la llorona


Informant: I never really wanted to know the story of La Llorona because it’s scary but it is supposed to be kind of like a bloody mary type of thing; like for that one you go into the bathroom and it has a ritual that goes with it and then she comes out, but I never wanted to know it because I don’t like that kind of stuff.  But what I know is that you are supposed to hear her at night, coming when kids are bad. Like when you hear her coming, they can hear her crying and coming to get you. That’s why they would call her La Llorona because ‘llorar’ means to cry. So they would call her La Llorona because when kids were bad they could hear her crying outside, like coming to get you. Really, it was dogs I think that they were hearing, but the parents would be like ‘do you hear her? she’s coming to get you.’ Parents would use it as a threat to their kids or a behavioral mechanism and say that she’s coming. 


Age: 51

From: Chino Hills, CA

Ethnicity: Mexican

As the informant explained in the text, she does not really like the story behind this piece and prefers not to indulge in it because it is scary. The relationship between her and this piece is that her friends’ parents would use La llorona to make them stop acting up. She heard it just growing up, she doesn’t remember the specific time she found out about it, but she has known the story since she was about 7 or 8 years old. Her interpretation of it is that it is just another thing to help parents when their kids misbehave. She said she would never use it because she would feel mean, but she always knew of other parents using this. 


I have heard a bunch of different ways to tell this story, but from what it sounds like, the informant does not know the details of this legend. I think the different variations of this story are what makes it considered a legend, but I think it is interesting that the skeleton of it remains the same, no matter where you hear it. Personally, I think this is a really scary story and I would not use it on kids in the future. I feel like if I were to know this story as a kid, I would be frightened at every crying sound a dog made. It would have been all the time because where I grew up, and to this day, I would hear dogs crying almost every week at night when the coyotes get them where I grew up.