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The Meaning of Diablero
Diablero, is a Soroan Indian term. It is an evil person who practices black sorcery and can change (metamorphosis) him/herself into an animal such as a bird, dog, cat, coyote, or any other animal.
A brujo can become a diablero and change into any animal he wants to become. Older people believe it, but younger ones do not.
It is held that when the animal form of the diablero is wounded or killed the human suffers the same effect.
The following two incidents are examples of this.
Examples and Stories about the Diablero
A woman changed into a diablero and became a female dog that went to a man’s house several times to steal cheese.
The very moment the white man shot the dog at his house, the woman died in her hut. When her kin came to him saying they knew he had shot her, and demanded money, he paid them good money. He did so because they were other men present when her shot the dog.
They had been waiting for it since it had returned several nights. They knew it was not a dog when seeing the animal stand on its hind legs like a human and reach for the cheese which was on a tray extended from the roof. It is said diableros live by their own rules which are taught to them by a kin.
In the other incident a so-called witch was thought to be a bruja. She was from a family who knew how to transform themselves. She became a reindeer and jumped a man’s fence to eat his beans everyday.
He tried twice to shoot the reindeer, waiting till it fed in the bean field, and then shot as it jumped back over the fence. Each time he missed.
By now the field was pretty well depleted. He was getting desperate and running low on bullets, having already wasted two.
Bullets were scarce but he found another one, and chewed on it for good luck. This time he caught the reindeer busy eating, he shot and hit it. The reindeer fell, but did not give up, made three efforts at jumping the fence and made it on the third try.
The man thought it was funny the animal did not run into the woods, but when reaching the road, he saw the badly bleeding reindeer going along side the road. He followed it stopping near a house which it went into.
Soon he heard people crying and a young girl run out screaming in pain. The girl later died. Later one of her brothers approached the man, saying he had killed his sister. The man said he had just shot a deer, but another brother killed him.
This brother was later identified and arrested. (Indians of Rey Curre, Costa Rica) A.G.H.
Castaneda, Carlos. The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Life. 30th Anniversary Edition, Berkeley. University of California Press. 1998. pp. 2-4.
Wall, Steve. Shadowcatchers. New York. HarperCollins. 1994. p. 116-117.