Since Halloween is almost upon us ,this ghost legend should be apropo. The Legend of the weeping woman goes back as far as prehispanic times. Mexican mothers use it to scare their children by telling them if they stay out at night the weeping woman will kidnap them.
According to Prehispanic Codices (Aztec pictographic books), ten years before the arrival of the Conquistadors, many strange occurences took place around Tenochitlan (now Mexico City), A sudden fire burned the temple of Huixtlipochtli the god of war, siamese twins were born, a comet passed over in great brilliance (Haley’s to be exact), a crane was caught on Lake Texcoco that had a mirror like rock imbedded in its head and when King Moctezuma looked at it he saw strange white men with red beards riding on deer (horses were unkown in Mexico before 1519), with strange weapons.
All very ominous signs and another worrisome thing was every night the King could hear a woman crying on the lake outside his palace saying, “My children, my children, where are my children?” He sent servants to investigate but they couldn’t find anyone.
After the Conquest and many deaths from the war and plagues, ther were many mothers mourning the fate of their children and the country.
The second legend, about the time of the early years of Spanish Colonialism says that an Indian girl fell madly in love with a Spanish soldier who fathered her children and then abandoned her. The bereft girl drowned her children and commited suicide and now her ghost, veiled and in a white dress wanders the streets of the city looking for wayward children to kidnap.
If you happen to be in Mexico City between now and November 22nd, Go to the Xochimilco Floating Gardens and catch a flatboat to see the Theatrical production of “La LLorona”, it takes place on an island in the lake after dark. Go on Halloween for an extra spooky time.