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|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Spanish Wikipedia. (December 2009)|
The Cherufe is an evil creature humanoid of rock and magma. It is said that Cherufe inhabit the magma pools found deep within Chilean volcanoes and are the source of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Cherufe are also said to be the source of magicians ardent stones (meteorites and volcanic stones) that cause damage in volcanic regions.
The only way to abate the Cherufe's appetite for destruction was to satiate the beast's taste for human flesh by throwing a sacrificial victim into the bowels of its volcanic home. Much like the European dragon, the Cherufe's preferred delicacy came in the form of virginal maidens.
The mythological origins of this beast may have originated to explain anomalies of geological events such as volcanic eruptions.
||This article contains weasel words: vague phrasing that often accompanies biased or unverifiable information. (September 2012)|
In cryptozoology, the Cherufe is described as a large reptilian humanoid creature or dragon. The Cherufe appeared in the episode "Twelve Thousand Degrees Fahrenheit" of The Secret Saturdays, a Cartoon Network series about cryptids. A variation of the Cherufe called the Red Cherufe appears in The New Brighton Archeological Society graphic novel.
Cryptozoological investigators[who?] also consider the possibility that the legends of the Cherufe may be based, albeit loosely, on sightings of an actual biological entity, which would have to be capable not only of surviving, but flourishing, in the incredible heat of molten rock. This might[which?] be similar to animals who thrive in the tremendous heat found in the mineral-rich exhaust of hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor.
However, in the "original" Mapuche legend, the Cherufe is not a dragon, reptile humanoid or similar creature, and this description is based on a later mistaken interpretation of the myth. It would appear that the Cherufe was originally intended to be a giant snake and parallel to a giant snake that lives under the sea floor to generate seaquakes and tsunamis. The Peruvian equivalent to the Cherufe would be another giant snake which creates earthquakes and is called by the name Pachamama (Earth mother), also represented as a separate cryptid that Karl Shuker equates to the Minhocao (giant earthworm). Instead, all of these giant serpents appear to have been originally mythical explanations for natural phenomena and religious concepts.