Lechuza: Eerie and Unusual True Tales
Hernán Moreno Hinojosa is a retired Law Enforcement Officer and Author. Hernán became interested in collecting folk stories when he was only 16 and still living in Hebbronville, Texas. Hernán would frequently accompany his father to La Florida Ranch, which was leased for cattle production at the time.
Most ghost stories about La Florida Ranch were told by word-of-mouth. Strangely enough, no one would remain at La Florida after dark. One of the employees told Hernán, "This place has many ghosts that we leave as soon as the sun begins to set."
The ghost most frequently mentioned at La Florida was Candelaria, a 17 year old girl who was said committed suicide by drowning and believed to still haunt the ranch. One night, Hernán found Candelaria's lost grave and immediately realized that the story of Candelaria was not a legend. Candelaria was a real-live person who lived and died during the mid-1800's. Hernán realized her story had to be recorded before it became just another Cuento Viejo, or legend. If the story of Candelaria is true, what about the other ghost stories frequently repeated by the older generations?
Hernán began writing down all these stories. The story of Candelaria was first published in 1994, by TEXAS Sunday Magazine of the Houston Chronicle Newspaper. Hernán was already a Metro Policeman, and Houstonians begin calling Hernán at work and leaving messages; "I am a teacher in the City of South Houston. Can you come and speak to my class? I think I am related to Candelaria. Can you tell me where her grave is? Would you like to join our writer's group?"
Hernán submitted a 24-story manuscript to Piñata Books (University of Houston Arté Publico Press). Half of the stories were approved by Piñata Books, published, and released under the title of The Ghostly Rider.
The rest of the stories were later accepted by Overlooked Books and published, and by the Valley Byliners who featured eight of his stories in two anthologies they published.
Hernán retired from the Metro Police in 2008. He currently divides his time between their Houston home and their South Texas ranch with his wife, Herlinda Garza. They recently celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary. They are blessed with four children; three girls, one son, and one grandson. He is still collecting ghost stories and writing. This is a really fun must-read!
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