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Every Year, Men Turn Into Monsters for This Ancient Pagan Ritual

Each year in Sardinia, Italy, men from the small village of Mamoiada don grotesque wooden masks and vests of black sheepskin. Stomping and grunting through the streets, they are weighed down by huge cowbells hung from their backs to scare away evil spirits. These hideous beasts are known as Mamuthones and they are part of an ancient tradition that has existed for thousands of years. Little is known about the origins of this pagan ritual, and its legacy continues to be shrouded in secrecy by the villagers. In this film from Andrea Pecora, get a rare look at the Mamuthones as they make their way through the village to usher in the spring.

To learn more about this 2,000-year-old ritual, read Inside an Ancient Pagan Ritual That Makes Men Become Monsters.

Follow filmmaker Andrea Pecora on Vimeo and Instagram. Produced by Revolution Department.

Read more about the town of Mamoiada and the tradition of the Mamuthones.

The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the world and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic's belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. To submit a film for consideration, please email The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.