Tag Archives: Creature

Gnomes in Mexico

Background information: IJ is a 20-year-old student at USC, who currently lives in Los Angeles, CA. He often visits family members in Mexico, and learns about different types of folklore and traditions during his visits.

IJ: In my town in Mexico, people often see gnomes. Like in my house over there, we have a smaller room that’s disconnected across the main house and my cousin’s aunt stays there with her husband and her kids. And there was one time where she woke up in the middle of the night and saw her kid laughing and giggling, like standing up in his crib. And she saw the door open to outside, so she got a flashlight, because the light switch was like across the room from her and she switched on the flashlight and saw a small gnome there. He ran out the door into the cornfield behind our house. She stood there absolutely frozen, and like shell shocked and her kid started crying.

Me: Wow, that’s kind of scary! Have you ever seen a gnome when you stay at your house in Mexico?

IJ: No, but there’s been more sightings there of like little gnomes running around, like the real small gnomes with the hats (laughs). Except my aunt said this one looked more real like a doll and it had wide eyes when she flashed the light at it.

I think many people share pieces of folklore in which their child showed a greater sensitivity to something supernatural, and also often the child is more welcoming to it than adults might be. This adds an even more eerie feeling to stories like these, because it almost feels like children or babies are somehow more connected to these beings than us, as adults.

Lechuzas in Mexico

Background information: IJ is a 20-year-old student at USC, who currently lives in Los Angeles, CA. He often visits family members in Mexico, and learns about different types of folklore and traditions during his visits.

IJ: So it’s said that Lechuzas, which is a type of owl, like a barn owl, are actually witches, and they fly around waiting for someone to invite them in. The story comes from this one time that someone saw a bird – it was a barn owl – and threw a rock at it and hit it. And it fell dead on the floor, and the next morning in the same exact spot…there was a nude lady laying there dead. She was a known witch, so they concluded that those bird are the form that witches take sometimes in that town.

Me: Wow, that’s spooky. When did you learn about this?

IJ: Well when I go to Mexico, all my uncles tell me their stories about when they all lived there together back in the day. And they talk about all the paranormal stuff that goes on.

Many different cultures have versions of shapeshifting witches who watch humans in their animal forms, and I think it’s very interesting that folklore from so many different places share this concept. Because IJ learned this from family members while he was visiting Mexico, what he shared with me is entirely oral and specific to the town his family lived in.

For another version of this legend, see https://www.scarymommy.com/la-lechuza.

Tahoe Tessie

Background information: My mom is a second-generation Filipino-American, meaning she was born here in the US. Her parents immigrated from the Philippines when they were both relatively young, and my mom’s family grew up with a lot of relatives in San Francisco, CA. However, later in her childhood, she moved with her parents and sister to Lake Tahoe, CA.

Mom: There’s like a little Loch Ness Monster type thing that people talk about in Tahoe called “Tahoe Tessie”. I’ve never really seen anything, but you know when you really stare out at the water, your eyes might play tricks on you. Sometimes though, I really have felt like I couldn’t identify what something was, and I think, no one really knows what could be in the lake – no one has ever gotten all the way to the bottom! It’s a hella deep lake, and who knows, maybe there is some kind of freshwater serpentine thing. No one would know because it’s not like they ever mess with anyone or anything on the shore.

Me: Where did you learn about Tahoe Tessie?

Mom: I think it’s just the kind of thing you hear about as a kid, I remember my friends asking me if I had heard about Tahoe Tessie, or being at the lake and hearing people talk about seeing it. But it’s well-known for people who live there.

This legend is interesting because it is so specific to an area/region – I don’t think very many people outside of Lake Tahoe know about Tahoe Tessie, and I have never heard of anyone who has had an actual sighting. However, my mom mentioned a lot about the idea of the “unknown” since no one has ever actually seen the entirety of Lake Tahoe, and I think that this is where a lot of legendary creatures like Tahoe Tessie come from.

Egg Monster

Description: Monster that lures in children with their eggs and eats the children it lures in.

Background: The informant heard about it by his mother.

Transcript:

SA: I don’t remember the name of the monster. But it’s the feathered one that lays eggs to attract children and eats them. Its eggs are really colorful so children will be attracted to it and get eaten. So i guess the lesson is to not trust colorful eggs or you’ll get eaten. I don’t really know what kind of lesson that was supposed to teach.

My thoughts:

Children are sometimes easily distracted, so it’s not completely unbelievable for a creature to scare children into running off at the slightest distraction. I am not familiar with Bengali traditions or culture so I cannot say if it’s a common motif but the thing that interested me and that I found unusual is the fact that the monster seems to be a bird while most children eating monsters would look more similar to bears or another human. The colorful eggs are in stark contrast to usual depictions of eggs that we are used to seeing. In this context, the egg serves as a lure where lives will be taken instead of the life giving association that we commonly see.

Rakks Kukkosh

Description: It is a general word for monster, however, the informant did note that his impression of the Rakks Kukkosh is a monster with a drum on its belly which it pounds to make sounds.

Background: The informant heard about the monster from their family during their childhood.

Transcript:

SA: I think it has a drum on its belly that it pounds?

Me: Does it do anything? Why does it have a drum on its belly?

SA: I’m not sure, probably to attract children and eat them. Most Bengali monsters just do things to get children and eat them.

(After a while)

SA: Actually, it isn’t a specific monster, any monster can be called the Rakks Kukkosh. So it can actually be anything I guess.

My thoughts:

I guess monsters that eat children is a common trope in Bengali folklore. Although that is likely the case for most folklore monsters. The core social function of monsters in most cultures is to teach children to not be stupid and do dangerous things. So in this case it is likely supposed to teach children to not be distracted by noises and stray away from their parents. As for the later component, there are many monster names that can be generalized to mean any monster later when they become more prevalent in the culture. So while the Rakks Kukkosh could have at one point pointed at a specific monster, it’s name has likely been generalized to signify any monster.