One of the most interesting things about the Bahamas is its culture. Bahamas culture is rich with traditions and beliefs as well as legends and folklore. While some of its myths were passed down from the first generation of settlers on the islands, others were born through the natural phenomena that the locals saw in their environment. Below are some of the most well-known and interesting legends and folklore in the Bahamas:
Lusca in Andros Bahamas
Lusca is akin to Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster. Some describe this huge mythical creature as part octopus, part shark while others believe it to be part octopus, part dragon. Regardless of what this underwater creature looks like, the locals believe that it is the cause of any water accidents, such as drowning, that occur in the blue holes. According to the folklore, Lusca uses her long and strong tentacles to drag humans and fishing boats into its underwater lair in one of the blue holes of Andros Bahamas. In addition to living in the blue holes, locals believe that the tidal currents are a result of Lusca’s breath. Skeptics think that Lusca sightings were actually giant squid sightings. However, many citizens still believe in her existence and steer clear of the blue holes of Andros Bahamas.
Pretty Molly on Exuma Bahamas
In the island of Little Exuma, locals believe in the legend of Pretty Molly. There are two stories attached to the legend. Some believe Pretty Molly to be an elusive mermaid that lives in Pretty Molly Bay. Others say that Pretty Molly is the ghost of a slave that committed suicide by walking into the water. Many locals claim that she can be seen haunting the beach every night.
The Chickcharnies of Andros Bahamas
If you see an owl in a tree, walk around it for good luck. This is a traditional English belief. There is a similar belief in the Bahamas culture. When you are in the Bahamas, specifically in Andros, locals recommend that you grab some flowers and wear brightly colored clothes before going sightseeing. Why? Doing so will help increase your chances of being favored by a Chickcharnie. Locals believe this to be a three-fingered, three-toed, red-eyed, 360-degree-head-rotating bird-like mythical creature. According to the legend, anyone who gets to see a Chickcharnie and pay respect to it will enjoy good fortune for the rest of his life. Legend goes that these mischievous creatures will turn your head around completely should they find you lacking in respect. They live in the tallest pine trees of Andros where they create their nesting site by joining together the tops of two pine trees. One legend tied to that of the Chickcharnies is about Billy Bowleg who was a great Seminole medicine man. According to the story, he was adopted by the Chickcharnies when he was 14 and trained for 5 years. It is believed that when he was returned to his community, his healing prowess spread across the Bahamas.
There is actually a grain of truth to this mythical creature. There used to be a three-toed, burrowing owl that once lived in the forests of Andros Bahamas called Tyto pollens, cousin to the smaller common Barn owl. Sad to say, the specie totally disappeared in the 1500s.
THE LOST CITY OF ATLANTIS on Bimini Bahamas
Atlantis, according to Greek legend, is a lost ancient city which had highly developed technology. It sank into the abyss after it experienced earth-shattering quakes caused by underwater volcanic eruptions. Many locals believe that the remnants of the road leading to the lost city are actually in Bimini. The Bimini Road in the Bahamas is made up of neatly laid flat giant stones submerged 20 feet below the water level of North Bimini. While scientists dispute this belief, there is no current explanation as to how these neatly aligned blocks ended up there.
BOSEE ANANSEE (ANANSI) of the Bahamas
The Bosee Annansee is a mythical creature in the Bahamas that is of African origin whose legend was brought over by the slaves. It is comparable to the West African spider-god that can appear as part-spider/part-human, a human, or a spider. Bosee Annansee is both a trickster and a hero. He has the power to endow people with the spirit of rebellion, the courage to fight for freedom, and the desire to unite or destroy kingdoms. He can also trick Death and the Devil. In the Bahamas, the tales of Bosee Annansee were passed on from one generation to the next to impart the lesson that dignity and freedom are always worth fighting for.