One of the strangest folktales I’ve discovered is El Sombrerón from Guatemala. He is commonly referred to as Tzipitio, Tzizimite, or simply “the Goblin”, and serves as a warning tale mostly for young girls. As his name implies, he wears a large black hat. His attire consists mainly of black clothing with fancy boots, belt, and other dazzling accessories.
The mysterious El Sombrerón arrives when the sun sets, accompanied by mules laden with coal. If a woman shows interest in his affections, he ties the animals to a pole near her home and plays and dances to his guitar. Many people living around La Recolección and Parroquia Vieja claim they often still spot him parading through on nights when the moon is full.
He’s obsessed with braiding, whether it is the mane and tail of a horse or the locks of any canine. If no animals are around, he follows young women with big eyes and lengthy tresses. When he comes into town, he hitches his mules near the home of the woman who captivated him and serenades her with a silver guitar.
When he brings her home, he often serves them dirt for dinner, which prevents them from sleeping. (It’s unclear why they consume the earth or how it impedes sleep aside from upsetting their stomachs.)
The primary legend tells of a girl named Susana who was from La Recolección. One evening she was looking at the night sky from her balcony when she was serenaded by a mysterious man wearing a large hat. Frightened by their daughter’s late outings, Susana’s parents ordered her to stay inside. The man in the hat reappeared each night and sang outside her window, preventing her from getting any rest. If they tried to feed her, she’d find dirt mixed with the food.
Desperate to put an end to the mischief the goblin was causing, the girl’s parents took drastic measures and had her hair cut. Then, they had a priest bless it with holy water. Evidently, that worked: the goblin stopped tormenting her – either due to the sacred liquid or because he didn’t like her new hairstyle.
Culturally, the legend advises teenage girls to preserve the collective values of a society.