Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology

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CIHUACOATL

(Chee-AH-co-til)
Cihuacoatl is the vampiric goddess of the Aztec people from ancient Mexico and one of the four princesses who accompany the goddess Tlalteuctli. Cihuacoatl means "Serpent Woman," the name no doubt having been derived from the cloak she is depicted as wearing, as it looks like the hood of a snake. She is shown holding a rattle in her left hand and a serpent in her right, but she has also been rendered as holding a baby in one hand and a knife in the other. Always thirsting for human blood, she painted her body with chalk and donned a white gown to go wandering the streets calling out for the people to go to war, as prisoners were sacrificed to her. When not using so direct a method in demanding sacrifice, she would leave an empty cradle with a knife in it at a well-used source of water. Perhaps she was sending the message that if prisoners of war were sacrificed to her, then she would not have to start taking children.
Source: Aguilar-Moreno, Handbook to Life in the Aztec World, 86 ­87, 147, 148, 191, 192; Markman, The Flayed God, 217; Salas, Soldaderas, 5; Turner, Dictionary of Ancient Deities, 129
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