But just as gods are not necessarily spiritual, demons may also be regarded as corporeal; vampires for example are sometimes described as human heads with appended entrails, which issue from the tomb to attack the living during the night watches.
In the south-east farmers are often compelled to retire with their flocks and herds before the thousands of huge, migratory vampires, which descend suddenly on the pastures and are able in one night to bleed the strongest animal to death.
Caymans, water-hogs (capinchos), several kinds of deer (Cervus paludosus the largest), ounces, opossums, armadillos, vampires, the American ostrich, the ibis, the jabiru, various species popularly called partridges, the pato real or royal duck, the Palamedea cornuta, parrots and parakeets, are among the more notable forms. Insect life is peculiarly abundant; the red stump-like ant-hills are a feature in every landscape, and bees used to be kept in all the mission villages.
In various churches the dead are anointed with holy oil, to guard them against the vampires or ghouls which ever threaten to take possession of dead bodies and live in them.
Many pagan beliefs linger on in the country, where vampires, witches and the evil eye are dreaded by all.
The peasants believe in charms and omens, in vampires, were-wolves, ghosts, the evil eye and vile or white-robed spirits of the earth, air, stream and mountain, with hoofs like a goat and henna-dyed nails and hair.