The Legend of La Llorona

Hey, everyone. Today is Halloween, so I thought it would be a good day for another Legends and Lore post. I originally wrote this as one of my first Mystery Monday posts back in 2019.

A few weeks ago, Jan Sikes and I were discussing the following story about my grandfather’s brother, and she thought I should write a blog post about it.

Sometimes the most intriguing mysteries are ones passed down within your family. As a child, I was fascinated by stories my mother told me of things that happened to her or her relatives. Such is the case with a story about an ancestor who encountered a woman in white.

My grandfather’s brother, Hez, was on his way home one night after visiting his fiancée. He traveled by horseback, and the route required him to pass by a country cemetery. As he approached, he saw a woman standing beside a gate. When he spoke, she did not return his greeting. Feeling a bit unnerved, he started the horse in a trot.

The woman could keep stride, and Hez coaxed the horse to go faster. But even when in full gallop, the woman remained beside him. When he reached a second gate, she turned and went back into the cemetery. Hez died unexpectedly three weeks later.

Imagine my surprise when I first heard of the legend of La Llorona, the crying woman dressed in white. Supposedly, the legend dates back to the Aztecs when a white-adorned goddess left a cradle with the Aztec women. The cradle was empty except for an arrow shaped like a sacrificial knife. Supposedly, the tribe could hear her crying at night. Then she would vanish into a river or lake.

In the sixteenth century, there was a story of a peasant woman named Luisa who bore three sons to an upper-class man named Don Muño Montes Claros. When he abandoned Luisa to marry a woman of his stature, she killed the children, then ran through the streets wailing and screaming. Upon hearing the news of his children’s death, Don Muño committed suicide.

Over the centuries, the legend evolved along the Texas-Mexico border into The Legend of La Llorona. As the story goes, she was once a loving mother who went crazy and drowned her seven children. Unable to rest, she wanders at night in search of her babies.

The Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park, Texas, not far from the Mexico border. Fort Stockton is about 100 miles from here.

As expected, there are many variations to the story, each adapted to fit a specific geographic locale. La Llorona supposedly is seen in cemeteries, one of which is St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery in Fort Stockton, Texas.

There are also accounts of a similar sighting in Henderson County which is deep in the Piney Woods of East Texas.

But the tale that intrigued me most was one I read in Patrick Dearen’s Portraits of the Pecos Frontier. According to local residents, the woman in white was seen as late as the 1960s. She would wait beside Highway 1053 between the towns of Imperial and Fort Stockton.[i]

A man who resided in Imperial often made the drive. On his return trip from Fort Stockton, the woman would “attach” herself to the man’s car and ride for about ten miles. His attempts to distract her, including driving at speeds up to 100 MPH, were futile. He never saw her on the trip to Fort Stockton, only when he returned to Imperial. Residents say the man died in a plane crash in the late 1960s. Apparently, this man was the only one with whom the woman would “hitch a ride.”

That account is the closest I’ve heard to the one involving my ancestor. He lived in rural Alabama, having never visited Texas. Methods of communication were scarce in the early 1900s, so it’s doubtful he knew of the Legend of La Llorona.

I found it interesting that both men died unexpectedly after having seen the woman.

Coincidence? Imagination? Something else? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The incident with my grandfather’s brother inspired me to write The Dare. It is one of thirteen stories included in my short story collection, scheduled for release in January 2023.

The Lady of The Lake

Welcome to the first post of my new Legends and Lore series. After completing last year’s posts about the Native American moon names, I debated on something to take its place. Since I enjoy hearing stories about legends and folklore, I thought exploring them a bit more would be fun.

While somewhat similar to Mystery Monday, this series will feature either an urban legend or a bit of folklore. To kick things off, we’ll turn to an urban legend in my home state.

White Rock Lake is a reservoir located in the northeast part of Dallas, Texas. Construction began in 1910 to help satisfy a water shortage for the city’s growing population. After completion in 1911, residential housing began to spring up around the area. In the 1930s, the Dallas Park Board with the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), began developing the lake’s shores into a municipal park.

lake, sky

White Rock Lake as seen from the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
Photo by Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0

During World War II, the U. S. Army used the CCC camp as an induction point for new recruits. In 1943, the barracks were used to house German prisoners of war.

Today, White Rock Lake and White Rock Lake Park serve as recreational areas, with more than nine miles of hiking and biking trails. There are also several picnic spots, areas for bird watching, and fishing piers. Motorized boats are prohibited on the lake, but sailing is popular there. The area is surrounded by major streets such as Mockingbird Lane, Buckner Boulevard, and Garland Road.

Bridge, bicycle, person, sky, trees

One of the many trails surrounding White Rock Lake
Photo by Eapender at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

But White Rock Lake is also the location of a popular Dallas urban legend known as The Lady of The Lake.

For many decades, people have claimed to see a pale-looking woman in her twenties roaming the area on moonlit nights in search of a ride home. Over the years, the urban legend gained so much notoriety that Readers Digest named White Rock Lake as one of the most haunted bodies of water in 2018.

Water, pier, sailboats, sky

Sailboats on the lake near sunset
Photo by Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0

Tales of the Lady of the Lake date back to the 1930s. According to the Dallas Morning News, the first written account was by Texas author Frank S. Tolbert in 1953.

Tolbert’s account was from a conversation with Guy Malloy, a former director of displays at Neiman Marcus in the early 1940s. Malloy claimed to have given a ride to a young girl while driving home one night. The girl told him she had been at a dance with her boyfriend and they were later involved in a car accident at the lake.

Malloy wrapped her in a raincoat and placed her in his back seat. When he arrived at her Gaston Avenue address, she had disappeared. The raincoat remained.

Other versions of the legend began to surface. In some accounts, the woman is wearing a wedding dress, in others, she’s dressed in a nightgown. Some say the woman drowned in a boating accident, killed herself at the lake, or that her ex-boyfriend drove both of them into the water after she told him she was marrying someone else.

In each account, the woman stands beside the road, waving at passing motorists. She often asks to be taken to an Oak Cliff address. Witnesses say she prefers to sit in the back seat because her dress is wet. The woman sobs quietly throughout the car ride but doesn’t say anything else. Upon arriving at the designated address, has disappeared. Sometimes she’ll dash frantically from the car.

The legend goes that motorists who return to the home to inquire about the woman are told she previously lived in the house but drowned in the lake years earlier.

In 2019, Elvia Limon, author of the Dallas Morning News article, and a friend went on separate ghost tours of the area. While neither encountered any spirits, they both had some interaction with dowsing rods. Limon stated the dowsing roads told there was more than one spirit at the lake, but less than five. However, she was unable to determine if one of them was the famous Lady of The Lake.

Her legend lives on.

December – The Cold Moon

Hey, everyone. It’s hard to believe we’re at the twelfth and final post in a series on Native American names for full moons. If you’ve missed any of the others, here’s the list.

December Cold Moon
A December Full Moon

The December full moon is aptly named the Cold Moon. This is the month when winter fastens its grip and the nights become long and dark.

Interesting Facts

  • Other names for the December full moon include the Long Night Moon, the Little Spirit Moon, and Hoar Frost Moon.
  • The full moon was believed to make people go crazy. The word “lunatic” was used to describe a person who was considered mentally ill, dangerous, foolish, or unpredictable – conditions once attributed to lunacy. The word derives from the Latin word “lunaticus” meaning “moonstruck.”
  • Winter moons often seem the brighter. This is because the earth is closer to the sun during the winter months.
  • A ring around the moon is an indication rain will soon occur. This isn’t just weatherlore, but due to a reflection of light on ice crystals in thin wispy cirrus clouds.
  • The full moon is often thought of as an event of a full night’s duration, but this is misleading because the Moon seen from Earth is continuously becoming larger or smaller (though much too slowly to notice with the naked eye). Its absolute maximum size occurs at the moment when the expansion has stopped.
  • This year’s Cold Moon occurred Saturday, December 18.
  • The Winter Solstice is Tuesday, December 21.


It is lucky to hold a moonstone in your mouth at the full moon; it will reveal the future.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of posts about the names of the moons. I certainly enjoyed writing them and hate to see this time come to an end. However, I have something new planned for 2022.

Do you have a favorite moon name or season? Please share in the comments. And now, I’ll leave you with a video.

November – The Beaver Moon

Hey, everyone. We’re nearing the end of this series on the Native American names for full moons. If you missed the others, just click the following links.

November Beaver Moon
A November Beaver Moon

The November full moon is aptly named the Beaver Moon. This is the time when beavers finish preparations for winter and retreat into their lodges.

Interesting Facts

  • Other names for the November moon are Deer Rutting Moon, Digging/Scratching Moon, Freezing Moon, Frost Moon, and Whitefish Moon.
  • It is sometimes claimed that surgeons used to refuse to operate during the full moon because of the increased risk of death to the patient through blood loss. A study carried out in Barcelona found a statistically significant correlation between the lunar phase and hospital admissions due to gastrointestinal bleeding.
  • Each Native American tribe had its own naming preferences. For some, the year contained four seasons, others counted five seasons per year. Some tribes defined twelve moons as a year, others counted thirteen full moons. Certain tribes that used twelve moons to define a year added an extra moon every few years to keep in sync with the seasons.
  • The full moon is often associated with temporal insomnia. In the past, the reason was obvious; people did not sleep well during the full moon due to the bright light it emitted. These days, however, with all the artificial lights around us, the full moon´s light can hardly be the cause of the sleep deprivation that many people still suffer from during this lunar phase.
  • This year’s Beaver Moon is Friday, November 19.
  • There will be a partial lunar eclipse this month. It is the longest lunar eclipse since February 18, 1440. The next time an eclipse of this length will occur will be February 8, 2669. For more details, click this link.

I’m in awe of how many unusual celestial events we’ve been privileged to see in our lifetimes–Halleys Comet in 1986 (although it was a bit disappointing), the Hale-Bopp Comet in the 1990s, a Super Blue Blood Moon in January 2018, and more.


Ever wonder why people keep rabbit feet? It’s considered lucky, especially if the rabbit was killed in a cemetery by a cross-eyed person during the dark of the moon. (Is that not weird?)

What weird or strange superstitions have you heard about the moon? Please share in the comments.

October – The Hunter’s Moon

Hey, everyone. We’re entering the last quarter of 2021. This is the tenth in a series of posts about the names of full moons. If you missed the others in this series, you can click the following links.

A Hunter’s Moon sets in the western sky

In years when the Harvest Moon doesn’t fall in October (see September’s Harvest Moon post for an explanation), this month’s moon is known as the Hunter’s Moon. October is the time when the game is fattened up for winter. Native Americans hunted and stored provisions for the winter months during October, hence the name.

Interesting Facts

  • Other names for the October moon include Moon of Falling Leaves and the Migrating Moon.
  • The full moon is often associated with a higher occurrence of strange things, but this belief is probably a misconception. People have this feeling because they pay better attention to unusual things during the full moon. In fact, strange things happen during the rest of the month too, but people usually don’t tie them to celestial events.
  • Some wild animals behave differently during a full moon. For example, lions usually hunt at night, but after a full moon, they’re more likely to hunt during the day, likely to make up for the tough going on a moonlit night.
  • This year’s Hunter’s Moon is Wednesday, October 20.


Though nobody can be sure of when a baby will be born, some moon lore suggests that births are more likely to occur 7 days before through 7 days after a full moon. Some nurses and midwives claim the new moon is also an active time for births. According to folklore, babies born the day after the full moon enjoy success and endurance.

Were you born on a full moon? If you’re interested to know, click here to enter your date of birth. You can share in the comments. Despite my attraction to full moons, I was born during the last quarter (a waning moon) when it was in the constellation Sagittarius.