We are in San Luis Tehuiloyocan, Mexico, and despite the Cholula government has tried to eliminate the reputation surrounding the Amoxcalli Library and its dark past, the entire town still knows the building as La Casa del Diablo (The Devil’s House) because of the artwork on its facade and the rumors the home was the site of satanic worship.
The images on the house date back to the 17th century and were created using a technique called “cracked stones”, that involved inserting volcanic stones into form figures to create different figures. Although it was a well-known technique throughout the region, it is possible no house embodies this art form more than the Devil’s House.
According to local legends, it’s believed there were actually two other houses decorated with the same technique. However, out of fear of the drawings, they were covered with cement and their exact positions were lost to history.
A few of the images depict the Sun, double-headed eagles, and churches but there are also symbols referencing the Passion such as a crown of thorns, stairs, nails, and even the Veil of Veronica, with Jesus crying tears of blood. However, the most mysterious figures on the house are those guarding the door: near the entrance of the house are two monkeys with chicken legs, smiling with their tongues out while wearing ecclesiastical hats. In Christian iconography, the monkey has long been associated with greed, malice, and even the devil. The monkeys and other strange figures gave rise to legends that the courtyard of the house was used for demonic invocations and there have even been tales of human sacrifices, where victims were tossed into the courtyard well.
Mysteries surrounding the house survives still this day, even though there is little reliable information on the original use of the house or why similar drawings were created. The house currently functions as a library and cultural center. However, inhabitants of the region still have plenty of stories to tell about the Devil’s House.
Author’s notes: the library is typically open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., but despite this you may find it closed. If you go to the presidency palace (one block from the house), you can easily request access to view the inside.