La Lechuza – A Legend of South Texas

La Lechuza
La Lechuza: Photo courtesy of

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).

During a still night under a full moon in South Texas, things can get a bit wild and weird…

and it is not just because it is the Halloween and Dia de los Muertos time of year

.Deer begin foraging, coyotes are howling, and owls are hooting and hunting.

However, many folks along the Coastal Bend and into the Rio Grande Valley believe some owls are more than meet the eye.

Since the days when Texas was Mexico, generations of children in South Texas and into Mexico have grown up hearing stories of lechuzas. What exactly is a lechuza? Lechuzas are witches (brujas) who morph into birds. In most stories, the bird is an owl. Other stories say that lechuzas are just spirits of betrayed or jilted women who want to seek revenge. Some other stories say she is a bird spirit who appears from beyond the grave and wants to avenge whoever killed her.

The legend of La Lechuza remains very popular in South Texas and Mexico. She can appear at any time. According to,  “She particularly enjoys attacking people who have had one too many beers. Many people believe in her existence, while others claim to have actually seen this creature. The legends seem to vary quite a bit. In some, she is a vengeful spirit. In others, she is a woman that has sold her soul to the Devil in order to gain supernatural powers. Every night, she is said to transform into a five to six-foot tall bird (most commonly an owl) with the face of a beautiful or wizened old woman and enormous wings.”Sometimes she will lure out her prey with strange noises such as a baby crying. Soon she will swoop down on the poor unsuspecting person and carry them off as prey.
People who have had these frightful encounters with a lechuza usually can try a couple of remedies. Some people will pray while others will seek a folk healer (curandera), and still others will blast the bird away with a rifle or shotgun.

Even though many of the stories differ, one thing that people seem to agree on is that an encounter is definitely very scary and you will always remember.

So the next time you are in South Texas going down a rural road at night, be wary not for only deer, coyote, and other wildlife that may be on the road, but also keep an eye out for some wild and weird owls.


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