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In Taíno culture, the hupia (also opia, opi'a, op'a, operi'to) is the spirit of a dead person.

In Taíno spiritual beliefs, hupias (spirits of the dead) were contrasted with goeiza, spirits of the living. While a living goieza had definite form, after death the spirit was released as a hupia and went to live in a remote earthly paradise called Coaybay.[1] Hupias were believed to be able to assume many forms, sometimes appearing as faceless people or taking the form of a deceased loved one. Hupias in human form could always be distinguished by their lack of a navel. Hupias were also associated with bats and said to hide or sleep during the day and come out at night to eat guava fruit.

Hupias, as spirits of the dead and the night, were feared and said to seduce women and kidnap people who ventured outside after dark.[citation needed]

Literary references[edit]

In the novel Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, hupia are suspected of an attack on an 18 year old boy working construction of the dinosaur theme park on Isla Nublar. This culprit is later described as a velociraptor. Hupia are also accused of a rash of attacks on infants and other people in rural Costa Rica. They were described as "night ghosts, faceless vampires who kidnapped small children". Later events showed that the real culprits were Procompsognathuses that had escaped from Isla Nublar.


See also[edit]

  1. Mask Master: Taino Dictionary
  2. Crichton, Michael. 1991. Jurassic Park, Random House, 1990: 8-10, 23-24. ISBN 0-345-37077-5.
  3. Dasrath, Sparky. The Arawaks
  4. Deiros, Pablo. Fundación Kairós. Religiones indígenas del área caribeña
  5. Guitar, Lynne. 2005. Taino Caves
  6. Poviones-Bishop, Maria. The Kislak Foundation. The Bat and the Guava: Life and Death in the Taino Worldview