Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador posted a photo on his social media accounts one Saturday showing what he said appeared to be a mythological woodland spirit similar to an elf.

President Obrador did not seem to be joking when he posted the photo of an “Aluxe,” a mischievous woodland spirit in Mayan folklore. 

President Obrador wrote the photo “was taken three days ago* by an engineer, it appears to be an aluxe,” adding “everything is mystical.” 

The nighttime photo shows a tree with a branch forming what looks like a halo of hair, and what may be stars forming the figure’s eyes. 

López Obrador has long expressed reverence for indigenous cultures and beliefs. Engineers and workers are in the Yucatan peninsula, constructing a tourist train that is the president’s pet project.

According to traditional Mayan belief, “Aluxes” are small, mischievous creatures who inhabit forests and fields and are prone to playing tricks on people, like hiding things. Some people leave small offerings to appease them.

The ancient Mayan civilization reached its height from 300 A.D. to 900 A.D. on the Yucatan Peninsula and in adjacent parts of Central America, but the Mayas’ descendants continue to live on the peninsula, despite the conquest of the region by the Spanish between 1527 and 1546.

* The engineer’s post is from 2021.