Ghostly Encounter: La Llorona

Hi guys. This is the introduction to a series I’m hoping to continue called “Ghostly Encounter”. Whether you believe or not, I hope you find this series enjoyable.

Growing up where I have, you can’t help but run into the paranormal or supernatural. My childhood was littered with ghost stories, light and dark energy, and warnings from my neighbors and friends that El Cucui or La Llorona would get me if I didn’t behave.

The first story I am sharing is that of La Llorona, the weeping woman.

For a little background, the story of that is a woman who murdered her children in a fit of jealous rage against her philandering husband. Realizing what she had done a moment too late, she ran up and down the riverbank trying to save them while they drowned, and died of a broken heart. She was not buried on hallowed ground, according to one version of the story. Her ghost haunts up and down the river bank. calling out, “Ayyyyy Mis Hijos? Donde esta Mis Hijos?” Abuelas and mothers alike tell their children to this day that if they don’t come inside before dark, La Llorona would mistake them for one of her dead children and take them with her forever.

I grew up in the southern part of New Mexico, in a city nestled right beside the banks of the Rio Grande. I grew up hearing stories about La Llorona both from my friends and those around the city.

One night in high school, we decided to drive out to the river where she was rumored to appear. Being young and bored after play rehearsal, this sounded like a fantastic (read: awful) idea.

My friend parked the car at the edge of the park along the riverbed. It was a cool night in March, so we kept the window’s only slightly cracked. Her parking lights gave us a vague beam of light that we scanned the edge of, hoping for a glance of something.

We sat in the car for about an hour, both of us quiet and tense. I kept thinking what I would do if I saw Her. Would I use my (very ancient now) cell phone to snap a low resolution picture? Would I freeze up?

…Would she mistake me for one of her children and drag me with her to Hell, or under the murky depths of the river (which to me, with a fear of drowning sounded like a worse fate than Hell)?

Finally my companion broke the silence. “Come on. Let’s go home – she’s not real.”

I sighed. “All right.”

Her hand moved for the ignition when suddenly, I spotted something walking down the river towards us. I grabbed her hand and pointed, hissing “look!” through gritted teeth.

We both watched, frozen in uncertainty as the figure made it’s way towards us. Maybe it was a homeless person, or a drifter. Those were a fairly common occurrence in that part of town.

The figure got closer, and closer, and I could make out that it was a woman, in a long, flowing dress that hung in tatters around her frame. My mouth went dry, and my friend squeezed my hand harder as we both stared in fascination and terror.

I saw the eyes next. Pale and cold, they looked beseechingly into my own as the figure raised it’s arms and opened it’s mouth to speak.

I screamed.

My friend yanked her hand away, turned the ignition and gave the wheel a hard jerk to the left, spraying dirt and gravel behind us and repeating curse words over and over as she sped up the hill onto the highway and hit the pavement of the road with a bounce.

I cowered in the front seat, covering my eyes and praying Hail Mary over and over, hoping to God and whatever was listening that She wasn’t following us somehow.

It was probably only 10 minutes, but it felt like forever when we finally pulled into a lit gas station parking lot. She turned off the gas and slumped back into her seat. “What was that?”

“I don’t know,” I manage, uncovering my eyes and taking a deep breath.

We stared ahead at the gray cement wall, attempting to recover. After another moment, she turned the car on, glanced over at me one more time, and then drove us home in total silence.

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