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Boogemangs: Top 5 Latino Mythological Monsters

With Halloween coming next week it’s important to remember that you don’t have to solely rely on White scary tropes. Every civilization has a series of myths and legends that help them define the world around them. This can be as complicated as the Zeus’ constant date rape of mortals or as simple of the gay glitter vampires of the Pacific Northwest. One of the things all mythologies have in common are monsters. We Latinos are no different. In every country, we reach into our religious traditions and collective unconscious thing to come up with our own monsters. I’m convinced that the main reason for creating the creatures on this list is to get kids to shut-up and go to sleep. This is a totally noble reason. Here are the top 5 Latino mythological monsters.

El Chupacabra

El Chupacabra is the king of Latin American monsters. Though a relative newcomer, it has become the go to…um..guy…creature thing. Starting in the 90’s, mutilated goats started showing up in Puerto Rico. It would drain the blood from the goats and eat their carcasses, like cabrito. Hence its name, “goat sucker”. Soon, El Chupacabra spread all over Latin America and the American Southwest. We guess it took a boat or stowed away on a plane or something. Old Latin ladies all over warn their grandkids to be careful, lest the beast mistake them for a goat and suck out their blood.


No, not a fish taco, a pishtaco. Trust us, you do not want to eat a pishtaco. In the Andes, people are obsessed with fat. Not like our society is obsessed with fat as bad, but rather as a sign of health and vigor. Back in the Inca days, fat even had a god named Viracocha (Oceans of Fat). Ew. The pishtaco shows up in the middle of the night and steals your fat and makes chicharones out of it. Again, ew. He usually comes in the form of a white dude all dressed in white. This probably goes back to the times when Pizzaro and co. went around killing the native people. They believed that the Spanish were stealing their fat to grease their church bells. I’m gonna go throw up now.

El Cuco

This guy is a serious jerk. He hides under beds and closets just waiting for you to stick your feet out or something so he can eat you. He originated in Portugal hundreds of years ago as a child murdering dragon-like creature. Today, he usually is a tall figure in a cloak with a pumpkin head or a hairy beast. He emigrated to Latin America and now eats dissobiedient kids. This is key. El Cuco is a moralist. He’s like “Dexter” in that he only kills bad people. If kids disobey their parents or don’t go to sleep, El Cuco will devour them. There are even songs like, “Duérmete niño, duérmete ya… Que viene el Coco y te comerá.” He’s even mentioned by Cervantes on the tombstone of Don Quixote, “Tuvo a todo el mundo en poco, fue el espantajo y el coco del mundo, en tal coyuntura, que acreditó su ventura, morir cuerdo y vivir loco.”

La Santa Muerte

La Santa Muerte is like the female version of the grim reaper. She’s is derived from the old Aztec death deity Mictecacihuatl, (don’t ask us to pronounce that). Unlike the grim reaper, she is usually dressed in white rather than black, (even after Labor Day). She is there to remind us of the inevitability of death. She is very popular in Mexico, where parades and prayers are offered in her honor. Like a good Aztec deity, she can be appeased by blood. The drug cartels in Mexico are known for their veneration of La Santa Muerte, which they bribe with blood sacrifices in exchange for her protection. She must be doing something right, because those fools are hard to kill.


This is the most frightening monster of them all. In the early 90’s, this creature emerged from the bowels of hell to torment men and sexually assault women. Gerardo is known for not wearing a shirt and donning froofy silk bandannas. Much like an incubus, he mostly attack women. As he says, “My only addiction is to the female species/ I eat them raw like sushi.” He can ease his way into his victim’s company because he is both rico and suave. Luckily, record executives were able to imprison Gerardo in an obscurity cave in the San Fernando Valley. There is a legend, that one day he will chew through his chains and escape. Gerardo will then reign on Earth for 1000 years, until the ghost of Tito Puente comes to defeat him with his timbales of power.

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