Lo Que Cuenta La Gente


Latin American Leyendas. Illustration by Adam Valenzuela

Halloween and Día de los Muertos are approaching, and people are gathering all around to hear the most frightening stories. For Latinos, classic scary stories are heard more than just this time of year. So, gather around with your family, drink some Abuelita’s hot chocolate , eat your favorite pan dulce, and snuggle up in your blanket. These stories will help you to revisit your worst childhood nightmares. For those who have never heard these stories, beware. These legends are known to scare the souls out of people.

La Llorona

Perhaps you have heard the saying, “Ay, mis hijos” or “Oh, my children.” La Llorona, or The Weeping Woman, is one of the most famous legends. People claim La Llorona was a beautiful woman with long, beautiful black hair. Her beauty startled everyone in the small village. Her name was Maria. Maria came from a poor humble home in the small village. Despite being humble, Maria was noticed by every man in the village who admired her beauty.

One day, a rich man came to the village. He was introduced to Maria, and he was soon mesmerized and captivated by her beauty. The man pursued the beautiful Maria. She fell in love with the man and they had two children. Unfortunately, Maria’s beauty was not enough to keep the rich man, and he soon left her for another woman. The woman might have not been as beautiful as Maria, but she was in the man’s social class and that was enough to leave Maria. She was left heartbroken. She couldn’t believe the man she loved had left her for another woman.

One evening while walking with her children, Maria noticed the man with his new wife. The man stopped and spoke to his children. He asked them questions about their well beings.

Although Maria was there, the man ignored her like she was non-existent. Maria was distraught and angered. After he left, she kept walking with her children through a narrow path that crossed a river. Maria, out of anger and rage, pushed her children into the streams of the river. The children soon disappeared down the stream. With instant regret for what she had done, Maria tried to save the children. Unfortunately, it was too late. Maria spent the rest of her days lamenting killing her children . She roamed the streets of the village day and night sobbing and screaming, “Ay mis hijos.”  Maria’s despair caused her to go to the river and jump into the stream, causing her death. People from all over Latin America still see her spirit roaming at night. People claim that you can faintly hear weepings of a woman crying at night.

El Cucuy
El Cucuy, also known as The Boogey Man, has been a classic legend when it comes to making children behave. Most of us have heard our parents say, “If you don’t behave, the Cucuy is going to take you.” People claim that El Cucuy comes out in the night looking for children who misbehave. He has piercing red eyes that terrify whoever sees them. He’s a hairy beast that has sharp teeth and long nails, perfect for snatching whoever crosses his path. He hides throughout the night in children’s closets and underneath beds to take them when no one is watching. El Cucuy takes the children deep into the mountains where he has his laier, the children are never seen again by anyone.

El Chupacabra
El Chupacabra, also known as a goat sucker, is a scary Latino legend who comes out at night to find his prey. El Chupacabra is supposed to be a blood-sucking, hairy beast that looks like a dog with fangs like a vampire’s. His fangs are used to suck on the blood of many animals. At night he goes around haunting animals to prey on, but his feasting doesn’t end with them. The beast also kills humans and sucks their blood. He only attacks people when they’re alone. Many people that see him don’t live to tell it.
People who claim to have seen El Chupacabra and do survive are all over the world. El Chupacabra is one of the most well-known legends because of people who have shared their accounts on Spanish language broadcasts and word of mouth.

El Sombrerón
El Sombrerón (The Goblin), is a man who braids women’s hair before slowly killing
them. El Sombrerón goes after young ladies with big eyes and beautiful long hair, perfect for braiding. He goes around the village to look for women who he finds attractive. He plays his silver guitar to grab their attention, and not in a good way. The silver guitar makes it impossible for the women to sleep at night, forcing them to come out and face him. When the women come out, he takes them and slowly kills them.
Legend says El Sombrerón found his perfect victim: a young girl by the name of Susana. One night, Susana was sitting on her balcony enjoying the beautiful stars. El Sombrerón noticed her, approached, and they started talking. Susana’s parents saw their daughter talking to El Sombrerón and forced her inside the house. Susana’s parents didn’t stop El Sombreron. He came back every night to see Susana. He played his guitar night after night until her parents couldn’t take it and cut her hair off. He stopped bothering Susana when he noticed her hair was no longer beautiful and long.People say El Sombreron still goes around every night looking for young ladies to pursue.

La Mano Peluda
La Mano Peluda, or The Hairy Hand, once belonged to a man who was a cold blooded killer. The man tortured and killed people in Mexico during The Inquisition. He was murdered one night while fighting his enemies, but that wasn’t the last time people would hear about him. His hand that once tortured people would come back from the dead to haunt people. At night, while people are sleeping, La Mano Peluda sneaks out from under people’s bed. People claim they don’t hear the Mano Peluda come out until they feel the fuzzy hair touching their skin. La Mano Peluda yanks people off the bed by the ankle.

La Mocuana
La Mocuana is a woman whose love and trust for a man caused her death. La Mocuana was the daughter of the chief of Sebaco, Nicaragua. The chief was always kind and loving toward the people in the village. One day, Spanish conquistadores arrived in the small village looking for riches to take back to Spain. The chief received the strangers with a warm welcome and gave the them bags of gold and land goods. The men left town with all the generous gifts the chief gave them.

Soon after, the unsatisfied, greedy men returned to the village looking for more riches. The chief introduced the men to his daughter, Mocuana. One of the foreigners fell in love with her instantly.

Mocuana was said to be the most beautiful girl in the village. She had long black hair and beautiful big brown eyes that charmed every man that looked into them. The young, naive Mocuana fell deeply in love with the man. He swore love to her in front of her father, and he asked Mocuana to marry
him. She believed the man loved her.

The chief was not happy with his daughter’s relationship. He did not trust the
foreigner, but Mocuana didn’t care. One morning, Mocuana took the man to a dark cave deep in the mountains. Mocuana told the man she wanted to run away with him somewhere, far away from her father. She showed the man her father’s secret. The man was amazed to see Mocuana opening a box full of gold goods. Mocuana looked at him and told him they should run away with the money. The greedy man held Mocuana hands and put them together. He told Mocuana he could not run away with her. She was left confused. He then tied up her hands. The man took the box and left Mocuana behind. Mocuana sat on the floor of the cave sobbing, regretting her trust in the man. The man fled to Spain before anyone found out what he had done.

Mocuana escaped the cave. She went back to the village to inform her father what had happened. Her father was distraught. His disappointment in Mocuna added to hers and she went crazy. People all over Nicaragua still see La Mocuana wondering around. Many say they see her walking in the streets at night, still hurting from the betrayal.