Now that October has arrived and Halloween is clearly on the horizon, I figured it's time to start unleashing my penchant for things macabre.
I'll begin with the story of La Pascualita (little Pascuala), commonly known as the Corpse Bride. It is based on truth, but has been infused with a generous dose of legend and enshrouded in mystery - to the point where it is nearly impossible to extract clear facts.
Perhaps that's what makes the story so intriguing.
There is a bridal shop in Chihuahua, Mexico located on the corner of Ocampo y Victoria Street. The shop now goes by the name of La Popular: La Casa de Pascualita.
In the shop window is a mannequin commonly known as La Pascualita. She wears a bridal gown and has been in the window for nearly ninety years.
The mannequin looks so realistic, and has been connected with so many bizarre stories and rumors, that many people still believe it is not a mannequin at all, but rather the embalmed corpse of a woman who died long ago.
It all began on March 25, 1930 when the owner of the shop, Pascuala Esparza, placed a mannequin in the window. The mannequin was wearing a spring-seasonal bridal gown.
Some people around town thought that the dummy resembled the shop owner. Others quickly began spreading a rumor that the mannequin was the carefully-preserved body of the shop owner's dead daughter.
Shop owner Pascuala Esparza
and the mannequin
Pascuala Esparza's daughter (whose name remains a mystery) had recently died under tragic circumstances. While making preparations to be married, she was bitten by a black widow spider and died on her wedding day.
Despite making public announcements that the mannequin had nothing to do with her dead daughter, Pascuala Esparza was never able to stop the rumors. By the time Esparza died in 1967, the rumors had become established legend.
The origin of the mannequin is uncertain, but some maintain that it could possibly have been created in Paris. The life-like features still inspire many to believe it's a well-preserved corpse.
The crystal eyes have a mesmeric gaze that seems to follow customers in the shop. The hair and eyelashes are real. The hands are incredibly realistic.
Sonia Burciaga - a present-day worker who had changed the outfits on the mannequin - maintains that it has varicose veins on it's legs.
The outfits are reportedly changed twice a week - behind closed doors.
It has been said (at different times through the years) that the window bride is sometimes warm to the touch, changes positions late at night, grins, and cries real tears.
No one is allowed in the shop after work hours, and none of the employees would dare to go there even if they could. The workers also have a non-disclosure policy.
Realistically, it would be impossible to embalm a corpse and have the flesh remain that perfectly for nearly ninety years - yet many still believe that the window bride is indeed the dead daughter. And people still flock to gaze at the bride in the window.
Dummy or mummy?
I forgot to mention in this post that the mannequin is reportedly made of wax.