Compared to other states, New Mexico is long on history, low on people, and it covers a large area. This means that solitude is easy to come by. While that’s a reason why many people love the Land of Enchantment, creepy tales you dismissed by daylight become a lot more sinister when you’re driving down a deserted road at night. Here are 10 urban legends to keep you looking over your shoulder!
1. La Llorona
Most people in New Mexico have heard of La Llorona. She is usually described as a tall, slender lady, with dark hair, who is dressed in white. People have spotted the spectre of this mysterious, weeping woman by rivers and streams throughout New Mexico. There are many variations on her story. When you boil it down, the tales all center on a woman who, after being wronged by a man, drowns her own children. She is believed to lure children to water and then drown them. La Llorona is usually sighted near the Rio Grande.
Bigfoot has been sighted in many parts of the country including New Mexico. In 2011, the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (yes, that’s a thing) shot footage showing a figure that was over seven foot tall in the Valles Caldera.
3. Aliens under Dulce
There’s a persistent urban legend that claims a secret military base lies under Dulce. This small town is on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation, next to the Colorado border. The base, believed to be located under Archuleta Mesa, is supposedly a joint human and extra terrestrial operation. Believers claim that, when relations broke down, there was a gun battle between the humans and aliens.
is a little more info about this story.
Nowadays, you don’t hear much about teratorns. These birds, which were the ancestors of vultures, lived on this planet millions of years ago and have long been extinct. Or have they? Eyewitnesses claim to have seen massive birds, which resemble teratorns, within the last decade in the Las Cruces area. (There have been similar reports in parts of Texas.) To make matters more unnerving, such sightings aren’t new. Sightings of teratorn-like creatures, sometimes called thunderbirds, were reported in Lordsburg during the 1800s.
5. La Mala Hora
If you’re traveling alone through New Mexico after midnight, beware! If urban legends are to be believed you may encounter a shape-shifting demon in the road. Sometimes it looks like an amorphous black lump. But, if this creature appears at a crossroads in the form of a woman, it is perceived as an omen of death.
6. Urraca Mesa
You expect the Boy Scouts at Philmont Scout Ranch to tell scary campfire stories. But Urraca Mesa, which is located on the ranch, has been a spooky place long before any Boy Scouts showed up. Native American tribes thought this place was the entrance to the demon world! From
an aerial perspective, the mesa does seem to resemble a human skull.
7. New Mexico State Penitentiary
The state pen in New Mexico is renowned for being haunted due to the number of people murdered there during the 1980 prison riot. It was one of the worst prison riots to ever occur in the United States and at least 33 inmates died.
8. The Death Waltz
This urban legend is about a soldier based at Fort Union in New Mexico. According to the story, he fell for a flighty, gold-digging woman. She agreed to marry him and, when the soldier was sent out to fight the Apaches, she swore that if he died in battle, she would never marry another. You can guess what happened next.
At the woman's wedding ball, the soldier’s ghost crashed the party. The guests and band fell into a trance while the ghost danced with the woman, sucking the life out of her in the process.
Skinwalkers are part of Navajo folklore. These are human witches who are able to change into animals at night. Skinwalkers are considered evil because their power is attained by murdering a close relative. These witches are believed to adopt the shape of owls, coyotes, foxes, crows, or wolves.
A chupacabra is a type of monster that allegedly sustains itself by draining the blood of livestock. Livestock attacks are sometimes attributed to this creature, also called a goat-sucker.
Some claims about New Mexico are odd rather than scary. That’s certainly the case with the Taos Hum. Learn more about this phenomenon
here. There are also plenty of haunted hotels and restaurants in New Mexico. If you’d like to explore them, consider taking one of these scary road trips through either Northern or Southern New Mexico.