Behind the glass window of a little bridal shop in Chihuahua, Mexico stands an eerily life-like mannequin that stops shoppers in their tracks. La Pascualita (above), as she has come to be known, is rumored to be the mummified daughter of the store’s former owner, Pascuala Esparza.
A quick glance at the figure, and it’s easy to see why. La Pascualita’s ashen skin calls to mind the pallid tone of a dearly departed relative at rest in a coffin; her bright, glassy eyes peer out from the window as you pass by at night, following your every footstep, practically urging you to return.
After standing in the store for over 80 years, La Pascualita has made many a friend—and foe—in the town of Chihuahua. Brides-to-be have felt the mannequin gazing upon them as they search through the rows of gowns. Passersby report seeing the ghostly bride shift positions at night.
The eerie past of La Pascualita has much to do with the tragic circumstances of her alleged death. Sometime in the 1930s, the stunning daughter of shop owner Pascuala Esparza (her name is now lost to history) was set to marry her sweetheart. Sadly, on her wedding day, a Black Widow bit the blushing bride. The poison coursed through her veins, killing her.
Not long after the death, a mysterious new mannequin appeared in the storefront of La Popular bridal store. Clad in a spring season bridal gown, it quickly caught the attention of all those who passed.
The mannequin was flawless; real hair cascaded from her veil and rouge warmed her cheeks, an enigmatic smile graced her waxen lips. Rumors surfaced. Many wondered if the owner had gone mad and embalmed his dead daughter to keep her near him for all eternity.
Soon thereafter, locals reported series of strange encounters with La Pasqualita. One fanciful tale tells of a lovesick French magician who fell in love with the mannequin. He visited in the evening, using his magic to bring her back to life. Together, the two danced through the night, drinking and celebrating their short time together. Come dawn, La Pascualita would always go back to her spot behind the glass window, frozen in place until her sorcerer returned.
Over the years, tributes have been made to La Pascualita, songs have been written in her honor, and miracles have even been said to occur at her feet. Yet when it comes to working alongside the mysterious bride, employees are not as eager to engage. La Pascualita’s outfits are changed twice a week and those in charge of the changing say they dread the task—the mannequin’s cold hands cause their own sweat as they remove each article of clothing and replace it with the latest trend.
While many search for the truth, the current owner of La Popular prefers to keep the mystery alive. When asked if La Pascualita is a mannequin or corpse, he responds with a wink: “Is it true? I really couldn’t say.”