Cy à Mateur

A photo of Cy à Mateur...

I still remember vividly as Tante Alda would tell us stories of a man she called Cy. Her expression was one of seriousness and displayed the characteristic of a person who believed every single word she spoke. We would sit...almost in a she would talk about a man from la Baie Sainte-Marie who would go to dances...and as he danced his feet would turn from those of a human to the hoofs of an animal. How people would see him drink and dance in Meteghan...and others would swear that they had seen him in Church Point...or Saint Alphonse...all at the same time...that in fact he could be at several places at the same time. How he would take a piece of bark from a birch...and with it transport himself to distant places. She swore that she knew people who had witnessed some of these events. The man she was referring to was...Cy à Mateur.

Many believed he was the devil or he was the anti-Christ himself.

I am writing this based primarily on my recollection of what I was told in my youth...and from information I have located since...during my genealogical and historical research.

Cy à Mateur was in fact Célestin Trahan...born in 1848 in Meteghan, Digby Co., Nova Scotia...à la Baie Sainte-Marie and it appears he was the son of Amateur Trahan and Rosalie Luce Doucet.

My interest regarding Cy was reawakened when I heard a song called "Cy à Mateur" by probably the best Acadian singing group I have ever heard...Grand Dérangement. As I listened to the lyric for the first time...I wondered to myself if this could possibly be the same person I had...years before...heard so many stories about. After listening to it several time...I knew it couldn't be anyone else.

Whether it was that Cy à Mateur was possessed by the devil himself or spirits...or that the locals who allegedly witnessed some of the events were suffering the effects of the home made spirits that flowed freely within their reach...the fact remains that whoever Cy was...he left an impression on people that caused many to sleep lightly after having met him face to face...

The following are the lyrics by Michel Thibault to the song "Cy à Mateur" as performed by Grand Dérangement...

Mon nom c'est Cy à Mateur
J'ai un nom qui sème la peur
Les lignes de ma paume
Parlent de tchômes et de fantômes
Mon nom c'est Cy à Mateur.

Ma vie c'est la vie d'un rôdeur
Qui cherche la terreur, la noirceur
Oui j'ai l'air d'un homme croche
Avec toutes mes pleines poches
Mon nom c'est Cy à Mateur.

Quand je bois, je suis un vrai poisson
Quand je danse, c'est le tourbillon
Quand je cours les jupons
Les femmes connaissent mon nom
Mon nom c'est Cy à Mateur.


La dame de pique: ma meilleure amie,
L'as de cœur ne m'a jamais trahi
Les rois et les valets me
fournissent des cachets
Mon nom c'est Cy à Mateur.

Mais des fois ça me prend dans la nuit,
Des fois quand la lune luit
Des pensées passagères…
Des tristesses messagères
Des fois ça me prend dans la nuit.

Mais quand la nuit tombe sur la terre
Les enfants récitez vos prières
Vous me verrez survoler vos quais et vos clochers
Mon nom c'est Cy à Mateur.


To hear this song and many other fantastic songs..including "Baie Sainte-Marie" visit Grand Dérangement's site at for information on how to get your copies of their CDs.

For a comprehensive and very enjoyable book on the life of Cy à Mateur read Lise Robichaud's excellent thesis..."le diable et le cordonnier - Vie et Légend de Cy à Mateur"...a must for anyone who is interested in the legends and myths of la Baie Sainte-Marie.