Originally an Andean legend, it is now a Peruvian nursery bogey that represents the dark side of the cultural Latino male persona. A vampiric demon, the pishtaco looks like a tall white man wearing a long white coat, which hides the knife he carries. It sleeps too much and drinks great quantities of milk. This imagery has appeared on the ceramic work of the ancient Nazca people. The pishtaco, overly aggressive and unnaturally overendowed, captures children and severs the limbs and heads so that all that remains are the torsos. Then the pishtaco removes the body fat, which it then sells to make large bells for the church, run machinery, and contribute to paying off the country's huge international debt.
As recently as April 8, 1998, police received an anonymous tip that led them to discover the mangled bodies of two men. The bodies were described as having been flayed and all of their body fat removed. The autopsy revealed that the cause of death was due to cardiac arrest that was caused by lack of blood. The skins of the men were never found.
Vampires that are very similar to the pishtacoare the KHARISIRI, LIK'ICHIRI, LIQUICHIRI and the
Source: Campion-Vincent, Organ Theft Legends,
15356, 168; Gow, Amazonian Myth and Its History, 25659; Llosa, Death in the Andes, 1213, 1819, 28, 33, 5258, 8085, 98101