Tuesday, January 5, 2010


For those of you who may not know, “aluxes” are the Yucatan’s equivalent of leprechauns, elves, gnomes, trolls, faeries, and other names for wee, little, mischievous people, be they mythical, imaginative, legendary, or otherwise!

The Maya themselves would claim that the alux are the spirits of their ancestors, or the spirits of the land itself, and precede contact with Western civilization. Stories of aluxes live on, even in today’s high-tech society.

Wikipedia (http://.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alux) tells us that the Maya peoples from the Yucatán Peninsula, Guatemala, and Belize conceive an alux as being small, only about knee-high, and in appearance resembling miniature traditionally dressed Maya people. They are generally associated with natural features such as forests, caves, stones (especially Mayan ruins), and fields but can also be enticed to move somewhere through offerings. Their description and mythological role are somewhat reminiscent of other spirit-like mythical entities in a number of other cultural traditions as the tricks they play are similar.

I readily admit that I have never encountered an alux or a pink elephant. Not even after several tequilas! However, I know several locals who will swear on the souls of their loved ones that they have experienced such an encounter with an alux.

About 10 years ago, a friend and local Mayan fellow from a nearby Pueblo related his experience to me about his encounter with an alux. It occurred at the Mayan ruins of Dzibichaltun, just outside of Merida. He was working there and spotted the alux hiding behind a bush. The alux was smoking a cigarette and swaying from side to side, observing his movements. He describes the alux as being very small, somewhat crouched over, and walking with a lumbering, side-to-side gate. He then proceeds to duplicate the walk of the alux! He has recanted this story to me on several occasions and the details never change. He is definitely a believer. He also relates that both his father and grandfather have had similar encounters with aluxes!

Another friend, a local, relates seeing several aluxes at a nearby hacienda. He describes them as being only 12 inches high or so, but swears that they inhabit the land there! I asked if he has seen them only once, and he firmly states that he has witnessed them on numerous occasions, as have his family and friends.

I have talked to other locals who absolutely believe in these little fellows and readily admit to seeing them, or at least knowing someone who has witnessed a sighting! The alux of the Yucatan, are deeply imbedded in the local culture. We even have a large hotel here in Merida named “Los Aluxes”. The terminology, “alux”, appears throughout Mayan folklore, legend, history, and persists in day-to-day conversations.

Fact or Fiction? As for me, seeing is believing. However, the adamancy of the locals who claim to have witnessed an alux brings into question their actual existence and authenticity. I guess you could say while I do not absolutely “believe”, I absolutely do not “disbelieve”! Perhaps it’s just that vivid imaginations abound in the Yucatan Pennisula? If you live in the Yucatan, or visit here, ask around about aluxes. You may be surprised at what you hear, or see!!

Personally, I would welcome such an encounter!


  1. After a few days stay in a Maya village, which to me seemed strangely familiar--so much like those pictured in my favorie childhood fairy tales--I began to believe there could be little people living amongst us, who sometimes play tricks on us. And have you heard from anyone who's encountered Ixtabai? Oh my, you don't want to tangle with her!

  2. What a great entry. The accompanying pictures also are well done. I myself have never had an experience with the “aluxes.” But my brother-in-laws swears to have encountered one in his granfatherss ranch in Colima, MX.

  3. Thanks for the great information. I was born in Merida, Yucatan but have lived in the US all my life. My aunt and cousins swear to have Aluxes in their back yard. They say if their laundry is not taken down by a certain time, the Aluxes will take them down and throw them everywhere. They seem to like to play pranks on them also, yet they are not scared. They even leave food out for them!!!