FOLKLORE & URBAN LEGENDS: LA LECHUZA
One night in San Antonio Texas, three women were driving back home from the marketplace. As they merged onto highway 191, they saw a large owl swoop in towards the side of the car. They tried to keep their distance, but it chased them upwards to 70mph.
At this point the car suddenly died, but they managed to pull over to the side of the road before it stopped completely. The owl was nowhere to be seen.
After a few tries, they got the car started again. Once the headlights came on, they illuminated a large, human-sized owl sitting on a telephone pole. It watched them intensely. Frightened, they quickly drove away.
After arriving home, the driver told her husband about the incident. Describing the owl as being approximately 7ft tall, with a wingspan of 15ft.
“It must have been a Lechuza,” he said.
La Mujer Lechuza, or “The Owl Witch,” is popular in Hispanic folklore. The stories tell of a witch who can transform into a large bird after dark, commonly taking the form of an owl. Though they have been known to transform into ravens as well.
Seeing one of these creatures is a bad omen, bringing misfortune to whomever it encounters.
For decades, sightings of these human-sized owls have been reported throughout Mexico, and southern Texas.
Some say the Lechuza gained these powers by selling her soul to the devil. Using these abilities to steal children and use them in satanic rituals. Others speculate it’s the spirit of an innocent woman who was wrongly executed; now seeking revenge on humanity. Specifically going after people who have sinned.
Once the witch has selected a victim, it will perch on a tree outside of their home. It will mimic the sound of a crying baby to lure them outside, where it swoops down and carries them away, never to be seen again.
In other cases, it will scratch on the doors and windows in another attempt to lure the victim outside. Many families have reported hearing strange sounds at night, only to find deep scratches on their windows and doors in the morning.
Throughout the stories of La Lechuza, there have been many times when someone has managed to wound, or kill the creature.
One story involves a man from a small village, who managed to shoot the creature in the heart, but after searching all over he never found the body. The following day, members of the village had discovered one of its elders had died the previous night. The cause of death was a gunshot wound to the heart.
Throughout folklore, large flying creatures appear often. Stories like the Mothman of Point Pleasant, and the “Birdman” described in Native American myth. Both have similar characteristics, and eyewitness reports are in the thousands. These kinds of creatures are eerily common.
Do you believe the Owl Witch exists? Or is there something else taking flight after dark?
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Looking for more strange stories? Check out the legend of the Umibozu !