Most of us grew up spooked by folktales our parents shared with us as young children, whether it was to keep us from being naughty or just for good ol’ fun. Folklore involving monsters and mythical creatures have been a vibrant part of cultures all around the world — some completely different, and others very similar with just a few twists.
Here are four urban legends of monsters that scared us as children, and will scare you now:
1. La Ciguapa
This mythical creature is one of the most common in Domincan legends. The Ciguapa is described as a succubus in human female form, with long, dark hair and captivating, almond-shaped eyes. Her feet face backwards, making her hard to track, and even harder to anticipate. Legend has it that she roams the mountains and forests of the Dominican Republic, only coming out at night. She invades the kitchens in villages to steal food, and is sometimes considered an omen of death.
It is also said that she lures wandering, lonely men to their deaths. She attracts them with her chirps and whines and hypnotizes them once they lay eyes on her, then taking them back to her lair to devour them whole or trap their souls for eternity.
What makes this narrative even more spine-chilling, is that there are Dominicans till this day who claim to have seen this demon roaming around in the night… Yes, we have goosebumps too!
2. El Chupacabra
Known as an “evil thing” that sucks the blood of livestock (goats and sheep in particular), this critter is not something you want around your farm. Some legends also say the Chupacabra will come for sleeping humans, draining them of blood. The cunning beast emerges at night, hunting with its glowing, big eyes. It’s a powerful predator, with fangs and claws; also described as hunched back and heavy, yet fast, with spikes poking out of its spine.
Like la Ciguapa, this wicked creature has been sighted throughout time all over the Americas — as recently as a few years ago.
3. El Cuco
Although the mythology of this life form originated in Portugal, it has haunted children since the colonization of Quisqueya, now known as Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic occupies the east of the island).
Throughout generations, the fable of El Cuco has been molded by parents, so there isn’t an exact image attached to the name. However, depictions of him include a dark figure, a beast, and a faceless man. The Dominican urban legend warns children about causing mischief or misbehaving, which attracts El Cuco. He creeps up to their beds at night, and sweeps them away to never be heard from again.
4. El Bacà
This demonic, shape-shifting being is conjured when a person makes a deal with the devil for wealth, or any other desires, in exchange for their soul. Various tales portray it as the devil himself, however, it can transform into any type of animal, usually a large dog or bull. Regardless, this demon demands grand sacrifices for what it offers. Making a deal for prosperity can backfire big time!
The Dominican Republic is full of interesting folklore, mixing fantasy with ancient beliefs. It’s fascinating imagining how and when these legends surfaced, and how they have persisted and been molded through generations. Unquestionably, these stories add personality and depth to the Dominican culture.
What urban legends are prevalent in your culture? Share with us below!