“The month of November is now gone and with it the legends of Las Animas or the spirits of the deceased. But these are not all the ghost stories. Still there is the ever-popular El Sisimito, who was very common twenty-five years ago.
El Sisimito was characterized as a very short but very strong man that was hairy and looked like a gorilla. El Sisimito was said to have his feet backwards. In other words, his heels were at the front and the toes at the back. Therefore whenever you saw his footprints, if it looked like they were going north or away from you, indeed he was heading south and towards you. His feet were quite large for his size and his toes were spread out. Neither did he have a knee, so his movements were quite awkward.
(Illustration from Characters and
Caricatures in Belizean Folklore)
The Sisimito ate fruits and leaves, but his preference was meat. When he feasted on human beings, he tore the body into several small pieces and devoured it hungrily. The Sisimito was not at all friendly with humans so humans were very much afraid of him. There were only two things the Sisimito was afraid of- water and dogs. And there was the trick. Whenever in the bush, 25 years ago, people made sure they were close enough to the river so that if the Sisimito surprised them, they would quickly jump into the water and the Sisimito would not dare get in to catch them. Others made sure they always carried a dog with them into the bush and the dog’s barking would scare the Sisimito.
It was said that if a man looked straight into the Sisimito’s eyes, he usually died within a month. However, if a woman looked into his eyes her life was prolonged as a result of that.
“So, you cannot say that you were not warned.” says Mercy. She had a very attentive audience that were thrilled to hear the Belizean Folklore. Her poise and mannerism made for a good show with the children. Ms. Mercy, although not from Hopkins is a traditional Garifuna woman with a talent to tell Belizean Folklore whether in Spanish, Creole or Garifuna with a lasting expression that will dwell in your minds.