Central and South American Ghost Stories

Welcome back! This week’s stories revolve around Central America, South America, and Mexico. These are the last geographic regions to be featured, and next week’s theme will be something different…


La pisadeira: In Brazil, there’s someone who crawls along rooftops and watches families through the window. She’s tall and thin, with red eyes and long, yellow nails, and she observes the unknowing families as they eat dinner together. Once a family member is full and heads upstairs, she enters the house and follows them. Just as they’re about to go to bed, she appears in front of the victim and attacks them. Even though the terrified victim knows that they’re in danger, they are unable to move.

Some people have linked the story of la pisadeira to sleep paralysis. When someone suffers from sleep paralysis, they are conscious, but unable to move. Sometimes a choking sensation is experienced in sleep paralysis, which parallels the idea of being attacked by la pisadeira. On the other hand, this story might simply be a cautionary tale not to go to bed on a full stomach, since that is when she attacks.


El Chupacabra: The name “El Chupacabra” originates in Spain, and literally means “goat sucker”. It is a monster typically sighted in South America, and North America, which sucks the blood out of livestock, particularly goats. The physical description of El Chupacabra varies drastically. Some say that it looks like a bear with spikes on its back, others claim that it resembles a fanged kangaroo, and it has also been described as a small wolf with no hair. The first sightings were in Puerto Rico in 1995. It was seen in several small villages attacking pets and livestock.

This story is widely believed to be a myth, but nonetheless sticks around. One of the key fact that makes researchers so skeptical is that the physical description of El Chupacabra varies so much. It is believed that this monster might have been dogs or coyotes infected with Sarcoptes scabiei, which causes hair loss and thick skin. Much like Bigfoot, the Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Yowie (discussed in a previous post), El Chupacabra is a fun story to tell about a mysterious regional or local creature.


La Llorona (The Weeping Woman): It is said that once there was a woman named Maria who lived in Mexico, and after being rejected by a man that she loved, she grew furious and drowned her own children. Once Maria realized what she had done, she decided to drown herself in a river so that she could meet the same fate as her children. However, instead of moving on, Maria’s ghost still haunts Mexico. She can be seen soaking wet, and it is said that at night, she tries to kidnap children.

The tale of La Llorona is told as a cautionary story to keep children in their homes at night. Another interesting fact is that students would sometimes go into the bathroom, turn out the lights, and call La Llorona three times to summon her. This seems very much like Bloody Mary, and Hanako-San (who makes an appearance in “Ghosts of Asia”).


Bermuda Triangle: Ships and airplanes have gone missing in the mysterious region between Miami, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. Aside from vanishing boats and planes, other strange occurrences have happened here. A pilot in the U.S. Navy squadron became very confused while flying above the Bermuda Triangle. Regarding the ships and planes which have mysteriously vanished, many of these disappearances occurred in good weather.. Some experts say that “The Tempest” written by Shakespeare was based on an actual Bermuda shipwreck, and may have sparked the mystery that surrounds the area today. The Bermuda Triangle gained a lot of attention in the 1918 when the USS Cyclops, a huge cargo ship, sank between Barbados and the Chesapeake Bay. With over 300 people aboard, the Cyclops never even delivered a distress call. Twenty-three years later, two sister ships of the Cyclops also vanished in the Bermuda Triangle without a trace. Explanations for these events never seem to agree with one another. Many say that it’s all a coincidence, and that the Bermuda Triangle really isn’t haunted. Others say that aliens are to blame, some think the ships and planes were taken down by sea monsters, and other theories include time warps, reverse gravity, and bursts of methane gas from the ocean. Either way, it makes for a chilling story.


Meza-Martinez, Cecily. “The Creepiest Ghost And Monster Stories From Around The World.” NPR. NPR, 31 Oct. 2014. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.

“Sleep Paralysis Symptoms, Treatment, and Causes.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.

“What Is El Chupacabra?” What Is El Chupacabra? N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.

Matchar, Emily. “Global Ghosts: 7 Tales of Specters From Around the World.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 31 Oct. 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.

History.com Staff. “Bermuda Triangle.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2010. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.

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