of Rama, Old Testament/Jeremiah 31:15
Rachel was the wife of Jacob and the mother of two sons,
Joseph and Benjamin. In Jeremiah 31 she is described as
weeping for her children, symbolically representing
sadness over the exile of the northern tribes.
to Rachel, an ancient Aztec version of La Llorona (Ciuacoatl)
describes a female spirit weeping for her children,
symbolically representing grief over the coming conquest
of the Aztecs by the Spaniards.
says the Lord:
A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children:
she refuses to be comforted for
because they are no more.
Thus says the Lord:
Keep your voice from weeping,
and your eyes from tears;
for there is a reward for your work,
says the Lord:
they shall come back from the land of the enemy;
there is hope for your future,
says the Lord;
your children shall come back to their own country.
The Irish tell stories of the Bean Sidhe, “woman of the
hills” or “woman of the fairy,” a spirit who cries when
a death is about to occur. Bean Sidhe is popularly known
as the Banshee.
Banshee has long streaming hair and is dressed in a gray
hooded cloak over a green dress. Her cry is plaintive
and resembles that of a wailing or weeping woman. She
usually appears in three forms—as a young woman, a
stately matron, or an old hag. She may also appear as a
washer woman, washing the blood stained clothes of the
person who is about to die. On occasion, she appears in
other forms, such as that of a hooded crow, hare, and
weasel—animals associated with witchcraft in Ireland.
Her mourning call is usually heard at night.
Throughout the years, there have been several records of
the Banshee in human form. For example, in 1437, King
James I of Scotland claimed to have been approached by a
Banshee who foretold his murder at the instigation of
the Earl of Atholl.
Banshee and La Llorona both endlessly weep for the loss
of life. Also similar to the Banshee, it has been
purported throughout the years that La Llorona has taken
The Jews mostly know Lilith as a demon that is the enemy
of newborn children. Prior to Eve, Lilith is thought to
be the first wife of Adam and was created by God from
the earth, just as He had created man. They could never
find peace together because Lilith refused to submit to
Adam’s desires, taking offense at the recumbent position
he demanded when he wanted to lie with her.
left Adam, and God sent three angels to take her back.
They found her at the Red Sea where she was giving birth
to demon children at the rate of more than one hundred a
day. The angels demanded that she return to Adam, saying
that if she refused God would punish her by making one
hundred of her demon children perish daily. Lilith
refused to return and now seeks revenge by harming
is believed by some to have ruled as queen in Zmargad,
as well as in Sheba. Some also believe she is the demon
who destroyed Job’s sons. She is also said to seduce and
take revenge on dreaming men.
some versions of La Llorona, Lilith is perceived as a
selfish, disobedient woman who indirectly causes the
death of her own children. In addition, somewhat similar
to Lilith, some stories of La Llorona depict her as a
person who seeks revenge on men who roam around seeking
pleasures of the night.
The Xtabay is an evil spirit whose prey is young men
walking out at night. She is believed to hide in the
trunk of the kapok tree, and at night combs her long
hair with cactus spines. Often she will be gently
whispering or singing a seductive love song to lure men
to her. If a man gazes into her eyes, she will cast a
spell on love spell on him, luring him closer to her.
While in her arms, the Xtabay kills the man in a frenzy
of infernal passion.
to this myth, in some versions of La Llorona, seeking
vengeance, La Llorona lures men to her with her beauty
and cries and kills them.
The Greeks knew Lamia as a Libyan princess who Zeus
loved dearly. She had several children from Zeus who
Hera, Zeus’ wife, killed in a jealous rage. Hera also
made Lamia unable to close her eyes so she couldn’t find
rest from the horrifying image of her dead children.
grief turned her into a monster that took vengeance by
stealing the children of other mothers and devouring
them. When Zeus saw what Hera had done to Lamia, he felt
pity for her and gave her the ability to remove her eyes
and put them back again, thus allowing her to rest from
has the face and breasts of a beautiful woman and the
body of a serpent. She is sometimes referred to as a
male or a hermaphrodite, and is believed to have the
ability to change herself into a beautiful young woman.
In Canaan, Lamia was known as Alukah.
Lamia, some people believe La Llorona reaps vengeance on
mothers by taking their children away from them. In
addition, both Lamia and La Llorona have no rest from
the loss of their beloved children.
The Onryo is an avenging spirit who has suffered an
unnatural, premature, and usually violent death. The
film “The Grudge” was based on this legend.
Crying Wind, African
A folktale which originated in Dahomey and Togoland in
Africa was introduced to the United States by Black
Americans who were brought to America as slaves. As an
oral story which changed in the retelling, it describes
the wind as a wailing woman that roams the waterways in
search of her murdered children. They were drowned by
the ocean, who is also a woman, and scattered throughout
the world. The wind fights desperately with the water
trying to retrieve her lost children.
from The Legend of La Llorona
by Ray John de Aragón
Woman in White,
In the Philippines, some believe that La Llorona was a
siren, much like a mermaid, who lived out at sea. She
gave birth to children who were mer-people just as she
was. On their 14th birthday the children had to choose
between becoming human or remaining as mer-people. On
one occasion, some fishermen killed one of her children
that decided to become human. So whenever a child drowns
or goes missing they believe that the Weeping Woman is
exacting her revenge. When people hear wailing at night,
they know that someone has drowned.
story in the Philippines refers to La Llorona as the
White Woman. She is believed to be a stealer of souls.
She lives among the patches of fog that drift along the
ground at night. She is very beautiful and very
alluring. Those who follow her into the mists will be
lost forever. It is also believed that she takes the
soul of a young girl every year during a parade held in
May. And the wind heard howling at night is actually the
White Woman crying.
In ancient American Indian mythology one can find
accounts of a weeping woman of death in search of her
loved ones. The Aztecs themselves related the story of
Ciuacoatl, a weeping goddess, in their ancient myths.
She would capture infants from their cradles, and after
killing them would roam the streets of Tenochtitlan at
night with a mournful wail, foreshadowing wars and
Mexican goddess always appeared in white. Her sinister
face was painted half red and half black. She wore a
feather headdress, golden earplugs and carried a
turquoise weaving stick. Tales of Ciuacoatl, as those of
other Aztec gods and goddesses, come from preceding
versions borrowed from the civilization of the Mayas. It
is now believed by learned scholars the stories predate
the Maya culture and actually stem from a much earlier
from The Legend of La Llorona
By Ray John De Aragón
Common stories of La Sayona speak of a woman who seeks
out men who are cheating on their wives. She often
appears on highways and takes the lives of men who stop
to give her a ride. When the victim looks at her face he
sees a skull-like head with rotted teeth. She is said to
wear a long white dress similar to a medieval
undergament. La Llorona is believe to be another version
of La Sayona.
A rusalka is a female ghost, water nymph, succubus or
mermaid-like demon that dwells in a lake. The ghostly
version is the soul of a young woman who had died in or
near a lake (many of these rusalki had been murdered by
lovers) and came to haunt that lake. This undead rusalka
is not invariably malevolent, and will be allowed to die
in peace if her death is avenged.
can also come from unbaptized children, often those who
were born out of wedlock and drowned by their mothers
for that reason. Baby rusalki supposedly wander the
forest begging to be baptized so that they can have
her primary dwelling place was the body of water in
which she died, the rusalka can come out of the water at
night, climb a tree, and sit there singing songs, sit on
a dock and comb her hair, or join other rusalki in
circle dances in the field.
Fish-women are the Ukrainian version of the Rusalki who
live at the bottom of rivers. In the middle of the
night, they walk out to the bank and dance in meadows.
If they see a handsome man, they will enchant him with
songs & dancing, leading him to the river floor, to live
In Polish mythology, Sky Women are the warm-weather
incarnations of the rusalki. Slavic women used to go out
in the first snowfall and build snow women to honor
them, as snow is believed to be brought by the sky
women. One belief has it that the thunder and lightning
of springtime are brought on by SkyWomen mating with the
thunder gods, therefore, spring festivals included a
celebration of the return of the rusalki from the waters
with the placing of wreaths on the waters, and with
circle dances and fire festivals.
Long before the white man came to Australia the natives
believed in the existence of a dark creature of
monstrous size that lived in the swamps, lagoons and
billabongs of their tribal lands. Most descriptions of
the Bunyip include shining, baleful eyes and a bellowing
voice. Also, it has a huge body, either covered with fur
or feathers, and where its legs should be there are
flippers that thresh the water when it is angry. The
Bunyip devours human beings, coming upon them in silence
and when least expected. The natives believe that it
prefers women. Some also believe the head of the Bunyip
resembles a horse, similar to some descriptions of La
Llorona that have proliferated.
of Lake Ronkonkoma, New York
A common version of this myth tells us that an Indian
princess who was in love with a young Brave of her tribe
drowned herself in the Lake while she was morning the
murder of her soon to be husband by a white settler
living in Ronkonkoma.
walking into the water towards her death she swore that
she would avenge the death of her lover by every year
taking the life of a man.