In the Southwestern United States, there are legends of a woman called La Llarona, who reportedly drowned her children in a desert wash in order to make her lover happy, as he didn't want children. The woman's spirit is said to ramble around the desert, calling out in anguish for her children. In Native American culture there is a ghostly legend of the water babies.
Some say they were the spirits of babies that were drown by their parents who had no means to feed them and others say they are some sort of spirit that was never part of this realm. They are described often as tricksters and also as angry cannibalistic killers.
LINK (Pocatello Idaho) The urban legend of this area states that one year a terrible famine overtook the land of the Shoshone Indians. They could not feed themselves, nor could they feed any new mouths. Mothers were forced to drown their newborn babies in the local rivers and lakes.
It is said that the babies changed, they grew tails and fins and gills. They survived the famine by feasting on tadpoles and small fish. Now, these sprites can be seen playing in the canals and rivers around the Shoshone Bannock reservation. Their laughter can be heard as they attempt to lure unsuspecting humans to their death.
They never forgot the sins of their mothers and will claim the life of any foolish enough to approach the water's edge.
Utah has its own version of water babies -
LINK: The Ute Indians told stories of a mysterious race of dwarves who lived in the lake. They referred to them as “Water Babies” because of their clever tactics in luring people to their deaths. They would make sounds very reminiscent of crying babies. Concerned people would take off into the lake in an effort to locate and rescue the endangered babies within, only to be dragged down into the depths by the nefarious Water Babies.
If one managed to escape the clutches of these devilish dwarves, they wouldn’t be in the clear. A huge, predatorial, man-hating monster also calls Utah Lake Home. The first sighting by a European occurred just at the tail end of the Civil War, when a resident reported being chased to the shore by a thirty foot reptile, which then turned around, joined another huge beast, and swam off. Shortly after, a different man claimed to see a huge reptile with the head of a dog patrolling the waters of the lake. In 1870, some fishermen found a large, strange skull with tusks protruding from it in the water. Sightings occurred steadily throughout the late 1800s through the 1920s, when they died down.
One researcher I work with has taken pictures in caves and in cave ice and believes upon occasion he has captured what he refers to as "water babies."
This one was peeking out from a rock jut where he had laid his shovel against the wall.