34: El Cucuy

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According to Mexican folklore, El Cucuy is a small, hideous, hairy creature with glowing red eyes. He has big ears like a bat and a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth like a barracuda.

The legend has been passed down over the years by word of mouth, from mother to child. Mexican parents often warn their children, "Behave yourself or El Cucuy will come and take you away."

When night falls, El Cucuy comes. He hides in your closet or under your bed. He can take the shape of any dark shadow. He watches you silently and waits for his moment to pounce. Then, he will take you away to his lair, deep in the mountains, and devour you.

"I grew up a in a small town in Mexico. My mother used to tell me ghost stories when I was a child, but none of them scared me as much as el cucuy. One day, I was angry and I cursed at my mother. She got very quiet and she looked at me with fury burning in her eyes. Slowly and calmly, she said, "el cucuy te va a raspar los pies en la noche" which means "El Cucuy is going to scratch your feet tonight". Something about the way she said it really scared me. That night, I went to bed and it took me nearly two hours to fall asleep. The next morning, when I woke up, I got out of bed and noticed that my feet were sore. I looked down and saw that both of my feet had long red scratches on them. It truly terrified me because I didn't know if el cucuy was real or if my mother was so crazy that she scratched up my feet while I was asleep to teach me a lesson."

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