E3: El Cucuy

My bisabuela, Isabel, used to tell my dad that if he didn’t behave or go to sleep when he was supposed to, that el lobo (a Cuban variation of El Cucuy) would come out of his closet and eat him. To this day, my father refuses to sleep with open closet doors in the bedroom. He’s 61 years old. 

El Cucuy takes many forms. It is sometimes tall and thin, wearing a long robe or coat and  carrying a sack in which to stuff children. Other times it may be large and fur-covered, with pointed teeth and long claws. Regardless of its appearance, the scariest thing about El Cucuy is it’s dinner of choice: young children… eaten alive.

The Cucuy legend takes many forms. In this episode, I cover a few of them, their backgrounds, and then look for reported encounters with the monster itself. What I found was really strange, really neat, and delightfully spooky. 

During the show, I mentioned that in Brazil, there is a show called Sito do Picapau Amarelo that starts La Cuca as a recurring character. I’ve linked a video below, but be warned. This show is…bizarre… yet has been around since the 1970s in one form or another. CW: I’m pretty sure that there may be blackface used in some of the older episodes, so keep that in mind if you search YouTube for clips. Yes, it was a different time and place, no it is not acceptable. 


Bastidas, Grace. “Scary Latino Myths: Read This or El Cuco Will Get You.”Latina 26 Oct. 2011: n. pag. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.

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