Luison

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Luison, Luisõ or Lobison is the name of a monstrous creature from Guaraní mythology. Being one of the seven cursed children of Tau and Kerana, the Luison is one of the primary figures of legend in Guaraní-speaking cultures today, such as Paraguay. Of the original myths of the Guaraní people, the Luison is one of the few whose story has changed significantly in modern times.

The name of Luison is a variation of Lobizón, a name used in Argentina to describe the werewolf or a similar creature, which is itself a variation of the Brazilian name for the werewolf, Lobisomem, more literally wolf-man. What name Luison may have had prior to the influence of European-based mythology is likely lost to the world. Guaraní was not a written language and all myths passed on in storytelling only, thus no written record of his original name would have been made.

Legend[edit]

A Luison sculpture

In the original version of the myth, Luison was the seventh and last child of Tau and Kerana, and thus was the most accursed of the bunch. He was of vaguely human appearance, but said to be extremely ugly, even horrendous looking. Luison had long, dirty hair that fell down to cover most of his form, pale and sickly looking skin and eyes, and accompanied by the constant, fetid odor of death and decay. So frightening and repulsive was his appearance that his mere presence would instill terror in any unfortunate enough to encounter the beast.

Luison was said to be the lord of the night and was associated with death. His habitat was limited exclusively to cemeteries, burial grounds or other locations similarly tied in with the concept of death, and his sole source of food was dead and rotting flesh. If Luison passes through a person's legs, it is said, the person turns into Luison. In some versions, Luison only appears on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday night. Luison also filled the same function as the Grim Reaper in many European societies, and it was said that the touch of his cold, clammy hand was a sure sign that one's days on the earth were numbered.

With the arrival of European settlers in the area came myths and legends not indigenous to the Guaraní people. Over time the myth of Luison slowly began to mix with the imported legend of the werewolf, to the point where Luison began to lose many of his associations with death. In many areas of the Guaraní-speaking world the Luison's description has changed to that of a half man, half dog creature, and now bears many similarities to the classical werewolf story. Modern tales tell of a Luison that hunts by the light of the moon, is no longer confined to cemeteries and may hunt living victims down for food. It is sometimes also believed that the curse of the Luison may be transferred to other victims via biting, much as the curse of the werewolf. In part the transition from the original myth to a more werewolf-like creature is because Luison was the seventh son. The seventh son, especially in Paraguay, was thought to be cursed to become a werewolf.

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