Monster of the Week: Camazotz

The Camazotz. The “bat of death.” I think the name says it all, but it’s even more terrifying than just the name. Considered a god by the Mayans, Camazotz was so evil that it had been imprisoned by the other gods. However, as is the case with many deities of myth, the Mayan gods were a capricious bunch and released Camazotz to wreak destruction on humankind.

Myths about the creature are few and far between. The main source of information comes from the Popol Vuh, a traditional “Book of the People.” It contains many myths, including the most famous one about the Camazotz. The Maya told of hero twins (similar in nature to the Monster Slayer twins in the Diné or Navajo) who went in search of adventure, but found more than their match with the “bat of death.” The pair found themselves under intense attack by the creature and hid within their own blowguns. After hours of hiding, one of the brothers peeks out, hoping the sun had risen, which meant the Camazotz would go back in its cave. Unfortunately, the sun was just on the edge of the horizon, giving the monster time for one more attack. As the man poked his head out he was decapitated by the Camazotz’s razor-sharp nose; it typical mode of attack. Thus ended the adventure.

As with much of Central and South American mythology, the Mayan legends have great potential for writers. I hope to see more coming from these cultures by way of horror, science fiction, and fantasy novels/series. The richness of the cultures provide great soil for the imagination.

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