- African (culture)
- Domestic (attribute)
- Deadly (behaviour)
The Abiku are forest spirits from the myths of the Dahomey and Yoruba people of West Africa. The Abiku possess the minds of children and babies, drawing away their life until the baby dies. They kill the baby by eating and drinking everything that is given. No matter how much food or drink the caring parents give their sick child, the child’s diet is never satiated as the spirits steal the food resources to feed themselves and other spirits that do not currently posses a person. When the child ineveitably dies, the spirit goes on to find another victim. They either find a child to possess or are born into a family by the orders of the creator, Mawu.
The only known ways to protect the child or baby is to adorn it with bells, dedicate the child to a god, rub red pepper into the child’s cuts to drive the spirit out or to disfigure the child so that the spirit finds the child unwanted and returns to the forest. Sometimes a child in chain by iron ankles and wears bells to ward off an Abiku before it has chance to possess the child.
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