Ghost stories: The Ghost of " La Parva Ski " Resort

Throughout Latin America, you’ll hear variations of the story of La Llorona, or the wailing woman. Sometimes she’s lost her husband. Sometimes she’s lost her children. Sometimes it’s both. But in La Parva, a ski spot in the Chilean Andes, the wailing woman is named Lola, and everyone in the area swears they knew her before she died.

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 “A local restaurant owner said he dated her,” pro skier Drew Tabke says, adding that the ski patroller he heard the story from the point at the exact hut where this tale takes place.

 

The story starts on a nice day in peak ski season. Lola and her young son planned to spend the day on the slopes. “As can happen in the Andes, a thick fog rose up from the valley, which often precedes the arrival of a real storm. The clouds enveloped the two as they were making their way down from the top of the mountain, and they lost contact with one another,” Tabke says. 

Desperate to find her son, Lola began screaming his name as she ran through the thick fog. Unable to see clearly, though, she stumbled down a steep slope and began sliding toward a rocky couloir.

 

“By chance, a local lift operator who was returning to his cabin came across her body. He was afraid she was dead, but on closer inspection, he found she was still alive, just barely,” Tabke says. Her body was covered in lacerations from sharp rocks, and the only word she said—in the faintest whisper—was her son’s name. 

The lift the operator worked to carefully pull her body to his cabin, which was just up the hill. He bandaged her cuts as best he could and then ran to fetch the doctor. Together the doctor and lift operator made their way back to his hut, the fog hanging thickly in the air. When they arrived, though, the bed was empty. Just the bloody sheets remained.

 

“Neither the woman nor her son was ever found,” Tabke says. But locals report hearing her wail for her child whenever they’re near that lift operator’s cabin.

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And here’s the thing: Tabke does not believe in ghosts. Something, however, changes when he arrives in Chile each winter. Maybe it’s the fact that, from La Parva, you can see up to Cerro el Plomo, an Incan child-sacrifice site. Maybe it’s because Tabke has simply read so many magical realism books by authors like Juan Rulfo and Gabriel García Márquez. But sitting alone in his cabin in the Andes, with the wind whipping and the candles flickering, swears that every now and then he just can’t tell if what he’s hearing is a woman or the wind.

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