A major character in my upcoming novel Royal Street is the Baron Samedi, so I thought I’d introduce him in the first of my weekly “Monster Mondays.” In the book, Baron Samedi starts tinkering in the affairs of modern-day New Orleans and creates all kinds of mayhem.
In Haitian Vodou (“voodoo” in the U.S.), Baron Samedi (literally “Baron Saturday”) is the master of the cemetery, or the god presiding over life and death. The Saturday in his name might come in reference to the one day when Christ succumbed to death, the Saturday between the crucifixion and the resurrection.
The Baron has several incarnations. He’s most often seen as a tall black man dressed in a tuxedo, with a skeleton painted on his skin. He wears sunglasses with one lens missing, showing his ability to see into the realms of both the living and the dead. He can call up the dead (zombies!), or he can barter with a petitioner to delay death….for a price.
Interestingly, among the vodou believers, the Baron Samedi is not seen as evil–just capricious. He can be crude and vulgar one minute, kind and compassionate the next.
My favorite image of Baron Samedi was this one from artist Wayne “Dimitri” Fouquet from New Orleans.
What’s your favorite “monster?”