Folklore: El Cucuy
Eater of Children
Today I want to talk to you, very briefly, (because I confess, I struggled a bit with this one), about El Cucuy.
El Cucuy is also known as El Coco and a myriad of other variations.
This creature is similar to the bogeyman, and parents often invoke it as a way of encouraging their children to behave. For while this creature is not a hideous monster, what it does is, It eats children, in particular naughty, misbehaving children.
It tends to hang out on rooftops looking for misbehaving children who it will then follow home and hide, either under the bed or in a shadowy corner, until the child is along in bed and then it will emerge and eat the kid.
El Cucuy is mostly remembered via rhyme and lullaby. Though it is remembered differently in many. Sometimes is a chap in a shroud, sometimes a female alligator/dragon monster, sometimes a pumpkin headed ghost creature. The legend refers to it being able to change its shape which explains how it appears differently in different retellings.
El Cucuy has appeared in modern culture, with him being referred to in Don Quijote as a scarecrow. He has appeared in games as a foe, such as Adventure Quest Worlds an RPG type game released in 2008. He has also turned up on TV in shows like Wizards of Waverly Place on Disney channel in 2007-2012.
Lastly, he has appeared in books, such as Stephen Kings Outsider where El Cuco was the main villain.
Today I want to talk with you briefly about the Chupacabra.
Chupacabra is thought to be native to Central and South America. It was first claimed to be sighted in Puerto Rico in 1995. It has since become one of the most commonly referenced cryptids known.
Like most cryptids it is rarely seen and when it is seen its usually only a glimpse. If it is photographed or filmed the footage is usually a bit shite, but this is standard fair with most cryptids.
Generally, though the Chupacabra is assumed to be quite small and will not often approach humans. It is however a predator and will drain livestock of blood, not unlike a vampire, though it leaves three holes not two.
While the most common theory is that people who claim to see Chupacabra have seen dogs with mange, the draining of blood via three holes is odd. Chupacabra was likely created to explain these odd-looking predators as well as the loss of cattle, potentially to small predators or illness.
Folklore: Jersey Devil
A Famous Cryptid
Today I wanted to write and tell you about a piece of folklore that you may already be aware of as it is a well-known creature/cryptid.
I am of course talking about the Jersey Devil.
The story around this creature is that in the 18th century a supposed witch known as Mother Leeds discovered that she was pregnant. This was to be her 13th child. Naturally due to the connotations with the number etc Mother Leeds decided that this child was the son of the devil.
When he was born she was disappointed to see that he was perfectly normal.
However, almost instantly he changed. He became a hooved beat that killed the midwife and ran off into the woods. As you do moments after birth.
The Jersey devil is often credited with killing livestock, though it is sometimes said to have also killed small children. It is also blamed for souring cows’ milk just by being close to the cow.
Like Bigfoot, this creature has a large following and at one point a reward was offered for its capture. There was a dramatic increase in sightings in the 1900s, from seeing the creature attack a trolley to footprints in the snow.
With the creature having such a large following there have been a great many hoaxes. But such a large following also leads to a lot of dilution, it’s difficult now to see what this creature symbolised because of the number of retellings it has gone through. Perhaps it can represent the early settlers’ fear of the unknown landscape around them which already housed large predators? It could symbolise fear of the other, which crops up a lot, even today. We naturally fear what is different to ourselves and imagination can enhance that fear.
The Jersey Devil has cropped up a lot outside of its initial folklore, it lent its name to sports teams. You can purchase models and figurines of the creature, much in the same way you can of bigfoot and other cryptids. It’s turned up in tv shows like the X-files, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Real adventures of Jonny Quest and more recently Gravity Falls (an awesome show btw). It crops up in various video games, including one named after it.
Folklore: Cow Head
Everyone loves a wendigo
Today I am writing to tell to you about Antlers, which is a film with a lot of symbolism.
It was released in 2021 and directed by Scot Cooper. It was adapted from the short story, The Quiet Boy, written by Nick Antosca.
The story takes place in a small town in Oregon, where a drug dealer, Frank, runs his meth lab out of an old mine. Frank is visiting his lab and he; his son Aiden and Franks meth pal are all attacked by a creature in the mine. Frank and Aiden escape but meth buddy does not. However, Frank and Aiden are not well after the attack and return home to be locked in the basement by Franks other boy, Lucas.Continue reading “Film: Antlers”
Folklore: The Manananggal
Vampire or witch?
Today I am writing to you about the Manananggal.
The Manananggal is another creature from the Phillipines. They are a sort of vampire witch crossover. Though they do have an odd habit of tearing themselves in half in the stomach then flying off into the night to search for sleeping pregnant women to feed upon.
When I was reading up on these creatures they reminded me strongly of the Aswang which you may remember I wrote about back in January.
Like the Aswang these creatures could have been created to explain the dangers faced by pregnant women. Death in pregnancy is a real risk, especially before the advances made in medical science that we benefit from today and these creatures could have easily been created as a way for people to explain the unreasonable deaths women suffered when pregnant.
To defend against these creatures you can use daggers, sunlight, or a buntot pagi (a whip that is made from the tail of a stingray). Or if you manage to get hold of the upper torso after they’ve torn themselves in half then you should smear it with garlic, salt, or ash, then it will be unable to re-join with its lower half and will be vanquished by the sunrise.
Pretty girls in the woods
Folklore: Futakuchi Onna
Today I am writing to talk to you about the Futakuchi Onna.
She is a type of Yokai, or monster, from Japan.
The Futakuchi Onna, is, in its most simple description, a woman with two mouths; one in the usual place, the second on the back of her head beneath her hair (you’d get so much hair in your mouth).
The story of the Futakuchi Onna is a simple one, she is created when a woman is starving and marries a miserly husband. Any woman has the potential to become a Futakuchi Onna, as it’s more like a curse or disease than something you are born as.
The most well known story of the Futakuchi Onna is that there was one a miserly man, who could not bare the thought of spending money. He lived alone because of this as he could not stand the idea of how expensive having a wife and family would be. But then one day he met a woman in the woods, magically she didn’t eat anything (diet plan gone wrong?). The miser was thrilled because she would be cheep and took her as his wife.
Over time the miser noticed that his rice was being depleted at an alarming rate. He eventually discovered that it was his wife, the mysterious lady who did not need to eat. Apparently she did eat, just not in the usual way. The miser spied on his wife and watched in horror as when she thought she was alone, her hair parted, revealing a second mouth, then, taking on a will of its own, her hair started shovelling rice into the mouth.
In popular culture
Futakuchi Onna appear often in modern day culture, they pop up in astern media and western and appear across all types of media. From anime such as GeGeGe no Kitaro, to video games like The Last Blade and Pokemon (Mawile), from books like Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children to Youtube with YouTuber Futakuchi_Mana.