In the folklore of Venezuela, la Sayona is the spirit of a woman that shows up only to men that have love affairs out of their marriages.
The name sayona refers to the cloth the ghost wears which is a long white dress similar to a medieval undergarment. It also refers to the french term "sayon" that means executioner.
"La Sayona" was a young woman named Melissa who lived in a small town in the plains of Venezuela where she was considered as the most beautiful girl. She married to a good man, caring and loving. who gave her a boy. One day, Melissa was swimming naked in a near-by river, when a man from the village saw her. After that, the man would always follow her and watch her bathing in the river. One day Melissa saw him and told him to leave her alone; he ignored her, and instead told her that he was there to warn her: "Your husband is having an affair with none other than your mother," he said. Melissa ran home and found her husband asleep with the baby in his arms. Blind with anger, she burned the house with them inside. Villagers could hear their screams while Melissa ran to her mother's house. She found her on the patio and attacked her with a machete, striking her in the stomach. As the mother bled to death, she cursed Melissa by saying that from then on she would have to avenge all women by killing their unfaithful husbands. And from that day forward Melissa became La Sayona.
The sayona bears resemblance with la Llorona or the crier, since a variation of the legend says that she is always crying with a baby in her arms. The legend claims that when this woman appears she asks for a cigarette or for a ride, and after a while when the victim tries to see her face, he notices that she has a skull head
In other versions of the tale, the sayona is similar with the Patasola as it appears to lone men working in the jungle when they are thinking of women they left behind in their hometown or simply when they talk to their work mates about wanting to be with a woman. Later on, a woman would appear to them in the likeness of an unknown, beautiful and desirable woman, or a loved one, and try to lure them into the forests so it could then reveal their animal-like features and devour them or just mangle them, leaving their wretched bodies for their companions to find.
In the Venezuelan plains, it is believed that keeping a piece of tobacco in your pocket keep out from la sayona attacks.
- Domínguez, Luis Arturo. 1990. Encuentro con el folklore en Venezuela. Editorial Kapelusz Venezolana. Caracas.