The legend of La Llorona (meaning "the weeping woman" in Spanish) is passed down from mother to child and from generation to generation. She is known all throughout Mexico and south Texas, even making her way into New Mexico. The exact origin of her story is unknown, but La Llorona is feared by children and used by mothers as a training devise to keep their little ones on the right track. She is believed to roam riverbanks late at night, crying for the loss her children and looking for others to take as her own.
Many Mexican's of Aztec dissent believe that it all started with La Malinche (which used to mean "the tongue"). She was a native that helped lead to the downfall of her own people. During the early 16th century, the Aztec empire became over rout with Spanish conquistadors led by Hernando Cortes. He used La Malinche as an interpreter and even took her as his mistress. Together they had a son, and when Cortes was to return to Spain he told La Malinche that she would not be coming with him but their boy would. It is not known what happened next. Some say that she took a knife and pierced her son's heart and then hers. Others believe that Cortes strangled her to death after she murdered their son.
The modern day interpretation of La Llorona has dozens of variations. All of them stemming from the same general idea. She has been known by various names, including Luisa, Maria, Sofia, Laura, and even Linda. It is a tale of woman who has been wronged or has done wrong, always ending with her child or children dying via drowning in a river.
Sometimes she is a peasant that meets a wealthy aristocrat. They fall in love and have a child. After a time of bliss the man disappears and has run off with a woman in his own social status. She is left alone and has no money or means to take care of their baby. Realizing she has no other choice, she takes the baby to a nearby river and submerges it underwater. When the water becomes still she lets out an uncontrollable cry. A few days later, having not moved or stopped crying, she passes away.
Sometimes she is a hard working single mother. Knowing how to utilize her womanhood she seduces a man. Things go extremely well and they begin discussing marriage. There is something in the way, and the man says he can't marry. She thinks this means her baby is stopping them. During the middle of the night, with her baby, she leaves their house and heads down to the riverside. She drowns the baby and after its funeral asks once again about marriage. Deeply distraught, he refuses. It was his mother that was in the way, not the baby. In a fit of rage, she grabs a knife and impales him. Then she takes the knife on herself.
Sometimes her story takes on more of a Biblical connotation. In this case her names is Maria, or Mary. She is 15 years old and pregnant. Her family is outraged and demands to know who the father is. When Maria says that she is a virgin her family does not believe. She gives birth to a boy and soon after her father quietly takes him from his crib and down to the nearby river. Maria wakes up in a panic and knows something is wrong. It is too late. By the time she makes it to the river the baby is already dead. She begins crying hysterically and throws herself into the water.
All of these takes on the story end with the woman at the gates of Heaven, requesting her entry. Before it can be granted Saint Peter asks where her children are. Ashamed, she puts her head down and confesses she doesn't know. She is sent back to earth and cannot rest until they are found. Today, on the banks of nearly every river in Mexico and south Texas the cries of "mis hijos! mis hijos!" (my babies, my babies!) can be heard during the night. Wearing a long white gown from which she was buried in, she is only seen by woman. Men simply hear her piercing cries and on more than one occasion have actually drowned trying to save her. Even though no one was there to save. Mothers tells there children no to play along riverbanks after sunset because she will be there, waiting to take them to Saint Peter. This is the story of one of the world's most enduring and fascinating urban legends. This is the story of La Llorona.
Haunted Texas will explore the statewide legends more closely in season 1.