Every region of the world has its own unique urban legends, and South and Central America are no exception. This ghost story from Spanish American folklore keeps children up at night fearing for their lives - the story of the La Llorona.
This terrifying story out of Mexican folklore is so popular, it's made its way into European urban legends and inspired movies based off the scary and sad La Llorona. If you didn’t grow up with an abuela who reminded you nightly to be kind to your family lest you incur the wrath of La Llorona, you might not know the story. La Llorona is the story of a beautiful woman who, after suffering heartbreak, drowns her children in a river. Not only has the tale inspired movies, but there's even a La Llorona movie to really show how horrific the story truly is.
If you’re tired of the regular ol’ ghost stories, this is the perfect time to go down the rabbit hole of La Llorona, one of the scariest urban legends to come out of South America.
Depending on which folk tale you follow, La Llorona isn't just some weeping ghost who hangs out by the river, but rather she's a child kidnapping monster. In Mexico parents use this version of the tale to keep their children from running around at night and getting into trouble. If a child is caught by the ghost she'll ask them for forgiveness and then drown them in the closest body of water.
As the Arizona version of La Llorona goes, the ghost was originally a woman named Launa who lived in Kingman Canyon with her husband and two children. Unfortunately, she felt that her husband was paying too much attention to their daughters and grew increasingly jealous until she pushed them over the edge of the canyon.
After their children's death Launa's husband left her, and she threw herself off the edge of the canyon to join her children. Ever since then she was damned to wander the canyon.
Why did La Llorona keep killing her children? In some versions it wasn't even her that killed the children. In one version of the story a poor woman and her terrible, also poor, husband start having children and they can't afford to feed them so the husband just starts drowning them. After giving birth to their fifth child, La Llorona's husband threw the baby in the river and she went in after the baby and drowned. From there on out the woman returned to the river bed night after night.
Another alternate version of La Llorona's story is that while she was alive, she and her husband had a couple of children and everything was good. That is until she bore two sons and her husband started stepping out on her. When she discovered he was carrying on behind her back she freaked out and threw her children into a river. It wasn't until after they were dead that she realized what she had done.
She refused to leave the bank of the river or even eat. She grew thinner and gaunt until she looked like a walking skeleton. She finally died on the banks of the river.