They are considered to be the ‘lost souls’ of children that were not baptised or christened before death. It is said that they are destined to wander the earth eternally while practicing their collection of pranks. Neither male nor female, douens live in the forest, swamps and near rivers.
Their manifestation is that of a naked child never growing more than two or three feet in height. They wear a large floppy straw hat and have an entirely undistinguished face with the exception of a small mouth. The one characteristic that allows them to be recognized as douens are their feet, which are turned backwards with the heel facing forward.
Douens roam the land in the pursuit of children that are not yet baptized, or christened in anticipation of luring them away deep into the woods until they are lost. They charm the children when the moon is full and have a mesmerizing whooping sound. A child who plays with a douen may consider it to be a regular child while the douen slowly but surely leads the child further and further away from the protection of home. Some children may be found the next morning in a precarious arrangement if they are found at all. Douens also have been known to come to people’s houses crying and whimpering for the love of a mother.
They feed off cultivated gardens and seem to have a bizarre fondness for water crabs. To avert the douens from calling your children into the forest it is said that you should never call a child’s name in open places for the douens will then in turn call the child’s name to attract them away into the forest never to return.
There have been actual reports of douen encounters from children in rural areas of Trinidad such as Piparo, Penal and Barrackpore. These spirits have been reported to manifest themselves in the homes of people who have been talking about either the Douen or similar creatures. Reports suggest that open talk summons the creatures or creates a positive pull towards those who look for them. Manifestation in one's home could either be by seeing images of a child or by childish-seeming "pranks" being played on individuals. These creatures once called upon, can be very tricky to get rid of as they tend to be very clingy like real children would be. Natives report that religious intervention is typically called upon to remove the creatures from one's home.