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A Ciguapa (pronounced see-GWAH-pah) is a mythological creature of Dominican and Puerto Rican folklore. They are commonly described as having human female form with brown or dark blue skin, backward facing feet, and very long manes of smooth, glossy hair that covers their other side naked bodies. They supposedly inhabit the high mountains of the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
These creatures have nocturnal habits. Also, due to the position of their feet, one can never quite tell from which direction the beings are moving from by looking at their footprints. Some people believe that they bring death, and it is said that one should not look them in the eye, otherwise the person is at risk of being bewitched permanently. Also, the only vocalization made by ciguapas is said to be a kind of whine or chirping.
Ciguapas are considered to be magical beings, beautiful in appearance to some, yet horrendous to others. All sources agree that they are wild creatures. They are compared in many cases to mermaids: beautiful yet cruel, and far from innocent. Deceitful and ready to capture the wayward traveler, they are said that they are so beautiful as to lure men into the forest, even though following footprints is misleading, to make love with them only to kill them afterwards. Legends have suggest some to be benelovent and wish to not kill trespassers, though not many evidence support this claim. Even today, one can still find inhabitants who confirm having sighted a ciguapa.
Though many believe that the myth of the ciguapa is of Taino origin, it has been argued that is probably of more recent concoction because the Ciguapa myth has many common characteristics with the ancient European Mermaids. No known Taino artifacts or lore make reference to any creature even remotely similar to it. Also, the legend may have originated from other myths, as distant as the Guaraní Curupí or the Hindu Churel, which was described by Rudyard Kipling in My Own True Ghost Story as having traits amazingly similar to those of the ciguapa. Nonetheless, the Hindu hypothesis may be far-fetched since there is no way to ascertain how this story got to the Dominican Republic during the nineteenth century, when no cultural exchange whatsoever occurred between these nations.
The Ciguapa myth also has many common characteristics with the ancient European Mermaid.
A Dominican film called "El Mito de la Ciguapa" (The Myth of the Ciguapa) is set to be produced by Xenda Films.
- Liza Phoenix (2007-03-05). "Ciguapa". lizaphoenix. Retrieved 2007-10-20.