Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day LVII - Chonchon

Head of ill omen,
Under the kalku's power,
Huge flapping ears,

A fearsome entity flapping though the skies in Mapuche mythology, the Chonchon is pretty much a human head with feathers and talons. Known for its distinctive "tue tue tue" cry, the most outstanding aspects of the Chonchon are its immense ears which operate as wings and carry the creature through the air on moonless nights. The big-eared beastie is viewed as a creature of bad luck in Chilean and Argentinean folklore and is frequently associated with wicked sorcery. A Chonchon comes into being when an evil kalku (shaman) applies magic cream to the throat of the poor victim at which point the head detaches and the person is transformed into the sorcerer's servant. Taking flight, the Chonchon then does the kalku's bidding, taking its talons to do despicable deeds and also possibly suck the blood of sleepers. Listen out for "tue tue tue" and look out for a pair of enormous ear-wings lest you end up assailed by the unnerving airborne head of South American legend: the dark magic version of Dumbo.

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