El Silbón 1
According to the Venezuelan folklore, El Silbón was a spoiled young man who murdered his own father when he failed to successfully hunt a deer for him to eat. Rather than go out and get his own dang deer, El Silbón stabbed his father, using the old man's hunting knife, killing him. As his mother rushed to her husband’s aid, his abuelo took it upon himself to punish the murderous boy. He is said to have tied him to a post, where he whipped him, and poured scalding water and lemon juice onto his raw flesh. He then prepared to unleash a pack of dogs on the boy, but not before cursing him and giving him a sack of his father’s bones to carry with him for the rest of his time on earth. And so, the dogs were released and the boy ran, all the while whistling to the tune of “Do-Re-Mi…” It’s said that should you hear someone whistling from afar, it’s El Silbón, with Death at his side. Beware!
El Sombrerón 2
El Sombrerón is a Mexican boogeyman who also kind of appears to be some sort of stalker. According to Mexican folklore, El Sombrerón is a short guy with a big hat who goes around serenading young women and braiding their hair. But only if he really likes them. If so, he’ll claim them as his betrothed by tossing dirt onto their plate so that they will no longer be able to eat, and eventually starve to death. If the young woman is so fortunate as to survive, then she will become a jamona. Because, if he can’t have her, no one can. And so she is cursed to spend the rest of her days alone, never knowing any other love than the one he’s expressed through his songs.
El Cuco 3
Oh, El Cuco. Any Latino will tell you that El Cuco is a shapeless, faceless monster who kidnaps and eats disrespectful little children. He especially has a taste for kids who don’t want to go to sleep. The myth of El Cuco began in Spain or Portugal, and was probably brought West by some bedraggled parents who just wanted to get some rest.
El Duende 5
There are several variations of the legend of El Duende, but no matter where you’re from, chances are he scared the poop out of you growing up! El Duende is a goblin-like creature with an appetite for children. In Mexico, he has a thing for clipping unkempt children’s toenails, which often leads to the “accidental” removal of entire toes. Ay! In other areas of South and Central America, El Duende wanders the forest, where he waits for mothers to walk by holding small children, so that he can snatch them away and make a meal of them. Either way, he sounds awful. I can’t wait to scare my children with him.
El Chupacabra 6
El Chupacabra is a nasty little monstruo who “vants to suck” goats’ blood! But he isn’t picky. He’ll suck chicken’s blood, too, if that’s all you have on your farm. According to a few spooked farmers who supposedly spotted the creepy thing in Puerto Rico during the mid-90s, the Chupacabra looks like a cross between a dog, a lizard, and crazy-looking vampire. In the years since its first siting in Puerto Rico, the Chupacabra has allegedly been spotted in various places across the country and globe, including Maine, Russia, and even screened onto a T-shirt that my grandmother owns that reads, “Chupame aqui.”
La Ciguapa 7
Often compared to a succubus or Siren, La Ciguapa is a beautiful folkloric creature from the Dominican Republic who has the ability to drive a man mad with just one look. Legend has it that she likes to lure suckers, er, I mean men into the depths of the mountains, where she has sex with them, then kills them. Elsewhere in Latin America, La Ciguapa is also known as La Siguanaba.
La Sayona 8
La Sayona is believed to be the vengeful spirit of a woman who thought that her husband cheated on her with her own mami. According to Venezuelan folklore, La Sayona now wanders the earth, murdering men who cheat on their novias and wives. Other variations claim she walks around crying, much like La Llorona, and is carrying a baby in her arms.
La Lechuza/ La Chorca 9
In Texas and Mexico, it’s believed that La Lechuza is a witch who disguises herself as an owl, and happens to have a mean appetite for men’s blood. In other Latin American countries, La Lechuza is also known as La Chorca. Only, la Chorca has a thirst for newborn babies’ sangre--especially those who haven’t yet been baptized. No matter how you slice it, it sounds like this mujer is in a constant state of hangry. That’s scary.