Local Legends: Texas Folk Tales and Urban Legends

From donkey women to Bigfoot-looking-characters, this article contains some of the most interesting Local Legends of Texas.


Texas is famous for having stories. Stories of the plains, of becoming our own country, and most important of all, stories… of ghosts! Alright, admittedly ghosts are far from the most important, but there are plenty of folk stories out there concerning them. And it’s nearly Halloween, so it’s the perfect time to talk about some Local Legends and Folklore.

Well, this is the first time that I’ve tried anything like this before, but here we go.

I’ll start you off with a story about The Legend of La Llorona. La Llorona, long story short, is a tale of a poor woman in El Paso who throws her children into a river so that she can marry a rich man who doesn’t like the fact that she has kids. When she tells him what she did, he is horrified. Overcome by sorrow and guilt because of what she has done, she somehow dies and comes back to life as a donkey woman, cursed to wander the banks of the Rio Grande as punishment for her crimes. People have reported hearing strange crying on the banks of the river, and some say they have even seen the donkey woman. They say that La Llorona will force you to keep her company if she finds you out alone, then… kill you? The research I did wasn’t clear. The author himself claimed to have seen a strange woman on a bridge while out with his friends, then when they tried to drive home across the bridge, they found a box full of, well, gross gory stuff that I probably can’t put here. He said he called the police and they didn’t believe him. When they showed an officer the box, he said it was probably some sort of bait for a fisher. No-one was convinced. Another writer said he met the phantom woman who he called La Llorona (but with no horse head) who tried to get over to their car.

Similar to this legend is one of the Donkey Lady (why so many donkeys?) that was used to persuade kids not to wander outside at night in San Antonio. It tells the story of a woman who was hurt in an accident and looks like a donkey now so for some reason she goes around spooking people. People tell of a donkey lady attacking their car at night in the woods. There was one story in the book that said “A classmate told me about (the number) in about the 6th grade. Supposedly, when you called it, you could hear a donkey. I tried it a couple of times, but it was always busy.” That’s it. That’s the quote. Wow. So scary.

My third tale is of a bizarre beast, The Howling Hairy Thing on the Ghost Road. Some people have reported seeing a big, hairy, screaming monster on a place called the Ghost Road, where people report seeing strange lights that they believe are ghost spirits. They say that the large beast rushed up to their car and shook it, screaming. One man reports having seen it while riding with his wife. He reports having shot it twice with a shotgun he had in his car, and the monster had supposedly run, screaming, away. Another to-be-married couple tells of a hairy, screaming thing that they drove away from after it started shaking the back of their car.

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Many kinds of stories like this exist, with different beasts each time. One tells of a young man who enjoyed walking a lonely trail in the woods near the Brazos River. He says that on one particular walk, he felt a strange presence and decided to get out of the woods. Suddenly, he smelled an awful stench of trash, body odor, and spoiled food. He was horrified and ran away.  As he escaped the woods, he stole a glance backward and saw a rustling bush and a huge, hairy man running back in the direction of the river. Many people have reported things like that, seeing monsters while out hiking, but I don’t have time to cover them all here.

All kinds of legends like these exist, just waiting for you to discover them. Stories of creepy children, scary monsters, and haunted houses abound, especially down here in Texas. It doesn’t take much digging to find a good one. So stay on the lookout for some good ol’ ghost stories just waiting to be read, and if your up to it, do some looking this Halloween.