The president of Mexico is going viral after he posted a photo to social media that he said shows a mythical woodland elf of Mayan folklore.
“Everything is mystical,” Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said in a Twitter post Saturday, accompanied by two photos, including one that the president says shows an “aluxe.”
According to traditional Mayan belief, “aluxes” are small, mischievous creatures that inhabit forests and fields and are prone to playing tricks on people, like hiding things. Some people leave small offerings to appease them.
Obrador has racked up nearly 5 million views on the post as of Sunday. One photo in the post shows a pre-Hispanic sculpture in Ek Balam, a Yucatec-Maya archaeological site, while the other photo shows a nighttime shot of what appears to be a creature in a tree with glowing eyes.
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It does not appear the president was joking in his Twitter post.
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The photo of the alleged aluxe was taken last week by an engineer at the construction site of a new train railway in the Yucatán Peninsula, according to Obrador. The railway is being constructed to transport tourists to and from popular destinations, including Mayan ruins.
The post has set off mockery and astonishment among some Twitter users, including speculation that the creature in the tree is actually just an animal.
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Other users posted screenshots that appear to show that the photo is old and was previously used in other news stories in 2021.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.