the mechanics of the oyster business, but it was a little complicated -- not to them but to anyone you want to explain it to.

They used to tong oysters. There were no such things as dredges. Tong. And they had these oyster skiffs--were about twenty, twenty-four, twenty-six feet long and maybe ten feet wide. They'd tong oysters, oh, practically all day long and load them up. And that was shells and regular oysters in the rough. And at night, they'd congregate in some bayou. They usually had some little camps or little cabins with the particular fishermen. They didn't sleep on the boats because it was so darn hot--or either so darn cold when it was winter time. And they would gather in one cabin and tell each other stories.

And this particular story stuck in my memory because I actually believed it when they--when my father--related it to me. Anyway, they'd bring these skiffs and tie them up along a big pile of oyster shells. We call this culling oysters, not shucking. It's an entirely different system. Culling oysters means sitting down in that skiff on a little old bench with a mitten in your hand, with a little hatchet, and get all those oysters as singles--single oysters. Every one you had to pass in your hand: if it was too small, throw it away. And then the shells would pile up at your feet and you'd have to shovel those shells onto the big shell pile, so it wouldn't clog up the little stream you were in.

And my father used to say--they call them loup garou. They were a famous topic. The loup garou. They'd pull all kinds of capers. Loups garoux would, not the people.

And so it came about that one of these old oystermen would say, "I keep hearing something at night in our oysters." He said, "I keep hearing noises." And they'd listen. Naturally, they wouldn't hear anything. But after a while, another one said, "I hear a noise in our skiffs. Maybe it's a raccoon." And more and more, one and after the other kept hearing and finally they decided the only noise it could be was someone culling the oysters and hitting those clusters with a hatchet.

All night long, this would go. All night long. Next morning, they'd go check out the oysters to get ready to work. And one fisherman would find his skiff: the oysters had all been culled. And none of the others. And, well, they believed in [I]loups garoux. They took them for -- their existence as a fact. They weren't afraid of them. And this lasted forever. Throughout the winter, and then the following winter, lo and behold, the thing was back again. You see, they just work oysters in the winter time then, when it cool. And so one guy says, "I'm going to stay. I'm going to hide behind a pile of shells and see what's doing that in the moonlight."

So, he was brave enough. He stayed up. And he could see the pile of shells diminishing in the skiff. But he could not see what was doing it. And he could hear the hatchet hitting the clusters. So he kind of went, sneaked over there, and he saw like a shadow, some kind of apparition there. So he took a pole -- they used these long poles -- that they used to . . . push the skiffs around. They didn't have any engines in them. And he sneaked up on this thing and whapped it across the back of this -- more of a shadow than anything physical -- and it disappeared. There was nothing. And that night on they never heard another noise, and nobody ever got another oyster culled. And that thing disappeared. And that was the story. . . . And they believed it. They actually got each other to believe it.

04-02-2010, 08:37 AM
And then this is yet another version:

The Shadow Companion


Loulan Pitre (http://www.lpb.org/programs/swappingstories/tellers.html#loulan)
Cut Off, Lafourche Parish

Collected by Pat Mire and Maida Owens on September 20, 1993.

This other story was the one related to me by my father, but it was prior to the 1893 storm. There was this old man. He was kind of a cripple. He limped a little, and every day he'd do some beachcombing. He'd go walking on Grand Isle or the beaches at Cheniere come clear to Fouchon with his stick, and one day he noticed that he wasn't alone. He stayed out a little later than he should have, and he saw this apparition, this shadow. He always claimed it was a monkey. I guess that was the only -- or closest thing he could come to describe it. And he tried to chase it. The thing was fast. He tried to hit it with his stick. He couldn't do it. And day after day, he'd walk the beaches. . . . He found himself staying out a little later every day, so the thing would appear -- it wouldn't show up in the daytime at all. And sometimes it would jump on his shoulder -- this thing. No one but he -- he could see it.

So, the years went by, and the old man got older and hobbled along, and he got fond of the thing. He talked to it, and the thing would never change its pace. . . .
So, one day this man, coming back about seven in the evening. . . . Some vines were growing in the sand -- still do. And he stumbled, the old guy stumbled, and he had his stick in his hand, and when he stumbled, he did this [makes a thrusting motion with his hand, as if holding a stick] -- to hold himself up. Then he . . . pierced the skin of this thing. Here. Pointed stick got it. And the thing was all gone in a flash. And he never saw it again.

And the old man went walking more and more, and everybody thought he had lost his marbles. Because he spent all his time walking the beaches, and he actually pined away for his companion. He had grown so fond of it that and he died shortly after. And they believed that too -- that story.

04-02-2010, 08:41 AM
And yet another version:

Loup Garou as Shadow Companion
Glen Pitre (http://www.lpb.org/programs/swappingstories/tellers.html#glen)
Lockport, Lafourche Parish

Collected by Pat Mire and Maida Owens on September 20, 1993.

Okay, this is a story I first heard when I must have been nine, ten years old. I remember the moment on the porch at my parents' house, and my parrain, my godfather -- who was also an uncle -- was the one who told it. But definitely he had heard it passed in his family.

And it was about days back, ooh, back even before the depression, and they were all oyster fishermen, because the family had been oyster fishermen for generations. And they would fish the oysters with big tongs, . . . like ice tongs. And they'd tong them into the boat. But that was only half the battle, because they'd be all grown together in clusters, and you had to break them up with a hatchet into single oysters, because that's the way they were sold. Which was a lot of work. And at night, the boats would all tie up together, and they'd stay in their fishing camp, this palmetto camp they had built and tell stories and pass the time and go to bed and slap the mosquitoes.

And it started happening that they'd come out in the morning and the oysters would be separated, and they'd be culled into singles for them. But also, half of them would be eaten. So you had a good thing -- a lot of your work would be gone. But you'd had a bad thing that the oysters would be eaten. And course, it scared them.

They didn't know who was doing this. They could tell no other boats had come. There was no other house for miles around. It was open water. And one of the young men who was braver than most said he was going to stay on the boat and find out who or what was doing it.
Well, he stayed, but he didn't quite make it through the whole night, because somewhere in the middle of the night -- everybody had been waiting up, trying to see what would happen, but one by one they fell asleep.

In the middle of the night they heard screaming, and he came running down the dock into the camp and just was frantic and could hardly explain what he had seen--this creature that was huge and hairy and moved very quickly. But that was the end of it. After that whatever it was stopped appearing on the boats, stopped breaking them into singles, stopped eating half of them.

Of course it was the end of it for everybody else, but the one brave guy -- who started telling the others that whenever he was alone, this creature would come to him. It would sit on his shoulders with featherweight touch. And he'd lie on his bed and if he was in a house alone, he was alone in the bedroom -- it would rest on the bed head. Never hurt him, but frightened him, because it haunted him.

And time went on and people -- I mean nobody really believed his stories, and more and more, they kind of avoided him, because he was obsessed with this thing. And he had been engaged to be married, and his fiancée -- elle a cassée la paille [she broke it off] -- you know, she didn't want anything to do with him.

And he grew older and the young kids used to follow him around and sing songs after him to taunt him, because everybody thought he was a little nuts. And he talked to himself -- or so they thought -- because actually he was talking to the loup garou -- the creature -- which never answered but sure seemed to listen real well.

And again, as time went on, he grew older until finally he became an old man and had to walk with a cane. And he'd still go and meet all the oyster boats when they'd come in, walking on those shells with that cane. The end of the cane would get kind of sharp. And one day, he fell. And that sharpened end of the cane went up and cut the loup garou and -- if you know about the loups garoux, you know that one way to get rid of them -- probably the only way to get rid of them -- is to draw blood. And when he cut it, and it drew blood, that was the end.
And the old man realized he had just lost the only friend he had ever had. After spending years trying to get rid of the thing, he had gotten so used to it that nobody else would have anything to do with him, that it became his only friend and now -- click -- by accident he had killed his friend. And he suffered in loneliness for a while and then he died himself.

04-02-2010, 08:43 AM
My most recent knowledge of a Loup Garou has determined that my current definition is a Great Guy that is the food and beverage manager at the Hampton Inn on Pensacola Beach and the Hilton Garden Inn in Pensacola Beach.

He is a loving family man from South Louisiana. He loves to shuck oysters all night long on a Wednesday, and give them to Pensacola Fishing Form members for FREE!!!!!

Pensacola Loves it’s versions of Loup Garou !!!!

See Ya’ll at the Tiki Hut - Wednesday!!!!!!

04-02-2010, 08:44 AM
A couple more images for your consideration!!