La Llorona


Informant is a student at USC who is currently living in the surrounding area. The Informant and Interviewer have been friends for around one year and met through the housing application process. 


Informant discusses the La Llorona legend, with the Interviewer throwing in a possible variant of the traditional legend. As classes are online, the conversation took place over discord.


Informant: “La Llorona is just like a woman who had her kids drowned in a river, and so uh, I don’t know if it’s like a specific river or if it’s any river. But be careful around rivers because if you hear a woman crying she’ll like drag you in, especially for like children, like she’ll drag children in, because she’s mourning the children that she lost.”

Interviewer: “Yeah, that’s a classic, I,  that story fucks with my head still. I heard that La Llorona, like if you hear her, like only cries, and you don’t approach her, you’ll have a shorter lifespan.”

Informant: “Huh, I uh, don’t think that’s a part of the story. Or at least I wasn’t told it like that.”

Interviewer: “Yeah I only know the La Llorona story from like a horror YouTube channel, so I’m probably wrong.”

Informant: “Haha yeah I don’t know about that one.”


La Llorona is an incredibly popular South American urban legend that has proliferated beyond the culture of origin, hence how I found it. The informant’s retelling had all the core details that existed in the internet retelling I heard, but the internet retelling had a few embellishments. The aforementioned shortened lifespan was one, and the fact that La Llorona wears a white wedding dress is another, as she drowned her kids when she found out her husband cheated on her. I think the version I heard had a few added details to get more attention on the internet compared to the original version, but stories evolve over time, so who is to say which story is more valid.


Maxwello, and Maxwello. “University of Southern California.” USC Digital Folklore Archives, 19 Nov. 2020,