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El Mohan

It is the most widespread myth in Colombia and is rooted in indigenous customs. It is said that he was a sorcerer who had an early vision of the arrival of the Spaniards and the terrors of the conquest, so he took refuge in the mountain and became the god of rivers. Its name corresponds to the muisca voice ‘mojas’, with which the Chibchas called their priests or sorcerers. For some it is an aquatic deity; For others it is an evil spirit that causes many unforgivable damages. 

His description is that of an old Indian of gigantic size, demonic and beastlike. Vegetable character, mossy, his body is covered with a long discolored hair, with very long and sharp nails. He seems to have a lion’s face because of the abundant mane, with burnt complexion, his eyes are exorbitant and sparkling like burning embers, his mouth very large and with golden teeth.

Spirit guarding the waters; Lives in the dark wells of tropical rivers and streams It has a deep whistle that is heard all over the mountain. He has been seen smoking tobacco, arranging stingrays, singing and playing tiple. Bogas, fishermen and washerwomen saw him countless times on the river beach, fishing, cooking, combing; Or down on a well-maintained raft, by the mother of the river playing guitar or flute. On stormy nights they have seen him fishing and laughing out loud.

He is naughty, half satyr, stroller, adventurer, musician, libertine, playful and with the girls is enamoradizo, quite sociable, very obsequious and serenatero. But he can also be treacherous and suspicious, persecutor of girls, hypnotist, deceitful and ferocious.

As he lives in the rivers, he likes to look out to see the beautiful girls and the washerwomen bathing, to take them to the mountain.

The fishermen complain of having their boats capsized, of abducting the best boats, of chasing the fish, of stealing baits and hooks; They say they are entangled in their fishing nets, sometimes drowning them, especially on the banks of the Magdalena River; Is therefore responsible for the death of those who perish drowned in the jungle rivers.

It is also an anthropophagus, steals children and after sucking their blood is eaten roasted.

They also say that he is always seen as a righteous spirit who punishes transgressions of religious norms: he punishes men who do not hear Mass and work on a day of precept, taking them to the unfathomable caverns he possesses at the bottom of the great rivers.

Whenever they saw him, his ghostly appearance was indicative of greater evils such as floods, earthquakes, plagues, etc.

In order to drive Mohán away, fishermen use copper plumb bobs in their nets and marshes, in addition to sailing upstream; And as he is a great smoker, to calm him they leave tobacco in the rocks near the rivers.

It is born probably of the imagination suggested by the darkness of certain places of the rivers where the vegetation seems to affect figures of men or ghosts.