Thursday, July 4, 2013
You may say that this folkloric creature could the love child of a zombie, a vampire and a ghost, but its legend goes far deeper than a mere “inter-creature” love affair.
Corpo Seco, meaning literally “Dry Body” in Brazilian Portuguese, haunts the memories of many still today, having been told this story as children by their grandparents to avoid them of going around at night like the little rascals they where.
But here, let me tell you more about this particular fellow.
This legend originates from a little rural town called Ituiutaba, in Minas Gerais. It seems to go as back as 1850, and it varies from source to source, but the structure of the story is as follows:
There was once a horribly evil man (sometimes a boy, sometimes a Portuguese immigrant), that took as a hobby killing, torturing and other chilling things to his slaves, animals and even family members (specially his mother).
He tortured and raped women and children to no end, and burnt men at stakes while his laughter rang through the shouts of his agonizing victims. When he got old, he used to bribe other people into doing the evil he was supposed to be doing, saying that if his wishes weren’t satisfied, he’d burn the person in question, who’d be so terrified of him to actually carry on with the madness.
When the man finally dies, God doesn’t let him get into Heaven and, when shunned to Hell, the Devil himself doesn’t let him get into it for being far too evil.
Trying to bury his body was also another problem – the Earth itself renegated the body, spatting him out right after being buried over and over again. Without being able to find a resting place, his decomposed body now stalks through the rural areas of Brazil, his body a gangling mass of bone and rotten flesh while his laughter rings awfully through the air, ready to take on a prey. Some folk say that when walking alone at night, the traveler who meets this creature will have its blood sucked out unless someone saves him or her from their awful fate.
Others claim that, if you can see him, you’ll be cursed and your death will come soon – in a very, very gruesome way.
Another thing that varies from story to story is how Corpo Seco becomes Corpo Seco: some say that, after spending too much time on the hands of her violent son, his own mother curses him and tells him that he’ll “die dry”, thus being stopped from eating completely and, after dying, turning into the awful creature that laughs and runs after travelers in the still of the night.
What is the truth?
It is more of an Urban Legend of the city than anything else – actually, the legend was recently “tombada” (which is the term used in Brazil to signalize that a certain cultural aspect (wheter it be architectural, textual, etc.) is now under the protection of the government).
The legend is deeply embroidered in folk’s tongues, changing significantly depending on what the “storyteller” wants to express: whether it be a word of advice, a warning to stay home at night or just the wish to scare the crap out of the listener.
But even so, we can’t just claim something to be nonexistent without decent proof, so I guess it’s up to you to wonder if it is indeed real or not.
... Just be careful while walking alone in the woods at night from now own, and if you hear some rustling behind you, keep in mind that it might just be your nice blood-sucking-zombie friend, the Corpo Seco.