[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
A Piece of My Mind
December 11, 2002

Beyond Folklore

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2002;288(22):2791-2792. doi:10.1001/jama.288.22.2791

A mother from the rural Haitian Artibonite Valley tells us how she lost her newborn baby. She was awakened one night by a sound. She opened her eyes and with horror she watched a beast enter the house and hover above her sleeping baby girl. The mother tried to scream but could not; she tried to move but could not. She lay paralyzed in terror watching a monster take hold of her baby. In the morning, the mother woke to find her child listless and febrile. She brought her baby to the local hospital where the child died soon after admission. Fearful that the beast would return to feed on the corpse, the mother buried the child in a garden directly outside the window of her bedroom. On awakening every morning, the mother opens her window and checks on her baby's grave.