Here Are 20 Latino Legends From Our Childhood That Still Terrify Us As Adults Because That’s Latino Parenting
Around Halloween white friends love to share the scary stories there parents told them when they were growing up. Some of them are low key adorable little tales that don’t stand up to stories our parents told us. Low key, the monster stories our parents told us are very traumatizing. Yeah, we have a boogeyman, but he’ll actually kidnap you in a giant bag and take you back to his cave to drink your blood, as a medicinal cure for his suffering.
All the legends we hear have one common thread: listen to your mother, don’t leave the house at dark, don’t misbehave and eat your food or you’ll die. Hell, don’t even let an ankle dangle off your bed or la mano peluda will pull you under the bed and we’ll miss you so much, muñeco lindo. Our parents are savage but it made us the people that we are today.
The most important and relevant legend for modern times is La Lechuza. She’s an old witch that turns into a big ass bird who loves to attack las borrachas. Beware of owl sounds, because that could be La Lechuza luring you in to eat you. This is especially terrifying if you are in Texas where she loves to hunt.
La Luz Mala
This is how your parents proved to you that every single horror story they tell you is true. See that light in the photo? Es la luz mala.
She shines a few feet above the ground and only comes out at night. If you look directly at the light, you die. Legit. You just die.
She’s naked. She has very long hair. Her feet are backwards. Que horror. But it gets worse. Boys, don’t look in her eyes or you’ll be cast under her spell, follow her into the woods and you’ll never be heard from again. It isn’t clear what happens to you once you go into the woods, but know that it is not good if you never come out of the woods.
He’s the Latino boogey man, but unlike the white version, El Cuco or El Cucuy will straight up eat you alive. Nobody knows what he looks like because he is always lurking in the dark and attacks when parents aren’t watching. However, your parents are also the ones who call him if you act up too much. Talk about a crappy relationship. Rest assured that the only place you’re safe is frozen stiff in your bed until the sun comes up.
La Mano Peluda
This one got me real good. In case all these stories of blood sucking rats and weeping murderous women don’t make you nervous to leave your bed, a single disembodied hand is lying in wait under your bed to snatch you. I was terrified as a kid to even let an ankle dangle off my bed. My whole room was terrifying. Now, I still get weirded out if my foot or hand hangs off the bed.
You know this is literally an “old wives’ tale” because the story goes that if you, a drunk cheating man, let’s a beautiful woman on your horse, her head turns into a horse skull with red eyes and big yellow teeth. She might not kill you, but she’s got your wife’s back and will definitely attack you in the most brutal fashion. Let that be a warning to you men out there with wandering eyes.
La Carreta Chillona
La Carreta was made by a Spanish priest who pretended to be a miracle doctor in San Salvador, El Salvador, but he was a coldblooded killer. After his death, he came back as a ghost. Now, if you see the cart — made out of the bones of his victims — you’ll wake up dead the next day. Moral of the story: stay put in that bed when the sun goes down.
Acalicas are just tiny flying men that live in the caves of Bolivia. They also control the weather. As creepy as they look, they’re the butterflies of the old legends we’ve heard growing up.
We all know that La Llorona is threat No. 1. The story goes that she drowned her children to get back at her cheating husband. Now, her ghost tries to kidnap kids at night, especially if they are sneaking out of the house, to have as her own and never be heard from again. She cries at night ove rthe death of her children hoping to rebuild her family with yours.
Basically, Harry Potter’s basilisk was based off this casual childhood story we’d hear on the regular. The only difference is that this snake is super hairy with an extra big head and only comes out at night to eat anyone in its path.
Leave it to a Boricua to make fake news a thing before social media was around. The story goes that one Puerto Rican woman saw a vampiric giant rat creature ya ya, es verdad. Don’t go too far from your parents or it’ll come to suck your blood. Like, it is technically meant o suck the blood of goats but when you are 5 and misbehaving and get threatened with this beast, things change…fast.
Colombians hold on tight to the tale of El Poira. He is a short man with long golden hair and large hands and feet. He lives in an underwater lair and seduces women with the promise of forbidden treasures.
I resent the bad rap that this leyendo gave stray dogs. El Cadejo is basically a Latino werewolf. He’s a massive black dog with red eyes that only comes out at midnight. Better be home before midnight or you’re on your own.
El Sombrerón is the kind of creepy only Guatemala could give us. He likes to braid the manes of horses and young women he’s trying to serenade. The story goes that he was serenading a certain Susana, and no matter how hard her parents tried, they couldn’t keep him away.
Once they cut her long hair, he moved on. So watch out ladies, if you date someone your parents don’t like, they might chop off your hair.
Every country has a different version of El Duende that stems from colonial Spain, which actually had a law that said that anyone who moved into a home infested with duendes was allowed to abandon the home.
Duendes exist to kidnap you and eat you if you didn’t take out el pollo, clean your room, or come home on time.
Nope, not a fish taco, sadly. Pishtacos are basically drawn from the real life white devil colonizer. They’re white men “invaders”, sometimes priests, doctors, tourists, etc., and they roam the Andes to kill peasants and drain them of their body fat.
Cuidado con el Pishtaco. We happen to like our body fat in el Latino gang.
El Silbón was just your average boy who became spoiled and one day brutally murdered his father and cannabalized his organs. Now, he wanders whistling around the countryside looking for more little boys to eat. When you hear his whistle is far away, that means he’s actually really close.
Really, it made the sound of the wind a major trigger well into adulthood.
The Yacumama stems from an Amazonian indigenous legendary sea anaconda with horns. Tribes would blow a horn before entering the water to scare off the beast. Eventually, the story evolved into the yacumama masking itself as an elderly woman that will approach kids collecting water at the river and dragging them down into the abyss.
Don’t go in the water, kids! Yacumama is down there!
You think it’s like the Yacumama, but it’s actually a flying vampiric snake hailing from southern Chile. Only Machi, the Mapuche medicine women can defeat the peuchen, so don’t even try, niño. Plus, if you stare into its eyes, you’ll become paralyzed while being drained of your blood.
A lot of our monsters are hairy, because we’re hairy af. The Massacooramaan is a giant, hairy monster that lives in bodies of water, specifically in the Caribbean, and will go after people in small boats.
So don’t get any ideas and start thinking you’ll travel the seven seas. Stay home.