“Legends of Belize” features Belizean Mythical Creatures

Have you heard about the Tata Duende, la Llorona and the Xtabai? These are all mythical renowned creatures that have been part of the intangible traditional culture of northern Belize, and specifically that of the Mayas. Well, a husband and wife from out of Los Angeles, California—but originally from Corozal—are trying to keep the tradition and legends alive with their publication, Legends of Belize. The book is an art series about mythical creatures believed to dwell in the jungles and waters of Belize and seeks to have its readers discover the fascinating and terrifying paranormal and well-known creatures that are believed to haunt Belize. For over a decade, Dismas Lizarraga and his wife, Grissy G, came together to create GrisDismation; a registered company that would preserve their cultural heritage through animation and artist. Annually, the Lizarragas would come to Belize to share their stories with the public.

Grissy G Lizarraga, Animator

“These stories are in our history so this is a perfect way to combine a topic that they can all unite in. So this is all of a uniting project and “biging up” our Belizean pride because hell, we got some cool monsters here in Belize.”

Duane Moody

“Tell us about how you guys got to this point.”

Grissy G Lizarraga

“Well it’s been over a ten year journey. We started in 2003. We first did a…”

Dismas Lizarraga, Artist

“It was basically an art project. Our professor from Los Angeles Mission College gave us an art project to interpret different myths, mythology. And the usual myths a lot of people are interested in interpreting is like the Medusa, the Zeus and Greek myths which are very interesting myths. And Grissy G. had this idea to bring back Belizean myths. And she approached me with the idea and she was like what is that and these were stories that we grew up with. Grissy G gave me the idea that I can paint the Tata Duende.Yes, we agreed that I can do the females and he can do the males. So we are both artists and we do our own styles and it was a good way to combine our artwork together because our company is about producing art together as a couple. So our company is called Gris, for Grissy G and Dis, for Dismas so GrisDismation….and mation for animation. So it is a combination of the words, a play on words.

Grissy G Lizarraga

“We first showed the Ixtabai and the Tata Duende were the first one we painted because we felt that those two were big cultural myths that we remembered and we heard a lot about at that time. Living in Corozal, lotta people with the cane fields talk about Tata Duende in the bush and Ixtaba with the Ceiba…every time yo pass a Ceiba tree oh Ixtabai can be in that tree, in Xiabe. And so that sparked the interest and it just started rolling from there.”


Since Saturday, the couple has been in Belize to promote the series, but surprisingly, they were also contacted by an investigative reporter from out of Canada. The production company wanted to feature the Tata Duende as a creature for its show entitled, Boogeyman. The show, with the assistance of the Lizarragas, would see a documentary made on the Belizean mythical creature that essentially protects the animals and jungle in Belize.

Grissy G Lizarraga, Animator

Grissy G Lizarraga

“It’s a travel series documentary basically exploring a country through the cultural beliefs of monsters and of course Tata Duende caught their attention. Since we’ve been doing this and we are online, they found our information, they gave us a call and when we heard that they were coming to Belize, we told them that we will meet you there. And here we are today, promoting it. We were in San Ignacio since Saturday and we have been meeting with several persons. We met with Maria Garcia from the Garcia sisters and she was so beautiful and loving and kind to us and she helped us do an offering to Tata Duende…so we did a smudging and cleansing and offering to Tata Duende and the spirits that they will continue to help us with this project and bring it in our culture. And we hope that this will inspire all our Belizeans to remember him and make an offering for themselves, because this is something in our culture that we need to preserve.”

Dismas Lizarraga

Dismas Lizarraga, Artist

“Because it was an oral culture, an oral tradition, we believe that by documenting like this, we can preserve a part of that. What we do understand about this is that it is something that everyone adds to it. It is not my Tata Duende, it is not your Ixtabai; it’s our Belizean tradition, it is like folklore, it’s the people’s tale. And we are just like custodians to just help transform the information and have people input.”

According to the Lizarragas, they have documented fourteen mythical creatures of Belize in the series and will be doing short animations on each of the myths. The goal, says the couple, is to get the books into the Belizean education system. The books are available online at Amazon.com, on E-books as well as hard copies. 

Channel 5