The following conversation is between myself (referred to as “N”) and a family friend (referred to as “L”).
N: Where exactly are you from again?
L: South America.
N: Are there like, kind of traditions, or ghost stories or anything?
L: Yes, we have two language, this is the first and then we have… we have two language. We speak Spanish and we speak Guarani; is like a native language. But in most of the other countries its like a… its a dialect, but in my country you studied in the school. You have to read all the same like another’s language, so most the people speak both. In the city, people speak Spanish and Guarani like ‘Spanglish’ they say here, but most in other areas of my country speak like 90% only Guarani. And this is the first tradition we have, like, and we have so many foods that is only you can find in Paraguay, like you know the soup? Here the soup is like you can eat with a spoon. In my country Paraguayan soup is like a cake. They have the history too. The first president invited another president for the South America, and the lady who is cooking is putting too much corn, um, flour and they makes too hard the soup so that way they call it Paraguayan soup, like that. But its different. You know, like when people go in my country and say, “you want a soup?” And they, “Yes!” and you waiting for something like, and they bring like a, its like a corn cake, you say like “this is a soup. Yes, this a Paraguayan soup”. So… and what else you want, like…
N: Um, I was wondering if you had any, like, when you grew up, were you told any like traditional ghost stories, um kind of like to teach little kids lessons or anything. Like, were there any just like traditional ghost stories?
L: Ghost, like, yeah, we have, like, yeah so many.
L: So many. When we are kids, like moms say to… in my country most the people sleeping like 1-3, like nap, and the parents so the kids won’t go outside, they say is like one… guy… but then people say, somebody people say they saw this already, some people say that its like a myth like it don’t seem so real. But if you google him and you found like a Paraguayan ghost you’re gunna see so many they have all Guarani names. One of them is Pombero. One another is like… its hard to say in English because its in Guarani, but Yasy Yataré is the name. So its like uh three or four of them. One is coming out in the night. One is coming out, its like in the afternoon.
N: During like the napping periods?
L: Yes! Napping periods is for the kids. That little guy is looking for kids, they say. The other one in the night, if you whistling, like they coming at you. You have to leave a cigarette outside, and then like cigarette and then like um liquor. And its funny, but if you live there, next day you don’t find anymore. Okay?
N: Oh okay.
L: So most the people, its not doing in the city, this is all like people have a farm around the city.
N: Okay, so its not in the city?
L: Its not in the, in the city most the people just doesn’t believe in that, you know its different. It’s the same, you go here in New Year and its like too crazy and around, in here, more quietly, so you can know so many different things. But when we go in Paraguay, this is one dog is in the night, its only, they say it’s a black dog, its like a wolf, eat people, you know, so many. But if you… I never, never see that, but I just realized one… my uncle leave the cigarette outside and the next day, it, the cigarette… I don’t know if my uncle taken it back in, but its now not there. And you can hear the whistle, that one is the most funny. You can hear like when, in the night… if the guy doesn’t like you, they bother you with a whistle.
N: So the guy is the one who whistles?
N: Oh okay.
L: And that is the most that people say. When you are in the night outside, like they say, don’t whistle! Don’t whistle! Because this is the form that you call him. And if you, your wife is pregnant, and he take her, your wife. Like if she walking outside by herself, he always sees, like, take her.
N: and that’s only at night?
L: Only at night. And if you don’t leave the liquor and the cigarette outside, he’s mad at you. Okay? So he destroys something of your house. He kill your animals. If you have chickens, cow outside, he do something with your animals. You know, he is doing something to let you know, like why you don’t leave him what always needed? And the kids one is like is a little guy… they show the picture of people being is like that, its ugly! Its like a little kids, its like blonde hair but she’s walking like this…
N: Like on all fours?
L: Yeah, so when the kids is going nap time outside they always looking for him because they’re alone. No parents, no nobody around them and supposed he take them with him and kill them, yeah? But we have so many mythological, like ideas, but if you google in and put in like a Paraguayan, you gunna see so many, and you gunna have the pictures there, but we have, yeah. We have.
N: Thank you so much!
L: No problem!
N: Thank you.
It was so interesting learning about the ghosts children in a different country were told about so that they wouldn’t go and do something they weren’t supposed to. For example, in America children grow up scared of the Boogie Monster with their parents saying, “you better not do that or else the Boogie Monster will come and find you.” Whereas in Paraguay, there is this man who resembles an animal by walking on all fours, and the children are scared he’ll take them if they go wandering outside late at night. I got chills listening to my family friend tell this story.