5 most terrifying Latin American monsters and ghouls

Scarier than a mad mama with a chancla, these five freaky ghouls are the stuff nightmares are made of for Latin American children.

Literally translated in English as "goat sucker," the legendary chupacabra has terrorized rural communities throughout the Americas for decades. The beast, described as resembling a small bear or dog-like animal with a row of spines extending from the neck to the base of its tail, has been spotted in Puerto Rico, Mexico, and throughout the United States.

While biologists say the chupacabra is an urban legend, there are numerous accounts of the monster drawing blood from livestock.

Also known as the "coco," this mythical ghost-monster targets children who misbehave. The Portuguese equivalent of the bogeyman, the cucuy was described as a ghost with a skull-like pumpkin head. The monster can appear as either feminine or masculine, and is said to devour children, leaving no trace of them.

Drawn from Latin American, Filipino and Iberian folklore, the duende is a gnome-like creature that lives behind the walls in young children's bedrooms. While these magical creatures are said to have helped people who get lost in the forest find their way home, they are also said to be intensely obsessed with good hygiene.

As stated in Mexican lore, the duende will come after unkempt children by trying to clip their overgrown toenails. In their zealous exercise, entire toes have been lost in the process.

If hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, you better keep your distance from this Mexican spook. La Llorona is the ghost of a woman who drowned her own children in a river, only to be condemned in the afterlife to search for their bodies. As the story goes, great misfortune comes to those who come near her or hear her frightening wails.

Hailing from Central America, this shape-shifting creature takes the form of an attractive, long-haired woman, who lured men away to danger. When she turns her face towards her prey, she reveals her face is that of a horse, or alternatively, a skull.

In Guatemala, it is said she targets unfaithful men who stray from their marriage bed, only to drive him mad, if not dead of fright.
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