The Whistler

El Silbon

The Whistler is a legend from a region in Colombia called “The Llanos”. This region is also known by the name of “Llanos  Orientales” which   is located in the Eastern part of Colombia bordering Venezuela.

The story goes that a wicked young man killed his father in an angry rage when he did not bring home the deer heart he was craving.  The family suspected that this was an evil act, so the brother very angry punished the evil man by whipping him and throwing hot pepper on the wounds. He also sent an angry dog after him to continue his punishment. Therefore, after that the creepy six-meter tall men called “El Silbon”, haunts the llanos at night carrying a large bag of bones said to be his father’s.

Los Llanos

Llanos Orientales

The funny part or let’s say better that the scary part of the legend is that when you are in the llanos at night and you hear someone which sounds distant with a whistler, the first thing that comes to your mind is “El Silbon”.  Which is fascinating is that most sightings of El Silbón are by drunk men stumbling around at night…coincidence or not believe me that many natives and visitors that know the legend freak-out when they hear the sound of a whistle in the middle of the night at the “Llanos”.








The One Legged Woman

La Patasola

We could not wait for the early evenings during our summer vacations to listen to grandparents and uncles that sat outside by the benches to entertain us with the most interesting folktales that you have ever heard.  My uncle Mayo used to scare us talking about “The One Legged Woman” (La Patasola).

The stories say that she called out to a passing man, asking him for his help. She appears to be an extremely beautiful woman, but she has a single leg. She has that black widow appearance looking for a mate that she can seduce. Once he becomes delighted by her beauty, and follows her deeper into the forest, she begins to change. Her teeth become sharper and longer and her eyes look like a tiger. The poor man is already in love and becomes the helpless victim of the vampire. La Patasola, drinks his blood and eats his flesh.

La Patasola 3

As creepy as it sounds, there is a tradition among Latins to spend time-sharing these folk tales with their children and friends. There are different versions of the “Patasola” the most popular is that she plays the part of the unfaithful wife and her husband murdered after discovering her infidelity. After dying her soul became trapped in, a one-legged body that now wonders the Colombian’s mountains, looking for her victims!


La Jagua, town of witches

Every night, at 6pm, Joseph puts in his bedroom corners, plates with mustard seeds and bottles of holy water. Also, in his nightstand, he puts images of saints, holly books and garlic cloves underneath his bed. All these to make sure, a witch doesn’t appear while he’s sleeping.

Latinfolktales La Jagua

Latinfolktales La Jagua                                               Source:

La Jagua is a small town in Colombia with 1.400 habitants, located in the state of Huila. Originally, it was an Indian community and a place for Indian ceremonies. Today, this town is recognized by few. For those who know it, it is “the town of witches.”

Latin Folktales La Jagua

Latinfolktales La Jagua


Joseph describes the witches as “weird creatures, with sharp nose, always wearing black dresses to camouflage within the dark, who are always smoking and laughing… they are inoffensive spirits that flew from Europe through the Magdalena River to avoid death at bonfires.”

Joseph says that he hasn’t seen them and that they haven’t hurt him. However, some nights, he wakes up, with plenty of bruises around his body.  Once he goes to the doctor, they disappear.

There is people that mentioned that they saw them. “One day I was walking at night and witch felt from a tree… She was an old woman with sharpie nose, no foot, flying in a broom. She was looking at me with her penetrating eyes… I started to sweat, tried to scream and my voice didn’t come out, meanwhile, I prayed.” The day after, he woke up with bruises all over his body.

Latin folktales - La Jagua

Latinfolktales La Jagua


Other man mentioned that, every night a woman with long hair, sleeps next to him. He hasn’t seen her because, once she enters in his room his body paralyzed from head to toe, he can’t open his eyes or talk.

Most habitants of La Jagua have their own story to tell about witches. Most of them believe that witches exist and try to bleed and protect themselves wit traditional rituals. The funniest is that these doesn’t avoid them to appear and the people of this town have learned to live with them.

As many Latin American folk tales they come from The Indians, who developed these stories fully charged of imagination and that are still alive by being transmitted through generations.

My dad is from Huila. He’s the kind of guy that doesn’t has any fear and doesn’t believe in witches and spirits. I asked him if he has ever been into la Jagua…. His face turned white and start to talk to me with his serious voice “I don’t believe in witches and anything of that but, if they exist, I know they live there.”


La Llorona

He started talking with a soft but deep voice, all the attention immediately goes to him. We all know it is time for one of his great stories. Grandpa knows we love to hear them before going to bed.

This gorgeous woman, wears a long white dress, full of holes, mud and blood. Her eyes are red, her hair is unkempt and messy. She hides something among her arms, it looks like a rabbit, but no, it isn’t, is her new born child…



Latin Folktales – La Llorona

At this point of the night my cousins and I are paying close attention to the story… the surroundings of the farm are very quiet…

She… she screams and cries all night… those screams of guiltiness and repent for killing her child… Her movements are slow and strong, you can feel her dark energy coming… She loves to be around lonely places, lonely towns, lonely farms, always looking for men that aren’t behaving… all those cheaters, drinkers, gamblers, have to fear her, because she is looking for them, to hold her child…but they don’t know what comes next…

Our surroundings aren’t quiet anymore… the land started to make noises, all of us hold our hands together. Grandpa turns his voice deeper and makes that scary face that freaks us out…

Once the man receives the child, she passes her guilt and punishment… poor him…He will become a weepy for the rest of his life…

At this point of the story, we are all scared…Aunt Clara comes to us saying: “Dad, don’t scare the kids…Guys, get ready for bed”. None of us want to go until grandpa ends his story…

Her spirit surrounds every town and lonely place after 8pm. That is her punishment for the rest of her live after killing her child… “Go without any God and Mary, looking for all those men who are misbehaving”.

Latinfolktales La Llorona.                                   Source:


A heavy noise comes from the kitchen… we all scream and close our eyes, Grandpa mentions… “It is La Llorona” then he laughs… “Come on guys! It is probably just an animal looking for food!” he assures us.

This folk tale has been transmitted from generation to generation among different Latin American cultures. In Colombia, grandpa used to tell it to us before going to bed. For those of us, that were naughty and didn’t want to go to bed and obey our parent “La llorona” was enough reason to jump into bed even before time. Anything to avoid any chance of meeting this scary character.

Isn’t it kind of funny that this tale still scares me? I have to confess that after writing it, the memory of those days came back to my mind… Alone, in my NY apartment, I feel as afraid of “La Llorona” I used to feel in those windy summer nights with grandpa, I think, it is time to go to bed.