Every area of the world has its own unique stories and legends; however, Latin America has some of the most terrifying of all. Here are six ghastly tales from South America that will be sure to keep you up at night.
1. La Mala Hora (The Evil Hour)
La Mala Hora is a terrifying apparition which is said to stand at the corner of isolated roads and intersections waiting for lonely travelers. The spirit is usually described as an old woman dressed in all black, which will attack the traveler. It is said that if one sees the spirit, that it is a death omen, and either they or someone they know dearly will die.
2. Duendes (Elves)
The Duendes are an Elf or Goblin-like creature from South America folkore who are said to be either mischievous beings that inhabit houses, or the spirits of infants that died before they were baptized.
Legends say that these beings appear to people in fields and lonely woods and are often mistaken for children playing. It is said that if someone is unfortunate enough to see them, they will disappear from where they are and re-appear confused and dazed in another town completely.
Lechuza are witches who are said to have sold their souls to the devil in exchange for dark, magical powers.
At night, they transform into demonic creatures with the body of a bird and a woman's face.
The creatures are said to appear near wooded areas at night and are said to give a loud, piercing cry or a sound like an infant crying before they attack.
Sightings of the Lechuza have occurred in recent times and were even featured on several news sources.
4. La Llorona (The Weeping Woman)
La Llorona is said to be the spirit of a woman who drowned her children in a river as revenge towards her husband who had abandoned her and ran away with his mistress. After drowning her two children, she then committed suicide by drowning herself as well. Legend says she was denied entry to the gates of heaven and is now forced to wander rivers at night crying in search of the spirits of her dead children so she might gain entry into the afterlife.
In the most popular version of the legend, it is said she will kidnap children who roam alone at night; confusing them for her children, she will approach them and ask for their forgiveness before taking them to a river and drowning them.
It is said if one sees La Llorona or hears her cries at night, it is a bad omen, and a sign that misfortune will come one's way.
5. La Cegua
La Cegua (also spelled La Segua) is a legend that warns against improper behavior of men who cheat on their spouses. The story tells of a being that poses as a beautiful woman who waits for unsuspecting men by lonely roads who are returning home from nights of partying. They will be overcome by her beauty and will, in turn, offer her a ride. She will then ask for a match or a cigarette or ask some odd question, only for the driver to turn around and see a hideous creature with a horse's skull as a head and blazing red eyes; the shock from this will either kill them or drive them insane.
6. El Cadejo
El Cadejo are said to be dog-like creatures with features similar to deer and the hooves of goats. It is said they are white and black creatures. The white Cadejo is said to be a good spirit, which will appear to drunk men and travelers who walk home late at night to ensure that no harm will come to them. The black Cadejo is said to be an evil spirit and will try to kill anyone it comes across. The Cadejo are said to be accompanied by the smell of sulphur, thus making them similar to hell hounds.