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The Caleuche is a mythical ghost ship of the Chilote mythology and local folklore of the Chiloé Island, in Chile. It is one of the most important myths of the culture of Chile.



According to legend, the Caleuche is a large phantom ship sailing the seas around Chiloé at night; and it is a being who is conscious. It appears as a beautiful and bright sailing ship, always full of lights and with the sounds of a party onboard, but quickly disappears again, or hiding navigating underwater.

The myths claim it is crewed by the drowned, who are brought to the ship by three Chilote mythological figures, two sisters: the sirena chilota (a type of mermaid) and the Pincoya and their brother the Pincoy. Once aboard, the dead can resume an existence as if they were alive again. In the folklore of chiloé, also say that the evil Brujo Chilote (a type of sorcerer) likes to visit the party, which they can reach by summoning up magical caballo marino chilote (mythical creature similar to a water horse).

In fiction

In Alastair Reynolds's Chasm City, Caleuche is the name given to a ship trailing behind a flotilla of colony ships that is not supposed to be there and never responds to communication attempts. When the protagonist takes a shuttle to visit the ghost ship he discovers that it is really a space-faring alien creature that has assumed the appearance of one of the flotilla ships and is trying to hide amongst them from its own enemy.

See also

  • USOs (Unidentified submerged object)


  • Cárdenas , Antonio. El Triángulo del Pacífico. Imprenta ARCA. 1996. 74 p. (Spanish)
  • Mancilla Pérez, Juan. Magia y brujería en Chiloé. Secretos de Mitología. Medicina Popular. 2006. 74 p. (Spanish)
  • Michel Meurger, Claude Gagnon. Lake monster traditions: a cross-cultural analysis. Fortean Tomes, 1988.


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