Known as El Silbón, or the Whistler, this urban myth originated during the 1850s in Venezuela's Los Llanos region. Hearing his whistle from far away is a sign of impending doom and death.
There are different versions of the origins but a common theme is a son who murders his father. In one case he is justified in the killing when he returns home to find his father abusing his wife. Another story is not so kind, and describes a young man who is spoiled by his parents. He demands his father go to hunt a deer for him, and when his father returns empty-handed he kills him instead. He gives the heart and liver to his mother to cook.
The mother eventually understands that she is eating her own husband. She curses her son for eternity. The grandfather of the family punishes him by lashing his back and then rubbing lemon, salt and pepper into the wounds. A rabid, starving dog named Tureco is set to chase him and nip at his heels endlessly. His grandfather adds his own curse for good measure, which is to carry his father's bones.
Tradition explains that when the Silbón arrives at a house at night, he unloads the bag and counts the bones one by one; if no one can hear it, a family member dies at dawn ...
Upon hearing his whistle, if it sounds close you are safe. If far away danger is imminent and it could foretell your death.
Sightings of the Whistler are more common in the summer when droughts burn the savannas to a crisp. He sits in the limbs of the trees and gather dust with his hands.
However it is during rainy days that he wanders about seeking to punish womanizers, drunkards and sometimes the innocent.
His whistle, in particular, catches the ears of drunks and angry men
When he comes across an alcoholic he sucks out blood and liquor through their navel, until they are lifeless. Womanizers receive worse treatment, since they are torn to pieces, and he puts their bones in his sack.
He is described as very tall and thin wearing a hat, and a sack slung over a shoulder
Safeguards against the Whistler is the sound of a dog barking, pepper or a whip. All of these are reminders of his punishment.
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