I heard this legend while many of my housemates were gathered around a table and drinking. The first time the speaker shared this story, he mentioned that his grandfather never drank after he saw a red-eyed figure in Guatemala. When I asked him to retell his story for collection, he gave much more detail about the two creatures his grandfather feared.
The speaker’s grandfather used to tell this story when he would get drunk: he saw two creatures. One was a being with red eyes, the other was a black horse. In 1960 in San Rafael, Guatemala at exactly 12 am, neighbors in a village of only 15 or 20 houses could hear a black stallion. And if stragglers outside a home were caught alone, they would hear a horse running after them. They wouldn’t see the horse. If they managed to slip inside their house and close the door, they would hear the horse pounding at the threshold until 12:01. Then they would not hear it anymore.
If the horse caught stragglers, they would die of an underlying disease like cardiac arrest or drug overdose, something “easy to explain.” In those days, a lot of children went missing in the wilderness because the area was “unexplored.”
One night, the speaker’s grandfather and his friend left a larger group of friends playing soccer to walk home around midnight. They were both drunk. Suddenly, the speaker’s grandfather felt dread. Every step they took felt “like mud” and the speaker’s grandfather felt like he was being watched. Both friends turned around to see a seven-foot-tall humanoid figure with three red eyes watching “like a little kid goes onto a tree and just sticks his head sideways and stays staring at you.”
The speaker did not know how his grandfather got home that night, but the friend went missing for over a week. “They did find the guy, his friend, my grandpa’s friend. And so he just told me that this dude was torn. Like torn apart. “
When asked what this creature was, the speaker said that “It’s from the time before even that place was colonized by Spain… around the Mayan time… the Mayans just disappeared one day. They were so advanced for their time.” He went on to say that his grandfather believed that the Mayans, who the speaker mentioned were polytheistic built massive pyramids, disappeared because they were killed by these strange creatures. “These things that they [victims] see now are from times that we can’t even comprehend because he’s like, yeah, they’re from the future. And I was like, What the hell do you mean the future?” The speaker trailed off.
“I’m not sure if it’s real or not, I’m going to believe because the way he will talk to me, he would stare me down in the eyes,” the speaker continued. “And my grandma would also support that, because even she would hear the black horse because that another story my grandma told me when my grandpa was asleep, was, he couldn’t sleep at night, most of the time in Guatemala, because he said that that’s the human figure would haunt him because of his friend.”
The speaker noted that black stallions were also a status symbol in Guatemala reserved for members of the military.
When asked why he first told the story, the speaker noted that ” Usually when I’m under the influence, then the story comes out But usually, when you’re impaired or under the influence, you see, I wouldn’t say another dimension, but you see something else? Like you see? We see different.”
The speaker’s grandfather worried that these two creatures would come for him after he moved to the U.S. He later died of a heart attack.
This speaker is a good friend but he embellishes stories a lot. He later told me that he believed that he’d seen the red-eyed creature in the U.S. even though he called both of these creatures “just legends” in the recording. I also happen to know that in telling these stories, he was trying to get me to trust him again after a breakup. After, he often offered to tell similar stories. But I think he was being genuine when he told me what he knew and what he had seen.
This speaker also struggles with drinking alcoholic beverages. Telling this story may be a way for him to express the fear he feels drinking to suppress emotions or escape responsibility.
He later asked me not to tease him about ghosts because to him, these stories are very real. I might not believe these stories in the daylight, but I will never walk alone at midnight in Guatemala.