If you want to scare people in Paraguay, tell them that there is a Pombero loose in the neighborhood and then get out of the way as they hightail out of the area. The also works in parts of Brazil and Argentina, where fears of this mythical humanoid, sexually depraved creature run high – especially among young women. That could be why a recent police report and video of what was described to be a Pombero received so much attention in Paraguay and on South American media – even after the authorities insisted the ‘creature’ in the video was just a common burglar. If that was the case, why did the cop look scared? Why did he pull his gun and shoot at the tiny being? And how did the tiny being make such unusual, non-human moves? Pombero!
“Namely, as the following video reveals, on Monday in a Paraguayan neighborhood called Itá Enramada, there was a close encounter between the police and someone who happened to be in a boutique, there was also a shooting, and based on the physiognomy of the shadowy figure, some began to wonder if they were whether the forces of order might have been dealing with the paranormal. (Google translation)”
Some of the South American media, like Net.hr, took great pains to point out that they did not support the cries of so many people who were referring to the humanoid in a video of a police encounter as a “Pombero” or some other paranormal creature because it is embarrassing in 2022 that such beliefs in goblins and similar creatures still exist in such large numbers in South America. While it probably doesn’t match the number of people in NORTH America who believe in Bigfoot, we understand their concern. Nonetheless, that is exactly what happened and media sources like Chronica.com.ar and LaVoz.com.ar were quick to mention “Pombero” in the headlines of what might otherwise be a local crime report in Itá Enramada, the southernmost neighborhood of Asunción, the capital and largest city of Paraguay.
“Due to the low light in the area and the movements that it presented, what is seen seems to be a monkey or another animal; however, other people reported that it was indeed the "karai pyhare" or "Pombero" as it is also known in Argentina.”
La Voz reports that the video (watch it here) shows a uniformed police officer with his gun drawn, looking into a building and shouting at someone or something inside the building – visible in the shadows through the glass door – and telling them to lie down. When the being instead seemed to leap and then crouch down and run away, the officer is seen firing a shot into the building. This is not the kind of police response video most people in other countries are accustomed to seeing – which added to the drama of the reports that the being inside was a paranormal creature called a Pombero.
“Deputy Commissioner Bernardo Aquino Melgarejo waved his hand at the sensationalist speculations and said that his employees were not dealing with a goblin that night, but with a man who most likely broke into a boutique under the influence of drugs, he later reported ABC.
He said that the policemen were ultimately unable to arrest him because he threw himself into the nearby river, but also added that thanks to the intervention he was not able to steal anything.”
Some things are common worldwide – since the police in Itá Enramada did not apprehend the being in the building, many people doubted the Deputy Commissioner’s report that this was a human and the officer fired his gun because he thought the alleged burglar had one, and instead stuck with their belief that the cop shot at a Pombero who used his goblin powers to escape.
The Pombéro, also known as Pÿragué (‘hairy feet’) or Karaí Pyhare (‘lord of the night’), is primarily a product of the mythology of the indigenous Guarani people who live in Paraguay and still speak in their native Guarani language. Versions of the Pombero appear under different names in surrounding parts of Brazil Argentina and Bolivia. The most popular description that they are humanoids who are short, ugly and hairy – not just on their heads and bodies but also their hands and feet. Those hairy feet are said to allow the Pombero to walk upright silently, but it can revert to scampering on all fours at high speeds -- as seen in the police video and in its fast escape … could a human under the influence move like that?
Other traits attributed to the Pombero that would enable it to escape quickly are invisibility and the ability to squeeze through tight spaces. Because it appears in so many mythologies of different cultures, the Pombero is considered to be both good and evil. On the positive side, it is a protector of nature – its ability to imitate the sounds of various wild animals, especially the whistle of birds, allows them to protect creatures from humans … especially children with slingshots intent on harassing or even killing birds, squirrels and other wildlife. The Pombero is said to appear before it tweets, scaring people to the point that many give up whistling forever.
However, it is the evil side of the Pombero that has many in Paraguay fearing whatever the police officer in Itá Enramada encountered, despite the reassurances of the Deputy Commissioner. Besides stealing eggs and livestock and scaring horses so that they throw their riders, the Pombero is frequently accused of impregnating single women either by tricking them into having sex with them or just by touching them with his creepy hairy hand – resulting in babies who are born ugly and hairy. Needless to say, the Pombero is often a ready excuse for unexpected pregnancies. To ward off the evil Pomberos, the recommended gifts are honey, cigars and rum – things one might find scattered about in superstitious Paraguayan homes. It is believed that the gifts can turn a Pombero from evil to good and convince him to protect the home and even leave gifts in return.
So … what did the policeman responding to a call in Itá Enramada encounter and shoot at? (Watch it again.) Most people think it was a human burglar, but Cronica.com asked Osmar, the witness who called the police and recorded the incident on his cell phone:
"He came to look for my wife. He was not homeless, he was a pombero. El Pombero comes to get my wife pregnant, that's why I called the police. I saw that he was getting closer and that's why I called the police. He escapes through the back window and goes to the mountain.” (Google translation)
Old superstitions are indeed hard to break.