By Greg Latimer, Mysterious Destinations Magazine Research Director
From the Archives… Originally Published in 2013.
It is noteworthy that in a recent survey some 90% of people in the Yucatan area of Mexico believed that the surrounding jungles are populated with a race of “little people” who have supernatural powers to perform both good and evil deeds, all depending on the mood they’re in.
The same goes for Cozumel, an island located off the coast of Yucatan, where locals talk about the Alux (pronounced “aloosh”) in the present tense and without any note of disbelief.
Stories are told of the Alux either being about knee-high and resembling miniature traditionally dressed Maya people; or manifesting in a variety of animal forms. Tradition holds that Aluxob (plural for Alux) are generally invisible but are able to assume physical form for purposes of communicating with and frightening humans as well as to congregate. They are generally associated with natural features such as forests, caves, stones, and fields but can also be enticed to move somewhere through offerings.
One of the more recent stories told about the Aluxob on Cozumel is that of an American naturalist who became lost in the vast expanse of scrub brush, cactus and other plants that make up the jungle that covers most of Cozumel. These plants grow to a height just over the height of a grown man, making it easy to become disoriented for those that wander off a well beaten path. Such was the case with this scientist, who disappeared for over three days, according to narratives from two local sources. When he finally came out of the bush, he described little people who came to his aid, provided him with food and water, sheltered him at night and helped him find his way out of the jungle.
Author and paranormal researcher John Kachuba, who visited Cozumel in January 2013, heard this same story from a guide at the San Gervasio Maya ruins and noted it in his blog The Metaphysical Traveler. (For a link to his blog posting, click here.)
Both of the Mysterious Destinations sources and Kachuba’s source describe a book being written about this incident. However, despite some effort, we have not been able to locate this book. Anyone who may know where to find this book, please contact us.
Cozumel resident Joel Gordon describes the Aluxob as having some major attitude with people who upset them.
“Usually their tricks are harmless and humorous to all except, perhaps, their victims. But also like children, they are quick to upset and anger, instantaneously going into a pout or even a tantrum if things do not go their way,” Gordon wrote in his blog. “Because of their mystic powers, it is best to stay on the good side of an Alux, for their trickery can take an evil turn if they feel mistreated. It is therefore important for all to learn what they can of the Alux, for their own selfish welfare at the very least, even if not to enjoy the wonder of the spirit of the forest manifested in the Aluxob.”
Gordon has some recommendations for those who want spot an Alux. “Quietness, stillness, and a serene taking in of the sounds, smells, sights, and feel of the forest leads one to a state of receptivity to experience the Alux. Usually the Alux is experienced as a darting shadow or rustling sound, seemingly ordinary phenomena except to those having reached a sufficient state of entrancement,” according to Gordon.
“Children, especially the smaller children, seem to have little trouble, but many older children and adults are woefully inept at the finer points of penetrating the Alux disguise,” Gordon wrote.
He describes some fairly bizarre possibilities for discerning Aluxob. “If one catches the Alux in the process of changing form from its animal disguise to its hominid form or vice versa, the identification is more easily made. Such sightings usually involve the sighting of a small to medium sized animal exhibiting some unusual behavior or accoutrement: a weasel wearing tiny sandals, perhaps, or an iguana in skirt or trousers.”
An interesting and authentic rendition of an Alux portrayed as small but human-like can be found as part of a wall mural (see illustration on this page) in Cozumel’s oldest restaurant, Casa Denis. The Alux is portrayed as hiding in the jungle while observing a Maya procession. Visitors are welcome to drop in to see the mural, but would be well advised to sample the excellent Yucatecan menu as well. The restaurant is located just inland of the main square (a park) at 132 Calle 1 Sur, or ask any local (because it’s a locals favorite).
Illustrator Melissa Garlington Dávila has succeeded in creating what she feels are accurate depictions (appearing on this page) of an Alux individual, based on careful research.
“Before making the illustration, I took many scraps of information from Mayan representations and from photographs of the local people. The face is pretty much a mixture of these facial features. Based on this research, I made a sculpture of the head, and based my drawings on that,” Dávila said.
Some witnesses have described Aluxob in human form. Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, Director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine relates an interview he did with Dan Gannon, the moderator of an anthropological e-group, who was on vacation in the Yucatan when he sighted a “tiny hominid” in December of 2007 while driving through the jungle at approximately 9 p.m. local time.
“I saw what looked like a human shoulder and arm, and a leg beneath it. It appeared to be a hominid, about 2′ tall, facing the direction of the vehicle, mostly obscured behind a clump of tall (about 3′ tall) dried weeds, with only the right side of the body just showing in the headlights. Skin color was medium brown. What I saw was not indicative of a thin, scrawny hominid, but rather a very, very muscular one,” Gannon related.
“As the vehicle drew closer and passed the apparent hominid, I could see without a doubt that it moved, in a side-stepping motion away from the lights of the vehicle, to more completely hide itself behind the clump of tall weeds. I could also see that the features were very human-like, and not hairy at all (just as the typical Mayan has no visible hair, for instance on the face, arms, and chest, so appeared this hominid),” Gannon related.
Gannon also reported seeing “raccoons” along the road during the same drive. Coleman wrote, “I appreciate Dan Gannon’s sharing of his sighting, for it gives a good view of how quickly these accounts occur. Besides the obvious intrigue of the Alux, small human or child encounter of Gannon’s, I was curious about his sighting of a ‘raccoon’ in conjunction with this report, too.”
Coleman noted that there are no raccoons native to the area Gannon was in. “The Cozumel Raccoon (Procyon pygmaeus), a small, dwarf form of raccoon is known from the island of Cozumel, but not from the Yucatan mainland proper. The Raccoon or Common Raccoon (Procyon lotor), while known from central Mexico, in general, is not reported to be part of the wildlife of the Yucatan,” Coleman wrote, adding the obvious question: “What was Gannon’s Yucatan raccoon?”
Based on the earlier anecdotal descriptions from Joel Gordon — who describes animals engaging in fanciful behaviors and wearing clothing items as being manifestations of the Alux — one is left wonder if these “raccoons” were really additional Aluxob.
So, when you find yourself in one of Cozumel’s many remote rural or lonely coastal areas, be respectful of animals behaving strangely or people of small stature, lest you raise the wrath of the Aluxob!