Zangbeto are the voodoo guardians of the night in the African Traditional Religion of Benin, and some parts of Nigeria.
Originally they were the policemen of Benin and the main guardians of law in the country before the establishment of Rule of Law.
It is said they were created to scare the enemy away, Zangbeto will wander around the streets at night to detect thieves and witches, and to provide law and order.
Still so highly revered I was told to take my shoes off while I photographed them.
What I can only describe as “a costume” usually resembles a haystack. They (the people who may or may not don said costume) fall into a trance, through which they are inhabited by spirits - I was told.
It is said there are no humans wearing the costumes, only spirits of the night. They actually tipped one over for the crowd to verify.