La Llorona is Spanish that roughly translates to “she who weeps copiously.” There are several versions of the La Llorona legend, but almost all of them are set near a body of water. There is one very modern version that is set on East 6th Street in Phoenix, Arizona, where she is said to appear in the girl’s restroom of elementary schools.

One very popular version of the Legend of La Llorona is that many years ago, a young Mexican girl was seduced by a powerful and wealthy young man. When she finds that she is pregnant, he abandons her. Then, when the child is born, the young woman doesn’t know what to do. So she throws the child into a raging river and then goes on to live an exemplary life.

When the woman dies, she goes to Heaven and is met at the Pearly Gates by St. Peter. St. Peter tells her that since she has lived such a good life, except for that one evil deed of throwing the baby into the river, she may come into heaven, but only if she brings the soul of her dead child with her. She is sent back to earth to search for her child, and she can be seen near a river calling “°Mi niÒo! °Mi niÒo!” (My child! My child!)

In another version of the Legend of La Llorona a mother is having her twin sons baptized when a regiment of soldiers pass by. One child keeps his eyes on the priest while the other looks at the soldiers. The mother sees this as an omen (soldiers weren’t good in rural Mexico at the time) that one son will become a priest and the other a soldier. Since she can’t remember which son looked where, she simply drowns both of them. The result is the same.