The Legend of La Llorona: ‘The Weeping Woman’ Who Haunts Texas

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The ghostly woman who wanders along canals and rivers crying for her missing children, called in Spanish La Llorona, “The Weeping Woman,” is found in many cultures and regions. She is most commonly known in the South Texas area, where the Spanish influence is still well and vibrant, or in Mexico itself where the story is said to have originated.

Several Versions of the La Llorona Legend Exist

La Llorona

Photo: Flickr/Denise Rowlands

Though several variations exist, the most basic story tells of a woman who drowned her children in a river as a means of revenge because her husband left her for a younger woman.  Either way, most variations end with a forlorn woman taking the lives of her children, then wandering through an area for eternity, crying for what she’s done. This lady is typically described as wearing a long, white dress.

“Hollering Woman Creek”


Photo: Flickr/Lars Plougmann

One story of La Llorona originates right outside of San Antonio, where there’s an aptly-named “Hollering Woman Creek.” Legend has it that, a pioneer family living near its banks was attacked by Indians. After seeing her husband killed brutally, a mother drowns her children in the creek to “save” them from a still more painful fate. When the attackers find the only surviving member of the family, she frightens them off with her maddened screaming. From then on, she wanders the creek banks, “sobbing and crying for her lost children, a ‘woman hollering,’ and they say her spirit still returns to search for them,” according to website MySA

Often Invoked by Mothers of Naughty Children

naughty kids

Photo: Flickr/Christian Ostrosky

La Llorona is said to haunt many locations throughout Texas, as well as the American Southwest. It is thought that she steals the soul of living children and she’s often invoked by Mexican mothers to frighten naughty children. Legend has it that, if you see La Llorona, you or someone close to you will die within a week. The origin of the story is unknown but is thought to date back to Aztec times.