The Witch of the Mexican Hills

This happened many years ago when I was a little girl. I need to explain a little before I get to the actual phenomena. I grew up in a small farming town roughly one hour's drive from Monterrey in northern Mexico. My father was an orange farmer and this is where I spent my years before schooling. Because my father worked very long days, I was looked after by my grandmother. She would teach me to read, tie laces, make things, etc. But my endearing memory of her was the stories she told.

She always told me never to stray from the farm and never, ever play in the hills above the farm. She would never explain why, but the local stories told that a number of kids had gone out playing there and had not returned. I always figured it was to warn me (and other kids) away because there are hidden caves and the ground can open up without warning (earthquakes often revealed hidden caves).

One night when I was very young -- one of my earliest memories, in fact -- it was very late in the summer (and it gets chilly in the mountains of Mexico) and I was up later than usual for me to be up. I was dozing by the fire, my grandmother and mother just talking to one another when I heard a commotion outside. I jolted awake because it was harsh shouting and rushing that just came from nowhere. It was my father and his farmhands. They ran into the house and bolted the doors and closed the shutters on our windows.

My father, seeing I was still awake, quickly motioned my grandmother to take me to bed. Our farmhouse was small so I shared a room with my grandmother, but she always stayed up after I went to bed. She tucked me in, locked the bedroom door, and closed the shutters. I used to sleep with them open to see the stars, but she calmly told me not tonight. I remember falling asleep hearing my father, mother and his farmhands whispering in the next room, but I couldn't make it out and I was very sleepy. I thought no more of it, and when I didn't get answers in the morning I dropped the subject, thinking it was coyotes or something.

Like I said, this was before schooling. Shortly after this time, my grandmother moved closer into the town and I moved with her so I was closer to my primary school. It was arranged on varying weekends my mother would visit me and my grandmother, and on every other weekend we would stay at the farm.

I always remember my father (who was always caring and loving) always told me I should not come back to visit. I would get upset at this and always remember my grandmother saying, "Do not worry. She is safe for two days." It always puzzled me and my father would apologize, saying he didn't mean I was bad, but the farm wasn't a good place for a little girl. My mother always told him off as well, but half-heartedly, like she somewhat agreed.

This is where things get a little weirder. When I was at school one day, playing with my new friends, one of the girls started singing a rhyme about a boy eaten by a witch. Then another girl started talking about how her uncle had seen a witch in the hills near the town -- the hills my father's orange farm was in. So I asked a little more as my curiosity was piqued.

The girl explained that a witch lived in the hills and would kidnap and kill children to prolong her own life. I wish I hadn't asked as it scared me a little when I remembered the night just a few weeks earlier when my father and farmhands had locked down our house. I put it out if my mind.

A week or so later, it was our turn to stay at the farm. When we arrived, I decided to go for a walk among the orange trees (which I often did), and as a matter of course, my grandmother said, "Okay, don't stray from the farm." I didn't register and kept walking and walking and humming to myself. 

Before I knew it, I was on the edge of the farm, looking at the rocky and bushy hillside. My mind started to play with the idea of playing there. As I thought it, I heard a distant voice call, "Niña.... Niña...." (which means, "little girl" in Spanish.) I thought I was imagining it, so I glanced around and then I saw her....

A woman. She was on the hillside, maybe 30 meters up. She stood on a rock, waving me toward her. She had very strange clothes -- all black and looking almost like feathers and her "smile" (more like grimace) was very stretched and looked black, like all her teeth were black. But scariest of all were her eyes -- jet black! I didn't look at them, but they filled me with terror and dread.

She called again, knowing I had seen her, "Niña, come here! Come and help me!" I didn't want to engage with her, but found myself shaking my head and becoming ever more scared. When I didn't move, she called again saying, "I have something for you. Would you like to see it?" Again, I found myself shaking my head at her.

She started slowly stepping toward me saying, "Look, it is right here. Come see!" But every step she took nearer, I took a step further back. Then she got very impatient saying, "Listen to your seniors! Come here now!" Her voice changed and became very gravelly. Then her face changed and it became almost distorted as she barked at me to come to her.

I couldn't take anymore and ran as fast as I could to the house. I never looked back. The run seemed to take forever, but was maybe only a minute or two. When I got to the house, my grandmother could see something was wrong and I burst out crying and told her everything. She never doubted me for a moment and held me until my father got home that night. She said not to tell him and that she would speak with him. All she said when he came home was, "We won't be coming here anymore."

In the years that followed, I buried it. My father eventually sold the farm and has since died. We never discussed that day or the day he rushed in. My grandmother, too, has since passed, though my mother is still alive, she doesn't talk about our years at the farm and only says, "The place was unhappy for me."

I only told my husband of nearly three decades last year and he fully believed me. That made telling others easier though some were still harshly dismissive. It has been easier to tell people since, however, because there have been many sightings of witches in Mexico in recent years. Growing up, I thought it was just me and a few others.

Since I moved away from Mexico decades ago, I haven't returned and do not want to. Just recalling this event makes me a little nervous. I did ask around the small town when I was still young, but nobody would say anything or they were dismissive.

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