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