Tag Archives: shape shift

El Galipote

El Galipote and El Lugaru (El Zangano)

El Gualipote is a dog-like creature and El Lugaru or El Zangano are flying creatures. The legend says that they are men who can change into animals and then back to human form at will.

Interpretation of El Lugaru / El Galipote by Artist-Illustrator Ray Wu
Interpretation of El Lugaru / El Galipote by Artist-Illustrator Ray Wu

El Galipote and El Lugaru, both of these legendary magical creatures can change form. They are men who can become animals and become men again. Galipote can also become inanimate objects, like tree trunks and stones. He can transfer his desires to animals and in this way can make the animal do his wishes.

According to the belief, galipotes are cruel and violent. They are very strong. Bullets do not hurt these creatures. It is said they like to cause havoc by frightening people traveling in the night. They do not permit the person to pass and also can help people to get hopelessly lost.

It is difficult not to find a Galipote when traveling in the country. It is wise, just in case, to carry a protective amulet and to cross yourself often to protect yourself from these beings.

Galipote can become a dog. This dog-galipote is called a Lugaru from the French word that means Man-Wolf. It can also fly like a bird. These high-flying, nocturnal birds are called zangano or zancu. It is said that this legendary being sucks the blood of the children during the nights and will also have sexual activities with infants. It can also become invisible.

The only way to kill one of these beings is to get a branch and make a palo de cruz / wooden cross. This wood can only be cut on Good Friday. Some say you must use a knife or machete that has been blessed with water and salt.

There are still Galipotes

There still are Galipotes (also spelled Gualipotes) in existence according to some of the residents of San Juan de la Maguana located in the southern part of the country. Families tell stories of how relatives were known Galipotes.

To become a Galipote one must make a pact with the devil himself, selling their soul for the ability to change one’s self into another form. A witch doctor is also able to help transform a human into this evil creature.

There are recent stories coming from the Palma Sola Massacres of 1962 that says the survivors of this massacre were Galipotes. They were able to change themselves into elements of the environment such as rocks, trees, or animals. In this way the soldiers were not able to see them to eradicate them and thus came about their survival.

Parents to this day scare their children with tales of these people that can change their shape at will. “If you be bad and don’t listen a Galipote will get you!”

So, when you are roaming in the campo at night, be sure to carry your wooden cross with you at all times. Better yet, just don’t be traveling in the campo after dark. You may never find your way home…..


Duendes or Los Menos

Duendes and Los Menos, are mythical beings very similar to elves, gnomes, sprites or goblins. They are very mischievous creatures that like to play jokes on people.

Interpretation of Duenes by Artist-Illustrator Ray Wu. Watch out, here they come!
Interpretation of Duenes by Artist-Illustrator Ray Wu. Watch out, here they come!

Duendes are very similar to other mischievous creatures such as elves, gnomes, sprites or goblins. They enjoy playing jokes on people. They can be both good and bad creatures all depending on their moods. Small but noisy, they can be very bothersome. They are many times blamed for strange noises in a home.

Duendes are known to drop stones on porches just to annoy. They can be heard running in the night and like to giggle and laugh loudly. Duendes like to make things disappear, move things around or change them completely. If a fire in the hearth goes out, gets too high or sparks it is always the fault of a duende. They are just a big nuisance.

Duendes are not tall. They are said to be the size of a small boy. It may have the height of the boy but its face is wrinkled like an old man. They usually wear some type of red clothing and usually can be found in groups of no more than five. Even though they travel in groups they are almost impossible to be seen. These fun-loving little imps are invisible to humans only unless they want to be seen. They make themselves visible usually only when there is no sun or at dawn. It is said that only children and simple-minded people can see them and when they do it usually makes them cry.

Los Menos

seem to prefer nature and freedom more than being inside but they can live in many places. They like caves, old tree trunks and hidden places under stones. They like hidden corners of a home, in the attic, or in warehouses. They are known to play with crickets and torture butterflies. They enjoy dancing by the light of the moon.

Los Menos are known to take children that are not baptized. If they do take a child, usually it is a boy. They will take the child deep into the mountains or countryside and turn this child into one of them. If the child has been baptized and they took it by accident, they will set it free in the mountains where there are no people. Here the child will roam and get lost.

So, if you feel that there is someone watching you from the darkness. Maybe you see a quick flicker of eyes in the dark or hear a little giggle and feet scampering. You could be being stalked by the mischievous unseen Duende, waiting to see what turmoil he can cause….