Some impressive South American poltergeist cases have never made it to the English paranormal literature. One such report took place in Cutún, Chile in 1976.
The rather lengthy article below is from the website of the Chilean Instituto de Investigacion y Estudios Exobiologicos and was written by Sergio Alcayaga, who kindly gave me permission to translate it and feature the lightly edited version here.
This case had everything; falling stones, human bones, candles, banging doors, strange sounds and a mysterious floating man with red eyes. There seems to be little documentation of the case beyond Alcayaga’s report, so I would welcome any Chilean readers efforts to find out more about this extraordinary outbreak.
WHAT HAPPENED IN CUTÚN IN 1976?
Author: Sergio Alcayaga
The phenomenon occurred in 1976 in the town of Cutún (Region IV). Events that occurred in the area were widely covered in the media. Today, there is still no accurate explanation for the incredible events reported at that time.
Rains of human bones, stones, horseshoes, nails, chairs flying, jumping dolls, scratched people, etc. All of these phenomena were recorded in the simple home of a young couple, who were on the verge of utter despair.… we enter into this case through.. the testimonies of the time, trying throughout to maintain objectivity, necessary with this type of phenomena.
Among the most visited places in the Norte Chico Chile is the Elqui Valley. Located about 70 kms inside La Serena, this Valley offers many tourist attractions which make it very popular, especially in the summer. The heyday of the Valley was in the 80s, as it was a favourite place of contactee groups, who conducted spiritual meetings and developed communication techniques with those they called the “Big Brothers”.
Most of the history of the Valley… can be found in the book “Elqui, the Sky is Closer” by the journalist and Chilean writer Malu Sierra… the town of Cutún, a town that seems to denote the passage of time…locals are all kind and friendly people. In general, it is not difficult to have a conversation with them.
The oldest inhabitants of the sector are… people who are engaged in household chores and generally live their retirement with their livestock. However, talking to them, they apparently still have not forgotten the incredible events of 1976… events terrifying and scary beyond all rational logic.
… Here we present an investigation through interviews with the closest and most credible people who had some involvement in those days. This research was conducted almost 10 years ago for a television TVN (National Television of Chile) program called the “Least Expected”, however the case could not be recreated because of the refusal of the protagonist of this story (Nicasio Torres) to give an interview…
[The Cropster: Various interviews with witnesses follow].
Testimony of Haidé Carvajal, Resident in the town of Las Rojas (near the village of Cutún).
I: How did you hear about the events in the house of Nicasio Torres?
A: … the Torres family were our neighbors, our houses being separated by only a few metres. During the course of an evening…Nicasio came to our house our very scared and trying to get help. In my house were at that time my husband Angel Orrego and his uncle Gabriel Orrego. They could see that Nicasio was very scared and upset. My uncle Gabriel asked him to calm down so that… Nicasio could tell them what happened. Nicasio gasped for air and told them that something amazing was happening at his home, there were stones falling on the roof and he did not know where they came from.
At that moment Gabriel called for calm and asked Nicasio to return to his home, for surely it must be a joke of some of the children in the area. After a while Nicasio tried to calm down and then returned home. Nicasio appeared again in the afternoon the next day for help, my husband and his uncle again asked him to be calm and to try and thoroughly investigate the incident. They asked him to observe the direction of the stones and thus make possible the identification the joker. Nicasio reported that strange stones were also falling from the ceiling of his house. Gabriel at that time laughed and asked him to rest, surely it was his imagination, Nicasio was more upset than the day before and very desperate when he went home that day.
I: Did you visit the Nicasio house?
A: Yes, but the moment I saw stones and human bones falling from the ceiling, I never again visited that house.
I: Did you ever handle those bones?
A: No, I never dared to touch them.
I: What was what most impressive about this case of a haunted house?
A: It was one evening when I was with Rosa, Mrs. Nicasio, when suddenly… there appeared a pale haired, black, medium height man, and asked if Nicasio was home. Rosa replied that he was at work. At that time the man then asked Rosa to tell Nicasio that “he would be expected at eleven fifty-five at night over there,” pointing to the Cutún hill that is a few hundred meters from Nicasio’s house.
I: What is the strangest thing that distinguished this man?
A: His eyes were red.
Interview with Gabriel Orrego.
I: Can we describe chronologically the incidents that occurred in the so -called haunted house?
A: It was 1976. I remember the day and the month.. it was around six o’clock when Nicasio appeared in our house, very nervous, saying that strange things were happening. I asked him to calm down and more accurately describe what happened.
…Nicasio told me that at his home there were “… stones raining from the ceiling.” I did not believe… and advised him to be quiet and go home to rest. The next day Nicasio came again and I reacted incredulously. It was not until the next day, when Nicasio came for the third time, at which point I decided to go to his house.
I remember at that time my nephew joined us and my friends Angel Orrego & Manuel Rojo. Upon arriving at the house of Nicasio there was absolute calm, so I thought it really could be just imagination. I spent about an hour in Nicasio’s house and decided to go to my residence, but first I wanted to take a little water… I opened one of the back doors of Nicasio’s house … at that moment when I opened the door, a small stone went through my feet and came to rest in the house.
Believing that it was a prankster… I urged the prankster to finish their game, then a small stone fell on my shoulder, but I failed to identify its place of origin. After a moment we left with Angel and Manuel to explore the area and did not find anyone.
We decided to stay… we sat at the table and waited for another possible “rain of stones” from that unknown prankster. We did not wait more than fifteen minutes when three heavy blows were felt on the table. We were perplexed by not knowing the origin of those blows. We decided to stay up later to watch the… events that may happen in that house. When evening came, the situation became calm. When we decided to leave Nicasio’s house and retire to bed.
At the time of abandonment of the house we observed… Mrs. Nicasio, was with her little daughter in her arms, when suddenly a rag doll, which held small needles she used as a seamstress, jumped from the wall to the floor. The doll then gave a leap from the ground towards her daughter, then bounced through one of the open doors.
I was very pensive that night, as I thought that these events must have a rational explanation. The next day before heading to our work, we decided to visit the house of Nicasio at 8am in order to try to locate the hopping doll. After a few minutes of searching I located it in the henhouse in the courtyard.
With respect to the events that happened later, I can only inform you that those phenomena became increasingly strange and unusual, becoming increasingly impossible to explain within the context of rational logic.
I: Of the events occurred which were the ones that most impressed you?
A: It is difficult to select which… were most impressive, since I was accompanying Nicasio from the moment he came to that house, until further departure from this town, and things that I witnessed were all stunning… in my life I have witnessed nothing like it…
I remember one afternoon around 1900 hours, Nicasio, my nephew and I, we prepared to go for a walk.. when Nicasio took care to leave all the doors and windows of (the) house closed. As we left the home, the doors and windows opened abruptly.
Stunned (at) that scene, my nephew and I recommend Nicasio not enter the house, because we can (check around) and close the house up again. The amazing thing is that with my nephew we could not close any doors and windows as they offered incredible resistance. I looked carefully through the cracks… where I found small stones, which were the cause of the problem.
After removing the stones… which my nephew also observed… Nicasio walked by as if in a trance in the yard, following something that perhaps only he could see. Noticing this, we tried to immediately leave the house in order to catch up, but nevertheless unexpectedly all the doors and windows of the house were closed, making it impossible to open them. After a few minutes of trying to grapple with the doors and windows, we finally went out to try and catch him…
The same day Nicasio communicated to me what had happened, it was the Carnival of Vicuña… if I’m not mistaken, so almost all the inhabitants of this sector attended this festival that day… when they were preparing to leave the house… suddenly a wind of great magnitude was present inside the home, this caused doors and windows to give way against the pressure caused by the wind. Together with the presence of such turbulence we heard a very strong and extremely sharp whistle, which forced… everyone that was present to cover their ears, leaving.. the house… we found that the phenomenon only happened within the abode of Nicasio’s house, as outside the house was complete tranquility.
I also remember when Nicasio found a round candle, with a map inscribed on it. Nicasio tried to copy on a sheet of paper the map inscribed on the candle, but nevertheless it disappeared inexplicably. Part of the map… was published in the newspaper “La Serena Day”.
I: Do I understand you found a dead body, near where these strange forces (were attacking) Nicasio?
A: Indeed, a friend of mine told me of the existence of this body, after a thorough search we found the bones of the deceased which, according to my friend, was a victim of smallpox.
I: Were there seances in Nicasio’s home to address this case?
A: There were many parapsychologists and psychics…who tried to give many solutions to the phenomena that developed, but none of them was really effective.
The crosses of Palqui (3) were destroyed by an invisible hand only the minutes after being placed… not even… holy water was powerful enough to stop the advance of this phenomena.
I remember that… the case was assisted by some Argentine parapsychologists, who upon entering the house could see the large number of abnormal events presented there. Once one of the parapsychologists recommended that an altar be placed in honor of the Virgin of Andacollo inside the house, for this a coffee table was established with a white tablecloth and an image of the Virgin that they took care to place, however after a few seconds after the image being placed, the whole table was launched by an unknown force to the ground.
This was repeated three times. On the last attempt, when the parapsychologist discovered that the force… present in the house was very powerful… he decided to withdraw quickly from the place…
But it was not only parapsychologists… investigating the events (and) phenomena at Nicasio’s home, but also… Professors (from) the University of Chile who came attracted by the phenomenon of light surrounding the house, that was another interesting thing that could be seen in that place, since at that time there was no electricity, but nevertheless, it was amazing how you could see a luminosity produced spontaneously, I would say… light surrounded the house of Torres, (so) these teachers were (there) to investigate this phenomenon.
As we followed the indications of parapsychologists, there was a time when we decided to follow some tips from some friends in the industry, for which place a glass of water in the center of a table and let a sheet of paper and with it a charcoal pencil. We allowed a period of fifteen minutes for a supposed ‘spirit’ to write on paper We spent fifteen minutes and nothing happened. However the next day one of the many people who attended since the house of Torres, took the paper and… observed the following message “Take care of your wife… very soon I’ll take her to the afterlife”.
I: In the various seances that were made… did (you) make some contact with some strange force?
A: There were whispers and strange voices heard within those sessions… it was elucidated that a supposed spirit had called Nicasio to (a local) hill, exactly at 23:55 hrs. However Nicasio never had the courage (to) attend this invitation!
Strangely, paranormal activity always intensified as the night progressed and (at) 23:55 would bring a rain of stones on the house. Bones of corpses were falling on our shoulders and (there were) scratches on the walls. On this last point I remember… once I jumped out of the window of the house to the outside… since no one dared to leave when these scratches were produced and we could as if an invisible hand (was) the cause, as (the) wood was showing small traces that were produced spontaneously upon it.
The situation at that time, as you know, was quite delicate so meeting other people was quite difficult, as any group could be considered suspicious in the eyes of the military authorities of the time. At the last meeting… a parapsychologist was entranced, while bones and candles fell from the ceiling or were suddenly deposited… on our shoulders.
A Parapsychologist, if I remember correctly, observed that a strange presence had approached the house… at that moment the military violently broke into the house, (forced) us all on the floor and treated us all like animals… I remember one of the military kept part of the bones that fell from the ceiling this time, but much to their surprise, these vanished on the way.
I: Have you ever had contact with these bones of corpses?
A: Yes, countless times I confess that often keep part of these bones, stones and even candles that also fell from the ceiling, but these disappeared inexplicably only the minutes of contact with them.
I: Have you ever heard of the existence or saw a strange man who was seeking Nicasio?
A: Yeah, I’ve never been so scared in my life as when I had to face that man. That man appeared about three times looking for Nicasio, and always with the same phrase and turning to his wife: “Tell him I hope he knows where”.
The conclusion to which different parapsychologists arrived who studied the case, is that man represented a combination of negative forces that had materialised in order to face this concentration of negative energies…
As I realised one day in the presence of this man, I went to meet him, but yet to reach a distance about four meters from this character I could see a pale man, wearing a coffee coloured jacket, impeccable black shoes and black hair. This man came through the gate outside my property, when suddenly I saw him and I froze. To my surprise this man was levitating about 50 cms. above the ground and suddenly he turned 90 degrees to stare at me penetratingly. For the first time I felt fear that made me sweat. This man turn 90 degrees again and resumed his initial path and then vanished. There were several eyewitnesses to the fact that are still in the village.
Interview with parapsychologist “Don Justo” Name: “Don Justo” Address : Company Lowers Serena
It is impossible to make a stop in this part of the round of interviews with the aim of describing Don Justo, as it is a person worthy to describe. With its 80 years it has a rare physical condition for a person of his age, tall and strong. Alertness incredible as it seems to remember even the smallest details of your life. It has a little wrinkled face and a great physical prowess. The currently has a consultation where he serves as a medium with the aim to help people with their different problems by channeling communications and receiving support from spiritual entities.
I: Don? How do you define yourself; parapsychologist, mentalist, psychic?
A: I do not fit in any of these definitions, since I have never considered myself a mentalist, clairvoyant parapsychologist. I can only tell you that I consider myself as an ordinary person who has the gift to communicate with spirits.
I: According to the research I have done, you had participation in seances in the Cutún case, Elqui Valley?
A: Ah, I knew that someone would again ask about that case, although it’s been over twenty years since the last session I did in that place.
I: What do you remember those sessions?
A: I was always reluctant to work there. I did not like having public appearances, especially in a case that was widely publicised by the press at the time, and the large number of people visiting the place. I decided to become a participant in a few sessions to see the possibility of providing help. Upon entering the house I could notice a strange atmosphere. I immediately touched the walls … I immediately realised that the house was charged. Subsequently, I asked the people who were present to sit around a table to log the number of people who were in the place. I remember perfectly that they were in total 13 (including me).
(As we concentrated) we began to hear scratches on the walls and strange whispers. I immediately asked the spirit who it was or what it wanted and everyone heard a voice saying to us “I want Nicasio”. I asked who wanted him and the voice said “to wait for me to eleven fifty five of the night in the Cutún hill”. At the time Nicasio said “Okay, I’ll go but only accompanied by Don Justo”. The voice replied , “you must go alone”, then Nicasio replied “okay, but he can go one hundred meters behind me”. The voice then responded , “No, you must go alone”.
At that moment I stood from the table and began to tour the house, where I could visualize three dead and buried people. I returned to my seat where I tried to concentrate more to speak with that spirit. I asked “Who are you”?, and the voice answered me. “I am the grandfather of Nicasio” , then I asked you “What you really want?”. The voice answered me “I want Nicasio to go to Cutún Hill at 12 o’clock.” Intrigued I asked “What for ?” and the voice said “I’ll give you a burial…” I replied “Do you see the light at the end of the tunnel” and the answer was “Yes”. I commanded him to continue to that light, since the end of the tunnel was his mother waiting for him, and the voice replied, “I’m going, but I will return”. This was my last conversation with the spirit…I must impress on you when I was in trance bones, stones and candles were falling from the ceiling.
Suddenly I could visualise vehicles and people arriving… in this I felt a strong blow that came from a left at the door of the house… The military entered and pointed machine guns at us. I quickly counted the number of people who were sitting at the table and this time we had fourteen, apparently…these military infiltrated the house during the session, after that, they took us to the regiment where we were kicked and insulted.
After recovering my freedom I never again saw Nicasio or his family, I’ve only heard news that is in Copiapó and well.
Interview with Don Fernando Moraga, a businessman and a journalist by profession. Resident at La Serena
I: How did you hear of the Cutún case?
A: The Cutún case caused quite a stir at the time, it was widely reported by local and national press. At that time, I worked as a special editor of the newspaper “The Day” for the fourth region and also as a special editor of “Diario Atacama” in Copiapo. I had told my brother who was in Germany, who asked me to investigate the case as he was investigating something similar that happened to an actress in Germany.
I did some research about the place and discovered that it was interesting from the archaeological and paleontological point of view. In Cutún, which in the native language means ‘mishmash’, it was one of the first Spanish villages where indoctrination of the native people was conducted.
Upon meeting Nicasio, he seemed a perfectly normal person, no vices or insane attitudes, that is an absolutely balanced person. Nicasio worked as an agronomist, a profession he studied at the Agricultural School of La Serena. His family was originally from Paihuano and Admiral La Torre. I offered my help to Nicasio with the aim of reaching a possible conclusion of the phenomena that he happened to him. I had also had him assisting me as a music teacher and basic general education in addition to kindergarten in the school of music…
In conducting the interview with Nicasio I realized that he was under pressure from the contingent reality, because in those times there was a very strong pressure by the government of the Armed Forces against the people over land reform. One day we specified an interview that was at around 16:30 hrs. I asked Nicasio to lie down on his bed, and try to feel comfortable. I was on one side of the bed and on the other side was the photographer Nelson Varas… Nicasio at that moment asked me to observe a goatskin that was on the floor… we spent some minutes and goatskin remained perfectly still.
I wanted Nicasio to understand Nicasio that perhaps many of the things that were happening were only in his imagination. At that moment, when Nicasio was upset, and shouted that it was more unbelievers who were visiting him, I could see that a ball of thread jumped from a dresser that was in front of the bed and hit my chest.
Nicasio told me that what if this event was not enough for us to believe him? I asked him to calm down, this should have a rational explanation. Curiously when I picked up the ball of string from the floor it was hot. Seconds later, a stuffed animal jumped from the wall where Mrs. Nicasio was fixing her needles.
I went to look for someone behind the wall, thinking that someone could have snuck up behind her, but did not see anyone at all. I picked up the bear and this also was strangely warm. These facts were enough to send Miguel, the photographer, running out of the house. After a few minutes I left the house, then a a stone of unknown origin fell on my shoulder. Whenever these phenomena occurred Nicasio’s little daughter was crying.
I: Have you ever heard of any kind of scientific analysis has been performed in place?
A: Yes, I have a knowledge of some. There were lots of bones falling from the sky and a rain of stones and nails. Incredibly, the bones that were stored each time for analysis crumbled, and also the stones. There was a friend of mine, Fernando Galleguillos who managed to bring some bones for chemical Fernando Valleta, who apparently managed to get certain analysis in Herradura.
Galleguillos also managed to bring a nail that fell from the ceiling, but decided to give it to Don Heriberto Maxwell at that time was a professor of ITESA (Institute of General Education of La Serena). The reason why Fernando decided to give the nail to Heriberto was that Fernando when he had the nail in his house he began to have more marital problems, so he thought that the presence of that nail in your home could be the cause of such evils…
I: Did you find any logical explanation for these phenomena?
A: In all my research of paranormal phenomena occurring in the region, this was always the most interesting. In my opinion these phenomena clearly represent a case of “de -energizing” produced through the person of Nicasio Torres.
I: What do you mean “de-energization”?
A: All persons are surrounded by electromagnetic fields, which under certain conditions change in certain types of people, these fields are capable of undergoing significant changes such as increasing the intensity of this field, by which can produce phenomena such as telekinesis .
I: But how do you explain, if the brightness of the house, where there was no electricity in the sector?
A: Well, on occasions certain chemical reactions that can be caused by the release of strong doses of magnesium from the bones of people, these doses of magnesium may enter certain constraints in producing combustion brightness may occur. Unfortunately given the political conditions of the time, coupled with little technological progress in our country, this case could not be adequately investigated.
I: Have you ever participated in seances?
A: Never, all I have learned that in the last meeting… the military broke abruptly into it, due to the political situation of those times…these meetings were prohibited.
According to my research, the person in charge of this operation was…General Juan Emilio Cheyre who took the bones that had fallen from the sky after leaving the sector with the detainees. Upon reaching the regiment the bones they were carrying disappeared.
I: Have you come into contact with Nicasio?
A: If, he was..in Hornitos in Copiapo, he began working with grapes and so far the situation has improved considerably. When I had contact with him he told me he would never have returned to repeat the terrible events of Cutún.
Witnesses Nelson Alcayaga And Ruthy Chelme. Occupation Nelson Alcayaga: Taxi Driver. Profession Mrs. Ruthy Chelme: Social Worker. Domiciled in La Serena.
I: Nelson; How did you meet Nicasio?
A: Because of my job as a taxi driver… in 1976, I made several trips to different parts of Chile, even to San Juan, Argentina. At that time I remember making contact with Nicasio Torres, an agricultural technician who had come to Cutún.
Nicasio’s family were quite modest people, but with a good cultural level. I remember Nicasio was an agronomist and several times I had…trips with him to La Serena. After having settled some time in Cutún we became good friends. I remember one particular day I met him, strange things had started to happen at his home.
I’ve never been skeptical of this phenomenon, so I asked him to let me go home, he told me to come but to try to go at night. That was how I decided to go to him, and was at his home where I could actually see strange things, like a light that covered the entire house, bones of bodies falling from the roof of the house, as well as stones and candles. The fact achieved much excitement in the media local and national press, if I remember I even in the magazine “Look” published this event.
I: Can you restate these facts, ma’am Ruthy?
A: Of course. Several times I went to the house of Torres and I was in several seances that took place in that house. The paranormal activity that manifested in that home was very difficult to explain… when events such as the fall of bones of corpses, rain of stones or appearance of candles occur, they are virtually impossible to explain these phenomena. In my opinion they became increasingly inexplicable.
I: What struck you (Nelson) the most?
A: Hard to say which of all the facts was more shocking. I remember one morning I visited the house of Nicasio and to my surprise found Nicasio with… scratches on his face, when I asked why those scratches he told me that something had done it at night, while he was sleeping.
I: And you Mrs. Ruthy, what he did most impacted?
A: I agree that it is also difficult to determine. I remember once we were heading to visit Nelson in our car when suddenly we could see a man with a suit, the same colour as coffee…contrary to our sense. The impression was that this man came floating a few centimeters above the ground, so Nelson abruptly stopped the car, which made us almost slam against the window of the vehicle. When we return our eyes to the road this man had disappeared. I also remember that in the last seance to which attended, dropped a (bone from a dead body?) on the shoulder of Nicasio. Unfortunately during this session the military stormed the meeting, treating us very badly. After that he could not keep doing more meetings.
I: Don Nelson I understand that at the last meeting, two police officers were involved …?
A: Yes, they were my friends, they died some years ago.
I: Was an exorcism or some intervention of the Catholic Church performed?
A: Not exactly an exorcism. It was a time when the priest named Rogelio Boxer decided to visit the place and apparently could see the manifestations of some of these phenomena I have detailed. The priest decided to take the doll where needles are stabbed, because this doll seemed to take on its own life. He took it to the church San Francisco de la Serena, where apparently the doll was burned. He never wanted to discuss the facts with the press.
I: Have you seen Nicasio?
A: A few years ago I found him in the Elqui Valley… and he asked me to take a walk by Cutún, when we passed by more or less… what was his home. A large black dog crossed the road which made me stop abruptly. I never know where it came from… it may have been a coincidence. Since that time I have not seen him.
Youtube features a drone-view of the ruins of the Torres house taken in 2016.