Ramirez, who teaches creative writing at Southern Methodist University-Cape, first heard the story of La Llorona from her husband's family twenty years ago. Over the years, she found four separate stories behind the legend.
"In each version, the woman is called someething different," Ramirez says. The weeping woman is known as:
"La Ramera (the harlot),
"La Bruja (the witch),
"La Virgin (the virgin), and
"La Serena (the siren)."
The legend of la Llorona dates back hundreds of years. Ramirez says, "Some people believe it actually originated during the 1500s and Cortes’s invasion of Mexico and that la Llorona is la Malinche, Cortes’s lover, translator, and a co-conspirator in the Spanish conquest of Mexico."
The story has evolved over the centuries. Ramirez says few people know more than one tradition. Now La Llorona is the inspiration for a modern story.
Ramirez discovered a benevolent purpose behind the story of the woman who steals children: keeping children close to their parents to keep them safe.