Tag Archives: republica dominicana

El Cuco

El Cuco / El Coco / El Cucuy

El Cuco is a mythical monster whose origins can be traced to Spain. The legend of El Cuco is used throughout Spain and Latin America as a fright tool to keep the children off the streets late at night and to make them go to sleep. It is very similar to the Boogy Man in USA.

Interpretation of El Cuco by Artist-Illustrator Ray Wu with a little political humor to lighten the mood of this faceless child snatching creature

There is no real description of this mythical being. It is as if he has no form or shape. It is just a being that is more felt than seen. It is said he is able to shape-shift into all sorts of creatures. He can be your favorite animal or a nondescript shadow moving across the floor. El Cuco can become a horrible monster or make himself so small that he can slip through a crack, hide under the bed or in the closet.

In Dominican Republic El Cuco roams the streets and alleys looking for kids to take away in his sack. He can take the form of a hobo or homeless man Parents and grandparents alike tell the children if they do not go to sleep and fast that El Cuco will come and take them. Even worse if they are out roaming the streets unsupervised El Cuco will stuff them in his sack and take them away.

So be careful if you can’t sleep and you see a shadow with eyes glowing passing near your bed. Also, remember to never roam the empty streets alone. If you see a faceless man with a big sack it could be El Cuco….

*A few artists have used the name. Cuco Valoy, a Dominican salsa and merengue singer makes many references to El Cuco. Tonio Rosario has an album named “La Magia de El Cuco”. There is a trip music festival in Puerto Rico that uses the name of this nocturnal faceless creature.

Los Biembiens

Myths & Legends/Mitos y Leyendas

Los Biembiens

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

Interpretation of Los Biembiens by Artist-Illustrator Ray Wu

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 backward 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 the Dominican Republic we have no wild animals. If you hear this it can only be a roaming Biembien, looking for its next victim.

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.

Interpretation of El Bacá by Artist-Illustrator Ray Wu

The baca can take the form of a black cat, a dog, bull or other animals. 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 from 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?