New Mexico is a vast, wide area, with few people and lots of space in it, making the vast deserts and plains an easy place to find solitude. It is also easy to get lost in the state, and given the heat of the days and chill of the nights, it can be downright dangerous to do so. The region was colonized by Europeans in the seventeenth century and inhabited by First Nations tribes for thousands of years before that. With so much history and lonely stretches of space, it’s inevitable that a few scary stories of things can go bump in the desert nights have emerged from the state.

La Llorona is an old story of unknown origin. Told all over Latin America and the Southwest United States, the story is an old, frightening one. The tale holds that once some time ago, a young woman drowned her children to be with an uncaring lover or because she can’t take care of them. She quickly regrets her actions and in a fit of madness, she ends her life. The story told by the people of Latin America and near by regions claim that she returned from the grave as a specter that roams the rivers, searching for her children and working sinister magic on those who’s path she crosses. No one knows how the story keeps spreading, but with its large Mexican population, New Mexico has plenty of tales of this creature.

There are weird stories of a secret alien base beneath Archuleta Mesa, on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation. Some say it’s a secret alien base for otherworldy visitors, while others claim it’s a research station run jointly between these creatures and the United States government. One engineer even claims to have survived a gun battle between humans and aliens in the area.

The Las Cruces iterators are a strange monster of a seemingly less otherworldly kind. Described as massive birds resembling the megafauna of the Ice Age, the iterators got their name from their resemblance to birds that officially exist solely in the fossil record. However, over the past decade, these birds have been sighted in the Las Cruces area. Other, similar sightings have occurred in nearby parts of Texas, and old newspaper articles claim sightings of such creatures near Lordsburg in the nineteenth century. Whether these are prehistoric survivors, misidentifications of native vulture species or something even wilder is unknown.