Brazilian mythology is the subset of Brazilian folklore with cultural elements of diverse origin found in Brazil comprising folk tales, traditions, characters and beliefs regarding places, peoples, and entities. The category was originally restricted to indigenous elements, but has been extended to include: medievaliberic tradition, African tradition- slaved by brazil army,
- Elements originated in Brazil by the contact of the three different traditions;
- Contemporary elements that are re-elaborations of old traditions.
Because Brazil is a melting pot of cultures , many elements of Brazilian mythology are shared by the traditions of other countries, especially its south American neighbors and Portugal.
- Alemoa– the ghost of a blond (German-like) woman that is connected to the island of Fernando de Noronha. She is said to seduce imprudent men and carrying them to death. Alemoa is a nonstandard way of pronouncing “alemã” (“German female” in Portuguese).
- Anhangá– A spirit that often protects animals (especially the females and young ones) and tends to appear as a white deer with red eyes. Often mistaken for Anhanguera due to the words being similar, however the Anhanga is not considered a devil, though it was feared. One legend involves an Indigenous person who tortured a young fawn so the screams would attract the mother. When she came near, he killed her just to realized that the Anhanga had used an illusion and he had just killed his own mother.
- Anhanguera– Name used by the early Jesuit missionaires as an equivalent of the Devil.
- Besta-fera– a centaur-like creature, thought to be the Devil. The name can be roughly translated as “Feral-Beast”.
- Bernunça– strange beast of the folk tales of the state of Santa Catarina (state).
- Boi-Bumbá(see Bumba-meu-boi).
- Boitatá– a giant snake with bull horns and enormous fiery eyes that crawls over the open fields at night. Sometimes described as a giant fiery snake. Looking at its eyes blinds people.
- Boiúna(“The Black Snake”) – a gigantic, nocturnal serpent that is the personification of the Amazonian rivers and feared by many fishers who live in that area. As part of the TV show The River as a sacred area and no one is to enter.
- Boto– an Amazon river dolphin encantado that shapeshifts into a handsome man to seduce young women (Amazon). After impregnating them, he would abandon the woman and never return to her village with the same disguise again. This tale was possibly created by single mothers in an attempt to explain away to fatherless children who their fathers were.
- Bumba-meu-Boi– an ox that is part of strange folk tale celebrated with dance and music by the peoples of the Brazilian north (states of Maranhão and Amazonas, where it is known as Boi-Bumbá).
- Caipora– jungle spirits that lived in trees but came out at night to haunt those who were astray.
- Ci– Tupian primeval goddess (the name means simply “mother”).
- Capelobo– A hybrid weird creature that has the head of a anteater, the torso of a man and the hindquarters of a goat, This creature brutally attacks and kills his victims.
- Corpo-Seco(“The Dried-Corpse”) – a man so evil that the earth would not rot its flesh and the devil would return his soul. Condemned to wander fruitlessly the earth until the judgment day.
- Cuca– menacing, supernatural, old hag that attacks and tortures small children who do not go to bed early. Her name comes from a very old and obsolete Portuguese word for “skull” or “cruel”.
- Curupira– a (male) jungle genie that protects the animals and the trees of the forests. It has red hair and backwards feet to confuse hunters. Hates hunters and lumberjacks. It was the first history of folklore to be documented in Brazil.
- Enchanted Moura– (Or “moura encantada”, literally means “The Charmed-Snake”) a beautiful woman shapeshifted into a hideous snake to guard an immense treasure. One who breaks the spell will have the gold and marry the maiden.
- Cobra-Grande(“The Big-Snake”) – see Boiúna.
- Encantado– (“The Charmed”) someone who is magically trapped into another dimension, living an eternal, but hapless life (usually a punishment for pursuing riches at any cost or doing some wrong).
- Homem do Saco(literally, “Sack Man” or “Bag Man”) – a mid-aged or elder drifter who visits households in search of naughty young children for him to carry away with him, in his sack or bag. When the Bag Man happens to knock at a house whose residents have a naughty kid that they no longer want, these parents give the Bag Man their kid, that he puts up in his sack and carries them away forever. This story was told to children as a way to make them behave and respect their parents, under the fear of being given away to the Bag Man if they didn’t act good.
- Iara– a type of freshwater mermaid (Centre, South-East, North).
- Iemanjá– the Afro-Brazilian sea goddess worshiped in umbanda, candomblé and another Afro-Brazilian religions.
- Jurupari– another Amazonian jungle devil.
- M’Boi– Serpentine god of the river. Responsible for the Legend of Iguassu Falls; the folklore, mystery and beauty. The story of Taroba and Naipi fighting the rainforest and disease. Iguassu falls is one of the great wonders of the world at the corner of Brazil and Argentina. a must see.
- Lady in White– Also “Woman in White”: the most widespread type of ghost seen in Brazil. Urban legend equivalent of the Mexican La llorona.
- Lobisomem– the Brazilian version of the werewolf.
- Mãe-do-Ouro– a powerful and lethal being that protects gold ores. Nobody has survived seeing it, so no description exists. It is usually seen from afar as a globe of fire that flies from mountain to mountain (South-East). It can be roughly translated as “Mother of Golds” and it is possibly a popular attempt to explain the ball lightning phenomenon.
- Mapinguari– a large, bipedal, furry animal that wanders the Amazon jungle. Considered the Brazilian version of the Yeti or the last memory of the now extinct giant sloths passed through generations by the Indians.
- Maní– the name of an Indian girl with very fair complexion. The legend is connected to Manioc, a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae native to South America.
- Matinta Pereira– a malevolent hag with supernatural powers whose legend is very well known in the state of Pará.
- Muiraquitã– a greenish amulet of supernatural qualities.
- Mula sem Cabeça(literally “Headless Mule”) – shape taken by the woman accursed for having sex with a priest (South-East, North-East, Centre, South).
- Negrinho do Pastoreio– a slave boy that died an awful death (similar to Candyman‘s) for not keeping his owner’s horses. He helps people who are looking for lost things. Roughly translated as “Black Boy of Farm” or “The Little Black Farmer”.
- Pisadeira(“The Stomper”)– An old hag that wears sneakers and stomps over people’s stomachs at night making them breathless. Usually appears when people go to bed on a full stomach.
- Romãozinho– a character who bears the burden of immortality
- Saci Pererê– a mischievous single-legged black elf-like creature who is blamed as the culprit of anything that goes wrong at a farm (Centre, South-East) and is the mascot of Sport Club Internacional (South). The Saci is known as a trickster and usually appears in farms inside wind swirls. If someone steals its red cap he’ll exchange it for a favour.
- Cabeça Satânica– The wandering head is a widespread Brazilian ghost story of European origin. Appears to people that wander alone in the night as a stranger with its back turned to the victim. Its body melts to the ground and only the head with long hair, wide eyes and a large mischievous smile remains, hopping or rolling towards the victim. Its name means “Satanic Head” or “Satan’s Head”.
These fine fellows have been terrifying the public since the dawn of Celtic mythology.
The Irish word for demon is “deamhan” and it is certainly well used because Celtic mythology has always feared an array of evil forces, monsters, demons, and ghosts. The ancient Celts had hundreds of Irish mythical deities, but as with most cultures, they had their demons as well.
Some of the Celtic “monsters” were originally gods but were later demonized as pagan creatures when many of the Celts became Christians.
Irish Central has hunted down the 10 most frightening of these Celtic and Irish demons and monsters.
Dearg Due – the Irish vampire
Dearg Due – the Irish vampire.
Yes, Dracula himself is an Irish creation (Irishman Bram Stoker created the monster in his masterpiece novel), but there’s also a vampire that resides right smack in the middle of Ireland.
Dearg-due, an Irish name meaning “red blood sucker,” is a female demon that seduces men and then drains them of their blood.
According to the Celtic legend, an Irish woman who was known throughout the country for her beauty fell in love with a local peasant, which was unacceptable to her father.
Dad forced her into an arranged marriage with a rich man who treated her terribly, and eventually, she commits suicide.
She was buried near Strong bow’s Tree in Waterford, and one night, she rose from her grave to seek revenge on her father and husband, sucking their blood until they dropped dead.
Now known as Dearg-due, the vampire rises once a year, using her beauty to lure men to their deaths.
Not to worry, though – there is one way to defeat Dearg-due.
To prevent the undead from rising from the grave, simply build a pile of stones over her grave. No, it won’t kill her, but at least you’ll hold her off until next year!
The Dullahan – the Irish headless horseman
The Irish headless horseman.
Another legendary Irish monster is the Dullahan, a name that can be translated to “dark man.”
Often portrayed in contemporary fantasy fiction and video games, this foreteller of death is the Irish version of the headless horseman.
The Dullahan rides a headless black horse with flaming eyes, carrying his head under one arm. When he stops riding, a human dies.
Some versions of this legend say that the Dullahan throws buckets of blood at people he passes, while other say he simply calls out the name of the mortal that will soon die.
As with most evil forces, the Dullahan has a weakness – gold.
The creature is scared of the substance, so any lonely travelers this Halloween night would be wise to have some on him in case they have a run-in with this headless horror!
Banshee – the Irish wailing ghost
A famous Irish creature that some say teams up with the Dullahan is the Banshee.
One of the most recognizable Celtic creatures, having made a guest appearance in “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” and all, the Banshee is a female spirit whose wail, if heard outside of a house, foretells the death of one of its inhabitants.
Several versions of the Banshee legend say the feared ghost rode alongside the Dullahan in a black cart drawn by six black horses. The pair is said to whip the horses with a human spinal cord.
But most legends say the Banshee was terrifying enough on her own.
Descriptions of her appearance vary, from an ugly old hag to a beautiful young woman, but all agree that the creature’s blood-curdling wail will be heard three times before someone dies.
Balor – the Celtic demon king
The demon king.
Balor is the demonic God of Death in Celtic mythology.
Sporting one eye and a single gigantic leg, the evil creature was King of the Fomori, demons who lived in the dark depths of lakes and seas.
Balor can kill someone just by staring at them with his evil eye, so he kept it closed most of the time, so as not to constantly be tripping over dead bodies.
The God of Death would provide his Fomori with victims, but the evil race was left to their own devices when Balor was killed by his son Lug, who shot him with a slingshot.
Now the Fomori have returned to their waters and transformed into sea monsters who prey on humans.
Perhaps it’d be a good idea to stay away from any bodies of water this Halloween!
Sluagh – the dead Irish sinners
Sluagh – the dead Irish sinners.
Though they’re not so much “demons,” Sluagh are scary creatures that hunt down souls.
According to Irish folklore, Sluagh is dead sinners that come back as malicious spirits.
These spirits come from the west, flying in groups like flocks of birds, and try to enter a house where someone is dying to take away that person’s soul.
Some Irish families would keep their west-facing windows shut at all times to keep the Sluagh out of their homes.
Some say the Sluagh is the Irish version of the Wild Hunt, a European folktale about ghostly hounds or spirits traveling around in packs foretelling of death and disaster.
Carman – the Celtic witch
The Celtic witch.
Carman is the Celtic goddess of evil magic.
This destructive witch roamed around with her three evil sons: Dub (“darkness” in Irish), Dother (“evil”) and Dain (“violence”), destroying anything or anyone in their path.
Carman put a blight on Ireland’s crops and terrorized the Irish until the Tuatha De Danann, the “peoples of the goddess Danu,” used their magic to fight and defeat her, and drove her sons across the sea.
Guess this is one demon you can check off your list of scary creatures to worry about this Halloween.
Kelpie – the Celtic sea monster
Kelpie – the Celtic sea monster.
The kelpie is a monster right out of Celtic myth. The creature can take on multiple shapes, but usually, it appears in the form of a horse.
The kelpie galloped around Ireland, looking like a lost pony, attempting to trick women and children into riding on it. But the strange thing about this pony is that its mane would always be dripping with water.
If a woman hopped on, the monster would then run into the water, drowning its victim, and then would take her to its lair to eat her.
The Irish demon would sometimes transform into a handsome man to lure women into its trap, but a telltale sign that it was a kelpie was if that “man” had kelp in its hair.
Ladies, take note – meet a guy with seaweed on his head on Halloween night, don’t go home with him!
Caorthannach – the Celtic fire-spitter
The fire demon.
Caorthannach, thought by some to be the devil’s mother, is a demon that was fought off by St. Patrick when he banished the snakes out of Ireland.
The saint is said to have stood on the mountain now known as Croagh Patrick and expelled all the serpents and demons out of the Emerald Isle into the sea to drown.
One monster, however, managed to escape – Caorthannach, the fire-spitter. The demon slid down a mountain away from the saint, but Patrick spotted her and chased her down upon the fastest horse in Ireland, which was brought to him.
The pursuit was a long one, and Caorthannach knew St. Patrick would need water to quench his thirst along the way, so she spit fire as she fled, and poisoned every well she passed.
Though the saint was desperately thirsty, he refused to drink from the poisoned wells and prayed for guidance.
Patrick eventually made it to the Hawk’s Rock, where he waited for Caorthannach. As the demon approached, he jumped out from his hiding spot and banished her from Ireland with a single word.
The evil fire-spitter drowned in the ocean, leaving a swell behind that created the famous Hawk’s Well.
Leanan Sidhe – the evil Irish fairy-muse
Leanan Sidhe – the evil Irish fairy-muse
Both a muse and a demon, Leanan Sidhe is another one of Ireland’s mythological vampires.
The fairy was a beautiful woman who was said to give inspiration to poets and musicians – but at the price of their lives.
She would make the artist her lover, sharing with them her intelligence, creativity, and magic, but when she left, the men would be so depressed, they’d die.
Leanan Sidhe would then take her dead lovers back to her lair.
Rather than directly suck the blood of her victims, Leanan Sidhe got creative and collected their blood in a giant red cauldron, which was the source of her beauty and artistic inspiration.
As with Dearg-due, to prevent the undead Leanan Sidhe from rising, one must put a cairn of stones over her resting place.
A tip to artists: perhaps you should look elsewhere for inspiration, rather than risk falling into the evil hands of the Leanan Sidhe!
Questing Beast – the Celtic hybrid monster
Questing Beast – the Celtic hybrid monster.
Another snake-like evil Celtic creature is the Questing Beast, a monster with the head of a snake, the body of a leopard, the backside of a lion and the hooves of a deer.
The beast’s constant cry was said to sound like the bark of 30 dogs.
The Questing Beast, known to be quick, was hunted down by many a knight, and in Celtic myth was chased by King Pellinore, an Arthurian character.
This beast appears not only in the legends of King Arthur but also in Edmund Spenser’s epic tale “The Faerie Queene,” which in part, tackles the troubled relationship between England and Ireland in the 16th century.
This is one scary creature you don’t have to worry about this Halloween – unless you dress up as a knight.
- Aamon/Amon(Christian demonology)
- Abaddon/Apollyon(Christian demonology)
- Abezethibou(Jewish demonology)
- Abyzou(Jewish mythology)
- Achlys(Greek mythology)
- Adrammelech(Assyrian mythology, Christian demonology)
- Agaliarept(Jewish mythology)
- Agrat bat Mahlat(Jewish demonology)
- Agares(Christian demonology)
- Agiel(Jewish mythology)
- Ahriman/Angra Mainyu(Zoroastrianism)
- Aim/Haborym(Christian demonology)
- Aka Manah/Akem Manah/Akoman/Akvan(Zoroastrianism)
- Akuma(Japanese Buddhism, Japanese Christianity)
- Al Ana(Turkish folklore)
- Ala(Slavic mythology)
- Alal(Chaldean mythology)
- Alastor(Christian demonology)
- Alloces/Allocer(Christian demonology)
- Allu(Akkadian mythology)
- Amaymon(Christian demonology)
- Amdusias(Christian demonology)
- Amy(Christian demonology)
- Anammelech(Assyrian mythology)
- Anqa(Arabian Folklore)
- Ancitif(Christian demonology)
- Andhaka(Hindu mythology)
- Andras(Christian demonology)
- Andrealphus(Christian demonology)
- Andromalius(Christian demonology)
- Anti(Sumerian mythology)
- Antichrist(Christian eschatology)
- Anzu(Sumerian mythology)
- Apaosha(Persian mythology)
- Apepor Apophis (Egyptian mythology)
- Armaros(Jewish demonology)
- Arunasura(Hindu mythology)
- Asag(Sumerian demonology)
- Asakku(Babylonian mythology)
- Asb’el(Jewish mythology)
- Asmodai/Asmodeus(Jewish folklore, Christian mythology, Islamic folklore)
- Astaroth(Christian demonology)
- Asura(Hindu mythology, Buddhism, Shinto)
- Azazel/Azaz’el(Jewish mythology, Islamic folklore)
- Azi Dahaka/Dahak(Zoroastrianism)
Barong miniature, National Gallery, Jakarta
- Baal/Bael(Christian demonology)
- Babi ngepet(Indonesian mythology)
- Bakasura(Hindu mythology)
- Baku(Japanese mythology)
- Balam(Christian demonology)
- Balberith(Jewish demonology)
- Bali Raj(Hindu mythology)
- Banshee(Irish mythology)
- Baphomet(Christian folklore, Islamic Folklore, Jewish Mysticism, Satanism, Thelema)
- Barbas(Christian demonology)
- Barbatos(Christian demonology)
- Barong(Indonesian mythology)
- Bathin/Mathim/Bathym/Marthim(Christian demonology)
- Beelzebub(Jewish and Christian demonology)
- Belial(Jewish Christian demonology)
- Beleth(Christian demonology)
- Belphegor(Christian demonology)
- Berith/Beherit(Phoenician mythology, Christian demonology)
- Bhūta(Hindu mythology)
- Bifrons(Christian demonology)
- Boruta(Slavic mythology)
- Botis(Christian demonology)
- Buer(Christian demonology)
- Bukavac(Slavic mythology)
- Bune(Christian demonology)
- Caim/Camio(Christian demonology)
- Charun(Etruscan mythology)
- Chemosh(Moabite mythology)
- Chort(Slavic mythology)
- Cimejes/Kimaris/Cimeies(Christian demonology)
- Corson(Christian demonology)
- Crocell/Procell(Christian demonology)
A typical depiction of the Devil in Christian art. The goat, ram and pig are consistently associated with the Devil. Detail of a 16th-century painting by Jacob de Backer in the National Museum, Warsaw.
- Dagon(Semitic mythology)
- Dajjal(Islamic eschatology)
- Dantalion(Christian demonology)
- Danjal(Jewish mythology)
- Decarabia(Christian demonology)
- Demiurge(Gnostic mythology)
- Demogorgon(Christian demonology)
- Dev(Persian, Islamic demonology)
- Div-e Sepid(Persian mythology)
- Djall(Albanian mythology)
- Drekavac(Slavic mythology)
- Dzoavits(Native American mythology)
- Eblis/Iblis/Ibris(Islamic demonology)
- Eligos(Christian demonology)
- Eisheth(Jewish demonology)
- Erlik(Turkish mythology)
- Focalor(Christian demonology)
- Foras/Forcas/Forras(Christian demonology)
- Forneus(Christian demonology)
- Furcas/Forcas(Christian demonology)
- Furfur(Christian demonology)
- Gaap(Christian demonology)
- Gader’el(Jewish demonology)
- Gaki(Japanese mythology)
- Gamigin(Christian demonology)
- Ghaddar(Islamic folklore)
- Ghoul(Arabian and world-wide mythologies via adaptation from arabs)
- Glasya-Labolas/Caacrinolaas/Caassimolar/Classyalabolas/Glassia-labolis(Christian demonology)
- Gorgon(Greek mythology)
- Gremory/Gomory(Christian demonology)
- Grigori(Jewish demonology)
- Gualichu(Mapuche mythology)
- Guayota(Guanche mythology)
- Gusion/Gusoin/Gusoyn(Christian demonology)
- Haagenti(Christian demonology)
- Halphas/Malthus(Christian demonology)
- Haures/Flauros/Flavros/Hauras/Havres(Christian demonology)
- Hinn(Islamic folklore)
Kali (right) wielding a sword
- Kabandha/Kabhanda(Hindu mythology)
- Kara İye(Turkish mythology)
- Kasadya(Jewish demonology)
- Kokabiel(Jewish mythology)
- Kore(Albanian mythology)
- Kroni(Ayyavazhi demonology)
- Krampus(Germanic-Christian demonology)
- Killakee Cat(Hell Fire Club)
- Kukudh(Albanian mythology)
- Kulshedra(Albanian mythology)
- Kumbhakarna(Hindu mythology)
- Legion(Christian demonology)
- Lechies(Slavic mythology)
- Leonard(Christian demonology)
- Leyak(Indonesian mythology)
- Lempo(Finnish mythology)
- Leraje/Leraie(Christian demonology)
- Leviathan(according to certain interpretations of Jewish, Gnostic and Christian mythology)
- Lili/Lilin/Lilim(Jewish mythology)
- Lilith(Akkadian mythology, Jewish folklore)
- Ljubi(Albanian mythology)
- Lucifer(Christian theology)
- Lucifuge Rofocale(Christian demonology)
- Marid(Islamic demonology)
- Malphas(Christian demonology)
- Mammon(Christian mythology)
- Mara(Buddhist mythology)
- Maricha(Hindu mythology)
- Marax/Morax/Foraii(Christian demonology)
- Marchosias(Christian demonology)
- Mastema(Jewish demonology)
- Mazoku(Japanese folklore)
- Mephistopheles(Christian folklore, German folklore)
- Merihem(Christian demonology)
- Moloch(Jewish, Pagan and Christian mythology, Scientology)
- Murmur(Christian demonology)
- Naamah(Jewish mythology)
- Naberius/Cerbere/Naberus(Christian demonology)
- Ninurta(Sumerian mythology, Akkadian mythology)
- Namtar(Sumerian mythology)
- Nar as-samum(Islamic folklore)
- Oni(Japanese folklore)
- Onoskelis(Jewish mythology)
- Orcus(Roman mythology, later Christian demonology)
- Orias/Oriax(Christian demonology)
- Orobas(Christian demonology)
- Ose(Christian demonology)
- Ördög(Hungarian mythology)
- O Tokata(Indonesian mythology)
- Paimon(Christian demonology)
- Pazuzu(Babylonian demonology)
- Pelesit(Indonesian and Malaysian mythology)
- Phenex(Christian demonology)
- Penemue(Jewish and Christian mythology)
- Pithius(Christian demonology)
- Pocong(Indonesian & Malaysia mythology)
- Pontianak(Indonesian and Malaysian mythology)
- Preta(Buddhist demonology)
- Pruflas(Christian demonology)
- Puloman(Hindu mythology)
- Rahab(Jewish folklore)
- Raum(Christian demonology)
- Ronove(Christian demonology)
- Rusalka(Slavic mythology)
- Rakshasa(Hindu mythology)
- Rangda(Indonesian mythology)
- Sahil(Christian demonology)
- Saleos(Christian demonology)
- Samael(Jewish and Gnostic mythology)
- Salpsan(Christian demonology)
- Satan(Jewish, Christian, and Islamic demonology)
- Scylla(Greek Mythology)
- Set(Egyptian mythology)
- Seir(Christian demonology)
- Semyaza(Jewish mythology)
- Shax/Chax(Christian demonology)
- Shaitan(Jewish, Islamic demonology)
- Shedim(Jewish folklore)
- Silver(Buddhism demonology)
- Sitri(Christian demonology)
- Sthenno(Greek mythology)
- Stihi(Albanian mythology)
- Stolas/Solas(Christian demonology)
- Suanggi(Indonesian mythology)
- Succubus(Christian folklore)
- Surgat(Christian demonology)
- Sut(Islamic demonology)
- Shinigami(Japanese mythology)
- Shuten Doji(Japanese Mythology)
- Tannin(Arabian, Cannanite, Christian, Phoenician, Jewish mythology)
- El Tío(Folk Catholicism)
- Toyol(Indonesian and Malaysian mythology)
- Tuchulcha(Etruscan mythology)
- Ukobach(Christian demonology)
- Valac(Christian demonology)
- Valefar/Malaphar/Malephar(Christian demonology)
- Vanth(Etruscan mythology)
- Vapula(Christian demonology)
- Vassago(Christian demonology)
- Vepar(Christian demonology)
- Vine(Christian demonology)
- Xaphan(Christian demonology)
- Yeqon(Jewish mythology)
- Zabaniyya(Islamic folklore)
- Zagan(Christian demonology)
- Zepar(Christian demonology)
- Ziminiar(Christian demonology)