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The Witch’s Grave

Old Mesilla, New Mexico
By Robin Wright

Old Mesilla and the area around it has had a dubious history, even before anyone officially settled there. The city of Las Cruces, the second largest city in New Mexico and a mere 6 miles from the quaint town of Old Mesilla was so named because of an 1830 massacre of a wagon train headed west along the trail known as El Camino Real. When the survivors buried their dead, they put up the requisite markings of crosses. Those following used it as a landmark, calling it â??La Placita De Las Crucesâ?–the place of the crosses. Those who settled along the trail shortened it to Las Cruces. Las Cruces is now a bustling modern metropolitan, but enter Mesilla, New Mexico and you step back two hundred years.

Mesilla still has the thick adobe walled buildings that kept out both heat and dust. This was where Billy the Kid was caught, jailed, and allowed to escape. This is also the home of San Albinoâ??s cemetery, home of the Witchâ??s Grave.

At the end of Calle De Lupe is the dirt packed ground that composes the cemetery. Tumbleweeds skitter across the graves, but your eyes will be drawn from the beautiful sculptures that serve as tombstones to a 4â??x4â?? cinderblock and cement tomb decorated with a 2â?? black cross that someone has carved with the number â??666.â? This, legend says, is the Witchâ??s tomb. It is the only headstone in the cemetery that has no name inscribed on it. There is no record of who she is or what she had done to get such a fortified grave, but it has been said that when she was buried there, her ghost kept trying to get out from its supposed final resting place. She has spent decades trying to find a crack that will set her free, and those who live near the cemetery have spent just as many years repairing the cracks that do appear.

Local lore claims a girl once slept on the tomb in response to a dare. She walked away alive, but was afterwards afflicted with incurable epilepsy. Further caution to those who feel the need to visit– in case escaping witches and mysterious illnesses arenâ??t enough, the fine folk who live near the cemetery do not appreciate late night visitors, and strongly discourage entering the cemetery after dark.

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Tori says:

May 1, 2012, 12:10 pm

About La Llarona, we have a trail out here that runs along the Rio Grande, starting at hwy 70 (aka Picacho) and going along the river towards El Paso; it’s a great place to rollerblade and shed some angst, it’s called La Llarona trail, because it runs along the river, I guess. Here is what I know about La Llarona.There are many different stories, common theme is that she drowned her child and herself and goes up and down the river crying for her child – kind of like a banshee (or beansidhe if you want to be correct). Seeing her or hearing her was a portent of misfortune to come. Muddy Waters, a song by John Hiatt always reminds me of this story. There is just something about tragedy and rivers that is very down south. The first time I came upon this story was in a Frank Dobie book – he’s kind of the Lafcadio Hearn of the southwest. He wrote back in 1929, I think the book was Tongues of the Monte, but since I lent it to someone I am not sure. However, the La Llarona (wailing woman) started in mexico. The story I read goes pretty girl gets seduced by rich ranchero, gets pregnant, he won’t marry her and she kills the baby to conceal her shame. Ranchero won’t come back to her and in remorse she either kills herself, or goes crazy and wastes away wandering along the river banks calling for her baby that she drowned.People who hear her wailing along the river at night are said to be foretold of some hardship or death to come. This story is very prevalent in the area where I live (New Mexico) and I have had several employees (yes I mine their lil brains for the goods, it’s a hobby) who have told me of “La Llarona” sitings elsewhere in our glorious state, it seems the name now means any wailing specter that foretells disaster of some kind. I would love to hear from anyone who’s had a skinwalker experience on the old Rt 66 around Gallop, one of my friends brothers was a hwy patrol officer out there and he told me about some crazy calls that came in.


Romeo says:

August 14, 2012, 3:57 pm

Hey Tori, I’m visiting Las Cruces, NM in about a month or so. Would you recommend any local hauntings within the area? I’ll definitely be checking out Old Mesilla and this “Witch’s Tomb”. I’ve read your comments/stories and they are very well written. I’d appreciate any information you’re willing to provide. Thank you in advance

Elizabeth says:

October 17, 2012, 11:55 am

Does anyone know the history of the land where Trail’s West Retirement Community is located in Las Cruces, NM near Mesilla, NM? This community is located off of Avenida de Mesilla. We have experienced weird haunting type activity here from loud bangings, to a banshee type wail, to a radio turning on, to things falling, to our animal’s acting strange. If anyone knows what was here before or if anything weird has been reported here before, or of any notable history at this area, please respond. We don’t think the home is haunted, but we suspect that the site or land may be haunted, due to the home was in a different location previously, with no weird occurances. Also, no one previously died in the home to the best of our knowledge. Thank you.

Angie says:

April 15, 2015, 12:45 pm

We went the witches grave. We are paranormal photographers we lived in a house that had four ghosts in it. I got a picture of the witch and you could see it was very clear I was scared she saw us and folowed us home .I erased the pictures

Zumi says:

July 7, 2016, 4:36 pm

I’m here late at night and nobody minds. I’m quiet and show respect and only eat my lemon cake. Nobody ever sees me

Mossstar109 says:

November 2, 2017, 4:50 pm

The Witches Grave is 100% real. Went there last year. Dose not mean the legends attached to it are real. However the actual place exists, and I must admit it is kind of spooky.

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