The Whistling Sound or “El Tunchi” is a scary legend from Peru about an evil spirit that haunts the rainforest.
The whistling sound is a well-known legend in the Peruvian rainforest. Stories about the evil spirit they call El Tunchi have been passed on from generation to generation in Peru. They say it is the ghost of a troubled man who wandered off, became lost and disoriented and died in the rainforest.
His evil spirit now roams through the forest, whistling at those unlucky enough to cross his path. His whistling sound is high-pitched and as it goes on, it gets louder and louder until it is almost unbearable. “Fiu fiu fiu fiu fiu fiu fiu”.
The natives who know the story say that if you hear the whistling sound, you must beware. Make the sign of the cross and say a prayer. Cover your ears if you must, but never acknowledge that you hear anything. If you do, the sound will only get louder as El Tunchi draws nearer and nearer. Whatever you do, you must never answer El Tunchi’s whistle. If you whistle back, El Tunchi will come for you and kill you in the most hideous way imaginable.
Legend has it that there was a young Catholic nun, named Sister Bernadette, who had just taken her vows in Spain. She was sent to Peru as a missionary and joined a group of older nuns who had been living and doing charity work in a small village in the rainforest.
Soon afterwards, the nuns took a trip by boat to visit a remote village in the rainforest. That night, the nuns gathered in the center of the village to say the rosary before going to bed. This was a tradition they observed every night.
During the second Hail Mary, the young Sister Bernadette interrupted the prayers.
“What is that whistling sound?” she asked.
The older nuns did not answer her and continued with their prayers.
“Can’t you hear it?” she asked again. “It’s a high-pitched whistling sound.”
“There’s no whistling sound”, replied one of the older nuns nervously.
“You must hear it”, insisted Sister Bernadette. “It’s almost like the sound of a fingernail scraping against a blackboard, but it’s somehow different… like the whistle of some strange creature.”
“You don’t hear it and neither do we”, hissed another nun.
The old nuns all eyed eachother nervously and remained silent. Sister Bernadette was surprised by their bizarre behavior.
“What? You must be able to hear it! It’s getting louder! It’s awful!” she cried, and with that, she began whistling, answering the strange sound.
The moment the young nun answered the whistling sound, it abruptly ceased. Sister Bernadette continued whistling, despite the protests of the other nuns. The older nuns blessed themselves, making the sign of the cross, and said a prayer.
The nuns all went to bed as usual. That same night, while they were all asleep, they heard a piercing scream coming from the room in which Sister Bernadette was staying. The older nuns rushed to help her, but when they opened her door, they recoiled in horror.
The room was covered from floor to ceiling in blood, and Sister Bernadette was nowhere to be found. Days later, her body was discovered deep within the rainforest, hanging from a tree. Her throat had been torn out and her arms and legs were broken and twisted at odd angles. Most distressing of all was the look of unimaginable horror that remained frozen on her face.
Officially, she was listed as having been killed by a wild animal, but the old nuns knew what had happened to her. The local villagers had told them all about El Tunchi and the terrible fate that awaited anyone who answered its strange whistling call.
Another story involves a 14-year old girl whose father was working as an English teacher in a small village in the Peruvian rainforest. One day, the girl was looking out the window when she spotted a dark shadow moving through the forest. She heard a strange whistling sound and began to answer it.
The teacher returned home to find his daughter standing at the window, whistling a strange tune.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Whistling at that dark figure over there in the trees”, she replied.
The teacher froze and the hair on the back of his neck stood up. He had heard the legends about El Tunchi and knew what was happening. In a panic, he grabbed his daughter and dragged her upstairs to her bedroom. He bolted the bedroom door tightly and closed the shutters on the windows.
The young girl was terrified as she watched her father get down on his knees and start lighting candles. She was crying and asking her father what was wrong, but all he would say was “El Tunchi! El Tunchi!” Suddenly, she heard an almighty crash against the door to her bedroom.
Without thinking twice, her father pushed her into the closet and locked her inside. Then he broke the key off in the lock. Inside the closet, the frightened girl could hear her father crying and saying prayers.
Just then, she heard the bedroom door burst open and her father began screaming in horror. The bedroom windows shattered and glass rained down on the wooden floor. The girl covered her ears as her father’s screams faded off into the distance.
The next morning, the girl was found by one of the villagers who was investigating the damage to the house. She was taken to a hospital and treated for shock. Her father had disappeared and his body was never found. The girl was adopted by her aunt and uncle and even today, she still sleeps inside a locked closet at night. She says she lives in fear that someday El Tunchi is going to return for her.