Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Invunche

In the South American country of Chile, it is known and widely acknowledged that black magic and sorcery do exist. The people also know that such witchcraft can create truly vile, freakish beings. One such creature is the Invunche, a twisted and once-human facsimile of a man that acts as a guardian to its creator’s lair. As hideous as this monster is, know that there is more pain and sorrow in it’s existence than any man should have to bear in one lifetime. The name invunche (pronounced in-voon-chay) itself means “master of the hide” or, in the Mapudungun language, "monster person". The Invunche, also known as the Imbunche or achucho de la cueva, was once human. The creature’s creation begins when a firstborn male baby is kidnapped by a coven of witches or, worse yet, is bartered or sold to them by his own parents. Once in the hands of the sorcerers (which are known as Brujo Chilote), the child’s life in Hell begins. Firstly, they break one of the baby’s legs and twist it over the infant’s back. The leg is fixed there with crude surgery and incantations. Next, the hands, arms, and the other leg are dislocated and twisted into strange positions. In some legends, the right arm is forced through a hole cut under the right shoulder blade, so that the arm will protrude from the back. It is likely that, throughout this gruesome process, the only thing that is keeping the baby boy alive is the dark magic of the sorcerers. Furthermore, the head and the neck of the boy are gradually twisted over a period of time until they too are grotesquely misshapen. Finally, once all of the breaking and twisting is done, the witches smear a magic cream or salve all over the now-disfigured child’s body. This cream causes the boy’s skin to become darker and thicken, while at the same time causing course black hair to grow all over the boy’s body. At this point, the boy’s tongue is cut at the tip so that it more or less resembles the flickering tongue of a serpent.

Once the physical disfigurements and dark incantations are finished, it takes several years to complete the agonizingly slow transformation. In the interim, the child (if one may truly call the aberrant thing by that innocent name) is abused and subjected to yet more black magic, and is fed the milk from a gata (a word for a female cat, but it also makes reference to an “Indian wet nurse” as well). Later on, the Invunche is fed cabrito (the flesh of innocent children). Eventually, the monster is allowed to eat chivo (the flesh of an adult). Once the Invunche reaches adolescence, his mind and human intelligence are completely gone, and the transformation is at last complete.

As was said earlier, the Invunche serves as a guardian, watching over and protecting the lair of its master (which is almost always found at the bottom of a lake). The creature is particularly well-suited to this role, as the transformation from human to monster gives the creature some unique abilities. While it is not very quick or agile (it is in fact a slow, lumbering and very clumsy creature), the Invunche has great strength and the ability to paralyze intruders with the fear caused by it’s horrible bloodcurdling scream. Some even say that seeing the Invunche itself will cause a person to become so frightened that it freezes the intruder in place…permanently. Only the witches may look upon him without repercussions. But, according to Chilean folklore, the Invunche is said to have a minion of it’s own that does the beast’s bidding. This lesser creature is known as the Trelquehuecuve (yes, it’s a mouthful), a giant water monster which can be likened to a giant cowhide with eyes and claws around it’s perimeter that devours humans who get caught in the whirlpools (known elsewhere as El Cuero). This creature has been described as being brown in color, with splotches of white. When the Invunche is short on food (which is usually goat meat that, as the witch’s human sacrifices are considered to be too valuable to waste), the Trelquehuecuve lures young girls to the water’s edge, abducts the poor child, and presents them to the Invunche. The monster will then seize the girl and drain her blood completely. In some of the legends, the Invunche itself is allowed to leave the cave when food is scarce. It is said that he will hunt down young virgins and devour them.

As mentioned earlier, the Invunche itself is horribly misshapen and covered in thick black hair. The monster is described as having a round, balloon-shaped belly, long nails on its fingers, and a snake’s forked tongue. It walks about clumsily on two arms and its one good leg, although the creature is said to be able to leap about. Even though it was once human, the creature itself cannot speak and can only communicate by howling and grunting like an animal. Despite dwelling in a cave that is only accessible via a hidden subterranean lake, the Invunche cannot swim. And while the beast is usually forbidden from leaving the cave that it guards, on occasion the witches have a need to travel outside of the safety of their lair. For this, the witches use their shapeshifting abilities to fly their guardian slave out of the cave. The reason for this varies, as they may go out seeking food, human victims, or to spread evil amongst the local communities. What the coven’s goals truly are remains a mystery.

As tough as this abomination may be, it is possible to kill the Invunche. Because it was once human, the monster is still vulnerable to man-made weapons like cold steel and firearms. However, there is another difficult task to face beforehand: one must kill the Trelquehuecuve, the water beast that serves the Invunche. As this creature is said to be large in size and vicious towards humans, slaying the monster will not be an easy task. However, the Trelquehuecuve is more than likely susceptible to ordinary weapons. Only once it is dead can a man attempt to destroy the Invunche. As likely as not, killing this creature may prove to be difficult. It is said that not only can seeing the Invunche can permanently paralyze a person with fear: it may cause the victim’s mind to cross the boundaries of sanity into the realm of madness. Contemplating the horrific crimes against nature that the Invunche represents may accomplish the same result. In other words, trying to kill an Invunche is foolhardy and extremely dangerous. But if it is absolutely necessary, decapitation and excising the heart may prove to be a saving grace, followed by burning the remains. Legends do not give much detail as to how the Invunche may be dealt with.

However, there is a safer alternative. The Invunche guards the mouth of the cave, barring entry to all but the witches themselves. Legends say that, to gain admittance, one must kiss the Invunche on the ass. A bold, if somewhat frightening action. The reason for this may be that, culturally speaking, it is an utterly demeaning act that shows not only a hero’s inner strength, but his commitment to destroying evil and the willingness to humble himself for the greater good. The Invunche, for some unknown reason, will let him pass. Of course, once he’s dealt with the witches, he may have a fight to the death on his hands with the creature.

In the end, the Invunche represents an unspeakable crime against both God and humanity. It is an aberration, an unnatural creature born of evil and darkness. One is actually doing the monster a favor by putting the Invunche out of it’s misery before he deals with the witches. Then, God’s Wrath incarnate will come down upon them with a swift sword and send them both back to Hell, where they belong. In other words, do not follow in the footsteps of the Brujo Chilote!


Bane, Theresa. Actual Factual Dracula: A Compendium of Vampires. Randleman, NC: NeDeo Press. Copyright ©2007 by Theresa Bane.

Rose, Carol. Giants, Monsters & Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend, and Myth. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. Copyright ©2000 by Carol Rose.

Zenko, Darren. Field Guide to Monsters. Canada: Dragon Hill Publishing Ltd. Copyright ©2008 by Dragon Hill Publishing Ltd.


  1. I loved this. Very interesting read.

  2. Thank You, Beth. I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

  3. The Trelquehuecuve or Cuero is presumably based on a real freshwater stingray reported in the area: besides being wide and flat with bug eyes of the top of its head and the mouth underneath, it even has the signature sting in its tail.

  4. The cruel practice of deliberately deforming children is known in other Latin American countries as well, and it is historically known to have been practiced in china. Even so, the gross deformities described here are probably in no way indicative of whatever actual practices the child-deformers might be using. The Victor Hugo book He Who Laughs (and the films based on it) is a reference to the kidnapping and deforming children to sell them off as curiosities later, in this case by carving the boy's mouth into a hideous permanent grin. The same practice of kidnapping and deforming children was ascribed to certain Mexicans back in the days of the Old West.