La Lechusa, an owl spirit, haunts the Mexico-United States borderlands. Lechusa literally means owl. There may be one Lechusa or many. Traditional Lechusa myths describe nocturnal attacks on men. Attacks are not random: La Lechusa punishes the unfaithful. Her usual targets are menout drinking, carousing or canoodling instead of being home with those to whom they’ve sworn their troth. In some ways, La Lechusa resembles Lilith whose name also refers to owls.
La Lechusa may be a primordial owl spirit. However other theories suggest that La Lechusa names ghosts of women who died brokenhearted due to a cheating lover or husband. Alternatively, she is a resentful, jealous ghost; angry that her spouse has remarried or found new love and seeking revenge.
La Lechusa is not obscure but is the subject of many alleged sightings and experiences. The story has degenerated in recent years into a horror tale: La Lechusa is now a shape shifting witch out to cause indiscriminate harm, similar to ancient striges, shape-shifting malefic witches. If these witches exist, they are not the same as the supernatural Lechusa. Horror-story Lechusa resembles Bloody Mary: people summon her, allegedly to cast spells on their behalf, but perhaps just to see whether she exists. If they summon her wrong, she attacks them.
Owls are silent hunters. Lechusa is the master of the surprise attack. However, she usually signals her presence via scratching noises on the roof or by particularly eerie hooting sounds. The spell that protects against La Lechusa is extremely similar to the notorious aiguillette, the binding spell intended to ensure a man’s fidelity:
Form seven knots in a ribbon, cord or rope (basically whatever you have at hand.)
Say a prayer as you form each knot, similar to praying over rosary beads
Do not stop until all seven knots are complete and seven heartfelt prayers have been said: it is crucial to maintain total focus for this protection spell to work.
Manifestation: La Lechusa is a great white owl. How great? Some descriptions say she’s the size of a woman. Sometimes La Lechusa is completely owl. Sometimes she’s half-owl and half-woman and sometimes she’s described as an owl with a woman’s face.
See also: Bloody Mary; Ghost; Lilith; Vila
From the Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.
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