Baron Samedi figures in the Haitian Voodoo religion. He is often depicted as having a skull-like face (or an actual skull for a head). He usually wears a top hat, dark glasses, and a black tuxedo. He may have plugs of cotton in his nostrils in imitation of a recently deceased person prepared for burial in the Haitian tradition. He is usually seen smoking a cigar and drinking from a glass full of rum. He is boisterous and depraved, fond of obscene language, yet provocative and charming.
Baron Samedi is a Loa of the Voodoo religion. Loa are intermediaries between humanity and the great Voodoo god and Supreme Creator Bondye. Baron Samedi is the Loa of resurrection, and he is responsible for digging the graves of the recently departed and leading their souls to the underworld. As such, he also has the power to heal the sick.
I learned about Baron Samedi while reading the second James Bond novel, Live and Let Die, by Ian Fleming. In it, Mr. Big subjugates his minions by convincing them that he is a zombie controlled by Baron Samedi, played by Geoffrey Holder. It should be noted that the movie is a very loose adaptation of the novel. The movie wasn’t really very good. Do yourself a favor and read the novel! It’s an excellent read!
A quote from Live and Let Die:
“You start to die the moment you are born. The whole of life is cutting through the pack with death. So take it easy. Light a cigarette and be grateful you are still alive as you suck the smoke deep into your lungs. Your stars have already let you come quite a long way since you left your mother’s womb and whimpered at the cold air of the world.”