Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 15th, 2007
Click on image for full size version.
The cultural reality behind the above Bahia photograph has been solved, I feel, quite correctly, via new information from a Brazilian, Mori of Forgetomori. This is especially valid, as Mori has clearly shown a good comparison to the area and the practice resulting in what is seen above, in the following images.
Mori wrote me tonight: “It’s just a local covered in mud. The “horns” are his hair.”
Mori has noted on the Forgetomori blog, in deeper details, the following solution:
Coleman thinks it’s “intriguing, if not curiously prosaic”, and remarks that “anything is possible as an origin of any new photo”. It turns out that though anything is possible, the most prosaic explanation indeed must be the answer to this. And it’s so prosaic any Brazilian, like me, would find it not only obvious but slightly revolting.
That mud area we can see in the photos is what is called “manguezal“, and it’s a very important ecosystem in Northeastern Brazil, not only for the environment but also for the locals. The image at left of very happy people are some tourists bathing in mud, but the second and third one are from locals earning their life. They mostly catch crabs in the mud, and end up almost completely covered in mud.
It’s obvious the original photo sent to Coleman is of a local covered in mud, probably a man. You can see that he’s wearing a T-shirt and pants. The “horns” are the same as we can see in the tourists above: it’s just something you can do with your hair when it’s covered in mud.
The “Manguezal” culture was even promoted in the 1990s in Brazil as a nice cultural movement, the “Mangue Beat,” leaded by band “Chico Science”.
Now, Coleman may not be blamed for sharing this pic, warning about it possibly being fake and asking for input. People outside Brazil may not be used to see[ing] Homo sapiens covered in mud — though even Americans my have watched somewhat similar “Give it Away”.
But those who sent the photo and called that guy, very probably a poor local earning his life, a “Beast”… I don’t know which is worse: that they were indeed “attacked” by “it”, and did not realize it was a human being; or if they knowingly called a local a horned Beast., Poor Brazilian, a Horned Bipedal Beast, Mori of Forgetomori, August 16, 2006 (local Brazilian time).
My thanks to Mori for sharing this information.
BTW, the Mangue Beat still rocks Brazil: Recently, Otto (below), formerly the percussionist with the respected Mangue Beat band Mundo Livre S/A, teamed with actress Alessandra Negrini (on the bottom) for his third CD, Sem Gravidade [Without Gravity].