Countless threats exist deep in the jungle. But it's not just poisonous, candy-colored frogs or fish with rows of razor teeth that trouble intrepid explorers—the jungle is home to a host of wild, unexplained happenings and folklore that all carry real, bone-chilling consequences.

So, to celebrate the series premiere of The River, ABC's new documentary-style show about the horrors that lurk within the Amazon, here are some of the most ancient and scariest jungle legends known to man.

El Chullanchaqui

Thought to protect the Amazon rainforest, the dwarf-like creature known as el Chullanchaqui waits for invaders to stumble across his territory and then leads them into the dark wilderness—never to be seen again. It's been said that he can shape-shift, often taking on the form of a loved one. But you'll know you've been following el Chullanchaqui if you notice a distinct set of tracks: the mark of a small human foot on one side and a round hole—either a peg leg, or possibly the cloven hoof of a goat—on the other. The footprints of el Chullanchaqui are a sure indicator that you've traveled down the wrong path.


The legend of el Chullanchaqui may sound fantastic to those unfamiliar with the perils of the jungle, but for the inhabitants of the Amazon, the little man with a peg leg represents what happens to those who disrespect their natural surroundings.

The tale of el Chullanchaqui is just one of the strange stories that originated in the depths of the jungle, so don't forget to watch the 2-hour series premiere of The River, this Tuesday, February 7 at 9/8c—only on ABC.