In developing the Gallery for Alice 3, the decision was made to create a more diverse collection of objects, adding artifacts and creatures from many different cultures, that we believe that students will find very engaging. Also, thanks to Oracle Academy, as well as the interest of many teachers from Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, Alice is no longer just an American tool. As we have always wanted to help American students tell the stories they want to tell, we want to help students from around the world tell their stories.
And we believe that all students will enjoy telling new stories and creating games with these new elements.
Here are two characters in the Alice 3 Gallery, from Brazilian folklore.
The Curupira (Portuguese pronunciation: [kuɾuˈpiɾɐ]) is a mythological creature of Brazilian folklore. This creature blends many features of West African and European fairies but was usually regarded as a demonic figure.
His name comes from the Tupi language kuru’pir, meaning “covered in blisters”. According to the cultural legends, this creature has bright red/orange hair, and resembles a man or a dwarf, but its feet are turned backwards. Curupira lives in the forests of Brazil and uses its backward feet to create footprints that lead to its starting point, thus making hunters and travelers confused. Besides that, it can also create illusions and produce a sound that’s like a high pitched whistle, in order to scare and drive its victim to madness. It is common to portray a Curupira riding a Collared peccary, much like another Brazilian creature called Caipora.
A Curupira will prey on poachers and hunters that take more than they need of the forest, and he also attacks people that hunt animals that were taking care of their offspring. There are many different versions of the legend, and so the creature’s appearance and habits may vary from each region in Brazil. However, Curupira is considered a nationwide folkloric figure.
The mapinguari or mapinguary (Spanish pronunciation: [mapiŋɡwaˈɾi]), also known as the Isnashi [isˈnaʃi], is a legendary cryptid said to resemble a ground sloth–likecreature with red fur living in the Amazon rainforests of Brazil and Bolivia. The name is usually translated as “the roaring animal” or “the fetid beast”.
According to native folklore the creature has a series of unnatural characteristics related to other fantastic beings of Brazilian mythology. These include the creature only having one eye, long claws, caimanskin, backward feet and a second mouth on its belly. In more recent eyewitness accounts it has consistently been described as resembling either an ape or giant ground-dwelling sloth and having long arms, powerful claws that could tear apart palm trees, a sloping back, reaching heights of 7 feet when standing on its hind legs and is covered in thick, matted fur.
According to legend, it is slow but ferocious and very dangerous due to its ability to move without noise in the thick vegetation, surprising the unsuspecting locals. Accounts state that it gave off a putrid stench and emitted a frightening shriek, and that weapons such as arrows and bullets could not penetrate the Mapinguari’s alligator-like hide. Its only known weakness is that it avoids bodies of water, which limits its movements in a region where so many rivers, brooklets and lagoons exist (especially during the rainy season). It was believed to be carnivorous, as a 1937 report from central Brazil claimed a mapinguari had gone on a three-week rampage, killing over 100 cows and ripping out the tongues from their carcasses. However, in all accounts it did not eat humans, although when it smells the presence of people it stands up on its back feet, becoming as tall as two metres, a movement similar to grizzly bears.