The Legend of Nahuales in Tuzantlán Part 1


Sitting down at the kitchen table while eating dinner, my parents always had stories to share about their childhood. Both of my parents were born in a small pueblo in Puebla, Mexico named  Tuzantlán. One of the stories that always scared me was the one about Nahuales. I didn’t recall much about the Nahual stories because as a child I was scared. Recently, I asked my parents to sit down with me and tell me all that they remember. I am going to start with my fathers version. He focused more on the good side of Nahuales.

Although legends like La Llorona were heard of in Tuzantlán, the legend of Nahuales was the legend that people talked about the most in that town. My father enjoyed talking to the elders in his pueblo, he specifically remembers an old man by the name of Atilano, telling him about nahuales.  My dad was about ten years old when he first heard about Nahuales. According to my father, Nahuales are supernatural people or brujos with tremendous amount of powers. At night, and only during the night time, these people have the ability to  transform into an animal; animals such as dogs, snakes,cats and many others. These beings were even more powerful in animal form. They have the option of choosing whether to use their powers for good or evil.

It was easy to spot which people in this pueblito were Nahuales because these persons liked wondering at night. Atilano knew that one of his neighbors was a Nahual. He thought this because a dog would walk out of the front door . Atilano never saw his neighbor leaving his house yet, hours after the dog had left, his neighbor would be the one walking through the front door. He witnessed this multiple times.

My papá and other people in Tuzantlán believed that his grandfather, Luz Ruiz was a Nahual. My great grandfather loved walking at night, and no one could understand why. No one knew his whereabouts or what he did at night. It was all very mysterious. When Luz had to travel to nearby pueblos, he would leave at night time. This was very strange because everybody who had to travel to distant places would do so during the day. This was another reason for people to believe Luz was a Nahual. My dad believes that if his grandfather was a Nahual, he used his powers for good.

My parents also believe that my grandfather, my dad’s father is a Nahual. However, they believe that he uses his powers for evil. My dad is almost certain that his father is a Nahual because he says that his father has always liked walking at night. He had no business to take care of out there but still, he wandered off. My father found this very strange because as a child and even as a teenager, he was scared to walk around the pueblo late at night.

My parents would not specify why they believe my grandfather is a Nahual. My mother concluded by saying that every time he was upset with them, something bad would happen at night. They recall seeing a snake every time one of these events happened.

I will continue to explore the evil doings of Nahuales through my mother’s eyes on my next blog post.

Works Cited

Ruiz, Mario. Personal Interview. 27 April. 2014.

Torres, Otilia. Personal Interview. 27 April. 2014.

The Legend of Nahuales in Tuzantlán, Part 2

Legend of Nahuales Final Post


The Legend of Nahuales in Tuzantlán Part 1 — 4 Comments

  1. What an interesting blog post! I was not familiar with the legend of Nahuales, and I’m somewhat glad because that kind of story would have scared me as a child. After reading your blog, I just had so many follow-up questions pop into my mind. 1. If one admits to being a Nahuale, are they treated differently or ostracized from their community? 2. What constitutes a Nahuale to be good or evil? If a Nahuale is “good,” then what are some characteristics that would embody a good nature? If a Nahuale is “bad,” then what are some characteristics that would embody a bad nature? 3. If my father was a confirmed Nahuale, is there a chance that I could turn into a Nahuale? Is it hereditary? I think there is something incredibly gothic about transformations into animals–especially a snake on a Biblical standpoint. I get a feeling that it is almost demonic for a human being to swiftly transform into a completely different species within the animal kingdom as it is breaking down the laws of nature. I would love to hear/read more about this legend, I think it’s very fascinating. Great job!

  2. I love how your blog records an oral tradition in the knowledge of Nahuales. I feel that there is so much tradition in this narrative that can be linked to the fear of deadly animals that the Aztecs had, that could have potentially carried through the ages, mutating as oral narratives usually do, presenting themselves as the current telling a of Nahuales. Many questions came to my mind as well and can’t wait to hear more about Nahuales.

  3. This is a very fascinating story. I have heard of Nahuales but never actually heard someone’s story about them. I like that you mention where your family comes from because sometimes the location plays a major part in the stories. Many “scary” stories rarely happen in the city and always take place in small towns and villages. I like how these story in specific have a small gothic element. I never think of elderly people as people that can bring any harm or have a supernatural power. I mostly view elderly people, especially those who keep their traditions, as religious people. I probably just view elderly people as innocent kids. Your story made me a bit afraid though, and I love it! I wish I could question my grandparents and see if they have any more supernatural stories. Great job!

  4. Very interested about nahuales. I grew up in Mexico and nahuales are very familiar for me, we said and heard so many stories about these magic creatures that now I feel nahuales are part of my life. I am writing a book about nahuales. I will checking your blog because this is part of my culture.