The Loup Garou

The Legend of the Loup Garou!

Better known to those outside of Louisiana as werewolves, tales of the loup garou have existed since pre-colonial times. Standing at over ten feet tall, with black and brown matted hair drenched with the murky waters of the bayou, glowing red eyes, and equally menacing long, sharp, bared fangs, an encounter with one of these swamp creatures could definitely be defined as…hair-raising. According to the folklore of the Acadians, one can become a loup garou by either being attacked by one or by meeting its evil gaze. For those unfortunate enough to experience such an attack, there is a means of escape. All one has to do is not tell anyone about the attack for a year and a day, and not only will the victim be free of the curse, but the attacking loup garou will be freed as well. The stories also speak of Loup Garou balls, at which the wolves would meet in a swamp clearing and dance on their hind legs before breaking off to hunt their prey. Brandon remembers hearing tales of the loup garou at his grandmother’s house when visiting her as a child. It is based in the early nineteenth century, in one of the many communities scratching a living out of the bayou. Our tale involves a young, newly wedded woman, who waited out late one moonlit night for her returning husband, despite his warning not to do so after nightfall. Despite the chill of the night, she waited patiently until she spotted a large brown shadow emerging from among the trees. Standing before her with glowing red eyes stood a large wolf man. Petrified with fear, the girl stood frozen, meeting the creature’s gaze despite knowing the lore of her people. The loup garou backed into the swamp, giving the girl the chance to escape. She ran back home, locking the door behind her and pulling the covers over her head. Remembering her people’s folklore, she told no one of the encounter for a year and a day, being careful to lock herself in a shed every full moon. Her husband seemed to take no notice, as he often had to work during the night. When the course of a year and a day had been run, her husband suddenly asked her if she had ever waited for him at the edge of the woods. She lied, saying that she hadn’t. Looking into her eyes, he told her that he was the loup garou that she had seen over a year ago, and that since she had kept her silence, that they were both free of the curse. Fortunately, there is one method of protection against these wolf creatures. Place thirteen small objects by every entranceway (windows, doors) to a home. This is done in the belief that the loup garou must count them before entering a home. Incidentally, they cannot count higher than twelve, leading one to believe that they received a Louisiana public school education. The wolf will be forced to repeatedly count them over and over again, until the coming dawn forces them to flee back to the swamp. Even in our modern age of interstates and airplanes, reports of shadowy beasts with glowing red eyes stalking the forest edges along the highways still persist. If the reader should ever see one, just remember to stay clear and avoid its gaze. And with any luck, its mind will be too preoccupied with the upcoming Ball to notice you.

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