La LLorana means “The Crying Woman”The informant says that her parents would tell her not to stray alone in the street because La Llorana comes and steals kids.
The Story of La Llorana is:
“One day La Llorana was sad because her husband was angry with her. She sought vengeance and went to the river to drown their children. She was hanged for this criminal act in the middle of the town. After the fact, people said that they could hear her spirit crying and some claim that they see her roaming through the streets. Oh! You area also not supposed to look her in the eyes.”
The informant’s parents are both from Colombia and she was raised in Brooklyn, New York. She said that them telling her the La Llorana story worked – she would not go outside alone. The informant’s parents protected their own fears of their child wandering alone by invoking fear. Of course a child is going to be scared of a ghost who kidnaps children and killed her own, but that will eventually subside. A parents’ fear of their child being on their own and in danger never goes away. La Llorana serves as a helping tool for parents with younger children. Younger children will believe her story so they will stay closer to home or remain in bigger groups when they go outside. She might have been the worst mother for killing her children but she definitely is a great protector – as she is the reason why many children are careful when they are out on the street.
As I was interviewing this informant, a woman nearby said that the story of La Llorana resonated with her as well. Even though she was Mexican, her parents told her the story of La Llorana too so that she would not misbehave (See La Llorana 2). From this it is clear that La Llorana is a story shared across Latin American cultures.
The informant also mentioned that La Llorana has been used to make several films. Here is a link to a trailer for “The Wailer (La Llorana)” from 2006.