A is a 59-year-old Hispanic American female originally from La Junta, a small town in Southeastern Colorado. A currently works as a background detective in Phoenix Arizona.
A informed me of this folklore over a dinner discussion. I asked A if she had any folklore, specifically legends or ghost stories she would be willing to share with me.
A: So this is the story I heard as a little girl of La Llorona, the “Crying Lady.” She lost her babies somehow, and wandered through the waterways, rivers, creeks, anything where there was a bridge overhead.. So as a kid we were always told “don’t cross the bridges at night” because La Llorona would be out there trying to steal children because she doesn’t have babies of her own.. So, even as a teenager, I would not walk over a bridge at night, I would walk extra, blocks to get away from the waterways just because it was too creepy to try to walk over it.
Reflection: The rendition of the La Llorona legend that A was told as child is consistent with the American Hispanic South-West understanding of La Llorona as a scare-tactic for children to discourage them from misbehaving or wandering away from home. I believe A’s story demonstrates how impressionable children are in relation to folklore, as La Llorona was still having a direct effect on A’s life well after childhood. Stories also tend to be more impactful when told by family members, as there is often an underlying sense of trust between blood ties that will lend immediate credibility to a story whether it is true or not.
“For another version, see Schlosser, S. E., and Paul G. Hoffman. 2017, Spooky Southwest: Tales of Hauntings, Strange Happenings, and Other Local Lore., Page #85