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Belief in the vampire Tlahuelpuchi (plural tlahuelpocmimi) is prominent in the Mexican state of Tlaxcala, with deep roots amongst the indigenous Nahua culture of the region.


The tlahuelpuchi is a type of vampire or witch that lives with its human family. It is able to shapeshift and sucks the blood of infants at night. It has a kind of glowing aura when shape shifted.

Tlahuelpocmimi are born with their curse and cannot avoid it. They first learn of what they are sometime around puberty. Most tlahuelpuchi are female and the female tlahuelpuchi are more powerful than males.

The tlahuelpocmimi have a form of society. Typically they each have their own territories. They also have a pact with shamans and other supernatural creatures; a shaman won't turn in a suspected tlahuelpuchi. The typical sign that a victim was killed by the tlahuelpuchi are bruises on their upper body. The Tlahuelpuchi largely feeds on children, though it can kill others.


The tlahuelpuchi is similar to the nahual in that they both can shape shift into various animal forms. The nahual, however learns his craft and does not need to suck blood. Also the nahual looks like a natural animal when shapeshifted.

Tlahuelpocmimi are able to change form by detaching their body from their legs (which are left in the house of the witch). They then go hunting, usually in the form of some bird like a turkey or a vulture. The tlahuelpuchi has to perform a ritual before she can enter the house of a victim. The tlahuelpuchi must fly over the house in the shape of a cross from north to south, east to west. Coincidentally the shamans of the region cleanse the bodies of victims by uncrossing them. Victims also are given different burial rites.


Tlahuelpocmimi must feed at least once a month on blood or they die. Their victim of choice is an infant. There is no way to detect a tlahuelpuchi except by catching them in the act. Their family protects them out of shame and because if a family member is responsible for the death of a tlahuelpuchi the curse will be passed down to them. The curse cannot be lifted, and if a tlahuelpuchi is identified, they must be killed on the spot. Garlic, onions and metal repel the tlahuelpuchi. Often people report seeing glowing animals before a tlahuelpuchi attack. The tlahuelpuchi are able to avade capture by turning into an animal so small, like tick, that the glowing is not noticable.


  • Nutini, Hugo G., and John M. Roberts (1993) - Bloodsucking Witchcraft: An Epistemological Study of Anthropomorphic Supernaturalism in Rural Tlaxcala. The University of Arizona Press, Tucson.