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The Curupira (Portuguese pronunciation: [kuɾuˈpiɾɐ]) is a mythological creature of Brazilian folklore. This creature blends many features of West African and European fairies but was usually regarded as a demonic figure.
The name comes from the Tupi language kuru'pir, meaning "covered in blisters". According to the cultural legends, this creature has bright red/orange hair, and resembles a man or a dwarf, but its feet are turned backwards. Curupira lives in the forests of Brazil and uses its backward feet to create footprints that lead to its starting point, thus making hunters and travelers confused. Besides that, it can also create illusions and produce a sound that's like a high pitched whistle, in order to scare and drive its victim to madness. It is common to portray a Curupira riding a Collared peccary, much like another Brazilian creature called Caipora.
A Curupira will prey on poachers and hunters that take more than they need of the forest, and he also attacks people that hunt animals that were taking care of their offspring. There are many different versions of the legend, and so the creature's appearance and habits may vary from each region in Brazil. However, Curupira is considered a nationwide folkloric figure.
Pop culture references
- The TV series BeastMaster features a female version of Curupira played by Emilie de Ravin. Aside from gender and hair color (blonde), the representation is faithful to the description above, including the backward feet and the fierce protectiveness toward the forest and forest creatures.
- There is a Colombian fusion band named Curupira. Their style is a mix of folk Colombian music with jazz, rock, funk, and other popular genres.
- In the telenovela Os Mutantes - Caminhos do Coração of Brazilian origin, a mutant called Curupira appears in the series. He is a mutant with red hair and superhuman speed and strength. Unlike the myth, he doesn't appear to have backward feet at all and he is much more a villain figure being prone to kidnapping children and killing any human in sight. He is the enemy of the vampire Rosana and the telekinetic Tati.
- In the video game Max Payne 3, a baby Curupira is depicted in a fictional Brazilian television soap opera ("Amor e Damas").
- The Brazilian folk metal band Kernunna has written a song called Curupira's Maze for their 2013 debut album "The Seim Anew".
- In MMORPG Ragnarok Online, Curupira is a monster in Brasilis field, it appears as a human like riding a Pig, and it can cast stone curse to player.
- Curupiras are the mascots for the Brazilian Quidditch Team in the 2014 Quidditch World Cup.
- Headless Mule
- Mohan (legendary)
- Leshy, a similar forest-dwelling being from Slavic mythology
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