The Legend of La Ciguapa

Sara B

There is a legend that originates from the mountains of the Dominican Republic. Some described a woman who lives in the woods with long black hair and backward feet—rumored to prey on farmers who are alone and lonely. She calls you in with whispers and gentle sounds; some describe whining, or soothing voices, which entices you to go to her.

She is sensual and beautiful; the only thing covering her is her long thick, midnight black hair that goes past her butt, some even say to her feet. Her eyes are stunning and dark, and call you to her. If you look her in the eye, you will follow her to wherever she wants you to go, hypnotic. Finally, she leads you to her cave, where you may think she wants to seduce you sexually; however, she has other plans.

A succubus who only has one thing in mind, feeding, fulfilling her one genuine desire. Once she has you in her grips, she will feed on your blood and devours your flesh, only leaving your bones. Some even say she will trap you for her pleasures, trapping their soul for eternity.

There is also another part to this story. Possibly one that is closer to the truth of who La Ciguapa is. Some say that she is a timid creature that lives in the jungle, feeding on what she can find, including birds, fish, and other animals in the wilderness. One of the original peoples from the Dominican, known to live alone in the mountains, lived off the land before the indigenous people crossed into the Greater Antilles. It is the story that Fransico Guridi speaks about in his novel, published in 1866.

Some also say the legend predates Spanish island colonization, and Guridis's story is the first introduction to Dominican folklore. So what does Guridi have to say about this legend?

"It is said that since before the Discovery of this Island there exists a race whose residence has always been the heart of these mountains; but it is preserved in all its purity, sleeping in the crowns of cedars, and feeding on river fish, birds and fruit. The Ciguapa, which is the name by which it is known, is a creature that only rises a rod in height: thoug it should not be believed that in its proportions there is the deformity of the so-called dwarfs in Europe and America. Far from it, there is an exact harmony in all her muscles and limbs, a wonderful beauty in her face, and an agility in her movements so full of spontaneity and grace that she leaves the one who sees her absorbed. She has the bronze skin of the true Indian, the black and slanted eyes, the soft, luscious and abundant hair, that rolls down the backs of female to the very calf. The Ciguapa has no other language than the howl, and runs like a hare through the mountains, or leaps like a bird through the branches of the trees as soon as it discovers another being other than its race; because she is extremely shy and harmless at the same time. In general, she is attributed a sensitivity without example, and it is added that having captured it sometimes through open traps in the forests, she has been seen to die within a few hours from the pain, drowned in her own crying; but without exhaling a single complaint, let alone revealing indignation."

—Francisco Guridi, La Ciguapa (1866)

Despite this possible folklore and legend, many have claimed they have seen La Ciguapa. The fable is still alive and told to young children, which has kept the legend alive. So if you are ever walking in the woods and you sense a stillness in the forest, beware, La Ciguapa might be near. Whether you believe in the legend or not, you never know.


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I share stories from all over the world, what is happening locally and abroad. I have a background in being an ICU nurse, Holistic Health Coach, and Nomad and finding balance and living harmoniously within nature.

Pasadena, CA

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