El Silbón (The whistler) is a legendary figure in Colombia and Venezuela, associated especially with Los Llanos, described as a lost soul. The legend arose sometime in the middle of the 19th century.
According to the legend, the spirit is a youth who murdered and disembowelled his father for killing his wife, saying that she was a “slut”, and that she was asking for it. Afterwards, his grandfather ordered the youth to be tied to a post in the middle of the countryside, and lashed him until his back was destroyed. His wounds were then cleaned with alcohol and he was released with two rabid, starving dogs set upon him. Before releasing him, his grandfather condemned him to carry the bones of his father for all eternity.
It has a characteristic whistle that resembles the musical notes C, D, E, F, G, A, B in that order. Rising in tone to F, then lowering to B. It is said that when the whistling sounds close, there's no danger, and the whistler is far away, but when the whistling sounds distant, it means it is nearby. It is also said that hearing the whistling foretells your own death, and you can hear it anywhere at any time. In this situation, the only thing that can save you is the sound of a dog barking, as it is the only thing it is afraid of, a chili, or a whip. The spirit tends to take revenge on womanisers.
Many inhabitants of Los Llanos say that they have seen it, primarily in the summer, a time when the Venezuelan savannah burns in the harsh drought. The whistler sits in the trees and gathers dust in his hands. But it is mainly on rainy or humid days that the spirit wanders, hungry for death, and eager to punish drunkards, womanisers or sometimes innocent victims. It is said that it sucks the alcohol out of drunkards through their navel when it finds them alone, and that it tears womanisers to pieces, removes their bones, and puts them in the sack where it keeps the remains of its father.
Some versions say it appears as a giant of about six metres that moves about the treetops, creaking, and emitting its chilling whistle. Inside its old and tattered sack lie the bones of its father, or according to some renditions, its multiple victims. Other versions say he appears as the shadow of a tall thin man, with a hat, and goes after drunkards most of all.
They say that the whistler can appear by a house on certain nights, drop his sack on the ground and count the bones one by one. If anyone hears it, nothing will happen, but if no one hears it before dawn, one member of the family will never wake up again.
- "El Silbón". Leyendas Urbanas. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- "Leyendas venezolanas que te dejarán con la piel de gallina | Correo del Orinoco". www.correodelorinoco.gob.ve. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- "Leyenda del silbón, sinfín o finfín - Llanera.com - un solo llano". www.llanera.com. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- "La leyenda del Silbón de Venezuela | Historias de nuestra Historia". Historias de nuestra Historia. Retrieved 7 April 2016.