The word galipote, also spelled gualipote comes from the Taino language, quali meaning 'children of' and pote which means 'the devil'. I have heard the word before, but thought nothing of it until last night people were running through the streets of the barrio saying that there was a galipote on the loose, with fire coming out of his mouth, and to lock up the children and stay inside. These legendary magical creatures are said to be men who turn into animals or inanimate objects such as tree trunks and stones. According to the belief galipotes are cruel and violent and frighten people at night.
Many galipotes become dogs which was what apparently what it was yesterday. The lady who saw it was on her scooter when it appeared. She said it was an enormous dog and at first she thought that someone had brought it from New York as she had never seen such a big dog here. However it rose on its hind legs and spat fire from its mouth at which point she turned and ran. It then went on a rampage through the local banana plantation ripping through the trees with its claws.
Galipotes are immune to bullets and they say the only way to kill one is to get a branch and make a wooden cross from wood which can only be cut on Good Friday. Some say you must use a knife or machete that has been blessed with water and salt.
Apparently in order to become a galipote you make a pact with the devil whereby you sell your soul in exchange for being able to change yourself into another form.
I thought that was the end of the excitement but the problem we have is that we have an English Mastiff rescue dog, who is massive but old and slow and blind. Word is now going around the barrio that maybe he is a galipote and even the dustbin men refused to collect the rubbish today, scared that our galipote might get them. I have a horrid feeling I will now be known as the gringa who lives with a galipote.