Guide to Patagonia's Monsters & Mysterious beings

I have written a book on this intriguing subject which has just been published.
In this blog I will post excerpts and other interesting texts on this fascinating subject.

Austin Whittall

Monday, April 23, 2012

Caapora - another wild man

This is another entry in my series on “Wild men” in Southern America. Also related to the Curupira, it has a very similar sounding name:

The Paraguayan Caapora. The word comes from the Tupí or Guarani language: and combines two different words: “caa” = jungle and “Porá” = inhabitant. So, the creatures name is quite simple “inhabitant of the jungle”.

This word, in English is pronounced CAH-POH-RA and sounds very similar to COH-ROO-PEE-RAH, the name of the Corupira. But, both names mean different things even though they describe a hominid living in South American jungles. (Perhaps even the same creature, or not –according to Father Joao Daniel).

Description of the “Caapora”

The Paraguayan natives (Guarani people) fear it and describe it as follows:[1]

a ghost of the forest, with a hairy body, and very strong, that eats people and usually shouts in a very special manner.” [1]

Thoug the word Caapora is Guaraní, there is another native name for it (but the native group is not clearly identified): Kripándufuá [1].

In Southren Brazil, in the state of Paraná, it is depicted as: “a gigantic hairy man, with a large head; that lives in the jungle eating raw, the animals that men hunt and kill, but cannot find “ [1], in other words, he eats the game that wounded gets lost in the jungle.

A goulish feature of Caapora is that he smokes his tobacco in a pipe fashioned from a human skull

It has a horrid voice that sounds like a roaring storm and is very hairy [2]

Another view on the Caapora

We have a description in the Amazon region by a Jesuit missionary, Father Joao Daniel, who worked there among the Indians between 1780 and 1797 and wrote a book about his experiences there (Tesouro descoberto no rio Amazonas). He draws a link between the Caapora and the Curupira. Below he is quoted by Cámara [3]:

It can be assumed that the Devil, disguised as a human, Coropira, has common communications with our gentle brothers and aldeados [civilized natives living in villages – i.e. aldeias, hence their name aldeados] and even more with the wild ones [uncivilized Indians], who are called Caaporas, inhabitants of the woods”.[3]

So Father Joao’s interpretation is that there are wild “untamed” natives living in the jungles and that they are the Caaopora. And that they and the civilized natives have close ties and communicate with the Coropira devil. They are then, two different creatures!


[1] Juan Bautista Ambrosetti, (1894). Materiales para el estudio del folklore Misionero. Compañia Sud-Americana de Billetes de Banco, pp 45.

[2] Boletín de historia y antigüedades, (1934). Vol 23, pp 394. Academia Nacional de Historia, Colombia.

[3] Luis da Camara Cascudo, (1972). Dicionário do folclore brasileiro, Volumen 1. pp205.

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia Copyright 2009-2012 by Austin Whittall © 

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