Monday, October 31, 2011

Urban Legends

In keeping with the Halloween mood, I thought I'd share a few urban legends that are in my YA paranormal and my upcoming re-release EARRINGS OF IXTUMEA.

In CROSSED OUT, Stephanie ends up going to Hillary's, her arc nemesis's, home. Hillary dares her to go into the bathroom and call on Bloody Mary. Hillary knows a little about Stephanie's secret--that she can see the dead. But Stephanie refuses to let Hillary get to her and goes into the bathroom, little knowing that her 'gift' might summon someone else.

In my upcoming book EARRINGS OF IXTUMEA there is the urban legend of La Llorona, the weeping lady:

There are many versions of this story. One claims that La Malinche, the trusted aide of Hernan Cortes and his mistress was the basis of the story. I also found many other versions from different countries. But all stories had one thing in common; a former mistress is jilted and she feels the only way to get her lover back is by drowning her children.

Here's one version of the story--

One popular version of the legend takes place sometime in 19th century. A beautiful young woman with two small children was living in the poorest section of Juarez, Mexico, the town across the border from El Paso. She was madly in love with a very rich man. He felt the same way about her, but he, having no interest in children, refused to marry her. So, late one night, the woman took her children to a bridge over the Rio Grande river. In the dead of the night, she heartlessly stabbed her children and threw them in the river to drown. Still wearing her bloody nightgown, she went to her lover's home to show him the great lengths she had gone to be with him. The man, seeing her blood-streaked nightgown, was horrified and rejected her. Then, finally realizing the horrible mistake she had made, she ran back to the river screaming, crying, and tearing at her hair, desperately trying to save her children. But it was too late. The woman stabbed and drowned herself in the same river. The legend has it that as punishment for her unspeakable sins she was given the head of a horse, and was to wander the banks of the Rio Grande for all of eternity looking for her lost children.

While cleaning out my writing room I came across the book, CHICANO FOLKLORE by Rafaela G. Castro. Inside this book are numerous legends, folktales, traditions, rituals, and religious practices of Mexican-Americans. Today's urban legend is listed under Maria de Jesus Coronel de Agreda( The Blue Lady)

In this legend a woman dressed in a blue veil or the blue habit of a nun appeared to help the sick and afflicted during the seventeenth century. Legends of the Blue Lady circulated in New Mexico and Texas during the mid-1600's. Stories reported that she liked to help women in need and poor children, though her goal seemed to be to Christianize the Indians of the Southwest.

Adina de Zavala cites a San Antonio legend about a mystifying woman in blue who appears once a generation, out of the hidden underground passages of the Alamo, bearing a distinctive gift that she bestows on a woman. The woman is always a native Texan; she may be young, old, or middle-aged, but she is always a speical woman, "pure and good, well bred, intellignet, spiritual, and patriotic." The gift that is bestowed on her is the ability to see "the heart of things," and the woman is instructed to use the gift for the good of the people of San Antonio and of Texas.

Also I can't forget  another Mexican urban legend--the chupacabra.

This is from a May 15, 1996 CNN article.

From Correspondent Lucia Newman

I guess if CNN reports it, people start believing it!!

Is it a mutant vampire? Is it an extra-terrestrial? Or is it simply a figment of someone's overactive imagination?

The chupacabra defies definition, but several strange and unexplained incidents in Mexico are causing locals to believe the creature is more than just a myth.

Legend has it that the chupacabra -- Spanish for "goat sucker" -- has fiery eyes and resembles a cross between a giant dog and a lizard. The creature is said to walk upright on two feet, sink its fangs into its victims and kill them by drinking their blood.

The creature has been accused of killing goats, sheep and chickens and generally terrorizing Mexico's countryside.

"It's horrible because we don't know what it is," said a woman. "I don't think its a coyote or a dog like officials say because a dog can't kill ten goats with a single blow."

Those who claim to have seen it say the goatsucker is big and hairy with wings, long fangs, and legs like a kangaroo.

In the north of Mexico, terrified peasants have tried to hunt the chupacabra with the help of police, but even a handsome reward hasn't been sufficient bring about the capture or a photograph the mysterious creature.

This goatsucker is also being blamed for at least one broken marriage: A man has demanded a divorce from his wife after failing to believe her story that the marks on her neck were caused by the goatsucker.

Authorities say tests on goat victims indicate the so-called goatsucker is probably a wolf or coyote. But that's done nothing to abate the goatsucker fever sweeping Mexico.

Some say the chupacabra has been invented by the government to draw attention away from Mexico's acute economic crisis.

"The goatsucker is the government, because the people are suffering horribly from poverty," one woman said.

The real identity of the goatsucker may never be known. But in times of crisis and stress, it's at least a distraction.


  1. I have always been fascinated by cryptozoology. I think all of these creatures have roots in truth. Truth plus time (and exaggeration) equals legend. Thus Big Foot, Nessie, chupacabra. I like Billy Connolly's reply when when people has him if he believes in the Loch Ness monster:


    It is much more fun to believe they exist and since you cannot prove a negative - YES- they all exist!

  2. What's interesting to me is how almost all these legends are similar in different parts of the world. For example there's a la Llorona in the Asian world too. And yes, she was based on a real person, la Malinche, back when Cortez invaded the new world. And Bloody Mary was after infamous queen of Scotland. Yes, I agree. Fascinating stuff.

  3. These are so interesting, Kim, and some are tragic. I've never studied myths and legends, but think I need to.

  4. Yes, some of the urban legends are so sad like La Llorona. I loved researching urban legends from other countries and cultures.