4 a.m. in Medellín. Although it is no longer Friday, night owls continue to celebrate under the roofs and walls of discos and taverns. Outside it is dark. And conducive to reprimand.
El Sombreron Colombian Legend — Colombian Myths
Drunks, gamblers, troublemakers and youngsters taking up smoking can return home at any time and end up on the hit list of a mysterious fear in northwestern Colombia.
They claim that it is anticipated with cold blasts and that, on moonless nights, it is easy to mistake it for the shadows of trees, especially in a drunken state. Other indications that the unfortunate person has seen something he would rather not have witnessed are
The sound of horses on cobblestones, the howling of dogs, the dragging of chains on the ground…
Last but not least, there is the silhouette of a very tall man wearing a black ruana and barely distinguishable under a hat whose brim is so long that it almost reaches his feet. From this hat comes his nickname and his terrifying reputation…
“If I catch you, I’ll put it on.”
Due to his long mythology, some people consider “El Sombreron” to be the oldest spook in the Antioquia region of Colombia. He is also mentioned in Mexico and Guatemala, according to the website of Alejandro Gonzalez, a researcher at the Central University of Peru.
However, the longest tradition comes from Colombia, specifically from the regions of Antioquia and Tolima and the peak of his “career” was reached in the first part of the 19th century. Then, he supposedly made repeated appearances in the streets of Medellín on Friday nights.
He is considered a stout man
He travels on a black mule and is accompanied by two black dogs attached to heavy chains. Some claim that the cap completely encloses him, but others disagree and claim that his skull-shaped head can be seen beneath the wings.
Some claim that a female representation of El Sombreron terrorizes man-eaters.
The origin and purposes of the legend are barely mentioned. His aims are less macabre than those of the renown that preceded him, it is “known”. His specialty is to make his “victims” flee.
The Sombreron of Guatemala
El Sombreron, a character from Guatemala, is so diminutive that many mistake him for a goblin because of his size. The children’s page of the Organization of American States describes him with four mules and wearing leather boots with gold spurs and a silver guitar on his shoulder.
The same page describes how El Sombreron fell in love with Celina, a stunning young woman, whom he conquered by singing to her in front of her window. Celina fell in love with the little man, but her parents locked the girl in a convent after hearing that the neighbors thought he was the “real elf”.
There he died of despair
El Sombreron arrived at the wake and sang to him while his heart was heavy with grief. He said:
“I am so badly made that from here my love is lost, that good is bad for me and evil is good for me.”
According to legend, he can be heard singing a melancholy song at Celina’s grave every year on St. Cecilia’s Day, the anniversary of her death.
Author Miguel Angel Asturias also refers to El Sombreron as a “rubber Satan” who took on the appearance of a hat, or “the devil’s hat”.
With information from BBC Mundo