Mexico’s Unearthly Entities
by: Scott Corrales
The European traditions of brownies, pixies, gnomes and dwarves have their equivalents in the Mexican ikhals, chaneques, and aluches. As Salvador Freixedo wisely observed, it is extremely odd to find such a variety of names to describe creatures that supposedly do not exist.
Do contemporary UFO abduction experiences and bedroom visitations have anything in common with the ages-old tradition of playful dwarves and elves disrupting the nocturnal slumber of humans?
In 1980, Luis Ramirez Reyes, one of Mexico’s foremost UFO writers, had an experience of this nature during a stay at his friend Dr. Paco Medina’s country house in Moyotepec, Morelos state. He had originally accepted the invitation to the country retreat to investigate a tree on the property which had allegedly been zapped by a passing UFO for no apparent reason. Upon reaching the site, Ramirez was able to confirm the unusual damage to the tree. Since the hour was late, both he and his host turned in for the night. It was to prove one of the most frightening nights in the ufologist’s life.
As he drifted off to sleep, a heavy weight dropped beside him in the guest room bed. Ramirez awoke with a start, thinking a snake may have dropped onto the bed from the rafters. Frozen in place, he managed to extend a hand to feel what it was that had fallen into the bed. To his complete astonishment, the bed was empty. The following day, he had the opportunity to speak with the children who performed housekeeping duties for his host, and was startled when they calmly told him that he had been visited by dwarves. “They are like children, but we call them chaneques here,” he was informed. “They play with us when we sweep and mop the house.”
Unwilling to be the victim of childish pranks, the investigator subjected the youngsters to a cross-examination. They indicated that the entities would chase the children around whenever their arrived; allegedly out of fear of being harmed by adult humans, the entities remained invisible, but could be clearly seen by young humans, who described them as being large-headed, bald, slender, and for modesty’s sake, clad in “cloth shorts.”
Ramirez’s host later informed him that he and his family had been subjected to the nocturnal antics of these chaneques more than once, to the extent that his wife refused to return to the country house. The creatures could be persuaded to desist by asking them to do so “using kind words.”
This experience convinced Ramirez of the interdimensional origin of these and other similar entities, which in spite of their playfulness can be outright frightening. While the descriptions of the creatures given by the young housekeepers of the Medina estate may be troubling, it must be observed that beings with similar descriptions and wearing similar items of clothing have been reported in a number of cases in Puerto Rico and in the Canary Islands.
Maria Luz Bernal, a Mexican journalist researching her country’s magical practices, came across a faith healer known as “cuate Chagala” in the region of Mexico known as Los Tuxtlas. Chagala informed the journalist that he had obtained his healing powers at the age of twelve while fishing for mojarras at a lagoon near his village. His deceased grandfather, who had drowned in the lagoon some years past, allegedly appeared before him to grant him special powers that would turn him into a healer. Chagala believed that his grandfather had been turned into a chaneque, described in this context as a “water gnome/elemental,” having been lured to a watery death by similar creatures. When prompted by the reporter, the faith healer explained that when these water gnomes appear at night, their purpose is to ensnare the intended victim to drown them and turn them into water gnomes. When they appear by day, however, they do so to confer “gifts” upon unsuspecting mortals.
While traveling throughout Mexico, paranormal researcher Salvador Freixedo was able to document a similar belief. Interviewing peasant women, he learned that they were terribly afraid of the little creatures – chaneques – who played restlessly every night in the water basin located on the rear of their property. The dwarves considered it a great sport to rattle the family’s pots and pans, placed in the basin to be washed by the children. The women added that the creatures would appear and disappear through the culvert that fed the water basin.
Editor’s Note: The above feature is but a portion of a thought-provoking article Scott Corrales had written for us and which appeared in issue number 43 (Summer 1998) of Alternate Perceptions, entitled For Fear of Little Men: Paranormal Dwarves.