In South Texas, especially under a bright moon, things come to life at night. Deer graze, wild hogs steal corn from game feeders, rattlesnakes hunt for warm meat, and sometimes, an owl takes flight to hunt for prey. However, some believe that owls are more than just night hunters. In particular, three women from Zavala County recall a frightening experience they had while driving home from a shopping trip.
A large, dark bird appeared in front of their car, flying faster than the vehicle and circling around it. Suddenly, their car died, and they were stranded, but it eventually restarted. They attributed the strange incident to a lechuza, a witch/owl-like creature that has been part of folklore in South Texas and Mexico for centuries. Some believe that lechuzas are witches who transform into birds, while others think they are the spirits of women with a grudge. To protect against a lechuza, people pray, tie knots, seek the help of a healer, or shoot the bird. However, despite the fear they inspire, lechuzas are generally considered not dangerous and are especially active in Zavala County and often appear on lonely roads.