Six meters from the coast and four meters from the surface, easily visible, and even easier to scare. The submerged statue measures a meter and a half tall weighs 250 kilograms, has two horns, and hides its heart behind a padlock like a safe. Many of those who visited Mari Menuco reported seeing a mysterious object submerged in the lake during March and April.
As per LM Neuquen, a 23-year-old man who did not want to reveal his identity, and asked to be called Cristian, had gone kayaking on Sunday, April 10. As he was returning to one of the bays where his family was, he noticed that there was something under the water. He turned his kayak around and went back to see if that odd rock resembled anything.
“And there I saw it, it was a minotaur. First, it scared me. There are many myths about that lake and we all laugh at them, but I think there is a bit of truth to the stories,” the man revealed to the local newspaper. All the doubts he had about supernatural beings were confirmed at that moment.
There was a submerged minotaur in the middle of the lake, luckily for Cristian and the people that live near the lake, this Minotaur is made of iron and cement.
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Now that the Minotaur had been spotted, could he reach and touch it?
Cristian said recounted trying diving to the statue in an attempt to have a better look. Eventually, he did not and returned to the coast where he spoke with one of his cousins, and together they returned to the submerged minotaur.
“He didn’t believe me. At first, he told me that I was messing around with him, but I insisted so much that he agreed to go,” Cristian recalls.
Upon arrival, the impression of his 18-year-old cousin was the same as Cristian’s when he had seen the statue. “I saw his terrified face and laughed. I told him “you didn’t believe me, there it is” and he loosened up a bit.”
They jumped into the water and tried to dive, but they did not touch the sculpture. Neither of them was prepared, nor did they have the equipment to be able to do it.
“But we were able to see it and that’s the good thing,” said the 23-year-old, who returned to the area over the following weekends and became obsessed with the subject.
“After that day, I became a fan of the water,” he said.
So, what did the minotaur mean?
Cristian began to investigate what a minotaur was doing submerged in a lake and found a possible story to explain it.
The Mapuche Culture
A group of indigenous peoples who live in present-day south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina, including parts of Patagonia, are called the Mapuche.
Within the Mapuche worldview, there is something referred to as the “Gen Ko” which is a kind of protective energy of each place.
“Each element of nature has its own and that is why the Mapuche always ask permission to enter the water or to cut down a tree. They ask the Gen Ko for that permission,” he explained.
In addition, within this same culture when these natural elements feel attacked, they appear.
“I think we are doing a lot of damage to the environment and we have to take care of it. Did you see how many oil wells are present around this lake? It’s a real problem and maybe that’s why someone put this minotaur into the lake. To warn that we are doing something wrong,” he explained.
To better understand the strange story of a submerged Minotaur in the middle of the lake, newspaper LM Neuquén turned to Lefxaru Nawel, from the Lof Newen Mapu of the Mapuce Confederation of Neuquén, who explained: “In our culture, all elements, in general, have their Gen and “Ko” means water. So the “Gen Ko” is in reference to the protective energies of water.”
Also, for the Mapuches, “Mari” means ten and “Menuco”, wetlands.
“That area, before it was flooded and the lake was created, was a very important place because there were lots of plants that were used for medicine and they have very important gen,” explained Lefxaru Nawel.
And he continued from his Mapuche worldview: “When there are large places, like a river, a lake or a mountain, these energies are personified in animals or in supernatural things. So maybe that minotaur implies that protection.”
For his part, he explained that, beyond the representation that this sculpture can cause, the Gen Ko cannot be seen by everyone. “They are always there, but not everyone can see them. We always ask permission to intervene, when we get into the lake or in ceremonies. In our culture, there are people who can see them in all-natural elements,” Lefxaru Nawel revealed.