Have you ever heard about the mysterious and magical characters that inhabit the south of Chile? Our country has many fantastic stories, but the Myths and Legends of Chiloé are the most popular and deeply rooted in these lands.
We invite you to learn about the three most impressive stories from this island, located in the Los Lagos region at the very extreme south of Chile, sometimes referred to as “the end of the world.”
Chiloé, south of Chile
“The Trauco”, Chiloé’s most frightening myth
Artistic Representation of “El Trauco”, Chiloé
Imagine walking through the island’s lush forests and suddenly encountering an ugly and deformed dwarf by surprise. “El Trauco” is a very strong character, about 3 feet tall, who always carries a stone axe that he uses to announce his presence by knocking on the trees.
He lives in the hollows of natural caves and trees, feeding on forest fruits. The inhabitants of the island, the Chilotes, say that he is perverse, because he stays in a trunk and as soon as a person passes by, the evil spell of his gaze or the ill-fated power of his breath falls on them.
“El Trauco” carved wood, in Chiloé
If you are a man, run away! This mythical character will be furious with you, causing you neck sprains, crippling and other ills, with the intention of making you look as deformed as him.
And if you are a woman, don’t look at him! His sweet look is very attractive and it will seduce you.
Chiloé National Park
This myth tells the story of how “El Trauco” unleashes his passionate instincts and tries to captivate women in order to abuse them. So he will resort to magic, casting them in sweet dreams, in which he will appear to them as a handsome gallant.
Upon awakening from the spell, the young women return home completely confused and unaware of what happened. After nine months, the women will give birth to a child as a result of the witchcraft of this strange little man.
Chiloé National Park Viewpoint
“La Pincoya”, the beautiful mermaid that protects the island’s waters
Cucao beach, Chiloé
Let’s have a look at the second Myth and Legend of Chiloé that has most captivated the attention of those who have heard it. This legend is about a mermaid of extraordinary beauty. She has a white complexion and blonde hair, and her job is to protect the sea and rescue shipwrecked fishermen.
If you go fishing and you have a very successful fishing trip, it is because “La Pincoya” danced the night before looking at the ocean. But if scarcity prevailed in your voyage, it’s because she danced with her back to the sea.
This extraordinary mythical creature would dwell in a huge cave. From the rocks, she would whistle to make a solid gold trunk emerge from the bottom of the sea, from where she would sit and comb her golden hair.
Dalcahue beach, Chiloé
Occasionally, during the night, ” La Pincoya” could be heard singing haunted love songs, which no one could resist. Many people asked her for favors, until one day she disappeared from the island.
She is believed to have been abducted to bring prosperity and abundance to distant shores. Since then, the waters of Chiloé turned dark, like they are today. And although many people have attempted to imitate the mermaid’s whistling, the golden trunk is still submerged, waiting for its owner.
“El Caleuche”, the ghost ship of the Chiloé waters
Clouds on Cucao beach, Chiloé
What could be more mysterious, and at the same time legendary, than to be watching the sunset fall over the horizon, with the typical southern clouds on beaches of the island, and to start seeing a ghostly-looking ship, crewed by powerful sorcerers?
Our last Myth and Legend of Chiloé tells the story of “El Caleuche”, a ghost ship that sails the seas of southern Chile, creating a dense fog and illuminating the night with intense bright lights.
According to the legend, the ship can sail beneath the surface of the water at high speeds. The ship’s sorcerers are mainly involved in smuggling and supplying goods for the merchants who have a pact with them. That’s why, in town, the islanders say that when a local merchant gets rich quickly, it’s because he has made a shady deal with “El Caleuche”.
Coasts of the island of Chiloé
Many have seen the ghost ship at night, and the dancing that takes place on its deck, and some have even heard the marvelous festive music playing. It is precisely these melodies that attract castaways or crew members from other boats, who get incorporated forever as part of El Caleuche’s crew.
When the ship is pursued, it transforms into rocks, tree trunks or simply seaweed to go unnoticed and thus avoid being captured..
Dwarfs, mermaids and ghost ships are part of the most important Myths and Legends from the island of Chiloé. But there are many more fantastic tales that enrich the popular culture of this mysterious place.