Note to the reader: There are many versions of the Latino story of the Llorona (the crying woman), it is told to children as a reminder that they must always obey their parents and behave properly or suffer the consequences of meeting the Llorona and forever be doomed or drowned… This story is based on an encounter that my father, who’s from Guadalajara Jalisco Mexico, experienced as a teenager and how an unexplained event forever changed his life. My father has shared this story with me and my siblings many times; as children the story caused us to fear the dark and was a constant reminder to obey our parents when we were called in when it became dark outside.
We believed once my mother or father said “Come inside or the Llorona is going to get you!” ; she was waiting and watching for the opportunity to take us away. Now that we are adults, the fear of this crying woman has diminished, but I can’t help to look over my shoulder at night and look out for this woman who haunted my childhood and secretly continues to haunt my dreams...
This is my father’s story…
When I misbehaved or just to remind me, my mother would tell me the story of the Llorona. Once there was a beautiful woman who married a wealthy elderly man, and by him she had two beautiful children. She loved her life that is until her husband died unexpectedly and after paying off her husband’s debts; she was left destitute and having no money to feed her children, she became desperate.
One day the beautiful woman caught the eye of a handsome man, who was the son of a wealthy ranch family. He courted the beautiful woman and finally purposed to her, however he told the beautiful woman that his family would not recognize some other man’s children and they would not allow him to marry the beautiful widow, unless she gave up her children. The poor beautiful woman couldn’t handle the thought of her children living in orphanage, while she lived in the lap of luxury.
As she walked with her children alongside the river, the troubling thoughts swirled in her head. She convinced herself that a life in an orphanage was dreadful and her children were better off dead, and then they’d be reunited with their beloved father in heaven. While her children played in the water, she drowned each child and after she was done, she loving placed their bodies on the bank of the river.
That evening, she told the handsome rancher of what she had done; disgusted with her actions the rancher refused to marry the beautiful woman and told her he could never marry a monster! With those words, the beautiful woman became hysterical and realized what she had done to her babies. She ran to the river to find her children’s bodies, but they were nowhere to be found.
Crazed with guilt the woman ran up and down the river, screaming and crying wildly “What have I done! Where are my children?!”
No one knows what happened to this woman, some say she committed suicide by the river; others say she drowned while searching for the children’s bodies. My mother then would end the story with a warning, “If you are bad, she will come for you and you’ll face the same fate as her children. Then she will cut your head off and tie your head to her dress! Listen to what I tell you my child and fear the dark for she is waiting for you. Beware of the Llorona!”
My mother died when I was 14 years old and since her death I became rebellious and disrespectful. I was sent to live my Tia Sophie, but her kindness and love could not cure the anger and hurt that I had. She lived in a large house that was surrounded by a huge iron gate that had these massive metal doors that lead to the busy streets of Guadalajara. Every evening, just a little after 8 pm, my Tia would lock the metal doors to her fortress like home. She would always tell me, “please be home before the door light came on!” As always I would never obey her rules and come home when I pleased, and reluctantly she would be there waiting to let me in.
One summer evening, as I was getting ready to go out on a date, my Tia told me once again in a sad voice, “ Please be home before the door light is on, please mijo for once listen to me and come home before something horrible happens to you. I cannot save you from the evils of the night.” I took her warning as another form of nagging and brushed it off, I was not going to have her worries ruin my night.
I went out and had my fun with my date, like always I never kept track of the time. It was getting cold and my date wanted to go home. I walked to her home; she lived just a few blocks away from my Tia’s house.
As we said our goodbyes, she jokingly said “It’s almost midnight! Oooohhh, you better get home before the Llorona gets you!” I told her that I didn’t believe in that old silly wives’ tale and it was only told to make kids obey their parents and make them believe that some crazy bitch would kill them if they didn’t. I started my way back to my Tia’s, and I knew of a short cut just past the old cemetery and just down a couple blocks was the fortress of a house.
It was a dark night, darker than usual and there were just a few street lamps that poorly lit the sidewalks. As I was getting close to the old cemetery, I noticed by the doors to the cemetery stood a woman dressed in black mourning clothing. She was covered from head to toe and her face was shrouded in a heavy black veil. As I got closer, she moved slowly to the middle of the side walk and faced me.
I stepped off the sidewalk to pass her and as I walked past her, she whispered “child, are you lost?”
Her whisper was so low that I was surprised that I was able to hear her.
I stopped and turned to see what this crazy lady was talking about, there she stood with her hand slightly extended and whispered again “Child, are you lost? Come with me.”
As soon as she said that a cold feeling ran up and down my body, without saying a word I turned and started to walk away. As I was walking I could hear footsteps right behind me, I glanced back and the woman was just a few feet away from me. I began to walk quicker and the footstep began to do the same, I would look back and there she was just standing with her hand extended towards me like beckoning me to come to her.
Then I can hear her softly singing an eerie lullaby, I couldn’t hear exactly what she was saying, but only a few words “… you come to me and I’ll bleed for you, I come to you and you’ll bleed for me…”
Hearing those words, I began to run and soon I could hear her do the same, except the footsteps sounded like hooves and the singing became a blood curdling moan. I ran as fast as my legs and feet could carry me, the moaning now became an angry growl. The growling sounded nothing that I’ve ever heard before; the sound of the hooves matched the angry growl.
The horrific noise behind began to sound like they were catching up to me, I ran for my life and in my head I could hear my mother scream “Don’t turn around, don’t look behind you. Run for your life! Hurry!!!”
Tears ran down my face, I wanted to scream but I couldn’t get my voice to leave my throat! Finally, after what seemed like eternity of running I could see those massive heavenly iron doors that belonged to my Tia’s fortress home. I ran to the doors and without thinking I wildly flung the massive door open and quickly slammed it shut. BOOM! Something heavy and large hit the door and it let out this angry roar, it then began to turn the door knob slowly. I grabbed the knob with all my might and held the door shut, it then began turn the knob forcibly and violently slam itself against the door.With every slam, the door shook and it would claw the door trying to force itself in.
Then it stopped, but then it began to pace back and forth like a caged animal and I could hear that it was pissed.
As it paced back and forth, it began again to sing the lullaby, “… you come to me, and I’ll bleed for you. I come to you, you’ll bleed for me…”
It cried out to me “My child! My child, come to me! You belong with me!”
I covered my ears; the sound of this creature was not human at all, but sounded evil and demented. The doors to the gates once again began to shake violently and once again it screamed my name!
“YOU ARE MMMIIINNNE!!”
I leaned my weight against the door, this thing wanted me and it was doing everything to get in passed the doors. I knew if I let go of the door I was going to be another victim of hers. Just when I began to fear that it was getting in, a huge beam of light flashed and the thing outside the doors let out this horrid scream. The scream was so loud that it made my whole body shake; I closed my eyes and started to collapsed against the doors, but then like as if nothing happened the scream stopped and there standing in her night gown stood my Tia.
“What on earth are you doing on the floor?” she asked.
I looked at her with bewilderment.
“Tia didn’t you hear all that? She followed me here Tia! No, please don’t open the doors!”
She opened the doors like nothing happened and peered out, “Mijo, there’s nobody there! Get off the floor, my goodness you look like you saw a ghost!”
She helped me off the ground and led me to the kitchen and fixed me a warm glass of milk and sent me to bed.
The next morning my other Tia came over to visit, “What the hell happened to the doors Sophie? It looks like someone or something beat the crap out of it!” she exclaimed.
My Tia Sophie simply said “Ah, that was Jesus' punishment. All of his bad deeds finally got to him, and so she came to visit him.”
Since that night, I became respectful and obeyed my Tia’s rules. I was always home before it got dark and I never took the short cut past the old cemetery ever again. I was afraid that if I did she would find me again and I would be hers.