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Warlocks and Chiloé

There are a great number of scary stories and legends in Chile, from the desert in the north to the Patagonia in the south. Most of the stories are from pre-Colombian times, and there are only a few that involve more contemporary people and events. But if you’re interested in the supernatural in Chile, Chiloé is the place to look at. Chiloé is an archipelago, a very rural and traditional area located in southern Chile. Most of the legends in this area are about the birth of the Island, some goddesses and witchcraft. Warlocks are still quite a big deal down there, most people are still afraid of them and the legend I’m about to relate is their doing.

El invunche is a creature that protects the entrance of the warlocks’ hide-out, but he is not just any creature, he was once human. The legend says that a non-baptized first born was kidnapped by warlocks to create an invunche. Once the baby is in their hide-out, the warlocks break the baby’s legs and arms, twisting the head around the baby’s back and sewing the baby’s body in such way that now the poor creature will have three legs. After that, a magical ointment is applied to the baby’s body and hair will grow. Finally, the baby’s tongue will be split in two to take a menacing snake- like appearance. The baby is fed with meat from a corpse and eventually, when it becomes an adult, the invunche will feed off other babies and sometimes adults as well. The invunche’s main mission is to protect the warlocks and witches hide-out, but at times it can be sent to capture and bring a person who has been damned by the warlocks. The invunche can only been seen by warlocks and witches and if you ever happen to see it, well… it means really bad news for you.
There are tons of myths like that in Chiloé, but the interesting thing about them is the fact that most people still believe in them. In my many visits to the island, when you leave to more populated areas, it is fascinating to see how locals are always trying to protect those who are unaware of the existence of warlocks and such. In one occasion, visiting Lemuy Island, in an area known as “Punta Lima” my friends and I heard this weird kind of animal on the other side of a hill. When we walked towards that direction, an old lady came walking towards us and told us that we shouldn’t go in that direction because a warlock’s lair was located on the other side of the hill. Out of respect my friends and I agreed to that and walked away from that area. Eventually when we talked to some of the locals, they told us that the lady that lived in that area was a witch and that we were fortunate that she let us go, they also said that the noise we heard was the invunche. It was very interesting to see that people still believe in those stories and maybe that’s why they have survived until today. If you want to know more about Chile and the mythology of the island there’s several websites you can visit, but I would really encourage an actual visit to the archipelago, by far my favorite place in Chile.
Some of the websites you can visit are:

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