The Old Higue is said to be an old woman with long hair, whose sole food is blood. She sucks the blood from babies at night to satisfy her hunger.
According to folklore, she seeks isolation during the day, for fear that the sun will burn her body and she will die within minutes. She uses her collection of dead people’s skin as substitutes, if she finds it necessary to leave her home during the day. She leaves her own skin hanging in her home, in a dark closet. She travels at night as a ball of fire, when she hunts her prey. Many rural folks will attest to sightings of the fireball some distance away in the sky.
Once she arrives at her victim’s home, she takes off her skin and leaves it at the door. Discarding her skin allows her to enter the home through the smallest of openings at the doorway. She uses her lips like a vacuum to suck the baby’s blood through the skin, leaving black and blue marks all over the infant’s body.
Parents and Village Elders become suspicious of visits from an Old Higue, when a baby starts losing weight, combined with the appearance of dark blotches all over the body.
They employ different methods to trap the evil crone, using knowledge passed down from ancestors. If they are lucky, they can successfully rid the village of the lurking menace. Villagers know that time is important for an Old Higue. She must complete her feasting before sunrise, or risk an agonizing death of being burnt alive. It is known that she can only travel in her own skin as a fireball.
An Old Higue cannot cross a threshold if there is a chalk line on the floor, at the entrance to a home. She must use her hair to erase every trace of chalk completely, before she can advance past it. Villagers draw several chalk lines as a delaying tactic, hoping for daylight to arrive before she is finished her task. Rice can also be used as a method of retarding her progress. She must count every single grain of uncooked rice placed at the entrance, before she can enter the dwelling. Homeowners usually place enough rice to delay her for several hours. Villagers sometimes lie in wait for the Old Higue to strike, knowing that she will revisit each victim until the child dies from anemia.
Once the Old Higue enters the dwelling, they pounce upon her abandoned skin and douse the inner part with pepper sauce. She senses the villagers’ touch on her skin and rushes to get it. When she dons her skin, she screams in agony as the pepper burns her to death, causing her to disappear without a trace.
Villagers sometimes lay in wait, using surveillance to monitor her home. Once she leaves for one of her obligatory daytime trips, they enter her home and look for her skin. When the skin is located, they quickly coat the inside with pepper sauce and leave, knowing she will rush back to the house when she senses the tampering of her skin. She dies and slowly disappears when she puts on her skin. She leaves no traces of her existence, going straight to hell and abandoning her abode.
Villagers point to decrepit homesteads, once occupied by an Old Higue. In extreme cases, the house is set on fire with the Old Higue trapped in it.