Mexico’s president Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Saturday, Feb. 25, put up on his social media accounts a photo, which he claimed was of a mythical woodland elf caught on camera and provided evidence of the existence of mischievous Mayan spirits.
An outline of the supposed creature, known as an “alux” from ancient folklore, could barely be made out in the grainy photo, which appears to have been taken at night.
Les comparto dos fotos de nuestra supervisión a las obras del Tren Maya: una, tomada por un ingeniero hace tres días, al parecer de un aluxe; otra, de Diego Prieto de una espléndida escultura prehispánica en Ek Balam. Todo es místico. pic.twitter.com/Tr5OP2EqmU
— Andrés Manuel (@lopezobrador_) February 25, 2023
The entity, supposedly with two bright white eyes and long hair or a headdress, appeared to have been on a tree and was staring down at the camera.
The president suggested it resembled a sculpture from an archaeological site on the Yucatan peninsula.
Source of photo not confirmed
The Mexican leader said the photo was taken three days earlier by an engineer on the construction site of a new railway line known as the Tren Maya, also known as Maya Train, which will connect tourist destinations and is designed to go through the Yucatan Peninsula, including ancient Mayan ruins.
“It appears to be an alux,” Obrador wrote, adding that “everything is mystical”.
According to traditional Mayan belief, aluxes are small, mischievous creatures that inhabit forests and fields.
They are prone to playing tricks on people, like hiding things.
Some people leave small offerings to appease them.
Responses: People are sceptical
Social media users were not buying it though.
Some of them retorted that the photo or a similar one was circulated in Thailand a couple of years ago.
Journalist Mauricio Schwarz responded to the tweet to debunk it, writing that the image has circulated on social media since February 2021.
Sí, Andrés, un ingeniero hace tres días tomó una foto que hace las rondas en Nuevo León desde febrero de 2021 y en Tailandia desde diciembre de ese año.
Das pena, mucha pena… y el país más… Si te lo crees, eres tonto… si sabes que mientes, eres malévolo… pic.twitter.com/dqyR9Ywe3z
— Mauricio Schwarz🇺🇦 izquierda transgénica nuclear (@elnocturno) February 25, 2023
“If you believe it, you are stupid. If you know you are lying, you are malicious,” Schwarz wrote.
The original source of the image is unclear.
Many others accused the president of spreading fake news and putting up something sensational to distract the people.
It was reported on international media that thousands took to the streets of Mexico City over the weekend to protest against an alleged presidential power grab.
History of embracing the mystical
Obrador is known for embracing indigenous cultures and beliefs, according to Business Insider.
When he was inaugurated in 2018, he took part in an indigenous purifying ceremony, Metro reported.
He knelt in a cloud of incense, while healers performed a ritual with bunches of herbs.
His former environment minister also attracted derision previously for saying she believed in aluxes.
The ancient Mayan civilization reached its height between 300AD and 900AD on the Yucatan Peninsula and in adjacent parts of Central America.
The Mayas’ descendants continue to live on the peninsula, with many still speaking the Mayan language and wearing traditional clothing.
They are conserving traditional foods, crops, religion and medicine practices, despite the conquest of the region by the Spanish between 1527 and 1546.
Top photo via Andrés Manuel López Obrador Twitter