The first time we posted a local ghost story was to share the legend of El Sombrerón with our readers from abroad. It’s time for spooky ghost stories again and this year will will share what is probably the best known urban legend in Latin America. La Llorona.
This is the best and most accurate version I could find in English, for a real literary treat you can find this and more urban legends in books such as “Han de estar, y estarán… (Cuentos y Leyendas de Guatemala)” by Francisco Barnoya Galvez, “La calle donde tu vives” by Hector Gaitan, “Leyendas de Guatemala” by Miguel Angel Asturias.
La Llorona, the weeping woman, is an urban legend that is well known throughout Mexico and other Latin American countries. As the story goes, a young woman, intent on keeping the man she loves but who does not want to bear the responsibility of being a father, decides to take her two children to a nearby river and drowning them. She approaches said man to bring him he news of how he no longer has to worry of the burden that were her children. The man rejects the woman, sending her to a state of depression and eventually killing herself as she cannot live with the regret of killing her children. Thereafter, she is said to have been doomed to haunt the land in search of her dead children, never to be re-united with them. She is often heard weeping which is where her name derives from. Other variations say that the man is actually the father of the children and leaves the woman for a rich woman. She is said to kidnap wandering or misbehaved children.
There is a slight variation of the Legend of La Llorona that stems from the country of Honduras. Here, it is said that the woman’s children drowned of their own accord while the woman tended to washing their clothes in the river. Because she was not paying attention to the kids, they drowned and, as she should, blames no one but herself.
My brother-in-law recounts a story of his encounter with La Llorona when in Honduras.
“I was about 10 years-old when I was playing hide-and-seek with some friends and my little sister. I thought it was a good idea to hide in the woods by the Rio Choluteca (the Choluteca River) as the sun, being the fall, was setting and they wouldn’t think, or dare, to look for me there. It wasn’t quite dark yet so I was able to make my way with ease near the river. I stayed in the woods and took cover behind a Tamarindo Tree (click on link for an idea as to what tree looks like). As I was taking cover, I started to hear what sounded like a woman crying. I looked towards the river and saw her there. She had her back to me, concealing her face with her long, dark, wet hair, but I could see that she was using the river to wash what looked like child’s clothing. Although I could not see her face, I could hear her calling my name and I slowly approached her without fully understanding why I was doing so. Closer and closer I got, the sound of her weeping growing louder. Then, for reasons I can’t explain, I snapped out of it and realized, to some extent, what was happening. I remember being told to never turn my back to her or she will be able to take my soul when least expected and the only way to escape from her is to walk backwards away from her. And so I did. I walked and I walked, then I blacked out. The only thing I can remember after that was being home with no recollection of how I got there”.
It was at this moment where his sister intervened and explains what happened during that blackout.
“Me and a couple of friends finally found him. But when we did so, he did not look like himself. He looked as if frozen, or paralyzed with fear. We tried to snap him out of it, but he would not respond. We started to get scared and decided it would be best if we all carried him out of there as it was almost dark and we didn’t want to get lost in the woods. It wasn’t until we got home when he snapped out of it with no recollection of what happened. The last thing he could remember was the woman by the river.”
Another member of my wife’s family also explained of his brief encounter with La Llorona as he walked home. Her hair drooped over her face so that it was hidden. She stood with her arms extended towards him and he could hear her beckoning him to come over. Needless to say, he got the hell out of there fast and left behind a trail of dust.
La Llorona is said to soar the night sky in the form of an owl only transforming into a woman when it lands. She is said to be pale with long dark, usually wet hair that is used to disguise her face, tall, slender and hovers about the ground.
Surely, many will react in the same manner that I did and think, “These stories are too far-fetched to be believable!” But what would drive so many people to believe in the same thing and claim to have experienced the woman and actually have seen her? There can be many arguments when dealing with an individual: under the influence, dream, imagination, mental problems, etc. The list goes on. Of course, these would only be excuses, if not reasons, to explain something that is unexplainable. It is something that is understandable to the rational mind. But when there is no rational explanation to the unexplainable, what does that leave you with? I cannot answer that as I do not know myself. I listen to the stories with an air of fascination and intrigue, not only because of the stories themselves, but because I am not hearing this from a friend of a friend’s sister’s perspective but rather from someone I personally know. I have become part of the early chains that form to create an urban legend. All it takes is for me to tell one person, such as I am doing right now. If whoever reads this then tells the story elsewhere, the chain will continue and perhaps spiral into something else, better said, spiral into another variation of the story.
I don’t know if La Llorona exists, but there are numerous and countless numbers of individuals that believe in her existence and, as mentioned previously, can provide eyewitness, or in some instances “ear” witness accounts of her and to them, that is proof enough. So next time you’re out late, walking at the base of the woods or alongside a river, listen. Listen closely. In the near-distance you may hear something that sounds like a woman crying. If you do, call home and make sure your kids are safe and tucked in. If they are, beware for maybe it is you whom she seeks!
Posted by ReelyBored