After searching for La Llorona across the Americas, the director of researched similar legends from around the world. This is a partial list of her findings.

Medea, Greek
According to Greek myth, Medea was a sorceress, princess who fell in love with a Greek hero named Jason. They married and had two sons. Several years later Jason left Medea to marry Creusa, the princess of Corinth.

Out of revenge, Medea murdered their two children and sent a poisoned robe to Jason’s new bride as a gift. Upon wearing the garment Creusa died.

Like Medea, many contemporary stories of La Llorona depict her as a woman who kills her children to take revenge on her husband or lover who has cast her aside for another woman. One difference between these two women, however, is that, while as a result of her deed, La Llorona is condemned to eternal weeping and suffering, Medea is not depicted as having remorse for her actions.


Rachel 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.

Similar 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.

Thus 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
her children,
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.

Banshee, Irish
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.

The 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.

The 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 human form.

Lilith, Jewish
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.

Lilith 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 newborn infants.

Lilith 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.

Like 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.

Xtabay, Mayan
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.

Similar 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.

Lamia, Greek
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.

Lamia’s 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 her grief.

Lamia 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.

Like 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.

Onryo, Japanese
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.

Excerpt from The Legend of La Llorona
by Ray John de Aragón
Copyright 1980

Woman in White, Philippine
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.

Another 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.

Cihuacoatl, Aztec
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 misery.

The 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 race.

Excerpt from The Legend of La Llorona
By Ray John De Aragón
Copyright 1980

La Sayona, Venezuelan
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.

Rusalka, Slavic
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.

Rusalki 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 peace.

While 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, Ukraine
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 with them.

Sky Woman, Polish
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.

Bunyip, Australia
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.

Lady 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.

While 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.

Copyright 2000-2007