In the legends of Guatemala the legend of the Sombrerón de Guatemala stands out. This is very mysterious because it has such an enigmatic history; This story has been captured in books, stories and even on cinema screens and today in our blog we will tell you its history, origin and everything you want to know about the legend of the Sombrerón.
Who was the Sombreron of Guatemala?
He is a character that is part of the mythological legends of Guatemala, this character wanders at night riding his black mule, he appears before the woman he chooses and with his charms he falls in love with them to convince them to go with him and thus take him away. their soul when they die, because they do not feed because all the time they are thinking about the Sombrerón.
The origin of the legend of the Sombrerón dates back to the middle of the 18th century in Guatemala when a man named Juan Bayona was accused of an illegal act, he was prosecuted and the inquisition, which at that time commanded, condemned him to attend mass on Sundays with a huge black hat, this in order to ridicule him before everyone in view of the fact that this hat was huge and he could barely see; all the people of his town made fun of him when Juan Bayona went to mass and indeed he became the laughingstock of the town.
Juan was tired of this situation and was angry with everyone in his town but his sadness was stronger, the following Sunday he did not attend mass so that they would make fun of him, so Juan Bayona decided to take his life.
In church everyone waited for him to make fun of him every Sunday, when they received the news that he had committed suicide, everyone in the town gathered and confessed their sin since they felt guilty that their actions and mockery led to that Juan committed suicide, but this did not free them from the lost soul that wandered in search of revenge.
Features of the Sombrerón
He is a shadowy personification of small stature, in fact he is also called Tzitzimite (goblin), who is always on the lonely roads waiting to meet some of his victims. The Sombrerón always wears black, he wears his huge black hat for which he is given his nickname, he is always riding a black mule and accompanied by two fierce and large black dogs that are held by thick metal chains; at first this can be seen as shadow people .
Letter from Juan Bayona before committing suicide
Before passing away, Juan Bayona wrote a letter in which he recounted from the beginning and the event that led him to commit such an atrocity.
In the content of the letter, he mentioned that he was born in 1742 in the city of Capitanes Generales, a town that was under the supervision and command of the Catholic Church, he described himself as a visionary and fantasized person characterized for his adoration and for the trust he placed in God. He says that he was very young when his parents passed away and he was orphaned, despite the fact that his uncle raised him and gave him bread and a safe house, he felt like a miserable child and grew up with many difficulties.
In 1772, he was 30 years old, he himself relates that he did not enjoy great beauty. His figure was not exceptionally pleasant; for quite some time he had a nose wound on the other side, a larger than normal mouth and a line of long teeth. He was short and had an unbearable character.
One night, in the streets of Antigua, there was an eerie silence. Some calm, meek and cold, took asylum in their enormous capons, trying to find them in the dark, however, they did not see that a Christian was killed on the road to Los Plateros.
The day after the occasion, the experts accused Juan Bayona; That is the reason why they secured him in a prison, in the general prison of society. The leader of the city was Don Francisco Sánchez, he made Juan stay there.
Juan spent his days thinking about the dirty game of being in jail. As he was not guilty, he was furious, he did not know who to turn to for help. One afternoon, to kill time, he composed on a piece of paper some sentences that were in charge of the president and the ecclesiastical supervisor.
They were alarmed, they said they were bad calls towards Satan. On paper he requested help from the devil and his mother, the devil, in return, offered to run with them when he died.
As indicated in a record marked on August 4, 1772, the president of Antigua, Ventura de Naxera, asked the Commissioner of the Inquisition and Prebendado of the church of the house of prayer, Antonio Cortés, to reflect on the document and issue a sentence for its creator.
The court of the Holy Office condemned him to go every Sunday to hear mass in the basilica, his back uncovered and his head covered with a huge hat.
At first he objected, however, as the voice of the congregation was the last word, he agreed, the individuals ridiculed him and from that moment on, everyone shouted at him, there is El Sombrerón!
The main Sunday was only the beginning of the long affliction that Juan Bayona had to live through a punishment that he did not deserve, although not for long: his peculiar image, indeed natural among the general population of his time, could not bear the strange and cruel discipline.
One Sunday, ahead of schedule, the bells of the house of God began to call mass, the most hurried parishioners went to their call, only one did not, next to his horrible cap, he lay cold and dead on a path of the city.
In the end, the disappearance was felt as an act of consolation for Juan Bayona's adversity and death itself gave him its mortal kiss, as the news spread, many people were moved with a sigh of terror or bitterness. They asked God for him and asked for the absolution of God and the ecclesiastical supervisor, and they admitted their sins.
Juan was physically gone, however, the ghost of his memory oppressed the neighbors of Antigua. They say that later, no one set out to walk at night on the paths where the man in the hat walked.
One night in Antigua Guatemala, Juan Bayona, alias El Sombrerón, was walking through the streets when he saw an exceptionally wonderful young woman with long hair and big eyes, fell hopelessly in love with her, followed her home and accompanied her by a and again, he sang to her and made her fall in love every night, the girl didn't tell anyone about him. One day, the young woman began to stop eating until she almost died, her mother realized it and that was the point at which the mother recognized that it was the result of the spell spoken of in the legend of the Sombrerón.
She took her little daughter to a religious and they admitted her to the convent thinking that she would be better there and that the Sombrerón would not have access to that place, however, the young woman continued without eating and only thought about the Sombrerón and longed for him to go to tell her the beautiful verses that made her fall in love. One day she woke up with an entwining in her hair made by the ghost and that day the beautiful girl had passed away.
At the wake of the girl, the Hatter appeared, seemed to cry, and the tears that he shed seemed like crystal gems, crying inconsolably, he remembered his beloved.
Another variation of the story focuses on the young woman being saved from dying because her mother understood that it was the ghost of the Hatter that was chasing her daughter and seducing her. Since this ghost loves girls with long hair, the lady cuts her daughter's hair and the Hatter stops chasing the girl.
The legend of the sombreron in Colombia
In the Colombian legends also speak of the legend of the Sombrerón, it has crossed borders because despite being originally from Guatemala still this myth has come to Colombia and has been taken as part of the mysteries of this country but modifying a little original story.
The legend of the Sombrerón says that in life the protagonist was a critical man, who lived from city to city and who lived from one place to another, he ran continuously mounted on an extraordinary dark steed that occasionally discovered how to be confused with the agony of the night . It is said that no one, at any time, hurt him or that he hurt anyone, his disappearance was questionable for everyone, except that in his post-existence he was remarkable.
In Colombia, the legend of the Sombrerón is about, contrary to the Guatemalan version, a man of great stature who dresses in black and wears a huge black hat that completely covers him, always rides on a black mule and chases maidens: he only He appears to drunks, early risers, womanizing men, and wanton women; In short, he appears to all those night owls who like to party. This horror is said to be the male version of the Siguanaba .
Being a faceless ghost he appears in the gloom of the night, first the howls of the dogs and the noise of the chains hitting the ground are heard, those who claim to have seen him identify him riding his mule accompanied by two huge black dogs that are They find themselves bound by metal chains that look heavy. In addition, a threat is heard under an imposing tone of voice that establishes that if it reaches its victim, it will put a hat on it.
The legend of the Sombrerón tells that his favorite day to appear was on Fridays.
It is also counted in Chiapas
The legend of the Sombrerón in Chiapas, Mexico, describes him as a scary older, skinny and tall man who wears black all the time and of course also wears his huge black hat, which prevents his face from being seen mounted on his black corsel; He is also accompanied by two large and ferocious black dogs.
This ghost when choosing his victim appears to him causing a great fright, leaving him petrified, which prevents them from defending themselves. It envelops them causing great fear and offers them money and long life in exchange for the fact that when he dies he hands over his soul, those who accept are freed from his spell and he leaves them in the same place where he found them. Children are not exempt from meeting the Sombrerón because they are also victims of this soul.
The only way to undo the already accepted commitment to give the soul to the Sombrerón upon passing to the exchange of wealth and the long life that it offered them is by exchanging his soul for that of a child, an innocent soul, since these had a greater value for the Sombrerón; the person who is trapped by the spell must search for the child and then invoke the Hatter to offer him the soul of the child in exchange for undoing their deal.
Legend has it that on a Friday night, Juan, a Mexican man who always, even on weekdays, was seen partying with different women, having a disorderly life and without composure, after they threw him out of a bar For having formed a fight, he would go late at night through the lonely streets of Chiapas to another of the bars he frequented.
On the way, he began to hear the frightening howls of the dogs that were in the streets, suddenly the road was more desolate and he also began to hear as if they were dragging metal chains on the asphalt and in the gloom of the night he barely made out a figure; it was a horseman.
Juan is impressed because it was not very common to see riders in the center of the city, but even so he continues on his way, suddenly Juan begins to feel afraid of getting closer to this rider since his presence felt dark. When visualizing well the figures he had seen previously, Juan remains totally immobile with his heart racing from fright, it seemed that it was going to explode, because he saw that what he was seeing was not an ordinary rider but rather a being supernatural.
It was about a man who was riding on a black mule, he was also dressed all in black, with a huge black hat which prevented his face from being seen, he was accompanied by two dogs that looked very fierce, they were large and they were also Negroes were held in place by heavy metal chains which crawled and made eerie noises.
When this presence begins to approach Juan, he remains immobile with a terrible fear watching as the rider dismounted his mule and headed towards him, Juan felt high discharges of chills, his heart was racing and he could not run or make the slightest movement , which prevented him from running away and screaming for help.
When the Sombrerón was in front of him, he offered him with great enthusiasm and a frightening voice a lot of money and a long life in exchange for the fact that when he died, Juan would give him his soul. Time seemed to stop at that horrible moment, the streets were alone and no one could help him, he resisted for what seemed like a long time but in the end he agreed to the contract that the Sombrerón proposed to him; then in the blink of an eye Juan was on the same path but alone, the frightening Hatter had disappeared with his horrible companions.
From that moment, Juan's life changed completely, he became a man with a good gambling streak for which he became a wealthy man, in different circumstances of life the Sombrerón appeared reminding him of his deal. At a certain point in his life, Juan had a horrible accident where he almost died and in that episode of his life the Sombrerón had told him that he was coming for his soul.
Juan fought and prevailed against the Sombrerón and put all his effort not to die at that moment because he loved his life and everything he had in it. After having survived the accident, Juan began to investigate the mysterious character with whom he had made the deal and found a legend that said that in order to undo the deal, he had to deliver the soul of an innocent child to the Sombrerón.
Determined to do whatever it takes not to give up his life and undo the deal, Juan decides to try what the legend said, he would pass it through the streets watching the children who were there and in the parks playing; He also observed those who were orphans on the street trying to choose which would be the best option to feel less guilty.
Finally, Juan decided to cheat on a child, the street was his home, he had no family and Juan thought that this favored him since no one was going to worry about the child's absence, nor were they going to file a complaint or claim something. It was about Tomás, a boy of only 8 years old, who survived on the alms that people gave him and also he was paid to run errands, with that money he managed to buy food every day.
Tomás believed that Juan was a very friendly man who had only felt sorry for his situation, Juan began to approach Tomás, gave him gifts and spent time with him, until one day Juan got up and decided that it was the day to deliver to Tomas al Sombrerón, he looked for the boy, bought him sweets and toys and took him for a walk around the city. At nightfall he invited him to walk through a dark and lonely alley; Upon entering the alley, Juan began to call the Sombrerón and told Tomás not to be afraid that he was going to introduce him to a friend so that when he grew up he would be a man with a lot of money like him.
The Sombrerón introduced himself and Tomás began to be afraid of it, because it seemed very terrifying to him, without being able to move he listened as Juan spoke with the Sombrerón and offered his soul to the lurid specter; Tomás, unable to do anything to defend himself, regretted having met Juan and having accepted all his gifts.
The rider did not hesitate to take the child's soul, Tomás disappeared from the streets where he passed it without even leaving a trace of his incident, no one complained about him or wondered what had happened to him, while Juan's conscience rested The whole truth and although he got rid of the deal with the Sombrerón, he could not get rid of the remorse that caused him to have given the soul of that child to the Sombrerón, who had maintained a miserable life and even in its end it did not change to a better destiny and all this thanks to Juan.
The Sombrerón and the story for children
Children are also protagonists of this legend and at present the relationship of the Sombrerón with children is used to scare children who have bad behavior.
The mothers tell the children the legend of the Sombrerón so that they know that they must behave well and that they should not walk in the street alone because anyone who owes their soul to the Sombrerón by wanting to undo the deal can kidnap them to give their soul to the anima, due to the great value it has to be a completely innocent soul.
Differences between the versions
In Colombia, Mexico and Guatemala there is talk of a character who is described as a tall man with black clothes and, of course, the characteristic huge hat for which he is given the name of El Sombrerón; In the history of Guatemala they describe him differently, as a very small man who was also called a goblin who wore boots that had golden spurs. In the legends that tell about this character, countries mention that he does not appear alone but was accompanied by two ferocious dogs.
If we compare the mission of each one of the ghosts related to their appearances, we realize that they are different since in the legend of the Guatemalan Hat, its mission is to make beautiful girls with long hair and big eyes fall in love, with whom it falls in love to the point of making that they stop eating just to think of him, leads them to death and when they die, he takes his soul. There is another legend that says that the spell can supposedly be broken by cutting the beautiful girl's hair, once they have short hair, the Hatter loses interest and frees the maiden from the spell since she does not meet the profile that he seeks. .
The legend of the Colombian Sombrerón has as its mission only to scare drunks, women of the easy life, early risers, womanizing men and those who are lost in the world of gambling, it appears on their roads and together with their dogs they scare away the victim and make them run threatening the victim that if he reaches him he will put his hat on him.
The Sombrerón de México does not have a profile of requirements to choose its victim, the fear it produces when appearing in front of a person paralyzes them, then offers them wealth and long life in exchange for the fact that when they pass away they give their soul to them. ; once they accept the deal after their torture, he leaves them on the same path where he got them and effectively changes their lives and gives them everything offered, the bizarre thing about this Sombrerón is that the deal can be canceled but in exchange for a high price: the soul of an innocent child.
Did you know?
The legend of the Sombrerón is just one of the numerous stories composed by the Nobel Prize winner Miguel Angel Asturias in the book Leyendas de Guatemala (1930), which was the main book distributed by the best essayist who created Guatemala. The shape of the Sombrerón de Asturias is totally different from the well-known legend known to Guatemalans, since it teaches how this incredible character came into being.