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Ghosts & Hauntings

The Legend of La Llorona: The Wailing Woman

La Llorona is New Mexico’s most famous legend, and the state’s most famous ghost. It is centered along the Rio Grande south to Juarez, Mexico. There is scarcely a child in New Mexico that has not been told the story of La Llorona as a youngster.

The legend of La Llorona (pronounced “LAH yoh ROH nah”), Spanish for the Weeping Woman, has been a part of Hispanic culture in the Southwest since the days of the conquistadores. The tall, thin spirit is said to be blessed with natural beauty and long flowing black hair. Wearing a white gown, she roams the rivers and creeks, wailing into the night and searching for children to drag, screaming to a watery grave.

With the story of La Llorona, tales of the imagination begin. (Fergregory / Adobe)

With the story of La Llorona, tales of the imagination begin. ( Fergregory / Adobe)

No one really knows when the legend of La Llorona began or, from where it originated. Though the tales vary from source to source, the one common thread is that she is the spirit is of a doomed mother who drowned her children and now spends eternity searching for them in rivers and lakes.
Although there are many variations, the legend goes something like this:
In the early 1700s, there was a young woman named Maria living in Juarez, Mexico. As Maria blossomed into a young woman, her striking beauty attracted the charms of many local men. Coming from a poor family, her mother encouraged her to marry one of these dashing young men for a good life. However, Maria refused, stating her beauty would one day attract the charms of a very rich man.

Before long, the handsome young man of her dreams rode into town. He was the son of a well-known wealthy ranchero west of Juarez. He wore nice clothes and had a handsome, well groomed horse with a fancy saddle — all the signs of a man of wealth. Maria would follow him around, trying to catch his eye, but he seemed to only notice the young women who were fairly “well to do.” At night, he would charm the local ladies with his guitar and golden voice, breaking Maria’s heart.

One day, the young ranchero came into the tienda (store) where Maria was shopping. She blushed from embarrassment, as she was wearing an old, dirty, tattered dress. However, the blushing beauty suddenly caught the eye of the young ranchero. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. After a short courtship, the ranchero paid her father a large dowry and they were soon married, in spite of the objections of the ranchero’s father. After all, it was frowned upon for a wealthy man to marry a woman from a lower class.
After their marriage, they moved to Mesilla, where it is said he worked his own ranch and worked as a merchant along El Camino Real. Others say he moved to Mesilla to avoid the scorn of his father for marrying a woman from such a poor family. Regardless, over the following years, Maria bore him three children. As the years went by, Maria and her wealthy husband grew apart. He was often gone for months at a time on the ranch or shipping goods along the Camino Real. He had little interest in Maria or the children. Maria suspected he was frequenting the company of other women during his travels.

One day, Maria was walking along the street with her three children when her husband’s buggy approached. Sitting close was another woman — a beautiful young woman. He passed her and the children, pretending not to notice them. Maria’s heart was torn in two. Her anger exploded into a jealous rage. If only she didn’t have the children, she thought, then her husband would love her again.

The tale of La Llorona includes malevolent actions toward children. (Petro / Adobe)

The tale of La Llorona includes malevolent actions toward children. ( Petro / Adobe)

In her rage, she dragged her three children to the Rio Grande and held their heads under the water until they were dead. Maria had committed the ultimate sin — deliberately killing her own children. Returning home later that night, she explained to her husband what she had done to please him. He was horrified and ordered her out of his life. It is said Maria roamed the streets of Mesilla for many nights, calling and crying for her children, which earned her the name “La Llorona” — the wailing woman.

Over 2,500 eyewitnesses of La Llorona were interviewed, to recount what they encountered. (captblack76 / Adobe)

Over 2,500 eyewitnesses of La Llorona were interviewed, to recount what they encountered. ( captblack76 / Adobe)

Realizing she had lost everything in life, she went down to the river and cried for her children one last time. When there was no answer, she drove a dagger deep into her chest, and fell dead into the Rio Grande. The people of Mesilla, after finding her body, buried her in the town cemetery. It is said, even today, La Llorona can be seen roaming the cemetery and the river, crying for her children. It gives the Mesilla cemetery the reputation of being haunted.

Another version

Another popular version has the ranchero leaving Maria for a younger woman. In time, Maria killed her children when she could no longer support them, supposedly as a misdirected act of mercy. Other versions have Maria getting pregnant by a wealthy ranchero, who refused to marry her, and she killed the child at birth to hide the sin. And yet other versions, more common in northern New Mexico, tell of the husband killing the children.

In Mexico City La Llorona began haunting a toddler’s bedroom. (Chainat / Adobe)

In Mexico City La Llorona began haunting a toddler’s bedroom. ( Chainat / Adobe)

In Santa Fe, Maria, of course, is from Santa Fe and roams the Santa Fe River. Even in 1700, Santa Fe thought the state revolved around them!

Was La Llorona deserted by her husband? Wronged by a lover? Or, the victim of a cheating husband? Regardless, most versions of the legend have La Llorona killing her children in the river, then herself.

¿Dónde están sus niños?
It is said when Maria appeared before God, he asked her, “¿Dónde están sus niños?” (Where are your children?).
Maria replied, “No sé” (I don’t know).

God then disfigured her to punish her selfish pride and then damned her to prowl the rivers forever in search of her children. Horrid to look at, she roams the deserts, particularly along the Rio Grande, looking for her dead children to this day. It is said if she encounters children, she drags them into the river and drowns them, hoping to present them to God as her own.

Over the centuries, many claim to have seen, or heard, La Llorona. Many describe her as being a beautiful, alluring woman dressed in a white dress with long black hair. Others say she is dressed in black. Only up close do people see her old, contorted face, and realize who she really is. Her spirit walks the rivers at night — often during a full moon — calling for her children or luring the children of others into the river.

Some say she carries with her an evil aura. Anyone who survives an encounter with La Llorona will soon be followed by tragedy. Others believe she is a bruja (a witch) casting spells of death or misfortune on those who clash with her. Her eerie spine-chilling cry is said to be an omen of death. Many believe La Llorona is the cause of so many children drowning in the ditches and rivers of New Mexico. Others claim it is contact with La Llorona that causes the occasional mother to kill her own children.

In interviewing many Socorroans, there are few that did not know one version or another of La Llorona. The legend was taught to them at a young age. Some remember the story scared them to death every time the wind blew, or they heard mysterious sounds in the night. A few shuddered when La Llorona was mentioned, often followed by a personal experience with the wailing woman of the river.

One might question, “Then why write a history article on a story that everyone knows?”
Well, because not everyone in Socorro had the good fortune of having a Spanish-speaking grandmother to forewarn you of the evils of the river. If you’ve ever caught an image of something in the corner of your eye, or heard an unexplained scream in the night — now you know. It was La Llorona. She is the most enduring legend of New Mexico in both story and song.

Not long after her death, her restless spirit began to appear, walking the banks of the Santa Fe River when darkness fell. Her weeping and wailing became a curse of the night and people began to be afraid to go out after dark. She was said to have been seen drifting between the trees along the shoreline or floating on the current with her long white gown spread out upon the waters. On many a dark night people would see her walking along the riverbank and crying for her children. And so, they no longer spoke of her as Maria, but rather, La Llorona, the weeping woman. Children are warned not to go out in the dark, for La Llorona might snatch them, throwing them to their deaths in the flowing waters.

Though the legends vary, the apparition is said to act without hesitation or mercy. The tales of her cruelty depends on the version of the legend you hear. Some say that she kills indiscriminately, taking men, women, and children — whoever is foolish enough to get close enough to her. Others say that she is very barbaric and kills only children, dragging them screaming to a watery grave.

When Patricio Lugan was a boy, he and his family saw her on a creek between Mora and Guadalupita, New Mexico. As the family was sitting outside talking, they saw a tall, thin woman walking along the creek. She then seemed to float over the water, started up the hill, and vanished. However, just moments later she reappeared much closer to them and then disappeared again. The family looked for footprints and finding none, had no doubt that the woman they had seen was La Llorona.

She has been seen along many rivers across the entire Southwest and the legend has become part of Hispanic culture everywhere. Part of the legend is that those who do not treat their families well will see her and she will teach them a lesson.

In an attempt to explain the origin of La Llorona Aztec goddesses Chalchiuhtlicue has been referenced. (Giggette / Public Domain)

In an attempt to explain the origin of La Llorona Aztec goddesses Chalchiuhtlicue has been referenced. (Giggette / Public Domain )

Another story involved a man by the name of Epifanio Garcia, who was an outspoken boy who often argued with his mother and his father. After a heated argument, Epifanio, along with his brothers, Carlos and Augustine decided to leave their ranch in Ojo de La Vaca to head toward the Villa Real de Santa Fe. However, when they were along their way, they were visited by a tall woman wearing a black tapelo and a black net over her face. Two of the boys were riding in the front of the wagon when the spirit appeared on the seat between them. She was silent and continued to sit there until Epifanio finally turned the horses around and headed back home, at which time she said “I will visit you again someday when you argue with your mother.”

In Santa Fe, New Mexico, the tall wailing spirit has been seen repeatedly in the PERA Building (Public Employees Retirement Association), which is built on land that was once an old Spanish-Indian graveyard, and is near the Santa Fe River. Many people who have been employed there tell of hearing cries resounding through the halls and feeling unseen hands pushing them while on the stairways.

There is support that the traditional La Llorona narrative is incorrect and an abusive unscrupulous father, NOT the mother, drowns their children. (alexey_arz / Adobe)

There is support that the traditional La Llorona narrative is incorrect and an abusive unscrupulous father, NOT the mother, drowns their children. ( alexey_arz / Adobe)

La Llorona has been heard at night wailing next to rivers by many and her wanderings have grown wider, following Hispanic people wherever they go. Her movements have been traced throughout the Southwest and as far north as Montana on the banks of the Yellowstone River.

Thought-provoking and incredible new perspectives on La Llorona redefine her legend in a monumental way. (Lario Tus / Adobe)

Thought-provoking and incredible new perspectives on La Llorona redefine her legend in a monumental way. ( Lario Tus / Adobe)

The Hispanic people believe that the Weeping Woman will always be with them, following the many rivers looking for her children, and for this reason, many of them fear the dark and pass the legend from generation to generation.

Ghosts & Hauntings

A Child Ghost Apparition Captured On School CCTV in Armenia

This footage was released by the security guard of the school in Armenia on February 2, 2020.

On hearing voices of children in a school that that should had been empty at this time as this was on a Sunday morning the guard called the police and shortly after the police made their investigation they rolled out a known object from the school. Could this have been a body?

Feeling that this incident would remain untold the security guard recorded and released this footage along with what he had witnessed. The footage was released with no sound and the exact location withheld for the guard’s protection and anonymity.

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Ghosts & Hauntings

The Mirror Lake Michigan Hauntings

Ideally, institutions of higher learning are environments where young people who are first stepping out on their own are encouraged to become independent thinkers and dynamic individuals.

In the face of so much newness, university and college culture often develops systems of ritual and ceremony which provide a contrast to this independence as well as comfort and structure to students as they transition into adulthood.

This week is, typically, when many students at The Ohio State University would be participating in one of it’s best known rituals: jumping into a freezing Mirror Lake prior to a football game with it’s biggest rival, The University of Michigan.

Why jump in an ice cold lake in support of your school football team? The tradition seems to have it’s origins in a turn of the century hazing practice where upperclassmen would assert their dominance by tossing freshmen into the lake.

This became a common occurrence during “May Week”, an annual demonstration of school spirit. As the rivalry between Ohio State And Michigan State grew, May Week activities slowly shifted to the increasingly popular “Beat Michigan Week” and the tradition of voluntarily throwing oneself into the lake was born.

The idea of young people being cast into a lake before an important event has been around for centuries. The Aztec, Mayan, Celt and early Nordic cultures all participated in this practice as an offering to their gods during significant times of the year, and although the young people they hurled into the water were victims of human sacrifice, the Mirror Lake Jump certainly invokes thoughts of these ancient rituals.

In fact, it was the tragic death of a 22 year old Dayton man during the 2015 jump that caused the University to put a stop to the practice once and for all. My heartfelt condolences go out to the family of this young man.

Mirror Lake

According to the campus rumor mill, this wasn’t the only time this type of tragedy has occurred. Stories persist of a member of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority that broke her neck during a Mirror Lake jump in the 1980s.

The legend states that her fellow sorority sisters carried the body back to the house and hid her to avoid the repercussions of underage drinking gone horribly wrong. Ever since, many have claimed to hear screaming and splashing in the waters of the lake only to see it’s surface mirror smooth when they turn to find the source of the commotion.

Another tale tells of a jogger that was killed near the lake during a mugging. This young man is said to be seen running by the lake, looking over his shoulder, before vanishing into thin air.

The most commonly spotted and well-established ghost of OSU goes by the name Lady of the Lake. Since the 1920s people have witnessed the apparition of a woman in turn of the century clothing glide across Mirror Lake on cold, wintry nights and mornings.

Some believe her to be a mysterious ice skater, but most know her as the wife of Frederick Converse Clarke.

Clarke was a professor of economics and sociology that lost all his money when he invested in a Georgia Gold Mine project that failed miserably. Aside from the obvious blow to his credentials as a professor of economics, the financial ruin left Clarke despondent and suicidal.

After airing his feelings to Dr. Oxley Thompson and getting no sympathy, the depressed professor took his own life on September 21st, 1903 in a garden overlooking Mirror Lake.

Clarke’s wife blamed the university’s insensitivity to her husband’s plight as the cause of his death and vowed to haunt the grounds after her passing.

In 1922 the university built Pomerene Hall on the site of Clarke’s suicide garden and it appears that the spirit of Mrs.Clarke decided it would be a fine building to inhabit when not gliding across the lake.

It is here that she is thought to be responsible for doors that lock and unlock of their own accord, the sound of footsteps across empty rooms and the manipulation of computer voice software, occasionally causing machines that aren’t even turned on to greet the living with a dull, electronic “hello”.

For reasons unknown she is most fond of room 213, where she is seen in a pink antebellum dress moving across to a window that overlooks the very lake that her husband last gazed upon before taking his life more than 100 years ago.

Today, Mirror Lake sits drained and fenced off awaiting a 6 million dollar renovation that will give it a “more natural appearance”. In an effort to end the tradition of the lake jump, the timing of this renovation was no accident, but some defiant students are vowing to leap into some body of water, even if it is the Olentangy River.

Source: Booze & Boos

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Ghosts & Hauntings

The German Navy’s Cursed and Haunted Submarine

From the time she was being constructed, in 1916, there was something sinister and evil about the German submarine UB-65.

Before she was even launched, an accident in the Hamburg shipyard occurred, where a steel girder broke from a crane, crushing a ship builder to death. A second worker was also badly injured.

Investigators could find no reason for the accident, and within a few months, the submarine had put to sea, undergoing trials. Three engineers, testing the ship’s batteries, were overcome with deadly fumes. Again, an inquiry was launched, but failed to determine the cause of their deaths.

Despite her early record of tragedy, the submarine was commissioned, and placed under the command of Kapitanleutenant Martin Schelle, a 29-year-old veteran of the Kaiser’s Navy.

She soon put to sea in an operational capacity, and found herself in the middle of a fierce storm. Captain Schelle used this opportunity to test his boat’s ability to surface in rough seas, and upon breaking the surface, a sailor was washed overboard to his death.

German U-boat

Unexplained Malfunctions Aboard UB-65

Soon after, ballast tanks sprung a leak, and the submarine plunged to the bottom of the sea. Seawater rushing inside caused the dry cell batteries to leak the same toxic fumes that had earlier killed the engineers.

This time, however, the crew was fortunate and suffered no fatalities. UB-65 remained on the bottom of the ocean for 12 long hours, before she was finally able to surface.

Returning to harbour, engineers could again find no explanation for the malfunctions. The crew were beginning to feel their ship was cursed, and many no longer wanted to serve on UB-65. She had soon earned the nickname “The Iron Coffin” within the U-boat fleet.

After leaving port, another tragedy occurred. An exploding torpedo killed the second officer, and wounded several others. Schelle returned to port, the officer was buried, and things started to get really eerie.

Ghost of the Second Officer Appears

While still docked, shortly after the funeral, a seaman claimed to watch the dead officer walk up the gangplank, towards the bow of the ship, and disappear before his very eyes.

More sightings were soon being reported. A lookout claimed to have seen the dead officer standing on the deck of the ship, in rough seas. At first, the commander dismissed the ghost stories, but then he reportedly came face to face with the dead man himself. Whether he admitted it or not, Captain Schelle was now a believer.

The high command finally agreed to have a priest bless the ship, a feat almost unheard of in the no nonsense German Navy. She docked in a port in Belgium, where the ritual was carried out.

After the ceremony was completed, the crew was broken up, and assigned to other ships in the fleet. A new crew was assigned to UB-65, and the captain demanded there was to be no further talk of ghosts.

The change of crew seemed to have no effect. The ghost of the officer was reported on several more occasions, once walking through a steel bulkhead. A torpedoman, terrified by the spirit, jumped to his death in the sea.

The Strange End to UB-65

In July of 1918, off the south coast of Ireland, a U.S. submarine sighted UB-65. Before the American crew could take any action, the German boat mysteriously exploded, seemingly on its own.

UB-65 took her entire crew to the bottom of the ocean, leaving only a patch of oil, some debris, and mystery behind.

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