Did you ever wake up in the middle of the night screaming because of some scary story that your parents told you when you were little? Yeah, it happens. Maybe you’re a fan of Latino horror movies, but what really scares the bejesus out of you are those old tales from Latin America that mami and papi used to scare you with.
Admit it: Now that you’re grown, you realize that they were just trying to keep you in line… But you still can’t help but get chills whenever you think of a creepy creature draining a goat’s milk or the boogeyman is hoping to eat your toenails. Below are five of the absolute scariest Latin American horror stories that still frighten you WAY too much. Um, maybe tonight you sleep with your lights on?
It’s maybe a little bit obvious to start with the most famous Latin American legend of all time, but who can’t help but hide under the covers when you remember childhood tales of La Llorona? She is a beautiful woman who brutally killed her children to be with the man she loved and then kills herself when he rejects her. In the scary tale, she wanders, weeping constantly as she searches for her children. The scary part, however, happens because she has been known to kidnap wandering children. Has there ever been a better reason to stay indoors after nightfall?
He’s the Latino version of a boogeyman, and he has terrified Latino children for generations. Parents tell their kids tales of this monster because he looks for children who misbehave in order to kidnap them into his bag. He can shapeshift and typically hides in closets or under the bed in order to find, capture, torment and eat his preferred victims — kids that don’t listen to their parents. Although we may not be kids anymore, tales of his adventures still send chills down our spines.
This monster’s tale, which originated in Puerto Rico, claims that the cross between a dog, lizard and vampire is here to suck goats’ blood. However, he’ll also go for chicken’s blood if that’s all that is available on your farm. Stories of this creepy creature were rampant in the ‘60s through the ‘90s, when it was said to attack and drain the blood of farm animals (such as sheep) on the island and eventually immigrated to wreak havoc on Miami, the Southwest and finally Mexico. The craziest thing? You can still sometimes hear stories of recently murdered livestock who have been drained of all of their blood…
This is the one that you’ll really want to watch out for if you are a young woman. This stalker-like figure is described as a short man who dresses in all black with a shiny belt, heavy boots and a large hat that hides his face. Nobody is quite sure if he is a ghost, demon, man or goblin, but what they are sure of is that he goes around serenading young women who, once they become bewitched by his beautiful voice, allow him to braid their hair and are unable to eat or sleep until they die. Yup, these young women basically starve to death because he does not want anyone else to have her.
Known throughout Latin America as a gnome or elf-like creature, El Duende is sure to scare just about anybody. No matter where you come from, this goblin-type creature is known for his appetite for children. Although some legends simply say that El Duende is a malevolent spirit that wreaks havoc in the home, the most common tale across countries is that the creature has a taste for kids — especially those that don’t clean up their rooms since it especially loves eating children’s unkept toenails… and sometimes devouring entire toes (or more!) too.