La Lechuza: Everything You Need to Know About the Creepy Folk Story

The Creepy Mexican Legend Of La Lechuza Is The Stuff Of Nightmares

December 11, 2019 Updated March 23, 2021

la lechuza
Christopher Jimenez Nature Photo/ Getty

The spooky story of La Lechuza started centuries ago and is rooted in Mexican and Texano folklore. Legend has it Lechuza was a witch who was exposed for practicing the devil’s magic. The townsfolk weren’t happy with that so they murdered her. Seems reasonable. To enact her revenge, she came back as a creepy bird lady. In fact, she’s a shapeshifter who can appear as an ordinary witch during the day and then as a huge bird with a woman’s face. To give you an idea about what we’re talking about here, “lechuza” means “owl” in English. So, basically, Lechuza is a huge owl lady who kills people.

If you’re in the mood for all things spooky after learning more about La Lechuza, read our pages on common superstitions, scary factsscary games, and more next.

What is La Lechuza?

That’s a complicated question with an even more complicated question. Not freaked out enough yet? Here’s what else you need to need to know.

Her description varies.

Some describe the creature as large as 7 feet tall with a 15-foot wingspan and the face of an old woman. While others describe it as a small bird with the face of an old woman. No matter what, she sounds scary AF.

LA LECHUZA
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She only comes out at night.

This is pretty common for most scary things. She flies through the air or perches on trees, looking for things (mostly people) to kill. If you hear a bird screech at night, that’s an omen that La Lechuza is out and looking for her next meal.

She poses as a baby.

Once she finds a target, she disguises her voice as a baby’s and will cry outside your door, waiting to pounce on you and swoop you away forever. Again, this is no ordinary bird. She is known to carry away full-grown men within her talons. If you find unexplained scratches on your door, well, you know who was there waiting for you. Eek!

She will also whistle outside your window.

She might even whistle or screech annoyingly outside your window until you’re so irritated that you’ll open your window and bam! She will pounce on you and scratch your eyes out.

She will run you off the road.

If she’s particularly hungry, she has no problem selecting a car filled with people as her next meal and will run you off the road so she can eat you. Normally, you might want to swerve to avoid hitting a bird but maybe with this one, you just go ahead and hit it?

Don’t shoot her.

Legend has it that if you try to shoot her dead, you’ll end up dead instead. How does this work? Who knows! How is a giant owl lady killing people?!

If you dream about her… well…

That might mean someone in your family will die. Gulp.

She might warn you of bad things to come.

There have been instances where people have encountered La Lechuza and instead of killing them, she merely showed her presence. Good, right? No. Just by seeing her often indicates something more sinister or dangerous to come, like a deadly hurricane or tornado. So even if you do see her and she doesn’t hurt you, well, bad stuff is still going to go down.

La Lechuza is super-duper strong.

Lechuzas can carry a full-grown man in their talons. So if you didn’t think they were terrifying before, they can literally take anyone out. 

The weather report means nothing to La Luchuza.

Lechuzas have the power to control the weather. So if they want to create a thunderstorm that makes the roads incredibly dangerous, they can.

You can get rid of La Lechuza.

If you find that you have La Lechuza in your life, good news — there are a few ways to get rid of them. You can drive a Lechuza away with salt or you can try screaming and cursing at it.

But most people don’t survive interacting with her.

Basically, it’s rare to encounter La Lechuza and survive. So, if you see her…well, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Movies About La Lechuza

Love you some scary movies? Put on these movies about La Lechuza and scare yourself half to death with the owl witch with these horror flicks:

Curse of the Lechusa

The Cry of the Owl

Other Creepy Latin American Folklore

El Silbón

Yikes, this is a dark one! Per Venezuelan folklore, El Silbón was a spoiled boy who killed his own father in a fit of rage. After being punished (read: tortured) by his abuelo, El Silbón was cursed and given a sack of his father’s bones to carry around for the rest of his life. Then the dogs were released on him and, as he ran from them, he whistled to the tune of “Do-Re-Mi.” So the legend goes that whenever you hear whistling in the distance, it’s El Silbón — with death at his side.

El Sombrerón

According to Mexican folklore, El Sombrerón is a short man with a big hat who, TBH, is a big ol’ creeper. He goes around serenading young women and braiding their hair. Oh, it gets worse. If he really likes them, he curses them by throwing dirt on their plate and rendering them unable to eat. If the young woman doesn’t starve, she is cursed to spend the rest of her life alone — never knowing love outside of the songs El Sombrerón sings.

El Cuco

The El Cuco is a lot like the boogeyman. He kidnaps children, puts them in his bag and they’re never heard from again. Legend has it that El Cuco is actually Francisco Ortego. A long time ago, Francisco was so desperate to find a cure for his tuberculosis, he drank the blood of a child. He kidnapped a 7-year-old named Bernardo. 

Luz Mala

Luz Mala is not a physical being, but a fluorescent light that shines a few feet above the ground at the night. The beams are the “lost souls” of people who weren’t baptized during their lives. If you look at the light you will die.