The more that I dig into American folklore, the more I fall in love with the regional legends. I love the stuff that you really have to dig for. I know that there’s probably very little to nothing out there on a lot of the legends that I find in passing, but that almost makes me love them more.
It’s easy to write on the big legends-the ones that make it into national and international press. But the stories that are really winning my heart are the ones that probably would never have been heard outside of their initial home base if it wasn’t for the rise of the Internet. I spend hours looking through Pinterest and similar sites to find the obscure stories I’ve never heard of.
The Donkey Lady of San Antonio is one of those stories.
According to legend, a woman was terribly burned in a fire that killed her husband and children. Like the Goat Man legend, the woman was left completely disfigured-hence the creation of the name Donkey Lady. She is dangerous to approach, and likes to haunt the region of Bexar County in Texas.
The Donkey Lady is similar to a lot of American folktales in that it centers around a creature that was created as opposed to being born (unlike, say, the Jersey Devil) and that will attack when provoked. Stories appear to date back to at least the 1950s or 1960s, and she has become to be associate with specific locations like the Bunny Man.
One of the things that I find most striking about the Donkey Lady stories is that while the apparition appears to be dangerous, in most of the stories she has to be provoked-and in most of the stories, she is provoked by people who probably should have known better. In that case, I feel like you should probably not be surprised when something goes wrong.
There is, however, a variation on the legend that sounds like it almost could have an element to truth to it. In this version of the story, the legend starts with a woman being drowned after she and the donkeys that she raises are attacked and killed. The legend begins after the attack.