fear of change, ghost ship, Caleuche, shapeshifter, legends of Chiloé, Nicolás Serrano, Destiny at Dolphin Bay, Chiloé Islands, Chile, transformation, fears

The Fear of Change

Reading through Dr. Bernardo Quintana’s mythology treatise, Chiloé Mitológico, I’m struck once again by the background motivation of fear in so many of the rites and rituals, tall tales and strictly-timed tasks. Fear of the spirits and the sickness they cause. Terror of darkness and death and the dead, as manifested in the story of…

shapeshifter, the great shapeshifter, the ghost ship Caleuche, legends of Chiloé, Chiloé Islands, Chile, Destiny at Dolphin Bay, dead sailors, white sailing ship, mythology, legends, phantom ship, heaven, shipwrecks

The Great Shapeshifter

The name of the Chiloé Islands’ legendary ghost ship, the Caleuche, literally means “shapeshifter.” It derives from the Huilliche words, caleutún, meaning “to change condition,” and che, “people.” Possibly chosen because of the ship’s many transformations, the name could also refer to the changes in its crew from dead to alive, from torment to bliss,…