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Dominican Republic Myths Legends and Folklore

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Myths and Legends abound here in Dominican Republic. Stories about mythical beings, as in all cultures, are used to try and explain the unexplainable. I loved writing this section of the web site. I hope you enjoy the stories as well.
Chupacabra/ Goat Sucker or Evil thing

The chupacabra is (supposedly) alien in origin and was brought here by a UFO. It is a living creature that looks like a hunched alien with a line of sharp spikes down the middle of it's back exactly where the spine is located. It has gray skin that is part fur and part feathers. It has short arms ending with long nasty claws. Its legs are like a kangaroos. The chupacabra is said to be about 4 feet tall when standing erect. This gray being has huge red elongated glowing eyes, the better to see you with. They are said to be very powerful and people have reported seeing the chupacabra fly.

Creatures fitting this description were said to be spotted first in Puerto Rico in the mid-1990s. Then, a few years later, the chupacabra started showing up in Mexico, South Florida, Central America, and South America including Dominican Republic. Although few people have actually clamed to seeing a real chupacabra many claim to have seen the works of this blood sucking alien being. Blaming the Goat Sucker for many domestic animals (cattle, goats, etc) that have been found dead with two holes on their neck. Their blood drained and their organs sucked out as well.

Whether such a creature exists is a great topic of debate. Some of the happenings are probably pranks, yet there is a possibility of such a creature living with no humans having ever encountered it. Some people think it could be a bat-like creature. This small fast moving evil creature has been spotted on the roadsides and in fields. It seems to be frightened when hit by the light beams of a car or flashlight.

It is said that the goat sucker will also pray on sleeping humans. So, try not to sleep to soundly. You never know what type of alien being may be lurking, waiting. Waiting to take your life's blood....

Los Biembiens

The legend of the Biembiens started in the 1700's. It is said these beings are located in the mountains of Bahoruco, Dominican Republic. An African slave and some Indians ran from their Spanish enslavers. After some time hiding in the mountains away from any type of civilization they transformed into wild beings and became legendary.

The Biembiens only language is grunt-like sounds. They are mean, nasty and very unfriendly beings. They do not wear clothes to cover their naked short, deformed and ugly bodies. These creepy creatures are very agile climbers of both trees and mountains. They travel and attack alone or in groups. They remain in hiding during the daylight hours and crawl out when the light dwindles. They emerge from their hiding places to search for food. Like the Ciguapa they also leave backwards tracks to protect themselves from being discovered. They do eat humans, mainly the entrails and also use humans as sacrifices. 

So, if you are walking in the mountains and you hear unusual growls and gurgling knowing it is not your stomach.  Run. Do not walk. Remember, here in Dominican Republic we have no wild animals. If you hear this it can only be a roaming Biembien, looking for it's next victim.


The ciguapa is a magical being, beautiful in appearance to some, horrendous to others. One thing people usually agree upon is that they are wild creatures and are compared to a mermaid. The Ciguapa is beautiful and cruel, not quite human yet innocent.

They are said to have brown skin and black eyes. Ciguapa has smooth, glossy hair flowing the length of their naked bodies, covering them as if in a long beautiful gown. They are very shy in a sad way and also are deceitful. Their black eyes are piercing and slanted. and are always waiting in ready to capture the wayward traveler.

The Cigupa usually comes out of her lair, be it a wooded area, cave or hidden spot, on the eve of the full moon. She is said to be such a spectacular beauty that men will follow her into the forest even though following her tracks were very difficult. The difficulty is because her footprints are pointed in the opposite direction (the backward feet are found in ancient traditions to signify death, entry into the land of no return). Even thought following this striking creature was difficult she was followed because of the promise that a beautiful woman was waiting. She seduces men, kissing them passionately while sucking their life breath from their body.

Cigupa sings a sad mournful song known as the Canto de Sirena or the Mermaids Song. You will never hear a Cigupa speak words because they are said to communicate with small whines, like that of a crying child. It is a very somber woeful sound. The morning after a Cigupa cries the rocks and area where they were will be wet with their tears. Children are told if they stand by the shore facing the sea and yell "María la O, María la O, tu madre es puta y la mía no!", a big wave will break and take you to drown in the sea.

The cinguapa is very mischievous. She likes to steal raw meat and butter from peoples homes. She has also been known to braid horses tails in the middle of the night.

So remember, if you do come across a Ciguapa do not ever try and capture her as this causes great pain and distress to the creature. Within days of capture she will surly die. Never never look into her eyes. She will bewitch you and you forever will be under her power sinking into an ecstasy of love disappearing forever......

El Bacà

The Bacà is a diabolical creature that people conjure up to get wealth and property. It is also called upon to protect land and property from being stolen. It is thought that when a person all of a sudden gets prosperous they have conjured up a bacà.

The baca can take the form of a black cat, a dog, bull or other animal. Once conjured this shape-shifting creature becomes very demanding. It wants great sacrifices on the part of the person who uses him. To get what you ask from this creature it is like making a pact with the devil himself. In return for your gains he might be nice and just take some of your lands, homes, businesses or livestock. If you are one of the unlucky ones you might have to pay the ultimate price by having you, your friends or your family suffering with diseases, illnesses, bad things happening or the ultimate price, dying mysterious or by committing suicide.

So before you decide you would give anything to become prosperous think long and hard before you call upon a baca. Do you really want to sell your soul to the devil for eternity just to have a short time of prosperity?

Bruja/ Witch
The legend of the Bruja in the Dominican Republic originates in Europe with a little African flavor thrown in for good measure. This legend conserves the echoes of the medieval beliefs as an older person dies they become a bird. Our witches are old deformed women, perverse and night dwellers. They do fly on brooms but they prefer changing into large birds. In this form they can fly closer to houses and yell with loud squawking sounds. It is said that the witch removes its skin before flying and keeps it in soaking in a tintature. When they take to flight they are said to say "Without God nor Santa Maria!". People say they have heard the Bruja during flight laughing and singing in a hideous voice.

When the witches rest they do so under the branches of the platano tree. The witches will suck the blood of the children either from the navel or the big toe. It is said that a Bruja will not attack the children of its own friends or if they are twins.

The only way one can catch a bruja is to knock her down. The "tumbadores" are said to be the only ones that are able to fall a witch because only they know the special orations and rituals. After a witch is caught one must wait for dawn. Only when the sun rises and the witches enchantment is broken can their true identity be discovered.

Interpretation of Los Biembiens by Artist-Illustrator Ray Wu
+click image to enlarge
Interpretation of Los Biembiens by Artist-Illustrator Ray Wu
Interpretation of the Dominican legend Ciguapa by Artist-Illustrator Ray Wu
+click image to enlarge
Interpretation of Ciguapa by Artist-Illustrator Ray Wu
light of the moon - could something evil be lurking?
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Could this be the lair of a Cigupa?
could this be the chupacabra of legends?
could this be the chupacabra of legends?
could this be the chupacabra of legends?
Could these images be the real Chupacabra?

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Interpretation of the Dominican legend of the Bruja by Artist-Illustrator Ray Wu
+click image to enlarge
Interpretation of Bruja by Artist-Illustrator Ray Wu
So be careful, when it rains or when the day is cloudy. There could be a Bruja hiding in some dark corner or maybe even sleeping under your platano tree...

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Diabolical El Bacá by Artist-Illustrator Ray Wu
+click image to enlarge
Interpretation of El Bacá by Artist-Illustrator Ray Wu
Did you know...
*The 'cigua' is the national bird (cigua palmera) It is a Taino word.
'Ciguatera' is something we get from eating contaminated ('red tide' algae) fish?
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