Latin American Ghost Stories
A man sits next to graves of relatives on the Day of the Dead, at a cemetery of Metepec on the outskirts of Mexico City, November 1, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

Halloween, the one time of the year when we crave that horrifying ghost story that will deprive us of sleep for several nights. Every culture has its share of urban legends, myths, folklore and ghost stories. The Latin American culture is based around religion, tradition, celebrating the dead and keeping bad spirits away. One of the most celebrated holidays in Latin America is Dia de los Muertos, the day of the dead, traditionally in Mexico. This is when people gather together to celebrate and remember loved ones who have passed away.

As a result of these traditions and celebrations of the dead, the Latin American culture has developed many ghost stories that have been passed from generation to generation. Like all ghost stories, you have those who say the tale is true and those who say it is just a myth used to scare children into behaving. Whatever the origin behind these ghost stories one thing is for sure: they will scare you. Latin Times has compiled a list of the 5 most terrifying Latin American ghost stories to share with you this Halloween.

1. "La Llorona," "The Weeping Woman," has been told for hundreds of years. There are many versions of this story but the premise remains the same. Maria is a beautiful woman who falls head over heels in love with a man she cannot have. In order to be with her love Maria drowns her own children so there would be nothing to stand in their way. When the man still refuses to be with Maria she takes her own life by drowning herself in a river in Mexico City.

Legend has it that La Llorona is now forced to wander the spirit world in search of her dead children. The spirit is said to emerge from rivers in Mexico crying out for her children. She screams "Ay, mis hijos" which means "Oh, my children." It is said the spirit will take lost children who resemble her own in her constant search for the children she killed. It is said that before she appears to you La Llorona will weep aloud and those who hear her are marked for death.

2. El Silbón is the story of a young man accused of killing his father and devouring his organs. This legend comes from Venezuela and it is said that the man who murdered his father must now walk the Earth as a tormented and lost soul. The Whistler, as he is also known, is said to drag behind him a bag filled with his father's bones. El Silbón gets his name from the loud whistling that is usually heard when he is close by. Others say strange music will play as El Silbón gets closer. If you hear the strange cry of The Whistler chances are your number is up!

3. The story of La Casa Matusita in Lima, Peru says that the house is one of the most haunted buildings in Latin America. Nobody knows the exact origins of the house so there are many tales of how the tortured ghosts that now occupy the house came to reside there. One story says the ghosts are members of a dinner party who all went mad one night and massacred one another. Another tale says the home belonged to a witch who would sell her services to anyone with money, causing mayhem throughout the city.

Other tales say a man murdered his entire family before killing himself. It is said that the second floor of La Casa Matusita is the most haunted part of the house. Legend says that those who venture to the second floor will not be able to hold on to their sanity for long. One accounts says a news reporter in the 1960's entered the house to prove the ghost stories wrong and went insane after visiting the second floor. Reports say the second floor of the house remains vacant to this day.

4. El Tunchi is the story of an evil spirit that roams the Peruvian rainforest. Legend has it the spirit was once a man who became lost in the forest, got disoriented and eventually died. The troubled spirit is said to wander the forest whistling at any who cross his path. Locals say that those who hear the whistling should take it as a warning and never acknowledge what they hear. If you whistle back El Tunchi will come for you and kill you in a way so horrible you could not even imagine.

5. Although this next legend originated in Spain is has been adopted into the Latin American culture and is predominantly told in Mexico, Chile, Cuba and Dominican Republic. The legend of El Cuco or El Viejo del Saco is an ancient story told to keep children from misbehaving. Legend has it that a man from an unknown century was desperately searching for a cure to tuberculosis after being diagnosed with the disease. A Curander told the man if he were to drink the blood of a child he would be cured. The man kidnapped a young boy and did as the Curander said. This did not save him and now it is said the spirit of this man wanders the streets with a black sack waiting to grab the unlikely child that will cure his illness.

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