8 Tales Your Mexican Parents Used to Terrify You 

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by Albert Salazar
OF 8
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La Lechuza

Harry Potter's Hedwig this is not. That menacing owl that's staring at you through your window while you sleep? That's not a nighttime bird of prey. It's actually a shape-shifting witch, or bruja, sent to terrorize you for having one too many. Legend has it that she was a good witch who was murdered by townspeople after being exposed. Now she is back from the spirit realm to seek revenge on those who killed her. Think of her a Freddy Krueger with wings. She's also known to attack beer-guzzling booze hounds, making her the best deterrent for under-age drinking. [Source]

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La Llorona

Talk about a woman with regret. This wailing spirit is said to have drowned her children and herself after she couldn't be with the man that she loved. Of course, killing one's children is frowned upon up in heaven, so her spirit is forced to wander the site of her ghastly crime, and passersby say they can hear her grieving moan in the night. Woman Hollering Creek, which crosses underneath I-10 on the way to Seguin is named after the gristly legend. [Source]

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El Mal de Ojo

Isn't that baby just the cutest thing you have ever seen? Well, quick, touch it, unless you want to give that poor, innocent child el mal de ojo, or evil eye, which would make you an awful person. The legend of el ojo permeates many cultures throughout the world, but in Mexican culture, its victims are known to experience bad luck, or, in the case of children and babies, physical maladies and illness. But it's easy to cure, just get a curandera, or your abuela—who is most likely a curandera—to say the rosary while rubbing an egg on your baby. Then everything will be all better. [Source]

El Cucuy

Think of El Cucuy as the boogeyman with a bit of Latin flair. Also known as El Coco, El Cucuy is known to haunt terrible children who do terrible things that annoy or disappoint their parents. He's any Mexican household's go-to enforcer to make sure children behave, because if they don't, El Cucuy will kidnap or eat them. [Source]

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The Donkey Lady

Well this bridge, which crosses Elm Creek in South San Antonio, looks safe and unassuming, right? Well it would be, if it weren't for the horribly disfigured, screeching woman who is known to terrorize people who dare to cross it in the dead of night. Known as the Donkey Lady, she is said to be a pioneer woman who, along with her children, was burned alive when an unruly mob set fire to her family's cabin. [Source]

La Chupacabra

People claim to have spotted this cryptid all the time. La Chupacabra is a dog-like creature known to suck on the blood of goats and other livestock. Just know that when a chupacabra sighting makes the news, it's probably just a dog with mange. [Source]

El Diablo

Have you even danced with the devil in the pale moonlight? Many say they have. El Diablo, better known as the Dark Lord Satan himself, is said to make appearances at South Texas dance halls, where he uses his good looks to charm women who generally don't have permission to be there into taking a turn on the dance floor. The evening usually goes well, until the woman looks down and realizes that, oh my god, this casanova has goat hooves instead of feet. That's usually as bad as it gets, though, because, after the discovery, he tends to disappear into thin air. Hey, sometimes even Satan just wants to dance. [Source]

La Chancla

This isn't a legend, per se, but this one piece of footwear frightens Mexican children more than any ghost or mythical beast or vengeful spirit lady or even Satan himself. Kids knew that, when their mother brought out the chancla, she meant business.
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La Lechuza

Harry Potter's Hedwig this is not. That menacing owl that's staring at you through your window while you sleep? That's not a nighttime bird of prey. It's actually a shape-shifting witch, or bruja, sent to terrorize you for having one too many. Legend has it that she was a good witch who was murdered by townspeople after being exposed. Now she is back from the spirit realm to seek revenge on those who killed her. Think of her a Freddy Krueger with wings. She's also known to attack beer-guzzling booze hounds, making her the best deterrent for under-age drinking. [Source]

(via)