Tag Archives: Mexico

Aunt’s Ghost Story about Sleeping Boy


  • collected on 03/23/2024
  • Genre: Memorate
  • Language: English
  • Nationality: Mexican-American
  • Relationship to Informant: Friend
  1. Text 
    1. Summary: 
      1. The Informant’s aunt grew up in rural Mexico with a big family. One night, she woke up because she felt someone in her bed. When she opened her eyes, she saw a little boy sleeping next to her and assumed it was her little brother. In the morning, she noticed her little brother sleeping in his own room and wearing different clothing. When she asked her brother why he slept in her bed, he told her that he hadn’t done that. 
    2. Direct transcription of folklore:
      1. “So, my aunt Liz (pretty sure this was Liz) was 15 and they were living in this old house in the middle of the country. One morning – actually the middle of the night – she woke up because she felt someone in her bed. So she woke up and turned around, and it was a little boy. At first, she was like ‘what the h***’ because my dad’s family has three boys and two girls. So, at first she was like, ‘Oh, George, what are you doing here?’ Then she really looked at him, and she was like ‘oh my God, that’s not George.’ I can’t remember if she like went back to sleep …. no, no, no … Okay, so what happened was she saw the boy and she was like ‘oh, it’s George’ because the little boy had his back turned to her. So then she fell asleep and woke up. Then she went and saw that George was sleeping in his own bed. He was also wearing something completely different than the boy she saw that night. So she was like ‘what happened last night? Why did you come sleep in my bed?’ and he was like ‘I didn’t, I was here the whole night.’”
  2. Context 
    1. Informant is a USC student in her early 20s who was born and raised in the Sacramento Valley. This ghost story was told to her by her aunt, and it has become an oral tradition in her family. 
  3. Analysis 
    1. The ghost in this story is a little boy who sleeps in a young girl’s bed. Since the boy is very peaceful and doesn’t intend to scare her, it can be seen as an innocent soul looking for a family connection. This suggests cultural values of family and community acceptance. It also suggests the perspective that ghosts can be non-harmful, which indicates an open mind to the spiritual world. 

La Llorona

  1. Details
    1. Collected on 03/23/2024 
    2. Genre: Legend
    3. Language: English 
    4. Nationality: Mexican
    5. Relationship to Informant: Friend’s Father 
  2. Text
    1. Summary
      1. The informant’s mother told him a version of the La Llorona legend where there was a woman who lived her life in torment after her children fell into the river and died. 
    2. Direct transcription of folklore:
      1. “You are going into my memory banks here, but my mother used to tell us about this woman who was very afflicted because her children had drowned in the river. And you could hear her wailing ‘ah mis hijos’ – oh, my children. So, it was almost a tale my mom would tell us so not to do dangerous things because she would be forever depressed. It wasn’t so much that this was an evil person that did something bad because I think La Llorona – the original one – drowned her children. In the version my mom would tell us, the children fell into the river and drowned. So, she would wail forever for her children.”
  3. Context 
      1. The informant is the father of my friend. He grew up in a small town in Mexico. This story was told to the informant by his mother when he was a child. 
  4. Analysis 
      1. This oikotype of the La Llorona legend portrays the woman as a grieving mother who lost her children. This legend was told by a mother to her children to prevent them from risking their lives by doing dangerous things. This legend tells the children that if they aren’t careful, they can cause their mother to mourn for the rest of her life. 

Cousin’s Ghost Story in Cemetery

  1. Details
    1. Collected on 03/23/2024 
    2. Genre: Memorate 
    3. Language: English 
    4. Nationality: Mexican-American
    5. Relationship to Informant: Friend’s Younger Sister 
  2. Text
    1. Summary
      1. The informant’s cousin told her this ghost story about when he and a group of his friends decided to use a Ouija board in a cemetery in Mexico. One boy asked the Ouija board when he was going to die, and the Ouija board responded “soon.” A little while after, he begins to cry uncontrollably, and he starts walking away from the group. The informant’s cousin runs after him, but when he grab’s his friend he sees that he has no face. The friend snaps out of it, but has no memory of crying or walking away. They return to the group, and the other boys ask who they were talking to because they saw a third figure standing with the group. The cousin and his friend have no idea what they are talking about because they thought it was just the two of them. They decide to leave, but the boy who asked when he would die began having awful nightmares. About one month later, that boy commits suicide. 
    2. Direct transcription of folklore:
      1. “So, this was told to us by our cousin on our mother’s side. Essentially, somewhere in Mexico they would go there with a couple friends every now and then to just hang out at the cemetery to spook each other out. One time, they invited girls because they wanted to scare the girls. So, they are there and it’s pretty late at night. They decide to pull out a Ouija board because they want to scare these girls. They had essentially already been hearing some spooky sounds in this cemetery, so the girls were already kind of spooked. They start doing the Ouija board, and it starts moving, and they are like ‘oh my gosh it’s actually moving.’ So, the girls are spooked, and they are like ‘we are actually going to leave…like this isn’t fun for us.’ So they leave, and the guys stay, and they are like ‘haha this is so funny bla bla bla bla bla.’ At some point, one of the friends – we will call him Rob – asks the Ouija board when he is going to die. The only thing the Ouija board says is ‘soon.’ So, everyone is like ‘ah, this is so scary … yada yada yada.’ But whatever, they keep playing because obviously they think it is more of a joke. At some point, the friend who asked that question starts uncontrollably crying. Everyone is like ‘what the h***?’ And Rob gets up, and he starts walking away. So, everyone’s like ‘oh maybe he is going to do something, who knows.’ So, two of the friends get up and they start walking over. The guy is walking pretty quickly, so they have to catch up. So, our cousin is the one that catches up to him and the other friend that was with him kind of like gives up. And he goes to talk to him and be like ‘hey man what’s up?’ and he turns him around and he has no face. And so then he freaks out and gets really spooked. Then Rob turns back around and then like turns again and then his face is back to normal. Rob is just like ‘oh my God, what’s going on’ and our cousin is freaking out that it was just in his head. So he’s like, ‘you just started crying’ and Rob remembers nothing of this. He doesn’t even remember how he got over there. So, they start walking back together kind of freaked out about the whole situation. When they catch up to the friend that started following but then kind of gave up and he was like ‘who was that guy that you guys were talking to?’ and they’re like ‘what guy?’ he’s like ‘there was a guy over there with you guys who was talking to you guys.’ They had no idea what happened, and decided to go home. As it turns out, Rob commits suicide a month later. Apparently, he was also plagued by nightmares that started right after that night in the graveyard.”
    3. Context 
      1. The informant is a young woman in her early 20s who attends UCSB. This story was told to the informant by an older cousin on her mother’s side. It has become a family story, but it is told with a serious tone because it deals with serious topics. 
    4. Analysis 
      1. This story deals with scary subjects such as death and suicide, so it serves as a warning for young people to not mess with the spiritual world. The boy who asked the spirits when he would die ended up taking his own life, which tells the audience not to see death and ghosts as a joking matter because it can have real consequences. The ‘third figure’ that the friends saw is assumed to be the devil, or at least a spirit figure with very harmful intentions. “Spirits may appear in order to reinforce social norms, proper behavior, and traditional customs.” (Valk, 33) In this case, the spirits appear to reinforce proper behavior. Overall, this memorate is used to instruct others not to instigate contact with the devil or the spiritual world. It also tells listeners to take things seriously, because what started out as a joke ended up as a terrible experience with permanent harm.

Reiki Meets Catholicism

Text: “My mom has been practicing Reiki for a long time. It is an energy healing practice from Japan, also known as hands-on healing. The practitioner places their hands on the patient and uses their own energy and emotion to either detect energy from the patient or transfer energy. My mom does it kind of casually, but she can sense tension and soreness on someone else’s body just by hovering her hands over them. Whenever she knows I’m nervous or tense, she hovers her hands over my shoulders and transfers healing energy into them. I’m not very knowledgeable in Reiki, but it’s a weird thing where you feel warm and tingly in the areas that you’ve had energy transferred into, and the tension does dissolve.” 

Context: My informant – a 21-year-old woman from Los Angeles, California – explained the role Reiki has played in her family and in the relationship she has with her mom. She explained to me that this was something she remembered her mom doing for her whole life, and she cannot doubt the healing power of it because she truly feels that it makes her feel better and it relieves a lot of tension in her mind and body. She went on to explain that her mom is also Catholic and comes from a Mexican family of witches, which she said is a weird mix because in Catholicism, “witchcraft is the Devil’s work.” However, her mom connects her beliefs and cultures because she believes that the healing properties that Jesus had were actually Reiki practices, or some form of it. My informant explained to me that the connection her mom made between Japanese and Mexican culture – along with the role of religion – has shaped her own beliefs regarding Catholicism, and she feels like it has made her feel a bit more connected to her own spirituality.

Analysis: The practice of Reiki within my informant’s family exemplifies a unique blend of cultural beliefs and healing traditions that bridge diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. Reiki, originating from Japan as an energy healing practice, has been integrated into my informant’s family dynamics and relationship with her mother as a source of comfort and healing. Her approach to Reiki reflects a personal and intuitive understanding of energy healing, where she uses her own energy and emotion to detect and alleviate tension and soreness in others. This hands-on approach to healing underscores the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit within Reiki practice.

What stands out is my informant’s mother’s ability to reconcile her Catholic faith with her practice of Reiki, despite potential religious tensions associated with practices labeled as “witchcraft.” By interpreting Jesus’ healing miracles as akin to Reiki principles, her mother synthesizes elements of Japanese and Mexican culture with her Catholic beliefs, creating a unique and deeply personal spiritual perspective. For my informant, witnessing her mother’s integration of Reiki into her family’s spiritual and healing practices has shaped her own beliefs and sense of spirituality. The blending of cultural influences and healing traditions fosters a sense of connection to her heritage and spirituality, providing a holistic framework that embraces both diversity and personal growth.

Dia De Los Muertos: Holiday


BS is of Mexican descent from Michoacan, Mexico. BS shares his experience growing up with the Dia De Los Muertos Holiday, what it means to him, and how it has impacted him growing up.


Growing up, I have always had to celebrate the death of my family members whether I knew them or not. I always questioned my mother, the one who would set up the ofrenda (offering) as to why we had to celebrate those who are dead if they are no longer with us and I was always scolded and told that it was our way of celebrating their life and what they stood for. Celebrating the 1st of November was always the saddest for me. The 1st is the day that we celebrate the death of children and typically there are a lot of toys and action figures put up on the offerings. As for the 2nd of November, that day is used to celebrate the adults that have passed. Usually, this ranges from 18 and up. The central idea of Dia De Los Muertos is to invite those who have passed back to the land of the living. A great example of this is in the movie COCO where those who have passed travel through a bridge of marigold flowers to the land of the living where they reach their destination, usually their past home or tombstone, where they can pick up and take back what is left out for them. Although my idea of Dia De Los Muertos has always been like any other holiday, I didn’t take it seriously until my father passed and I found that the only way to honor his life is to remember him by setting his picture up and placing items that he enjoyed during his time on earth. Dia De Los Muertos is a holiday used to reconnect with those who you want to remeber, whether that be a close loved one or anyone you believe is worthy of being remebered.


BS ties his connection with Dia De Los Muertos to his personal life and explains how they didn’t take the holiday seriously until they found a way to benefit it for their personal use. According to the interview, Dia De Los Muertos is a way to connect with spirits and give them humanistic/living traits to image the idea that they are still living and traveling to visit from the afterlife.