Feb. 4, 2021

El Hombre Del Saco (the Sack Man)

El Hombre Del Saco (the Sack Man)

Hello Espookies, here are the notes for episode 9, El Hombre Del Saco (The Sack Man) Listen to the episode on El Hombre Del Saco here

This legend can be heard in Spain, Brazil and Portugal and in Chile and Argentina it is known as El Viejo Del Saco. In English, it would be the sack man, he's really like another bogeyman type character, though the tale is sometimes heard in other countries like Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, it isn't as common because el cucuy or coco is more commonly told there. What's super interesting about this legend is that it does have an actual crime that took place, which inspired the legend to spread even further. But in these countries, he is referred to as el roba chicos instead. 

El Hombre Del Saco in Spain, is depicted as an old man, with a large bag, he uses this bag to kidnap children. He is ugly, skinny and eats the children he kidnaps. Usually children that misbehave. 

In Brazil and Portugal, he's a tall, scary looking man that collects mean children, for evil purposes. 

In Chile and Argentina, el viejo del saco is not a mythical creature, he is depicted as an old man that walks around neighborhood during dinner time, looking for children, he is a psychotic murderer that society has allowed to take children that are disappointments or children that are not home by dinner time. 

The Crime of Gador:

The crime that inspired this story to spread as it has occurred in Gador, Andaluisa, Spain, in 1910. To preface this, at the time, it was believed that drinking the blood of a child and using their body fat to spread over the body cured Tuberculosis. 

Francisco Ortega (nicknamed el Moreno, the moor) had just been diagnosed with Tuberculosis and he was desperate to find a cure. He went to see a curandera (healer) named Agustina Rodriguez and she sent him to Francisco Leona, who was a barber and curandero (healer). Leona told Ortega he would cure him for 3000 reales, which at the time was like 13,000 dollars now. Leona then went to Agustina Rodriguez's son Julio el tonto (the fool) Hernandez. Julio then told Leona that they could find a child for the cure. 

On June 27th, 1910, Leona used chloroform to drug Bernardo Gonzalez Parra, a 7 year old child. After drugging him, Leona placed him in a sack. The brother of Julio el tonto went to get Ortega, to tell him they had the child. 

After that, they took Bernardo out of the sack, and Bernardo, who was still dazed and confused from the chloroform, was then stabbed by Leona. Ortega then proceeded to mix Bernardo's blood with sugar and drink it. Poor Bernardo was still alive during this, after that he was taken to a place called Las Pocicas and here, Leona murdered him by crushing his skull with a rock. Leona then removed body fat from Bernardo's body to use on Ortega. 

Once this was done, they hid Bernardo's body in a crevice and covered it with herbs and stones. 

Leona tried to skimp on Julio and not give him his cut, so Julio went to the authorities and disclosed that he found the body of a child while bird chasing. When officials arrived to take Leona into custody, the town was ready and gave him up. During court proceedings, Leona indicted Julio and Ortega and Julio did the same. All 3 received death sentences. Julio el tonto was later pardoned on grounds of insanity after a psychiatric report. 

It is also said that before the murder of little Bernardo, the origin of el hombre del saco can be traced to the 15th and 16th centuries, when a man was in charge of collecting babies to take to orphanages. This man would place them in a bag or wicker basket. Babies usually died in transportation, before reaching the orphanage. 

Boogeyman figures around the world:

In Georgia and Armenia they have ‘the bag man’ who puts bad behaved children in his bag and kidnaps them. This is very similar to the boogeyman legends seen here in the states. I always heard of the boogeyman from my friends. I however was not raised to believe in him. But I always heard stories that my friends would retell their parents telling them that they needed to behave or the boogeyman was going to take him.

In Russia, Ukraine and Belarus El hombre saco is known as Babay. Babay is an old man or monster with a sack that lives under their bed that takes them away if they misbehave. 

In Turkey they have a legend of the ‘sack man’ known as Kharqyt. Kharqyt is depicted as an old man with a sack who takes children to sell them or eat them.

In Hungary he is known as the Zsakos Ember. Unfortunately there was no back stories to this in English or Spanish. But from the artwork on google when you look up Szakos Ember. It is el hombre del saco. The sack man. If there are any listeners that know how to translate Zsakos Ember stories you guys really should. Zsakos (jackos ember) Ember translates to the boogeyman however the literal translation is person with the sack.

In Poland he is known as bebok, babok, or bobok. Where the Polish sack man is different is that. The Bebok is the height of a child. This particular boogeyman is hairy, old and ugly with a big head. It comes for children who do not want to sleep or misbehave. It is believed that the Bebok is too stupid so the bebok helps witches steal children. Where the other sackmans seem to act on their own this one does the bidding of witches. It is believed that the Bebok are the soul’s of children who died early. Perhaps even the children the witches took. It is thought that the Bebok likes creating mischief and breaking things in the homes of their victims. Once they are done reeking havoc, they take the disobedient child with thim. The Bebok were also classified as vampire-like creatures.

In South Africa they have Antjie Somers (Anki swimmers). The legend I found dates back to August 10th 1866. It is believed Antjie Somers is a man who wore women’s clothing as a disguise. He was a bandit, an outlaw, that dressed in women’s clothes and attacked those who traveled during the night. While in his disguise he would also scare children. Most of his attacks were in the summer, it was just the season he liked many of Antjie Somers attacks happen in summer. So that is the part that begins the boogeyman aspect of Antjie Somers the scaring of children. In some stories his original name is Andres. Now Andres was a very successful fisherman, and another fisherman was jealous of him, they fight and the other fisherman hits his head and dies. He disguised himself in his sisters clothes and became an outlaw. Andres would terrorize nearby towns particularly in the summer. In another version Andres is an executioner, when capital punishment and tortue became outlawed he found himself jobless. Became an old bitter man who would dress in women’s clothing and scare children especially in the summer. I think after Andres started to dress as a woman, she took female pronouns. And the reason for this is because even if in the origin story, Antjie Somers may have started out as a man who wore women’s clothing. However for South Africans they label her as a woman.  Andres turned into Antjie and his favorite season was summer which turned into somers. So Andres became Antjie Somers. And I think she continues to attack children because either she was an outlaw or became mad after not being able to continue her job as an executioner, she always scared children like that was her thing after she went crazy. She decided to do one last execution and hung herself on the top of Queen victoria Street in Cape Town. It evolved now into a woman who comes at night to steal bad children and she places them in her sack, kidnaps them and they are never seen or heard from again.

There is a nursery rhyme attached to it:

Antjie Somers will catch you.

She will stuff you in a sack and you will never be heard from again. 

It was told to children who did not want to go to sleep.