Tag Archives: Mexicanfolklore

Ghost of La Palma


B is a Mexican Immigrant from La Palma, Mexico. She goes back to her home state every ear and likes to bring back souvenirs as conversation topics. She enjoys talking about her village in Mexico and how it’s like to her friends.

The context of this piece was in B’s living room as I was telling her about an episode of Supernatural I had watched and the plot like had reminded her of the ghost of La Palma. Her dad was the first one to tell her about the ghost but it’s a common topic of conversation in La Palma


B: “So basically the story I’ve heard is that um in La Palma, you know there’s a Carretera to get to Sahuayo to La Palma and it’s not that long I’m going to say like 2 miles like I don’t know don’t factcheck me on that but anyway so supposedly there is this lady that appears between 12 and 3 in the morning and that supposedly um she only stops um when there’s like a single man in the car and its only between that time and only for a single man in the car. And so we have been on that Carretera in those times but we’ve never seen anything but people in the pueblo talk about her”

Me: “Do people ever try to see her? Like do they chant or do something specific?”

B: “Yeah so when people who supposedly want to see her go out onto the carretera and turn off their lights and roll all their windows down as a sort of like invite for her to come in with them”

Me: “Why does she haunt that highway?”

B: “Everyone has different stories about how she dies but its always because of a man. From what I’ve heard, she was coming back from Sahuayo with a guy when he tried taking advantage of her and after she said no, he killed her. People say that when she appears before single men, its because she’s still trying to find a way back home”


I really enjoyed talking about this legend of this ghost with B. Ghosts are a common occurrence in the Mexican culture. The events and experiences in the afterlife are said to be influenced by the way those people lived their lives before passing. Most of the time, when someone suffers a dark and grim death, the version of themselves in the afterlife are often depicted as looking for some sort of revenge. That is why I found B’s depiction of the ghost so interesting. B’s description of the ghost’s goal to return home and not seek vengeance was important in characterizing the way people from La Palma view the afterlife and ghosts.

Mal De Ojo


J is a first generation Salvadorian-American and has made friends with different kinds of people from different cultures. She heard this one from a close friend of hers and tries to employ it now in her everyday life.

The context of this piece was during a shift at work after attending some customers. These customers had a baby with them.”


J: “Oh gosh I was so scared I looked at that baby for too long! She was just too cute you know. Like I told myself not too but I just like babies too much”

Me: “Why were you trying to not stare? I don’t think the mom would’ve minded, she seemed nice during the transaction.”

J:  “I didn’t want to give the baby mal de ojo. I don’t know if you heard about what that is but my friend told me about it. Apparently, its like a illness you can give to cute little babies. But its not like coughing on them or anything like that. She told me that if you look at a baby for too long it’ll make them fussy and like sick. I guess its like, like your stare is too strong or something and it ends up making the baby cry. Even if you don’t try to give them like a strong start it can still give them ma de ojo so I just try to look a little but not for too long. Or you can just touch like their hand and it’ll go away, or that’s what my friend told me about it.”


The mal de ojo is a folk illness and its translation into English is “evil eye.” This folk illness primarily affects children and babies are usually the most vulnerable. This belief is that a simple look or a stare can cause symptoms of bad luck, sickness and even death. As J said, infliction of mal de ojo does not have to be intentional for it to be given to a child. Treatment and prevention vary in different regions. For example, in Mexico it is thought that the person admiring the child can prevent the malady by touching the child while in the Caribbean touching the child is thought to exacerbate the problem. A folk remedy to this illness is the performance of an egg cleaning. I found this interesting because I had heard of this folk illness before, so it was interesting to hear it from J’s perspective and see in person how she handled avoiding it.