Hispanic Folklore: La Lechuza
Happy Hispanic Heritage month to all my fellow Hispanics! To celebrate Hispanic heritage month many like to visit museums and exhibits and really just showcase how proud they are of their heritage. Because I like spooky things, and because Hispanic heritage month lands right in the middle of spooky season, I like to celebrate accordingly.
If you're Hispanic and love horror films or horror stories like I do, you're not alone. According to Edwin Pagan who runs latinhorror.com, we've always been drawn to horror stories. We grew up hearing about "El Cucuy," "La Llorona" and "El Chupacabra." Pagan says it's this intimacy with the supernatural that makes the Hispanic psyche ripe for horror thrills. It's not hard for us to be attracted to horror stories.
For many of us, the stories our abuelitas told really stuck with us which is why even to this day owls kind of creep me out. The legend of La Lechuza- an owl that transforms into a witch- is a story many abuelitas tell to scare children. La Lechuza lures her prey at night, nestled in a tree where they can't be seen and by whistling or sometimes sounding like a crying infant. If you happen to get out of your house, La Lechuza then swoops down and takes you away. Sometimes La Lechuza will swoop down onto cars driving down deserted roads at night.
Abuelita always said it's never a good sign to see a Lechuza. If you do see one, you are to cuss it out- which sounds weird, but when we did see one hearing Abuelita cuss was kinda funny. That time that we did see a Lechuza, our neighbor came running to our yard, shotgun in hand, ready to shoot La Lechuza from our tree. It flew away before the neighbor could shoot it, but the sound of it's wings flapping always stayed with me.
Like I said before, the stories our elders told us almost always had a lesson; in this case- don't go outside after dark. But my abuelita totally knew how to to put the fear of La Lechuza in me in me. It's an old wives tale, I know- but every now and then, if I see an owl, I yell out the F word as loud as I can- just in case.