Hispanic Folklore: The Devil at the Baile
Happy Hispanic Heritage month to all my fellow Hispanics! To celebrate Hispanic heritage month many like to visit museums and exhibits and really just showcase how proud they are of their heritage. Because I like spooky things, and because Hispanic heritage month lands right in the middle of spooky season, I like to celebrate accordingly.
If you're Hispanic and love horror films or horror stories like I do, you're not alone. According to Edwin Pagan who runs latinhorror.com, we've always been drawn to horror stories. We grew up hearing about "El Cucuy," "La Llorona" and "El Chupacabra." Pagan says it's this intimacy with the supernatural that makes the Hispanic psyche ripe for horror thrills. It's not hard for us to be attracted to horror stories.
For many of us, the stories our abuelitas told really stuck with us, but as time went on, we might have forgotten. I, too, had forgotten about some of the stories my abuelita told me, until I was on TikTok (because, of course) and a woman told this story on her video and it refreshed my memory. As with any story your abuelita may have told you, there was always as lesson to be learned- and this one really impacted me because I think I was about eight years old. The story goes:
A girl in a small village really wanted to go to a dance with her friends, but her mother didn't give her permission to go out. This girl, really wanting to go out to the dance, decided to sneak out at night. She and her friends headed out to the dance. When she got there she immediately locked eyes with a very handsome man. The man was wearing a great suit, had an amazing smile, his hair nicely coiffed and had beautiful eyes. She was immediately drawn to him. The young girl danced with him all night and was having a blast. When the dance was coming to an end, the handsome man offered to drive her home. But then, the young girl noticed her girlfriends calling her over, she excused herself from the handsome man and walked over to her friends. Her friends had a look of fear in their eyes, they told her they needed to leave immediately, and when she asked why they told her to look at his feet. When she looked down at his feet, she noticed they weren't regular human feet, one looked like a hoof and the other looked like a chicken foot. It was then that they realized that this mysterious, handsome stranger was the devil himself. They immediately left the baile and went straight home.
Of course there's always different variations of this story; like the one that I saw on TikTok. In @giselleolald's story, she leaves with the handsome man and they fly away together.
Like I said before, the stories our elders told us almost always had a lesson; in this case- listen to your mother. But my abuelita totally knew how to to put the fear of the devil in me. It's an old wives tale, I know- but every now and then when I'm out dancing, I make sure to look at the feet.