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the invunche

In the Chilote folklore and Chilote mythology of the Chiloé Island in southern Chile, the imbunche or invunche or achucho de la cueva is a legendary monster that protects the entrance to a warlock's cave.


According to legend, the invunche was a male child kidnapped by, or sold by his parents to a Brujo Chilote (a type of sorcerer or warlock of Chiloé).

The Brujo chilote transformed the child into a deformed hairy monster by breaking his legs and twisting them over his back, applying a magic cream over the boy's back to cause thick hairs and, finally splitting his tongue to produce a forked, snake-like, tongue.


Invunche utters ugly grunts in place of speech. When he goes in search of food it is on three feet, getting along in leaps and letting out bloodcurdling yells scaring anyone who hears them. If anyone sees him they are frozen to the spot forever. The only beings who can look at him without risk are witches. When he has to leave the cavern for some foul purpose he is carried in the air between the witches.

It is said that witches feed the invunche with dead flesh. They start with milk from a "gata" (this means female cat, but this makes reference to a "Indian wet-nurse"); later they give to the child "cabrito" flesh (this makes reference to little child flesh), and after this they give him flesh from "chivo" (flesh from an adult person).

Walking on three feet the invunche watches the witches' cave gate. When someone wants to come into the witches' cave he or she has to pay homage to the Invunche and give him a kiss in the ass.


  • The travel writer, Bruce Chatwin, gives an interesting account of Chilote witchcraft and the invunche in his book In Patagonia.
  • British comic book writer Alan Moore wrote a version of the Invunche which is very similar to Chatwin's description during his run on Swamp Thing.