Firefly Lore

David L. Frye dfrye at
Thu Jan 20 15:54:11 UTC 2000

Likewise in Mexquitic, SLP (one of the former Tlaxcalan settlements in the
north, where Nahuatl was spoken until 1850 or so). "Brujas" (there is no
nahuatl word used) are seen as lights dancing along the hills at night,
and are said to come into houses to suck people dry -- why else do old
people look so wrinkled, after all? But in the three years I lived in
Mexquitic I don't recall ever seeing a firefly -- too high & dry, I
suppose. The "naturalistic" explanation of the lights would probably be
lightning flashes.

> This meshes neatly with what J.L. McKeever Furst writes about of people in
> the same region, whose "major worry is the witch, or nahualli, a terrifying
> and malevolent being whose activities are known in catastrophies, misfortune
> and illnesses, whose lanterns dance along trails at night."
> Lights are also associated with "the tlahuepoches, or dangerous nocturnal
> birds that suck blood from adults (but prefer the blood of infants) through lo
> ng beaks they use as suction tubes." .... "In Alta, these fearsome
> tlahuepoches either carry lights or emit a glow themselves."

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