La Mala Hora is a scary story and urban legend from the folklore of New Mexico. The name means The Evil Hour or The Evil One. It is also known as La Malora, La Malorga or The Evil-Doer.
La Mala Hora is said to be a wicked spirit or an evil demon that wanders the lonely country roads after midnight and terrorizes those who travel alone. It usually lurks in the darkness at a crossroads, waiting for an unwary traveler to cross its path. According to some, it is more feared than the devil.
It first appears as a large, black lump, constantly moving and changing shape. It can also can change size rapidly, growing larger and smaller. They say it looks like a ghostly black shroud or a large black cotton ball.
Anyone who is unfortunate enough to set eyes on this demon runs the risk of being driven insane. It tries to hypnotize and paralyze anyone who happens to encounter it at night. When it attacks, it suddenly rushes toward the unwary, envelopes him and suffocates him. The following morning, the poor wretch is found dead at the side of the road.
At other times, it transforms into a wicked woman, a female personification of evil. She appears wearing black clothing, her hair long and unkempt. She is like a spirit or wind floating along without touching the ground with her feet. People in New Mexico say that she seldom appears in human form, but when she does, it is considered to be a death omen. If you encounter her at a crossroads, it usually means that you or somebody you know is going to die.
When pressed for more detailed information about this demon, the people of New Mexico will refuse to talk about it and just reply, “Es cosa mala!” (“It is an evil thing!”)
In one story, there was a woman whose husband was away on business. One night, she decided to go to stay with her friend in Santa Fe. It was just after midnight when she left her house and drove down the lonely, deserted highway. After a while, she approached a small crossroads, when suddenly a dark shape appeared in front of her car. The woman screamed in fright and slammed on the brakes, screeching to a halt.
When she looked up again, the dark shape had disappeared. For a second, the woman breathed a sigh of relief. Then, she turned to her right and saw something that almost gave her a heart attack. Right beside her window, looking in at her, was a hideous old lady. She had the twisted face of a demon, glowing red eyes and short pointed teeth. The demonic lady began clawing at the window, trying to break the glass.
Terrified, the woman put her foot down on the accelerator and the car took off down the road. For a few terrible moments, the demonic lady ran along side the car, still clawing at the window. Then, the car sped up and she fell behind. The woman looked in her rear view mirror. The last thing she saw was the demon growing taller and taller, until it was as large as a tree.
When the woman reached her friend’s house, she ran inside and locked the door behind her. The woman explained what she had seen at the crossroads and her friend gasped in horror.
“It must have been La Mala Hora,” said her friend. “The Evil One. They say she only appears at a crossroads when someone is about to die…”
The woman was overcome by a feeling of dread and impending doom. She couldn’t sleep a wink that night. She waited until morning, then drove home. She made sure not to drive by the crossroads again, fearing that the demonic lady would appear once more.
When the woman reached home, she found a police car waiting in her driveway. The officers approached her, asked her name and broke the terrible news to her. Her husband had been mugged on the way back to his hotel the night before. He had been shot in the head and was killed instantly. It all happened just after midnight.