15 July 2009

Vampires in Mexico

Mexico possesses "some notable vampire lore because of the cultures that once inhabited the region" (Konstantinos 32). Vampires in Mexican folklore "are believed to be linked to Tezcatlipoca, an Aztec god" (Universal). "Tezcatlipoca, whose name means 'Lord of the Smoking Mirror', is widely regarded as the supreme god of the Mesoamerican pantheon" (Willis 239). He was a hideous creature and considered "the god of hell". "Tezcatlipoca was also known as Yaotzin, "The Enemy" and in a thousand horrid phantom shapes he haunted the woods during the dark hours" (Summers 261).

"The Aztecs had a belief in female vampire beings called the cihuateteo" (also written civateteo & ciuateteo). "Like many other female vampiric entities, a cihuateteo was created when a woman died in childbirth. The vampires would roam and attack children, as did the lamiae of Greece" (Konstantinos 32). "These vampire-witches held Sabbaths at crossroads and were believed to attack young children and mate with human men, producing children who were also vampires" (Universal). These creatures exhibit behavior common to the vampires of Ancient Greece--the lamia and empusa.

Another named variety of vampire in Mexico is the Tlahuelpuchi. The tlahuelpuchi is a "living vampire," which "makes a strong case for the existence of psychic vampires. This was a person who could somehow transform him or herself and feed off others" (Konstantinos 32). This vampire lives with his/her "human family, is able to shapeshift and sucks the blood of infants at night" (Universal).

"The tlahuelpuchi is born with their curse and cannot avoid it. Sometime around puberty they first learn of what they are. The vast majority of tlahuelpuchi are female and the female tlahuelpuchi are more powerful than the male" (Universal). "These vampires have a glowing aura and they "change form by detaching their body from their legs." They usually hunt in the form of a bird, and before the attack they fly over a house from the North to the South while maintaining the shape of a cross. "Garlic, onions and metal repel Tlahuelpuchi. Sometimes the metal is represented by a pair of open scissors", which is also usual in much of Eastern European lore (Universal). "The tlahuelpuchi have a form of society. Typically they each have their own territories" and they remain close to their human families. Family members usually protect the tlahuelpuchi, and if a family member reveals the identity of a tlahuelpuchi, "the curse will be passed down to that family member" (Universal).

Some scholars argue the source of vampire myths in Mexico. They claim that vampires did not descend from the Aztec god, citing the similarities of myths with those from Europe. John Kraniauskas suggests that vampires in Mexico rose amid the "themes of contemporary culture and global capitalism" and "introduces vampires into the cannibal scene." There is a progression from "ferocious man-eating" creatures of "mythic borderlands and colonial fantasy to the more refined and civilised sipping of blood." He asks, "Is vampirism a simultaneously aristocratic, modern and popular European form of cannibalism...recoded through the displacements of the 'civilising process'?" (Barker 31).

Other scholars assert that vampire bats are the source of the legends. Mexico is the home to one of the "two kinds of...blood sucking bat in the world: Desmodus rufus". The range of this bat is from "Southern Mexico to Argentina" (Gadow 441). These bats are feared for their blood-sucking nature and their ability to spread disease. Possibly, existing vampire lore was perpetuated by the aggravation created by vampire bats.

Whether scientific, political, or religious, stories of Mexican vampires are prevalent and persistent. However in recent times, Mexico has made advances against a different sort of blood-sucker. Read about the near-eradication of one type of blood sucker in Mexico.

Ca ndyi,

Barker, Francis. Peter Hulme, Margaret Iversen. Cannibalism and the colonial world.
Gadow, Hans. Through southern Mexico, being an account of the travels of a naturalist.
Konstantinos. Vampires: The Occult Truth.
Summers, Montague. The vampire his kith and kin.
Universal Vampire: http://vampires.monstrous.com/universal_vampire.htm
Willis, Roy G. World Mythology.


  1. Thanks for this very informative article. I believe Vampires go back quite a way with blood worship. "Spirit is in blood" Maram - mario@instars.tv

  2. Hello Maram, thank you for stopping by and leaving your comment.

  3. wow very interesting!!