There’s a story that they tell in the southwest about a woman done wrong who murders her children to spite a lover and then accidentally (depending on the version) kills herself. It’s called (you guessed it) “La Llorona,” or “the wailing woman” for you non spanish speakers out there.
And buster, you want THE thing that consistently freaked me out from ages 5-13? This is it.
See, in New Mexico she is also known as “The Ditch Witch,” and is used as a cautionary tale to keep children away from the concrete ditches that weave through the city and are known to be fatal during flash floods. Y’see, in one telling of the story she drowns her children and then jumps in the Rio Grande after them to try and save them, but smacks her head on a rock and dies instantly. Her spirit then wanders for eternity looking for her missing children. And the wisdom goes that if you’re playing in a ditch/after dark/being unruly, she’ll come and get you and take you away to the spirit world with her.
I eventually got over my fear, but I should mention that up until his early 20’s, a friend of mine who had a ditch just on the other side of his fence lived in mortal fear of La Llorona.
And my gift to you is THIS version by quintessential New Mexican storyteller, Joe Hayes.
Happy Halloween, my pretties!