The Chilling Story of La Lechuza & Its Sinister History

Updated June 17, 2021
Close up of owl face

As if kids didn't have enough to fear with the boogeyman and monsters hiding under their beds, children in Northern Mexico and parts of Texas also hear tales of a creepy witch owl woman called La Lechuza. Since the mid-1700s, frightening stories about La Lechuza have scared the wits out of those who hear her story.

The Story of La Lechuza

La lechuza is the Spanish phrase meaning "the owl." Maybe this doesn't sound frightening so far, but La Lechuza is no ordinary owl. Nope - she's a shapeshifting old woman who becomes a giant owl with a 15-foot wingspan and the face of a woman. And, to up the creepy factor, the woman is bruja (witch) with revenge on her mind. You see, she was a curandera (a healer) practicing white magic, but people in her village were frightened of her powers and killed her. Resurrected (possibly by selling her soul to the devil), La Lechuza returned with revenge as her main objective. Now, she shifts into a huge owl, lures passersby to her hiding spot with innocent sounds such as a crying baby, and consumes the curious as her next meal. Her favorite victims, it is claimed, are intoxicated men.

And while hiding and luring people with a baby's cry is her favorite MO, that isn't the only way La Lechuza makes herself known to her victims. Under the cover of darkness, she has also been known to swoop down on her prey from above and scoop them up, carrying them off to her lair where they are never heard from again.

Protect Yourself Against La Lechuza

Fortunately, you don't need to fall prey to La Lechuza. There are many ways you can protect yourself from falling into her clutches.

  • If you see her, throw a mixture of salt and chili powder in her face.
  • Tie seven knots in a rope and hang it by your door as a sign of respect, and La Lechuza will leave you alone.
  • Recite a prayer, such as the Canticle of Mary, and the creature will be frightened away.

La Lechuza Sightings

There have been numerous La Lechuza sightings over the centuries. Some more recent ones keep the myth alive.

2017 Chicago Sighting

Clyde Lewis at Ground Zero writes about an April 16, 2017 sighting of a humanoid owl creature one night at Humboldt Park in Chicago. Clyde tells of several witnesses seeing a two-foot tall humanlike owl. Other witnesses swore the humanoid bird was over six feet tall and black with huge red eyes.

Three Women Harassed While Driving

Mike Cox writes about three women on their way home from San Antonio one night encountering a La Lechuza. According to the women, they saw a very large bird come up from behind them and fly past the car.

The bird turned and came back towards the women. At one point, the bird kept pace outside the driver's window as the woman driver tried to outrun the bird. Suddenly, the car engine stopped and wouldn't restart. The three women sat terrified in the dark. When the bird disappeared, and the driver was able to restart the car.

Old Woman Found Dead

Another popular story is of several men tracking down and shooting what they believed was La Lechuza. They searched and were unable to find the bird and gave up. The next morning, they set back out to find the bird when they came upon the body of an old woman with frightening features. Her limp body was draped over a tree limb. The men believed they'd killed a real La Lechuza.

Beware La Lechuza

There are many stories about La Lechuza with a long history of sightings. So, if you wander out into the dark of night and hear a crying baby, use caution when you investigate. Otherwise, you could become La Lechuza's next victim.

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The Chilling Story of La Lechuza & Its Sinister History