In our part of the country, there are copious amounts of spooky stories, many which are passed down from generation to generation until they become legend. This week I am discussing a couple of spooky ladies and other crazy lore of South Texas just in time for Halloween and Dia de los Muertos ( Day of the Dead).
It is a dark and still evening in South Texas, with maybe an occasional hoot of an owl, and a panicked mother can be found ushering her children indoors for fear of La Llorona. “Hurry mijo come inside before La Llorana thinks you belong to her.” Suddenly, a painful grief-stricken cry breaks the stillness of the night and rebounds through the rugged oaks down by the river…
Many children of South Texas and into Mexico grew up knowing La Llorona as a grieving ghost mother who haunts areas around lakes, rivers, or any bodies of water looking for her children whom she drowned. Generations of parents tell this tale to warn their children to not be out late at night, especially alone.
Although multiple variations exist, the basic story tells of a beautiful woman named Maria who comes from a humble background. One day she meets the man of her dreams who is passing through her village. She was such a beauty that the stranger is smitten and falls in love with her. The man she loves comes from a highborn family who would never accept such a peasant as a bride to their son. The couple has a torrid affair, and Maria has a couple of children.
Life goes on and routine sets in. Soon her beloved loses interest, and he looks to return back to his prior life and later falls for another woman just as beautiful. Maria witnesses her former lover kissing the other beautiful lady. Maria tries to win her love back, but soon her jealousy turns to anger onto her children. Devastated, Maria drowns them in order to try to be with the man that she loved.
The man she loves would not have her, and she would not take no for an answer. So she drowned herself in a nearby river. \
When questioned as to the whereabouts of her children, she is not permitted to enter the gates of Heaven until she has found them. Maria is a lost soul searching in vain for her drowned offspring, with her constant weeping and wailing giving her the name “La Llorona.”
Even today the story of La Llorona is one that is familiar to many folks in the Coastal Bend. Occasionally on a dark and still night, it even results in sightings of a ghostly, female figure who weeps in the night searching for her children.
So parents, you can choose to do what generations have done here in the Coastal Bend and tell your kids, “In order to be safe, be sure to be inside by dark because La Llorona may mistake you as one of her own.” Hey, if it works…