In Hispanic American mythology, La Llorona (Lor-oh-loh-ah) is a legendary woman who drowns her seven children, lamenting their deaths to the heavens for all eternity. Multiple versions of this legend exist, ranging from oral legend to folktale. It is said that she went into a trance, leaving her children with the devil, who in turn told her that she would drown them. Upon returning home, she discovered that the devil had escaped, thus her story ends.
This legend is often told in different ways, sometimes in the context of the story of Lot's wife, whose four daughters were swept away by the waters of the river. When Lot offered her a chance to return to the house and reclaim her daughters, she refused, saying that the daughters would always be with her in heaven. A later version of the legend includes an angelic guide to warn her that she was in danger, but she ignored it, leaving her family to suffer.
It is believed that La Llorona was a virgin before she went into a trance, and that her sisters drowned at the bottom of the river. The story goes that she then became insane and was sent to the underworld in order to serve as a punishment for those who committed adultery against her. She was told that she could not leave the underworld until she committed her first murder. When she did so, the devil punished her with a punishment worse than drowning: he swallowed her entire soul, and she was forever condemned to wander the world as a phantom.
Although there are many variations on the story, no one can agree on what La Llorona looks like. Her most common form is her apparition found in the Mexican mountains, where she is believed to appear at night and warn people of dangers, often warning them to stay away.
Although many of her appearances have been proven, there are still some versions of the legend surrounding her that are not yet proven. These legends describe her as having a long blond hair, a bright smile, a beautiful face, and an aura of beauty.
The legend surrounding La Llorona continues to have some of the same elements as the Lot and Ariel stories: her spirit being sent to earth for punishment, her soul having to wander until her next visit. She is not considered a ghost today, but is considered a haunting presence in many Mexican neighborhoods. She may also be thought to have some influence over the lives of those who live near the mountainous regions around Mexico City.