Fofão Dolls – The Legend

This is another Brazilian urban tale about Fofão,  a tv character from Balão Mágico (Magic Balloon), a very popular children’s tv show that aired in the 80s. The character was so successful that in 1986 it gained its own tv show and not long after it also had a doll made to his image and likeness.

Fofão in Portuguese means something like Fluffy, which is very comprehensible if you look at his huge cheeks! Well, if you look at it now you might find him very scary, but during the 80s he was adored by the kids.


But it all changed when he started to be compared to Chucky, the killer toy. The rumors started to spread around at the same time that the American movie was released, but Brazilians added a little spin to it.

According to the Brazilian legend, the stuffing of the toy was not as cuddly as the toy cheeks, and it was said that if you opened its belly you would find a black knife hidden inside the toy.

Fofão Faca

We don’t need to say that the rumor created panic between children’s and their parents, who started to boycott the toy.

The legend still persists among those who played with Fofão during their childhood, but luckily for today’s kids, the toys have a cutter face!



Curupira – The Forest Guardian

This tale, popular mainly in the interior of Brazil,  tells the story of a smart and strong ginger boy who lives in the Brazilian forests. He has his feet turned backwards and protects the plants, animals and trees against hunters, woodcutters and anyone who threats to destroy the nature, by emitting sounds and sharp whistles.


Latinfolktales Curupira

His backwards feet are responsible for creating illusory images, leaving false trails that scares and confuses those who try to destroy the forrest. Besides that, he loves to rest in the shadows of the hoses and is very fast, making it practically impossible for a human being to catch him.

In some cases, the Curupira can take small children to live with him in the forests, returning them to their parents after 7 years with a huge passion for the nature.

His presence is reported from the early days of colonization. Some storytellers say that Curupira loves to play tricks on those who enter the forests, and for this reason many countryside inhabitants believe that when someone disappears in the forests its Curupira’s fault. To please him, the Indians used to left offerings in the clearings, such as pens, mats and blankets.


Xuxa – The Urban Tale of a Brazilian Celebrity

In a Brazilian city, called Sorocaba, a rumor started to spread regarding a mother that made a pact with the Devil so that she could afford to buy her daughter a Xuxa doll.

If you are not from Brazil, you might wonder who Xuxa is, so basically, she is one of the biggest celebrities in Brazilian TV history. She hosted the most popular children’s  show that pretty much dominated Brazil in the late 1980s through the 90s, which landed her CD’s deals, movies roles and a lot of publicity. She was such a big success that even CBS gave her an English language show in 1994 trying to serve the South American/American market.

Xuxa Meneghel

Latinfolktales Xuxa

Anyway, according to this urban legend, the following day, after the child had slept with her new toy, she inexplicably woke up all scratched and the doll’s plastic nails were stained with blood. Some people even say that the child died due to the injuries.

After the incident, the doll was chained in the sacred museum of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of the Bridge. The news spread quickly and a crowd went to church on November 9, 1989 to find the author of aggression. The church pastor at that time had to close the doors to minimize the turmoil and sought the press and the police to warn that everything was just a rumor.

This occurred over 25 years ago and is still remembered as one of the most famous Brazilian urban legends and it was responsible for traumatizing countless Brazilian kids.

Xuxa Doll

Latinfolktales Xuxa

In the years that followed, new rumors started to spread around alleging that Xuxa had made a pact with the Devil herself in order to get famous. Some people still believe that if you listen to certain Xuxa LP tracks backwards messages to the devil can be heard.

How do you fell about this? Would you sleep next to a Xuxa doll?


The Whistler

El Silbon

The Whistler is a legend from a region in Colombia called “The Llanos”. This region is also known by the name of “Llanos  Orientales” which   is located in the Eastern part of Colombia bordering Venezuela.

The story goes that a wicked young man killed his father in an angry rage when he did not bring home the deer heart he was craving.  The family suspected that this was an evil act, so the brother very angry punished the evil man by whipping him and throwing hot pepper on the wounds. He also sent an angry dog after him to continue his punishment. Therefore, after that the creepy six-meter tall men called “El Silbon”, haunts the llanos at night carrying a large bag of bones said to be his father’s.

Los Llanos

Llanos Orientales

The funny part or let’s say better that the scary part of the legend is that when you are in the llanos at night and you hear someone which sounds distant with a whistler, the first thing that comes to your mind is “El Silbon”.  Which is fascinating is that most sightings of El Silbón are by drunk men stumbling around at night…coincidence or not believe me that many natives and visitors that know the legend freak-out when they hear the sound of a whistle in the middle of the night at the “Llanos”.







The One Legged Woman

La Patasola

We could not wait for the early evenings during our summer vacations to listen to grandparents and uncles that sat outside by the benches to entertain us with the most interesting folktales that you have ever heard.  My uncle Mayo used to scare us talking about “The One Legged Woman” (La Patasola).

The stories say that she called out to a passing man, asking him for his help. She appears to be an extremely beautiful woman, but she has a single leg. She has that black widow appearance looking for a mate that she can seduce. Once he becomes delighted by her beauty, and follows her deeper into the forest, she begins to change. Her teeth become sharper and longer and her eyes look like a tiger. The poor man is already in love and becomes the helpless victim of the vampire. La Patasola, drinks his blood and eats his flesh.

La Patasola 3

As creepy as it sounds, there is a tradition among Latins to spend time-sharing these folk tales with their children and friends. There are different versions of the “Patasola” the most popular is that she plays the part of the unfaithful wife and her husband murdered after discovering her infidelity. After dying her soul became trapped in, a one-legged body that now wonders the Colombian’s mountains, looking for her victims!


La Jagua, town of witches

Every night, at 6pm, Joseph puts in his bedroom corners, plates with mustard seeds and bottles of holy water. Also, in his nightstand, he puts images of saints, holly books and garlic cloves underneath his bed. All these to make sure, a witch doesn’t appear while he’s sleeping.

Latinfolktales La Jagua

Latinfolktales La Jagua                                               Source:

La Jagua is a small town in Colombia with 1.400 habitants, located in the state of Huila. Originally, it was an Indian community and a place for Indian ceremonies. Today, this town is recognized by few. For those who know it, it is “the town of witches.”

Latin Folktales La Jagua

Latinfolktales La Jagua


Joseph describes the witches as “weird creatures, with sharp nose, always wearing black dresses to camouflage within the dark, who are always smoking and laughing… they are inoffensive spirits that flew from Europe through the Magdalena River to avoid death at bonfires.”

Joseph says that he hasn’t seen them and that they haven’t hurt him. However, some nights, he wakes up, with plenty of bruises around his body.  Once he goes to the doctor, they disappear.

There is people that mentioned that they saw them. “One day I was walking at night and witch felt from a tree… She was an old woman with sharpie nose, no foot, flying in a broom. She was looking at me with her penetrating eyes… I started to sweat, tried to scream and my voice didn’t come out, meanwhile, I prayed.” The day after, he woke up with bruises all over his body.

Latin folktales - La Jagua

Latinfolktales La Jagua


Other man mentioned that, every night a woman with long hair, sleeps next to him. He hasn’t seen her because, once she enters in his room his body paralyzed from head to toe, he can’t open his eyes or talk.

Most habitants of La Jagua have their own story to tell about witches. Most of them believe that witches exist and try to bleed and protect themselves wit traditional rituals. The funniest is that these doesn’t avoid them to appear and the people of this town have learned to live with them.

As many Latin American folk tales they come from The Indians, who developed these stories fully charged of imagination and that are still alive by being transmitted through generations.

My dad is from Huila. He’s the kind of guy that doesn’t has any fear and doesn’t believe in witches and spirits. I asked him if he has ever been into la Jagua…. His face turned white and start to talk to me with his serious voice “I don’t believe in witches and anything of that but, if they exist, I know they live there.”


La Llorona

He started talking with a soft but deep voice, all the attention immediately goes to him. We all know it is time for one of his great stories. Grandpa knows we love to hear them before going to bed.

This gorgeous woman, wears a long white dress, full of holes, mud and blood. Her eyes are red, her hair is unkempt and messy. She hides something among her arms, it looks like a rabbit, but no, it isn’t, is her new born child…



Latin Folktales – La Llorona

At this point of the night my cousins and I are paying close attention to the story… the surroundings of the farm are very quiet…

She… she screams and cries all night… those screams of guiltiness and repent for killing her child… Her movements are slow and strong, you can feel her dark energy coming… She loves to be around lonely places, lonely towns, lonely farms, always looking for men that aren’t behaving… all those cheaters, drinkers, gamblers, have to fear her, because she is looking for them, to hold her child…but they don’t know what comes next…

Our surroundings aren’t quiet anymore… the land started to make noises, all of us hold our hands together. Grandpa turns his voice deeper and makes that scary face that freaks us out…

Once the man receives the child, she passes her guilt and punishment… poor him…He will become a weepy for the rest of his life…

At this point of the story, we are all scared…Aunt Clara comes to us saying: “Dad, don’t scare the kids…Guys, get ready for bed”. None of us want to go until grandpa ends his story…

Her spirit surrounds every town and lonely place after 8pm. That is her punishment for the rest of her live after killing her child… “Go without any God and Mary, looking for all those men who are misbehaving”.

Latinfolktales La Llorona.                                   Source:


A heavy noise comes from the kitchen… we all scream and close our eyes, Grandpa mentions… “It is La Llorona” then he laughs… “Come on guys! It is probably just an animal looking for food!” he assures us.

This folk tale has been transmitted from generation to generation among different Latin American cultures. In Colombia, grandpa used to tell it to us before going to bed. For those of us, that were naughty and didn’t want to go to bed and obey our parent “La llorona” was enough reason to jump into bed even before time. Anything to avoid any chance of meeting this scary character.

Isn’t it kind of funny that this tale still scares me? I have to confess that after writing it, the memory of those days came back to my mind… Alone, in my NY apartment, I feel as afraid of “La Llorona” I used to feel in those windy summer nights with grandpa, I think, it is time to go to bed.


The Legend of the Pink Dolphin

The Amazon gave birth to many great stories and legends, one being the one of the Pink Dolphin, this beautiful creature really exists and lives inside the waters of the Amazon river, they live in pairs or family groups and can be as big as 3 meters long weighing up to 125 kilograms.

pink dolphin folktales

Legend says that once upon a time there was a young Indian warrior who was very handsome and was loved by everyone. The Indian Gods were extremely jealous so in a vicious moment of envy they turned the young warrior into a Pink dolphin, bounding him to sail the Amazon waters for eternity away from the people who cherished him and who he cherished.

Every once in a while, in the villages by the Amazon River, a young handsome man appears wearing a hat made out of straw. He attends the villages’ parties where women can’t resist his charm and dancing skills. Every time this man appears he picks one of the girls and seduces her into going with him. The next morning this girl wakes up with no memory of what happened and, most shockingly, pregnant with the stranger’s baby.

It is a common belief among the villagers that this man who mysteriously appears and disappears after impregnating young girls is the warrior who was turned into a pink dolphin who for a night at time is able to defeat the gods and come out to flirt and have fun among the people. He wears the hat to disguise his breathing hole, the only attribute that might give him away.

Villagers attribute many of the single moms kids from the villages to this pink Dolphin and villagers tell their girls to be careful about strangers wearing hats and to basically stay away from the river at night.

amazonas folktales latin americaCDLG

Manco Capac & Mama Ocllo


Manco capac y mama ocllo folktale

This is a story about the beginning of one of the biggest South American empires that ever existed.

It is about the founding parents of an entire civilization who did a super nice job laying the grounds for the construction of one of the most magical cities in the whole wide world.

The legend of Manco Capac & Mama Ocllo, the beginning of the Inca Empire.

Many many maaaany years ago before Taylor Swift, the iPhone or even Bernie Sanders existed, men lived in caves. They walked naked among each other hunting and collecting food in order to stay alive.

The Sun God, Wiracocha, saw this and decided to send his son Manco Capac and his daughter Mama Ocllo to teach this savages new awesome ways to do stuff and become civilized people.

Before sending them down to earth he gave Manco Capac a gold specter and said: “Manco and Mama, walk around the land and try to sink the stick in the ground. When it does sink then it means that you found the promise land and you should build our empire there”

The brother and sister/husband and wife (and they called the other ones savages) came out from the waters of Lake Titicaca in the highlands of Peru and followed their father’s command. They walked and walked trying to sink the specter in the land but the land was really really dry and the thing wouldn’t sink!

When they were feeling defeated and about to give up they decided to take a little break on the Huanacaure Mountain in the now well-known Cusco City. Suddenly the unexpected happened, yes, the specter sunk! It finally did! Both were over the top excited and probably danced around and had lots of fun.

Manco Capac was in charge of teaching the savage men how to take care of the land and show them about agriculture, finishing, construction, religion, etc. Mama Ocllo taught women about textiles and domestic labor (feminism was around seven centuries later).

And this is how the Inca Empire started and how Cusco city became the Capital of the Inca Empire, the “belly button of the world” and bearer of Machu Picchu, the hidden city of the Incas and world wonder.

machu picchu folktales imperio inca

Machu Picchu, Cusco Perú