The Witch of Lapa

Dona Guilhermina is a very well known figure in Rio de Janeiro, she is popularly known as the Witch of Lapa. This old lady had a dark power that allowed her to see when someone was going to die. Bold, curious, or just disheartened people used to go meet her at the Street of Mata Cavalos (now Street of Riachuelo) to find out their fates. The Witch herself was afraid of her powers and one day she decided to tear off the eye that allowed her to see the future. However, she discovered that one cannot escape one´s destiny. Every year, in the anniversary of her self-mutilation, it is said that the eye returns to haunt her. This is a night that many dread in Rio de Janeiro, fearing to come across the passing eye, floating in the air through the streets. In such an event, one must avoid staring into it. Some say that this is the origin of the expression “evil eye”.