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A. Sutherland – AncientPages.com – Chonchon (Spanish: ‘chonchón’) is a mythical, terrifying bird from the beliefs of the Araucanian (Mapuchen) people who mostly inhabit the Central Valley of Chile, south of the Biobío River. A smaller group lives in Neuquén province, west-central Argentina.

 Chonchon ‘Tue Tue’ Bird With Human Head Brought Bad Omens To Places It Haunted In Beliefs Of Mapuche Indians

A painting depicting a chonchon. Image credit: Fpini – CC BY-SA 3.0

The chonchon legend – still remembered today – tells about the ancient belief that certain people can willingly become this creature.

The Chonchon or Tue-Tue is a bird that brings bad omens and bad luck to the places it haunts.

It refers to a sorcerer who used magic lotion on his neck that makes his head detach from his body and fly everywhere to make his terrifying tricks of evil, especially on dark nights.

The person (‘a kalku’, a Mapuche sorcerer) has the ability to transform and emit its fateful tue-tue cry.

‘Chonchon’ word is not of Mapuche origin, but it has a Chilean and Argentinian origin and designates the Mapuche concept of “chonchon woman.”

As with all legends, this one has various versions but mainly refers to a sorcerer who applies magical potions to the neck. This peculiar practice enables the sorcerer’s head to separate from the body, and then the head flies around freely, doing terrifying tricks of evil.

Certain Mapuche sorceresses temporarily transform themselves into the little bird choñchoñ to inflict damage due to evil or mischievous adventures. This bird is the subject of many Mapuche tales. In Chile, even any ugly and ominous person is often called ’Chonchona’.

A mythical bird found in the Mapuche religion and in Chilean and South Argentine folk tales is shaped like a human head with feathers, talons, and large ears that serve as wings.

Legend says the chonchon is the result of a magical transformation performed by ‘a kalku’.

However, not all kalkus have the ability to become this feared creature. Only the chosen ones are said to possess the proper knowledge to become this frightening creature temporarily.

According to the myths, the kalku practices black magic and attempts to deceive people by taking the appearance of this dreadful bird.

To transform into a chonchon, the kalku willingly subjects herself to a change. This is made possible by applying a cream with magical effects on their throat. The unique properties of it enable the head to separate from the body, creating the chonchon from the detached head.

Chonchon ‘Tue Tue’ Bird With Human Head Brought Bad Omens To Places It Haunted In Beliefs Of Mapuche Indians

Source: Monster Fandom – Fair Use

The chonchon is essentially a human head covered with feathers and claws. Its oversized ears, double as wings, allow roaming the sky during moonless nights, and its voice proclaim ‘bad luck’. The creature holds the same magical abilities as a kalku, the sorceress, and is only visible to other magic practitioners or those who desire such power.

Sorcerers switch into the chonchon (whether it is a flying head or a bird) to carry out their wicked deeds.

This transformation endows them with extra powers, such as the ability to consume the blood of the ill or asleep or cause people to suffer misfortunes.

The chonchon, with its fearsome appearance, remains unseen to those unfamiliar with it. However, its unique and ominous call of “tue tue tue” is audible to all. This sound is widely regarded as a terrible warning sign that frequently foretells a tragic event.

Chonchón – a flying head or the ‘head of a kalku’) usually appears in peasant villages, and it is particularly dangerous when harassed.

There are many different tales devoted to the flying chonchon. One story tells that some girls in a village had joked a bit about him. The next day, in the early morning hours, a man came to one of the girl’s home, and knocked on the door. He looked old and thin, and he demanded the salt that the young woman had offered him.

When she handed it to him, he arrogantly said: “Don’t make fun of the passing people again…”

Chonchon ‘Tue Tue’ Bird With Human Head Brought Bad Omens To Places It Haunted In Beliefs Of Mapuche Indians

Mapuche people. Credit: Adobe Stock – acrogame

Another version of the story says that to other people in the village, Chonchón was presented for lunch. This time, he was not an old man but an elegant and nice-looking gentleman who grabbed the saltshaker, put it in his trouser pocket, and politely said goodbye. It’s important to remember not to offer these individuals any gifts. There are reports that they come back in their human form demanding what was offered, and so far, it is unknown what could happen if you refuse them…

Written by – A. Sutherland  – AncientPages.com Senior Staff Writer

Copyright © AncientPages.com All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without thexpress written permission of AncientPages.com




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