In countries and communities of Latin America, even in the north of America, there are stories told of the Crying Woman. Children are warned of going too close to lakes or ponds or other bodies of water at night. Sometimes during the day as well. She is a spirit of Vengeance, one who does not yield nor relent.
The First Wailing Women
The Aztec version of the first Wailing Woman was the Goddess Coatlicue (serpent skirt). She isn’t just the Mother of the Gods. She is also the Patron of women and children who die in childbirth. It’s said that when the Spaniards conquered the Aztecs, a vision of her was seen wailing in sadness for her people. For she saw the dark future that awaited them.
Then we have the case of the Goddess Brighid
Brighid had married a human king and had sons with him. But one day her family died in a battle. And the result was that she wailed endlessly over their bodies. This started the Irish tradition of keening. Or wailing for the dead.
This is where the mourning women at funerals come from. And the legends go on with the Banshee of Ireland or the Cihuateolt of Mexico. Or apparitions in Catholic countries of mourning women in mourner garbs. Or mourning women from the Victorian era who haunt old houses. We even have one of those here in Florida.
Wailing Women or women in white started out as Goddesses in my research. Divine women from various backgrounds and eras. Who cried out in agony at several turning points in history. But where does she come from? Most people say this is a Latin American tradition. I disagree, I have seen a depiction of a Wailing Woman in almost every culture.
People in North America were first introduced to a concept of the Ladies in White in the pilot episode of the TV series Supernatural. Here, Sam and Dean Winchester, encounter an American Lady in White. One of the few times they ever got the folklore right in that show. Sam even mentions, when explaining what they are, that these types of spirits can be found all over the world.
Typically, as explained in that episode, women in white are women that were abandoned by an unfaithful man. They usually bare children to that man, then in a fit of rage, some might say, temporary insanity (like Sam mentions) the woman takes her anger out on the children. They blame them for the abandonment of the spouse, and kill their children as revenge against the Father. Usually by disposing of them in a river, lake, pond etc. The children drown. But when they come to their senses and realize what they have done, they commit suicide the same way.
Cursed, the condemned soul of the newly created Woman in White or Weeping woman returns to the scene of the crime. She searches for her missing children, the problem is, she can’t find them. She doesn’t know where they are. So the town’s people in all the cultures report hearing the deceased women weeping all night long.
Sometimes even shrieking in anger and frustration. As you can imagine, for a person in a town or city to hear this in the middle of the night is unnerving. This gives way to anger, and a desire to kill any unfaithful man that they find. They become Vengeance Ghosts. Angry spirits who exist only for pay back, for the desire to punish the guilty party, or just someone, anyone for their own crimes. In some cases, the Wailing Women will go after men in general. Not caring if they are good or bad. In other cases, Wailing Women are just plain evil. Not going after guilty victims like the usual ones. In these cases, Wailers try to kidnap and murder children.
A really nasty story of such a Wailing Woman can be found in Guatemala. Unlike the more innocent Llorona in Mexico, this Lady in White, killed her babies because a man she wanted did not want her or his children. After drowning the babes in a lake, she went off and lived a very long life. Only when she finally died, did the universe pay her back. She awakened as a spirit, bound to the Lake where she had killed the children, which angered her even more. So now she takes out her rage on stray children that wander too close to bodies of water in that country. Which leads us to another interesting facet about these entities. Some are more powerful than others. The Lady in White in Guatemala can apparently control more than one body of water. The normal ones are Loci (location) specific spirits with power only in the places they died.
So there is no safe water source for a child there. They are always in danger near water. This is not the first time I have heard of that. It seems that some ghosts can grow stronger and smarter over time. Some can develop a wide variety of powers. In these cases they can or are almost on the same level of power as a non human entity. This is in stark contrast to the paranormal theory that human spiritis are weaker than non-human spirits. That’s why there is such a wide range of abilities a ghost can have.
In India, similar dead women exist who haunt lonely roads and murder men or even women who travel there. I’ve been told before that it’s almost like a time loop when you encounter these women. You pass a random woman just standing at the side of the road. And the next thing you know she is either ahead of you in the same side of road or standing in the middle of it. In this capacity, wailing women are not always haunting rivers.
They can also haunt roads and street corners as well. And some are like “Resurrection Mary” of American lore. They ask for a ride home or to a certain intersection and suddenly they vanish. But unlike Resurrection Mary, who is a benign spirit, this version of wailing women will haunt the man who gives them a ride. It seems not all of them can kill.
So they resort to tormenting their male victims. Some also harm people indiscriminately of whether they are men or women. Children or the elderly. Some pretend to be in trouble to lure well meaning people to their aid. And this just leads to them being killed.
Not all of them dress in white either. In India they can be dressed in various garbs or whatever. Mexicans who crossed the border, have said that they encountered wailing women there. They believe these are deceased border jumpers who were harmed either by the coyotes (smugglers), other travelers, or even the various militias or immigration officials hunting them. Whatever the story, even on the border no one is safe.
In Mexico, Women in White can transform into horse headed women. These women are similar to the Selkies of English folklore. These beings are normally called Sihuanaba the Sihuanaba are usually their own type of creature. However the Llorona seem to also take this form sometimes, luring men to bodies of water to be drowned.
It would seem that the trend in women dying horrible deaths associated with unfaithful men or dead beat men, bred a strange evolution of ghost on the other side. Vengeance Ghosts already being an off shoot in their own right. So this is the reason that so many of these female ghosts, are following identical or near identical patterns. Perhaps it’s even possible that these women have a similar spiritual wavelength. That their thoughts or feelings or desires are so similar or similar enough, that they have collectively evolved.
Perhaps evolution doesn’t end with life, it just changes form in death.
Now to finish, I should mention that in the media, the most popular Llorona (Crying Woman) is the Mexican one. As I said before, there are several versions of this story because they are all different women who had similar traumatic experiences. The story in Mexico is about a peasant indigenous woman. Her real name is lost to time, but most people say it was either Maria or Rosita. The story goes that she was the most beautiful young woman in her town.
But she was not interested in a relationship. Some say that she was in love with a particular young man. Others claim, that she was vain and selfish desiring only status and power. I tend to reject the negative portrayel of her. Because as a person of mixed descent living under European colonialism, I can tell you that stereotypical portrayals of bad women are all too common.
Especially when it’s a native woman and a white man. The man was not only a white Spaniard, but a member of the Elite Criollo (Creole) families in Mexico. Specifically he was a land baron like his family before him. Maria or Rosita was said to be entranced by him. He began to woo her even serenading her under the night sky.
Eventually, she gave into him and they married. Although other stories maintain they could not marry because of the racial hierarchy the Spanish Colonies of the time. In those tales it is said she became his “Indian wife”. Spaniards since the Conquistador times, would have legitimate marriages with white women. But would also be permitted under the Colonial system to sleep with native women and have a sort of civil union with them.
Sometimes (if it were a wealthy Spaniard) passing on properties or titles like the “royal bastards” of Kings. Indian wives were the kept women of powerful colonial masters. The Church more or less recognized these unions but only to an extent. In this story, which was the story I was told and her name here is Rosita, she was his lover for years, eventually bearing two young sons. They would have special rendezvous so that he could also meet with his sons.
But one day, he told her he was being pressured into an arranged marriage with a Spanish Noblewoman to gain more lands. She was enraged at the fact that he was going to marry someone else despite their years long relationship. In an act of temporary madness, she drowned both her sons in river. She hadn’t actually realized she was enacting her fantasy of drowning him in the river until she enacted it on her sons.
She snapped out of it, realized what she had done, gone after them to try and save them, and died in the attempt. Another version of that story says the Land Baron was angry she shut him out and refused his advancements. So he, not her, had killed the children (who were apparently from another marriage). Which led to her diving in after them and dying with them. Whatever the case may be, it is said that soon after, the Town’s people began to see apparitions of Rosita/Maria near the river, in the same white dress she was buried in.
Her wailing was so loud, it awakened the village every night. In yet another version of the story, after killing her children she went all the way to Heaven. But when God asked her where her children were. She said she didn’t know, and God told her she could not stay until her children came back with her. Now, how anyone would know this happened is beyond me. Maybe the Ghost told someone a long time ago. Or a shaman saw it in a vision. Who knows.
The Llorona in San Diego
Those are all the versions I have heard. Now, I will tell you all a story about a friend I had who lived in San Diego, California. She lived in apartments there. But California, is one of those states with odd Paranormal activity.
It is true, that if you research enough you will find Paranormal Acitvity anywhere. Or some legend or ghost story here and there. But Florida, New York, California, Hawaii, the Ozarks, and Louisiana seem thus far to be the most haunted of areas here. My ex girlfriend, an accomplished witch and medium once told me she would never want to live in Florida. Because of how “messed up” the energy here is. Similarly, that same messed up vibration can be felt in California by some.
The Elders always say that our Spirits travel with us wherever we go. Others do not believe that and think that our ancestral spirits stay in the homeland. I can tell you that the former is true and the latter is a lie. I am always in touch with local spirits. On a daily basis I have seen all sorts of creatures that are not in any books I have ever read.
But their energies are still unique to whatever land they came from. A unique aura to them that distinguishes them from native spirits. In California, where there is a heavy indigenous population from Mexico, some of the south native spirits traveled with them. Among them was a Weeping Woman. But this one didn’t try to kill men.
What she wanted was children. My friend at the time, Annie encountered one. I changed her name I for privacy. She is a powerful Soothsayer. Soothsayers are a subcategory of Seers and Mediums.
They have prophetic powers and can see and feel things in greater detail than a regular psychic. Her children inherited her powers. One night, she told me that a spirit that had not manifested before was suddenly there. And it was a Wailer. It wanted her children.
Somehow, she must have bound herself to someone there and they brought her over with them. The Wailer was a meztiza (1) woman. She had a round face with a brown mole on the right side of her mouth. She would never move her lips, she just had a grim expression, and a voice that would manifest out of nowhere. She seemed to be manifesting it with her mind.
She kept singing a lullaby in her language to them but it still had no effect. I always wondered if this was because of their own innate strength in the spirit world. It still managed to get their attention however.
The entity looked like a whisp of smoke below the waste and above looked almost like a normal woman except that she was transparent. And that horrible, grim expression. Just blank like someone who had gone through a traumatising experience. If the stories are true, that may explain why. And rather than white, she wore purple with a black veil.
The veil covered her head. But her face was left uncovered. It was a shawl like those common to Spanish speaking Turtle Island. They lived on the second floor of the apartment complex and it would just hoover there. Staring. Trying to get the children out.
She tried to enter the apartment and could not. It was being repelled by Annie’s wards. Annie, eventually discovered the entity. She performed a ritual to cross the poor soul over to the other side. It looks like she thought if she could kill Annie’s children, it would allow her to be with them in death. She wanted her family back. Annie set the poor soul free.
And never again to my knowledge did such an entity try to harm hers or any other children there. There have only been four cases I was involved in, and one indirectly involved in, where children were in some kind of danger. And sadly, each one was worst than the last.
These children were lucky to have a witch for a mother. Annie, through her knowledge of magics, was able to save the day. So the next time your children tell you about their imaginary friends, pay attention. Especially if their description is awful. You never now what is roaming around with a perchant for innocent blood.