As its nearing our favourite time of year at Alma de Cuba we wanted to dig into some of the traditional Latin American myths and legends that have been around for centuries.
Liverpool itself is known as one of the most haunted places in the world but Latin America has their own seriously spooky stories that could scare even the bravest souls.
Check out what we found when we explored some of the scariest Latin American myths and legends here.
This Latin American legend tells of a mythical creature that surfaced around the time of buried treasure.
El Culebrón resembles a huge black hairy snake with the head of a cow, frightening stuff!
Known to roam around secluded forests or live in underground caves, El Culebrón would only slither out of hiding when it was hungry. It had plenty of tricks to attract prey and was able to entice cattle to their deaths by wafting the smell of its milk in their direction. The cattle would come to drink then be eaten whilst doing so.
El Culebrón was often associated with buried treasure, and Latin American myths and legends say it was attracted to freshly buried treasure. Only 40 days after the goods were placed in the ground the mythical beast would fiercely defend its trove. Only those brave enough to face the creature would win their wealth back.
A bonus of El Culebrón, if you could keep one as a pet you were guaranteed to become massively wealthy.
Women beware all short men in Sombreros when visiting Latin America.
El Sombrerón is said to have wandered the streets of Latin America dressed in black, shiny boots and blingy belt buckles.
He spends his time searching for young women with big eyes and long hair to seduce. If that doesn’t sound all that bad to you, wait for it!
El Sombrerón would first approach a young and beautiful lady and sing to her in the most beautiful and bewitching voice whilst strumming his silver guitar. Once under a trance, he would then whisk the girls away to a secret hideout where he would softly braid their hair.
Again, not scary really until you learn that the singing and braiding never stops! Young girls would be fed dirt and forced to never eat or sleep again.
Latin American myths and legends tell that once El Sombrerón has ladies under his spell they would eventually die of starvation. What a charmer!
A truly terrifying version or the Bogeyman, El Cuco is a mythical monster used by parents to scare their children into behaving.
Much like we say the Bogeyman will get you, in Cuba and Latin America El Cuco would come instead.
The tale goes that El Cuco can shapeshift and take on the form of any thing that most frightens a child. He can hide under beds and in cupboards lying in wait for naughty children.
Nursery rhymes and stories told to children would warn of El Cuco coming in the night to snatch them away and eat them whole.
The origins of the story vary wildly but there are similarities to one story about a Yoruba Saint or God named Chango. It is said that children would often go missing in Cuba around the start of December as believers and worshippers of Yoruba Religion would sacrifice them to appease Chango’s thirst for innocent blood.
Another version tells the story of a man, Ortega, who went to a healer to cure his tuberculosis. The healer is said to have advised Ortega to snatch children and drink their blood to rid him of disease.
All versions are equally disturbing much more terrifying than any Bogeyman story we’ve ever heard.
Origin: Puerto Rico
Many a native Latin American will swear they’ve seen El Chupacabra at some point or at least know someone who has. Thankfully El Chupacabra’s bloodlust runs only to animals although we’re not sure if we’d want to meet it in a dark alley.
Supposedly a mix of dog, lizard and vampire El Chupacabra would sneak onto farms all over Puerto Rico, draining the blood from livestock.
After a number of years, the mythical creature was reported to have travelled as far as Miami and still to this day animals have been found in farms with their blood drained.
One for the fellas to avoid this time, a scary woman scorned story.
La Sayona is said to be the spirit of a lady who was in love. Her man eventually married her and gave her two children, but things weren’t all rosy and in all the versions of the story the man either leaves her, cheats on her or falls prey to another woman’s charms.
In a fit of rage, La Sayona is said to kill her two children to spite the wrongdoing male, after which she is doomed to wander the earth as a wailing ghost searching for her murdered children’s souls.
Latin American myths and legends have reported La Sayona’s spirit still haunts unfaithful men to teach them a lesson about the disastrous consequences of infidelity.
Treasure hunters want to pay attention here.
If you happen to be out and about in the hills of Latin America looking for buried treasure whatever you do, don’t go into the light!
Luz Mala is rumoured to be a paranormal entity that appears as a green or white light hovering above areas were valuable goods are buried. Latin American myths and legends say the light is a collection of lost souls who never received a proper burial and they stick around on earth to protect their lost belongings.
Locals understood that if you were to go and retrieve the objects beneath the light a poisonous gas would kill you so that the soul’s belongings were left undisturbed.
A tip would be to mark the area and return another day to dig up the treasure when the soul was no longer present.
Known all over the Latin-speaking world as small dwarves who terrorised homes and caused chaos, Duende have a more sinister story in some parts of Latin America.
It is said that these Duende are the spirits of children who died before being baptised and therefore they roam the earth looking for other children to punish . . . so parents often tell their naughty kids.
Way before liposuction, this next Latina American legend was sucking the fat from its victims as early as the 15th century in Peru.
Latin American myths and legends say that the Pishtaco would roam around looking for plump young bodies to drain the fat from with vampiric thirst.
He was said to be pale skinned and was first reported by a priest who was being inundated with stories from his parishioners about a being who was going to kill them and drain their body fat.
Seemingly the Pishtaco was the frightful embodiment of all the “white man invaders” who were “discovering” Latin America. The Pishtaco were often depicted as what we know to be anthropologists and Dr’s these visitors were strange to natives and therefore greatly feared.
Origin: Dominican Republic
Another female-based legend tells the tale of a long-haired being with backwards facing feet who lives in the woods and lured her victims away never to be seen again.
La Ciguapa has appeared Latin American myths and legends told by woodsmen and hunters. These men were warned not to venture off alone for fear of having their blood drained by La Ciguapa who would appear to them disguised as a beautiful lady.
The scariest Latin American myths and legends often have something to do with water-dwelling monsters and none are more terrifying than the thought of the Yacumama.
Said to be a 160-foot-long snake with horns, the Yacumama is large enough to devour humans whole and those who venture to close to the water would be easy prey.
Tribes in the areas threatened by the Yacumama would blow their horns before entering unfamiliar stretches of water to ward off the beast. Yacumama was even rumoured to shapeshift into an old lady who, given the chance, would lure young people into the water to drown and eat them.
This Halloween Alme de Cuba will be the place to be in Liverpool. The dark and mysterious season is upon us and Alma de Cuba has an unrivalled carnival atmosphere that is perfectly suited for celebrating spooky occasions.
Come along to see the bewitching Voodoo floor show whilst sipping from any of the tasty Cuban inspired cocktails served all night long. The striking venue is stepped in Liverpool’s own interesting past with original features such as the elegant altar and secluded Lady’s Chapel which provide an evangelical setting for the perfect Halloween in Liverpool.
Spend your Halloween night out enjoying all the flavour of Latin American in the heart of Liverpool this year at Alma de Cuba.