The Menacing Duende: The Tall and Short of Latin America’s Creepiest Cryptid

The Menacing Duende: The Tall and Short of Latin America’s Creepiest Cryptid


Most modern day monsters do a pretty darn good job of instilling the fear of God in us, but there’s one lesser-known creature who’s giving the web the heebie-jeebies: the Duende. Meet the frightening little creature from Latin America that’s starring in some of the creepiest YouTube videos on the internet.


According to Wikipedia, the Duende is a “fairy- or goblin-like mythological creature” that prefers to spend his days in Latin American countries, but has, on occasion, also been spotted the Philippines. He’s distant cousins with the Kobolds, a kind of native German sprite, and for the most part, is pretty much the equivalent to popular mythical creatures like goblins or pixies. In short, he’s kind of a gnome.


For the most part, the classic description of a Duende makes it sound like he isn’t that bad of a guy, in fact he’s known to be quite a good little helper when he wants to be. If you get lost in the woods, you better hope there’s a Duende nearby, because legend says he’ll help you find your way home.

On the other hand, the American Southwest Duende has a bit of an attitude problem. He’s said to live between the walls of homes, especially if there are a lot of children living nearby, as they love to trim their toenails, sometimes even taking a toe by “accident”. Some Duende are said to barter with young mothers for unwanted babies, as they’ve developed quite a taste for fleshy little humans. Everyone knows babies taste the best.


More often than not, Duende are said to hide out in the shadows, watching groups of children at play. They’re especially big fans of kickball, which coincidentally is why most popular Duende videos begin with a bunch of kids playing ball in the street.

Duende sightings generally follow the same format — a small group of kids are playing soccer outside, usually at night, when suddenly one of them notices something moving in the shadows. Cue the duende, who then pops out from behind a bush/trashcan/stairwell ect. and scurries away into the dark, pointy hat and all. 

The oldest and most famous Duende sighting caught on film is the “Argentina Gnome”.  The video features the side-shuffling, pointy-hat-wearing, nightmare-inducing mother of all Duendes. The clip is only 48 seconds, but that was just enough airtime to make a lasting impression on the internet.


The next time you’re walking home at night and you catch something move out of the corner of your eye, you might be inclined to believe it a ghost, the Jersey Devil, or even Mothman, but remember… there’s an equal chance it might be a Duende waiting to pop out and scurry away. Just make sure to keep your toenails trimmed and you’ll be fine.

Have you or someone you know had a run-in with the Duende? We want to hear about it! Drop us a line on Facebook, tweet us @WeirdHQ, or start a conversation in the comments below!


Join the Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and get awesome perks!


  1. Coppertop

    08/24/2015 at 4:27 PM

    Well. I’m somewhere between “creeped out” and “giggling with glee.”

    The idea that there are soccer-loving gnomes hanging out in Argentina and Mexico thrills me to no end.

  2. John Trembly

    09/05/2015 at 8:55 PM

    Maybe they’re just looking for great deals on travel

  3. Me'

    10/04/2015 at 12:57 AM

    Just know this world is way older than we have been lead to believe…man is vain and thinks nothing is greater or smarter than he…

    my husband is Belizian and he and his parents have told me of this little man…
    He has been around for along time…
    They are in Belize as well but he is called.
    .”TaTa Duende” and he is nothing to play with..
    he doesnt take you home if your lost…and he is not kind…and there is no barter for babies…
    he just takes them..if the mother has a weak spirit. .
    TRINIDADIAN. .we dont have him…and if we do my father has never spoke of him..maybe for good reason…

    all im saying is..Respect for the ancient and mysterious…it in the long run keeps you safe…

You must be logged in to post a comment Login