Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Day 4 May Monster Madness--El Cucuy

Yay, it's day 4 of May Monster Madness hosted by Annie Walls, Something wicKEd This Way Comes, Little Gothic Horrors! As you can tell, I'm having a Texas, two-steppin' blast with this blogfest. Mucho kudos go out to the hosts!

Now for the El Cucuy...Dun, dun, dun!

Considered the south Texas' official boogeyman, the El Cucuy is one of the creepiest of the Texas monsters, pronounced "el koo-koo-ee".  

More of an urban legend, El Cucuy (Coco, Cuca, or Calaca) is a goblin-like creature with glowing eyes, razor sharp claws and fangs. Attracted to the disobedient and ill-mannered child, El Cucuy is known throughout many cultures, especially in Spain and Latin America. In the San Antonio, Texas area, El Cucuy has appeared on more than one occasion. Some believe he is a shape-shifter and can morph into other creatures. He can hide almost anywhere, and is notorious for lurking under the beds of misbehaving children.

My husband's deceased grandmother was from Mexico. They moved to south Texas when she was a small child. She recalled El Cucuy as more of a "you'd better be good or else El Cucuy will get you" legend. Which is still make-your-hair-stand-on-end freaky, especially when you see an image of the impish creature. I would NOT want it lurking under my bed!

Here's a wicked little lullaby from the Latin culture. "Duermete niño, duermete ya...que viene el cuco y te comerá (sleep child, sleep now...or else comes the coco to eat you)."

Of course, my MMM posts wouldn't be complete without a sketch. I've included one after my excerpt from a Middle Grade story I wrote last year. Because I'm afraid of the dark, I sketch my creatures in a sweet sort of way. I'm a forty-something-year-old baby, and it helps conquer my fears. :)


Here's a scene from a MG story I wrote last year.

Turn Out the Light... Night, Night

Hiding under his bed covers, Sergio heard a thump from somewhere in the dark room. Something scurried under his bed, waiting, watching. Visions of the El Cucuy, plagued his mind. The creature preyed on children who wouldn't go to sleep. It abducted them straight from their beds, and they were never seen again.
Something pressed up into the mattress from below, poking him in the back. 
He froze. Close your eyes. Count sheep. Anything! Sergio tried to scream out for his mother, but nothing happened. Fear gripped his throat, choking him.
Something tugged at his blanket from the foot of the bed. He grabbed his end, yanking it up over his eyes. 
Well, at least there was one positive side to being slaughtered by a goblin in the middle of the night; At least he'd get out of not doing his homework.

See? Not so scary. Maybe my El Cucuy would make a cute character for a picture book!


  1. A guy I work with says the same thing to his kids. Love this post and thats a wicked picture!

  2. That is a wicked image -- your drawing is cute -- but so is a baby tiger! :-)

  3. I like everything about this creature except the name.

  4. No, not scary at all! But since he was probably created just to scare children into obedience, then it's nice you made him not scary.

  5. @Dani, omg! I could never tell my kids that. O_O
    @Roland, Thanks!
    @Michael, it took me forever to figure out how to pronounce it!
    @Alex, There's already one picture book about it, but it's not a character-driven, quirky one, which is more my style.

  6. I've never heard of El Cucuy before, but then again, I live in Australia. We have our own local urban legend creatures like the Yowie, which is sort of similar to Bigfoot. :)

  7. Yes, Bigfoot goes by many names around the world. Thanks for stopping by!!

  8. I love the little sketch! He's cute! But that lullaby is anything but cute. It's not very logical to try to get a kid to sleep by saying something's coming to kill him, right? lol

  9. This is the first time I've heard of El Cucuy. What an interesting legend.

  10. Your story is rad! I much prefer your sketch of El Cucuy, the pic above is still wiggin me out! Awesome post!
    Here's my day V MMM at Design du Jour.

  11. I feel like I saw a horror movie which refenced this monster at some point... Great story, very creepy. And the picture is cute!