Ghost Week: Musica Fantasma

It’s Halloween Eve, and that means it’s time to wrap up this series of ghost stories about the Hub City.

Lubbock is a musical town, and it’s not at all surprising that there would be some local ghost stories that would tie in to music.

Back in the always-glorious 1980s, there was a graduate student at Tech, majoring in music, who decided to compose, for her thesis, an opera about La Llorona, the “weeping woman” of Mexican legend, who drowned her own children and was doomed to roam the rivers of the West, looking for more children to kill.

So the student does a ton of folklore research and puts together something midway between Italian opera and traditional Mexican folk music, actually written in a mixture of Spanish and English. Her initial drafts get high praise from her thesis advisor and from her friends in the department who’ve heard it.

But while she’s writing it, she’s having bad dreams about drowned children, about being trapped by a rapidly rising river, about being stalked by La Llorona herself. Her more superstitious friends worry that the Weeping Woman really is after her, but she dismisses it. She tells them, jokingly, that she’ll avoid rivers and streams.

The funny thing is that the other people who’ve read her composition — her advisor, a few music professors, a few friends — have similar dreams. One of her profs had a backyard swimming pool, and the dreams made him so nervous, he had it drained — what if the grandkids came over and fell in? Or were pulled in…?

By the time she got the composition completed, she was getting about two hours of sleep a night, thanks to the nightmares. Her apartment was also suffering an unusual number of broken light bulbs, leaking faucets, aggressive mildew. Her neighbors told her they thought someone had broken into her apartment, because they could hear a woman crying inside when she wasn’t at home.

She finally got the opera completed, but she never even got close to bringing it to a full performance. One morning, the students downstairs from her apartment had water leaking in everywhere. The landlord unlocked her apartment and found that the spigots on the kitchen and bathroom sinks and the bathtub had blown off overnight and flooded the entire apartment.

The student was nowhere to be found, and she’s never turned up since.

Her composition is still around, but it’s never been performed. It probably never will be — it’s believed that it may be bad luck.

Or worse.

Hope you enjoyed Ghost Week. We’ve got a fairly normal Friday Night Fights coming up this evening, then we’ll catch up on a few comic book reviews next week, plus the latest news about the West Texas Comic Con. Y’all have a Merry Halloween, and be careful you don’t knock on the wrong doors while trick-or-treating…

No Comments

  1. Geoff Said,

    October 30, 2009 @ 8:31 am

    Again, good job Scott. I first was introduced to the legend of La Llorona in an issue of Love and Rockets, Gilbert Hernandez did a brief telling of her story, and curious readers can find it reprinted in his “Fear of Comics” collection, .

  2. Scott Slemmons Said,

    October 30, 2009 @ 8:46 am

    Thanks, Geoff — La Llorona is my favorite bit of folklore ever. I even named one of my characters in “City of Heroes” after her. 🙂

  3. Luke Said,

    October 30, 2009 @ 1:46 pm

    I love the story of La Llorona. I remember my Grandma scaring all of us kids with that story.