Just when you think you’ve heard all the weird stories from Mexico, something like the Mexican Corpse Bride pops up. This eerie tale comes from Chihuahua and, although it’s been around for over 80 years, it’s just now receiving widespread attention. Thank you, Internet!
On March 25, 1930, Pascuala Esparza installed a new mannequin in the window of her bridal shop in Chihuahua. Incredibly lifelike and beautiful, and dressed in a stunning wedding gown, the mannequin brought crowds of the curious to stare at her through the window. People noticed how the eyes of the mannequin would follow them and her hands—so realistic right down to the fingernails—seemed to twitch.
Was this really a mannequin, or was it something else? Could it be the embalmed body of Pascuala’s daughter, a beautiful young woman who, tragically, died on her wedding day, a victim to the bite of a Black Widow spider? People began to notice that the mannequin bore an uncanny resemblance to the unfortunate young woman. Despite Pascuala’s denials, the belief that an embalmed corpse stood in her storefront window spread like wildfire.
After all these years, La Pascualita, as she has been named, still stands in the window, looking as beautiful and fresh as ever. During the Day of the Dead festival, schoolchildren place flowers before her to honor her spirit and it has been rumored that La Pascualita has been known to shift her position in the window or leave it entirely as she roams through the streets of the city.
La Pascualita’s attire is changed twice a week—behind a curtain, safe from the prying eyes of the curious. Sonia Burciaga, a shop worker says, “Every time I go near Pascualita my hands break out in a sweat. Her hands are very realistic and she even has varicose veins on her legs. I believe she’s a real person.”
Is La Pascualita an embalmed corpse, or an excellent piece of wax sculpture? It would seem easy enough to determine her status; a simple cut into the body anywhere would reveal whether or not there is human tissue or simply more wax.
But that is not likely to happen in superstitious Mexico. La Pascualita has avoided such a test for 84 years; it is likely she will avoid it forever.