Numerous authors have gone beyond what is known about Bwa Kayiman and have added details to it to suit their political purpose or vision of what a Vodou Service is.The composite legend about Bwa Kayiman that emerged from multiple authors' contributions was published by Dantes Bellegarde in 1953 and is recounted in Haitian school books today.
From what was known about Bwa Kayiman, in 1824, Herard Dumesle introduced a prayer reportedly said at Bwa Kayiman. He did this in a poem that he wrote about the event. Later authors attributed the prayer to Boukman. So out of touch is Dumesle's poem, that it cites numerous Greek Spirits and makes no mention of any Haitian Lwas.Much of the content of Dumesle's writing relied on the 1819 publication of Civiques the Gastine (Geggus 2002). Mr. Gastine was a French anti-slavery radical who had never visited Haiti.Mr. Gastine embelished the events at Bwa Kayiman by adding a rainstorm, the oath taking, an orator, and a ritual leader (Thylefors, 2009). He also combined the Vodou Service of August 21st and the preceding political meeting of August 14 into one event. Knowing the role of European Christians insupporting the slave trade, Mr. Gastine introduced the notion of a more just God, the African God versus the evil God of the European slave owners.It is for this reason that Geggus credits Gastine for being the first to give Bwa Kayiman an anti-Christian flavor. Later evangelists have pounced to exploit this, adding details of a pact made with the Devil to overturn God's support of slavery.
During the 19th century, Cecile Fatima's grandson reported that the young mulatto woman was the officiating Manbo at Bwa Kayiman.In 1953, Rigaud published that the officiating Manbo was an old dark skinned woman. In 2006, Jean Bertrand Aristide wrote in his dissertation that one of the attendees, Jean Viksamar, acted like Christ and offered himself as replacement for the sacrificial pig.The Ceremony of Bwa Kayiman has been altered beyond what can be derived from the confessions of those who attended.Members of the Haitian Diaspora exposed to the Moslem faith continue to embellish the story and have proposed changing Bwa Kayiman to Bò Kay Iman (Thylefors, 2009). They argue that thename is a code for the location of the Ceremony.
The blood oath allegedly taken at Bwa Kayiman was introduced by Ardouin in 1843. In writing about Haiti before the Revolution, the colonist Moreau de St Mery wrote about blood oaths (Fick, 2004). Writers on African culture have written about it as a Dahomean practice. That said, the arrested participants did not report taking such an oath. Furthermore, the majority of people in Haiti came from the Kongo where such oaths are unknown (Robin Law, 1999).
It is also commonly reported that the Religious Service of Bwa Kayiman was a Petwo-Kongo service because of the sacrifice of the black pig. More recently, Robin Law has reported that pig sacrifice also occured in the Rada region of Ginen.The Service held at Bwa Kayiman could very likely have been a Rada Service.
Important events commonly generate legends. The meetings at Bwa Kayiman were important events. They led to the first successful Revolution of enslaved people anywhere. Authors reporting on Bwa Kayiman must make a point of separating the known facts from the legend so that people may better understand what is known about this major historical event.