The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.


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Bloody Mary and La Llorona: Folklore of Miami’s Homeless Children

An article titled “Myths Over Miami” publishedby Linda Edwards, in the June 1997 issue of the Miami New Times lay dormant for years until it was posted Tuesday in the “Today I Learned” section on Reddit.  It went viral immediatly. The article chronicles a folklore constructed by children living on the streets and in homeless shelters in Miami, Florida.  The piece is as fascinating as it is heartbreaking:

To homeless children sleeping on the street, neon is as comforting as a night-light. Angels love colored light too. After nightfall in downtown Miami, they nibble on the NationsBankbuilding — always drenched in a green, pink, or golden glow. “They eat light so they can fly,” eight-year-old Andre tells the children sitting on the patio of the Salvation Army‘s emergency shelter on NW 38th Street. Andre explains that the angels hide in the building while they study battle maps. “There’s a lot of killing going on in Miami,” he says. “You want to fight, want to learn how to live, you got to learn the secret stories.” The small group listens intently to these tales told by homeless children in shelters.

Ten-year-old Otius, hands framing her face, with homeless friends who share the secret stories.
Ten-year-old Otius, hands framing her face, with homeless friends who share the secret stories.

Steve Satterwhite
A year ago on Christmas night, the secret stories say, demons conquered Heaven. Deion, age 12, draws God fleeing in a spaceship as his palace burns and humans on Earth (bottom left corner) cry out to Him in vain.
A year ago on Christmas night, the secret stories say, demons conquered Heaven. Deion, age 12, draws God fleeing in a spaceship as his palace burns and humans on Earth (bottom left corner) cry out to Him in vain.

On Christmas night a year ago, God fled Heaven to escape an audacious demon attack — a celestial Tet Offensive. The demons smashed to dust his palace of beautiful blue-moon marble. TV news kept it secret, but homeless children in shelters across the country report being awakened from troubled sleep and alerted by dead relatives. No one knows why God has never reappeared, leaving his stunned angels to defend his earthly estate against assaults from Hell. “Demons found doors to our world,” adds eight-year-old Miguel, who sits before Andre with the other children at the Salvation Army shelter. The demons’ gateways from Hell include abandoned refrigerators, mirrors, Ghost Town (the nickname shelter children have for a cemetery somewhere in Dade County), andJeep Cherokees with “black windows.” The demons are nourished by dark human emotions: jealousy, hate, fear. Continue reading