Halloween Myths and Legends Vol IV

As Halloween approaches, many people are preparing by reading scary stories to get in the spirit.

Photo courtesy of Wicked Local Rochester.

As Halloween approaches, many people are preparing by reading scary stories to get in the spirit.

Kelly Zarate, Co-editor in chief

Many cultures around the world have their own sets of scary stories and legends. Many people celebrate Halloween by watching film adaptations of these movies or by telling the stories to others. As the holiday approaches, many students tell these stories to spread a piece of culture and the scary feeling with peers.

The Curse of La Llorona 

If you travel around Mexico, you’ll hear the terrifying story of La Llorona. Otherwise known as the Weeping Woman, she has terrified children in Mexico for generations. Dating back hundreds of year’s the myth of La Llorona has terrified children throughout Mexico.

This legend predominantly originated in Mexico. According to the legend, long ago, there was a beautiful woman named Maria, who came from a poor family. One day, she met a wealthy nobleman that was traveling through her rural village. He claimed that Maria was the most beautiful woman that he had ever met. Maria was so easily charmed that she later married him, eventually having two children with him. After years of marriage, they began to fight, the husband would spend a lot of time traveling and away from home, and on the occasion that he was at home, he would not pay any attention to Maria and only to the children.  

As the years passed, Maria grew old, and her beauty faded. Eventually, her husband lost interest. She later caught her husband cheating on her with a younger and more beautiful woman. Maria felt hurt and was seeking revenge. She angrily took her children to a nearby river, and without thinking, she drowned them. Once the realization hit Maria, the river’s current already took the two children. 

After arriving home, her husband asked her where the children were. Maria let out deafening weeps, admitting that she drowned them out of anger. Her husband was furious and told her to find the children; otherwise, they would no longer be together. After days of searching, Maria drowned herself in the same river.

After dying, she arrived at the doors of heaven. Maria was denied entry and sent to purgatory on Earth to search for her children. She now spends eternity searching for her children. The rumors state that you can hear her weeping for her children, screaming, “¡Ay, mis hijos!” (‘Oh, my children!”). 

Children who hear the cries of La Llorona are told to run as fast as they can, for she kidnaps all wandering children, thinking that they are her own. When she finds out that they aren’t her kids, she drowns them. According to the legend, she is found in rural areas and bodies of water in her white gown as she weeps for eternity. 

U’tlun’ta–The Spear Women

According to legend, long ago, there was a terrifying witch in the Great Smoky Mountains. She was given the name U’tlun’ta, which translates to “spear finger.” She would usually disguise herself as an old woman to appear harmless.

Unlike any human though, U’tlun’ta’s skin was as hard as stone, so tough that no weapon could penetrate it. The witch had long fingers, shaped into a spear, which is how she got her chilling name. 

It is said that she uses this spearlike finger to impale humans wandering the smoky mountains and eat their livers, only to heal them as if nothing ever happened. 

Disguised as an old woman, she would approach small children who were running chores, telling them, “Come my grandchildren. Let me help you.” Little children would come running to U’tlun’ta without knowing her true nature. 

One day, a little girl came up to U’tlun’ta, and the little girl placed her head in her lap. U’tlun’ta began to run her rock-like fingers through the hair of the little girl, singing:

“Uwe’ la na’tsiku. Su’ sa’ sai’.” (Liver, I eat).

A rather beautiful tune, but the meaning is terrifying. As the little girl fell asleep in the witch’s lap, she would bring her sharp fingers to take out her liver, then heal her as if nothing had happened. When the girl awoke, she went home, only to be found dead a few days later. 

Years later, far from the village, a hunter saw U’tlun’ta disguised as the old woman. She sang her song while swinging her long, boney fingers. “Uwe’ la na’tsiku. Su’ sa’ sai’.” 

The hunter immediately knew who this was, having heard legends about her. He quickly hid behind a nearby rock, but U’tlun’ta sensed him. As she made her way around the rock, the hunter stood in fear, picking up a spear and throwing it directly at her chest. The spear shattered and made U’tlun’ta angry. She lunged at him with her boney fingers and took his liver, leaving him dead.

The Cherokee chief soon found his greatest hunter dead, and he knew that it was U’tlun’ta who had killed him. They soon devised a plan to get this dreadful creature before she kills any more of their tribe. They dug a deep pit and then hid while waiting for U’tlun’ta to come searching for her next victim. 

When she arrived dressed as an old woman, some men began to attack her, while others tried to stop them in fear that the old woman was one of their own. When she realized she was being attacked, she revealed her true self. Her stony skin and sharp fingers were now showing as she fell into the previously made pit. 

The hunters began to attack her, eventually cutting off her tongue. So now, if anyone were to come in contact with a disguised version, they would know that this was not her true nature and to run.

To this day, some still believe that she lives in the Great Smoky Mountains, searching for lost hikers or people who are camping. If you are ever in these mountains, the people there will tell you to beware. Her hunger has grown over the hundreds of years, and if you listen closely, you’ll hear her chilling song. 

“Uwe’ la na’tsiku. Su’ sa’ sai’.” 

The Girl in the Bathroom

In the school bathrooms of Japan, it is said that you might find a girl named Hanako-san on the third floor in the third stall. It is rumored she can be summoned by three knocks on the stall door and asking, “Are you there, Hanako-san?” In which she would reply, “I’m here.”

Depending on which region of Japan you are in, the legend differs, but the most common one says that Hanako-san will drag you to an unfamiliar place through her toilet if you enter her stall. If you stay far away enough, she is said to be harmless, although when summoned, she will let out an ear-piercing scream while opening and closing the doors to scare away those who summon her. 

Her story began growing in popularity shortly after World War II. According to the legend, she was a young schoolgirl using the bathroom when a bomb fell on top of the building, directly on top of Hanako-san. The building collapsed on Hanako-san, and when rebuilt, her ghost was trapped in the bathroom for the rest of eternity.

For the past 70 years, her legend has become popular all over Japan. Like Bloody Mary, many children will try to summon her for fun or as a dare, but it is very much warned not to do so in fear of being dragged through her toilet. However, many do still try to summon her during school.