From El Diablo To Shadow People, This TikToker Covers All Things Creepy And Scary
Monse, known as @cvnela to her 1.2 million TikTok followers, makes videos providing context and explaining the origins behind viral scary stories.
Monse, or @cvnela on TikTok, grew up hearing her mother’s stories from her time growing up in Tijuana, Mexico — including the time she saw el Diablo (the Devil) in the street — which sparked an interest in the topic of horror and paranormal.
Now, Monse uses TikTok to provide her over a million followers with context and origin stories for pieces of scary media.
Learn more about Monse and how she uses her platform.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Can you tell me a little bit about the content you make on TikTok?
I started off with an experience I had with a child that initially scared me but then I explained how it wasn’t scary anymore. I had gotten back from Tijuana so I was flooded with memories from my childhood, and I remembered my cousins and I had stumbled across a video called "Obedece la Morsa” (Obey the Walrus). As a child, that video scared me but as I grew older, I realized the real context and origins of that video so I turned that into an educational video on TikTok. I posted that and it blew up. It really came from this entertainer – her name was Goddess Bunny. She was a trans woman. She did tap dancing videos but she had Polio and people had turned her normal tap dancing videos into “scary” media. I looked deeper into it and realized how horrible it was. So I made a video explaining the real origins and who she was and how influential she was in the trans community and it kept snowballing from there where people would comment asking me to explain videos — most of them were Latina-based videos, clips from a Mexican TV show, things like that — and I would explain them. I want it to be informative, you know. There’s just so much content out there and I want to explain things that go back to people’s childhoods or things they remember, and I want to give context behind that. That’s really interesting to me.
What interests you most about the paranormal/the kind of content you make videos about?
There’s just so many scary ghost videos out there but, for me, what’s most important is that it’s entertaining but at the same time, gives you some type of emotion whether it's a little jump or you know that little serotonin boost you get from seeing something you don’t know. I always tell my community, “Listen – fake or not, as long as it’s well shot and entertaining and gives you some type of emotion, I think that’s a good paranormal/horror video.”
With that being said, do you believe in all things paranormal?
Yes. I tell my community I’m always very critical of ghost videos. I’m very critical but at the same time, I’ve seriously experienced very strange occurrences for me to not think there's paranormal stuff out there. I am a strong believer but I am judgemental when it comes to horror videos because you don’t know which ones are completely fabricated or which ones are real. I like to focus on the ones that, to me, look true.
Have you had a paranormal experience yourself?
I’ve experienced two very crazy ones. People are always talking about shadow people. I had never experienced that up until this point. It was a two-story home and I was sitting on the living room couch. My mom always told me that in that house, she always felt like her feet were being touched. She’d always feel like someone would hold her shoulder as she was sleeping and she always described seeing a man in the corner of the room, like a slender shadow person. My mom is Mexicana, she is very into that kind of stuff, and she’d experienced that stuff. That’s kind of how I got my interest in horror because her ghost stories are so interesting. With that in mind, it was late at night. I was watching YouTube videos with my stepbrothers downstairs on that couch. All the lights were off, the only light was from my phone. It was super dark and there was only my phone light giving a little bit of lighting to the whole area then from the corner of my eye, I saw a slender shadow figure running in a really weird way – like marching but robotic – quickly running from my stepbrother’s room all the way to my mom’s room. I jumped. What sealed it for me was my stepbrothers said “You saw that too?”
This one happened in Tijuana, I was a child. At the time, my mom would let me sleep at my aunt’s house because she worked in the U.S. and would come back and visit me on the weekends. My aunt didn’t have enough room in her apartment so all the rooms were filled up so she could only give me the back room, which was their storage space. Their storage space was their backyard split in half with a brick wall. I slept in the storage space area. The brick wall had a door to the other half of the backyard. The door was metal and it had a tiny blurry window into the backyard. I remember I was sleeping and then I randomly woke up in the middle of the night, my bed was facing the door, and I opened my eyes and in that tiny little blurry window was a smiling white face. The whole thing was covered in white and there were two black dots and a weird smile. The nose was just two holes. I thought someone had broken into the backyard but the thing is - it was night time and the face was completely white. It was really scary when I was a child so I just bolted out and got my aunt. When we went back, it was gone. I try to remain skeptical with media but with the experiences I’ve had, it’s hard to deny that paranormal stuff is real. I slept in the living room after that.
You said your mom would tell you some of the best ghost stories. Is your family big believers in the paranormal?
Yes, my mom and my grandma are. My grandma was really into – she believed in brujería – so witchcraft in Mexico. So my mom says they always experienced stuff when she was a kid and my mom blames it on brujería. Personally, I’m not a big brujería person, I’ve never experienced anything like that but my mom is a strong believer in that and has even seen exorcisms because my grandmother would take her to see people getting exorcized. Along with that, my mom has had straight up strange paranormal experiences. One of her scariest stories – I posted about this on TikTok – was when she said she saw the devil in the streets of Tijuana, because she was raised there. They’re big on that. I try to keep away from that type of stuff because I don’t want to attract what I chase. I don’t want to manifest that.
@cvnela STORYTIME: WATCH TILL THE END!! I wanted to share something really scary that happened to my mom when she was a kid. #ghost #creepy #storytime #fyp ♬ Amityville Horror - Scary Halloween Sound Effects - Halloween Sound Effects
Have you learned any lessons from your experience diving into this content? If so, what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
Paranormal-wise, I always try to be respectful. You have to be respectful regardless of what the subject matter is, that way you can have peace of mind, you don’t want to be worried about anything happening if there is that possibility. Respectful to the people, the spirits, family members of people who have passed. It’s good to talk about these things but always remain respectful. We’re talking about real people here. When you look into paranormal or ghost videos, a lot of time it involves a historical site and families so always remain respectful and stick to the story, what you find most fascinating and talk about that.
Do you have a favorite haunted or paranormal story?
Yes. My favorite place is Tijuana. It has so many stories involving el Diablo (the Devil). There was a night club in Tijuana called Aloha Bar that burned down a while back and there are many theories as to why it burned down but, according to many witnesses, the story goes that there was this young lady that left her home without getting approval from her mom. She went to Aloha Bar and what happened was witnesses saw her sitting then a very attractive young gentleman approached her, he had a suit on, he had his hair slicked back, he looked really good and he looked out of place in that bar – nobody else was really dressed like that. He approached her, they started dancing, then witnesses say as they started dancing, they started floating up into the air as they were spinning. People say they saw hooves on that man and then, randomly, they just exploded. Fire caught everywhere and the whole nightclub lit up. It’s a known thing in Tijuana that if a very handsome, young gentleman approaches you in Mexico at a club, stay away from him because it might be the Devil. It’s a pretty famous location. My family always talked about it.
@cvnela I WILL NEVER FORGET THIS VIDEO ‼️ #creepy #scary #horror #mexico #latino #MakeItCinematic #IKnowWhatYouDid ♬ Amityville Horror - Scary Halloween Sound Effects - Halloween Sound Effects
How is the afterlife/paranormal viewed in Mexican culture?
We are very respectful with those family members of ours that have passed. Most of us have a little shrine of our family members year round. At least for my family — because I can’t speak for everyone — they were all very Catholic and protective of brujería – they didn’t do brujería but they did believe in that and protective in the way of like “don’t get involved in that, don’t touch a ouija board because you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
What do you think the biggest misconception about the paranormal is?
Not everything that is paranormal needs to have concrete evidence because it can happen in so many ways. There are so many aspects to it. You can look at the history of it and draw up something that possibly happened there. It can be sounds or the feeling of a place. It doesn’t have to be this solid, ghost-in-your-face type of thing.
What’s your favorite TRVL show?
Ghost Adventures. Me and my community talk about that show because we love the host.