Land of monsters: five creepy mythical creatures of Mexico

Today, in all areas of the country, and indeed in all areas of the world, people still feel that the evil force of mythical creatures haunts the fields, the rivers, the forests, the caves, the ruins of the villages, and that this force is the one that explains, many times, the inexplicable.

Land of monsters: five creepy mythical creatures of Mexico
Monsters of Mexican Legends: La Llorona. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Today, in all areas of the country, and in fact in all areas of the world, people still feel that the evil force of mythical creatures haunts the fields, the rivers, the forests, the caves, the ruins of the villages, and that this force is what explains, many times, the inexplicable.

The monsters were born long before the Conquest, in the indigenous cultures that populated and still populate the different regions of Mexico: Olmecs, Mayas, Aztecs, Toltecs, Mixtecs, Zapotecs, Tarascans, Totonacs, Otomis, Huichols, Tarahumaras, Yaquis, Coras...

Almost five hundred years ago, the Spanish conquerors arrived with their ideas and their weapons to impose themselves on the people who lived in these lands. Each group had its rites and gods - often represented in the figure of a winged serpent - but all of this was crushed by the conquering monster: a military man on his horse, half man-half beast, who brought a new god and fired his gunpowder archers like a dragon's belch. The fire dragon from Europe then fought the sacred American snake and defeated it.

Ancient beliefs and gods had to take refuge underground, defeated, ashamed, but still alive. As nobody believed in them anymore, nor had permission to worship them, the pre-Hispanic deities stopped being "deities" and became resentful and fearful creatures. Yes, more fearsome than they had ever been because now they had to hide and act outside the law.

Although they were "unreal" creatures, that is, born of the imagination, they became terrifying to the native inhabitants, and especially to the Christian conquerors, who considered them to be true monsters, with their fierce rebellion, their thirst for blood, and revenge, and their strange animal, human and spiritual attributes mixed.

The Inquisition (which was a very cruel religious court) accused shamans who, according to the people, could become "nahuals"--fantastic creatures with wild features and superhuman powers--of being witches. The common people were and still are convinced of the existence of the "nahuales" and other monsters (wicked snakes, sinister birds, fireballs, living skulls, etc.), but they no longer remember who gave them life, when, or what for.

Mexican monsters are also related to other monsters of the world, some very old and from very distant areas of the planet. The "Seven-headed Serpent" of the Mixes, for example, is a version of the "Hydra", a portentous marine monster of Greek mythology, which is also mentioned in the "Apocalypse" of the Bible as "Serpent Satan" or "Seven-headed Dragon". And let's mention the ancient Chinese dragon or the creepy Japanese "Seven-headed Dragon".

The word "nahual" comes from the term "nahual", whose origin in the verb "nahuali / nahuala" evokes the idea of deceiving, dissimulating. A person who through magical or divine arts possesses the ability to transform his or her body into that of an animal, object, fire or a meteorological phenomenon, such as a lightning bolt or cloud.

Waay Chivo

Waay Chivo
Waay Chivo. Spirit of midnight.

Origin: Maya

Name Waay Chivo. In the Mayan language, Waay means "spirit".

Nickname: Chivo brujo, Espanto de la medianoche (Midnight fright). And in recent times, Chupacabras.

Sex: Male

Residence: Mountains near towns

Special features

It has a human body but a goat's head and legs, like a "billy goat" on two legs - the typical image of the devil. It is black. It has big twisted horns, strong legs, and dangerous claws. It has long beards and a very hairy chest. His eyes, red and sparkling, have an exorbitant look. It possesses human intelligence, and enormous strength, and moves at enormous speeds, unleashing violent whirlwinds in its wake. A cloud of intense cold envelops him. It emits dreadful moans, thunderous laughter, and insults. It quenches its thirst with goat blood. It is extremely evil, hates the light, and worships darkness.

Waay Chivo
Waay Chivo. The midnight fright.


Punishing men for their sins and devouring humans, especially children He often climbs high walls, terrorizing everyone with his giant shadow. He burns the mouths of those who report his misdeeds or speaks his name. He makes those who try to attack him lose their reason or become ill with high fevers

Antidote: Destroy the body parts that the warlock leaves at home when he transforms.

Legends are intangible heritage, each place has its own and has enriched our lives throughout our history, from those legends that served to make us cautious and well-behaved or the witch would take us, to those that froze our blood because they had no logical explanation.

El Nahual

El Nahual
El Nahual. Primeval spirit.

Origin: Aztec, Toltec, Mixe, Maya, Tarahumara, Yaqui, etc.

Name: Nahual comes from Nahualli, which in Nahuatl means "double".

Nicknames: Alma gemela (A soul mate) Primitive spirit (Espíritu primitivo) Nuestro señor del viento y las tinieblas (Our lord of the wind and the darkness)

Sex: Female or male.

Age: More than five hundred years old.

Kinship: All the animal forms in which the sorcerers and shamans are transformed.

Residence: It can appear in any area of the country since its home is the heart of humans.

Particular signs

It is half-human and half-beast. It is the secret spirit of any human being, although generally, it is a sorcerer who transforms at night into an animal, often a black dog or a jaguar. It eats cattle and children's blood, but its main food is people's fears, desires, and hatred. It has glowing, reddish eyes. It emits terrifying laughter or grunts. It is mocking, furtive, and wild.


To be the bodyguard of his "double", avenger, night terrorist, and "boy-stealer". He has the power to metamorphose, hypnotize, bewitch, and cause illness and death.

Antidote: Burn the body parts the witch doctor leaves behind when it transforms.

El Nahual
An alleged Nahual was captured and killed in Veracruz

Nahual on Diaz Varela Avenue

First testimony

In the main street of Santa Ana "Av. Diaz Varela" there was a nahual who took things with him at night, he became a donkey, a dog, a cat, he entered the houses and when he left, he went out carrying the chickens, the pigs, sacks of corn, beans, abalone. He stole from people who had money. One time they found him taking a pig and they grabbed him and made him say his name and he said the name of Cayetano, I think that was his name.

Once I enter the house another Nahual wanted to grab one of my aunts in the shape of a dog, but my dad grabbed him, he thought it was just a dog and my grandmother told him to let go and was going to give him a taco when I was going to give him the tortilla the dog ran out and fell into the well and when my dad pulled him out, the dog became a man and left.

Second testimony

On this street (Av. Diaz Varela) there was a nahual, sometimes he entered the house or the neighbors' houses and took things, sacks of corn, our chickens, they stole from people who had a lot, he never took the money, he only took the little animals. One time there was a wedding here with the neighbors and they say that they found a pig and when they were going to catch it to lock it up it ran away becoming a person, but they didn't know who it was.

Everyone has heard at some time that someone has seen a Nahual or has been told, that they have witnessed the appearance of a Nahual or a soul in sorrow radiating light in the darkness.

Third testimony

In this street you always heard the neighbors say that there were nahuales, once when my parents got married, I was about 4 years old the wedding was here in the house, the kitchen before we had it up to the back and the party was simple, then my parents and my aunts were helping to serve the food, at nightfall and to sleep we began to gather everything in that my father thinks to go out to the kitchen with my grandmother they were going to cover the pots so that they did not fill with dust or some cat was going to take the meat because the pot had little meat on it, so my dad and my grandmother said that they saw a pig and it was strange because a pig had never left the pigsty, so my dad was going to catch it to lock it up and when he approached the pig it ran away turning into a dog, my dad and my grandmother wanted to catch it but it escaped and we didn't know who it was, it was a nahual but we never knew who it was.


Sinsimito or Sinsimite

Origin: Maya

Name Sinsimito or Sinsimite, in the Mayan language; but it comes from the Nahuatl word "Tzitzimitl," which means "the devil."

Nicknames: Señor de los animales (Lord of the animals) El salvaje (The savage) Monstruo de la selva (Jungle monster) Poderoso guardián del cerro (Powerful guardian of the hill)

Sex: Male or female

Age: Twenty centuries

Home: Caves deep in the mountains, near forests, and jungles, but wander at night around the villages.

Sinsimito. Forest monster.


It's a gorilla with human features and a man's or a woman's face. It has long hair and a body covered with dark brown hair, like that of a bear. His feet are large and upside down (his footprints are twice the size of a human footprint and advance in the opposite direction to the movements of the beast). His toes are spread apart and crooked backward, making him that prevents him from moving in a circle or running. He jumps around, leaning on a tree trunk like a cane.

It's very muscular, but without joints; that's why he can't lie down and must sleep standing up. He has the head turned away from the body, so look in the opposite direction in your footsteps. He's afraid of water. It feeds on wild fruits, ashes of the bonfires, and human flesh. It emits a hoarse panting sound, like thunder, and throws screams that pierce the jungle. He's fierce, irrational, lewd, rebellious, and sneaky.

Character inspired by the myth of Sinsimito


To guard the mountains, terrorize the people, kill the men, and kidnapping women, who are left to live. Despite being a beast he knows to speak the Mayan language and is immune to bullets and arrows.

Antidote: Set fire to his long hair. Dance naked or in a circle. Go into the water or be accompanied by a dog.

Fiery Snake

Serpent of the Milky Way
Serpent of the Milky Way

Origin: Mixe

Name Coo Ñu'un, which in Mixtec language comes from "Coo" snake, and "ñu'un": fire.

Nicknames: Estrella fugaz (Shooting star), Flecha de Huitzilopochtli (Arrow of Huitzilopochtli), Caballo de Tláloc (Horse of Tlaloc), Culebra de la Vía Láctear (Milky Way Snake).


Daughter of Quetzalcoatl, the "Feathered Serpent" of the Nahuas; sister of Quetzalcoatl, the "Feathered Serpent" of the Nahuas; sister of Coo Dzahui, also called "Nine Wind" or "Serpent of Rain and Hurricane" by the Mixtecs; niece of Kukulkan, the sacred serpent of the Mayans; cousin of Xiuhcoatl, the "Serpent of Fire" of the Aztecs, and niece of many other divine snakes of Mesoamerica.

Sex: Female

Age: Over five hundred years old

Region of residence: Mountainous regions

Personal details

It has the body of a lobster and the head of a snake, but it is feathered; its four legs end in claws; its tail is shaped like a wick, which when it catches fire, gives it fiery propulsion. It is cunning, fulminating, and versatile. It feeds on the desires and ambitions of men.

Spike of Huitzilopochtli
Spike of Huitzilopochtli


To be a messenger between heaven, sea, and earth. To be nahual and assistant of the gods, a treasure hunter, and a giver of gifts. You have the power to become a shooting star, to dive into the sea and burn anyone who looks at it.

Antidote: Thick sunglasses, even at night.


Ghoulish demon Tukákame. Image from the book "Monstruos Mexicanos", Artist: Marcos Castro

Origin: Huichol

Name Tukákame or Tikakame, which in the Huichol language means "the devil".

Nicknames: Demonio necrófago (Necrophagous demon), Luna-araña (Moon-spider), Señor del inframundo (Lord of the underworld).


Grandson of Utsa (big-haired spider-ogre, goddess of the underworld who devours the dead); adopted son of the goddess Takutsi Nakawe in his perverse version; cousin of the "birds of death" and the "birds metate" scavengers, and distant relative of all the vampires that exist.

Sex: Male

Home: The underworld, but it usually haunts the Wirikuta desert during the moon new and appears in the hallucinations produced by the peyote.

Personal details

It has a human body, but sometimes it's just a skeleton or it acquires the figure of a wolf. It's black with white stripes and it's always bloodstained. His face is painted like a mask, with nasty white spots. It has buzzard or bat wings. He has horns on his head, like a devil, and very messy hair. The edge of its ears is like a saw. The ball of his eye is jumping. His heart is a parakeet.

From his waist hang bones of corpses that produce a chilling maraca noise. It's extremely dirty and stinking, for it feeds on rotten human flesh. He hates the water and that's why he never drinks it or bathes. He is malevolent, voracious, envious, meticulous, and hypocritical. His pets are living skeletons of animals, and live surrounded by the "birds of death".


To rule the underworld. To be a cannibal and scavenger, to suck up bones, to clean corpses and soul snatchers. It has the power to cause dementia and use it as a weapon the "five great fires", fed with the blood of his victims.

Antidote: Burn it into water or run for cover in the sacred swamp, far from the desert.