Close up of the hand of La Pascualita, a mannequin in a bridal shop in Chihuahua, Mexico. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Joeysodi)
Close up of the hand of La Pascualita, a mannequin in a bridal shop in Chihuahua, Mexico. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Joeysodi)

What, or rather who, is La Pascualita?

La Pascualita, also known as Little Pascuala, is a mannequin in a bridal shop in Chihuahua, Mexico. The mannequin has gained international notoriety over the past 30 years — all because of a strange (and slightly eerie) urban legend.

Mannequin or embalmed corpse?

La Pascualita attracted widespread attention as soon as she made her first appearance in the bridal store’s window on March 25, 1930. There was something about the mannequin that drew people in, and it wasn’t the bridal gown that she was wearing.

Her incredibly detailed face, complete with wide-set eyes and thick, voluminous lashes, real hair and blushed cheeks makes her seem real. Her hands have been crafted with intricate detail and her legs even have varicose veins—a feature that’s certainly atypical of store mannequins.

La Pascualita's face is significantly more detailed than a regular mannequin. Her wide-set eyes and thick, voluminous lashes, real hair and blushed cheeks makes her seem real. (Photo: La Pascualita/Facebook)
La Pascualita’s face is significantly more detailed than a regular mannequin. Her wide-set eyes and thick, voluminous lashes, real hair and blushed cheeks makes her seem real. (Photo: La Pascualita/Facebook)

It was a combination of physical resemblance and timing that sparked rumors back in 1930. Locals couldn’t help but comment on the uncanny similarities between the mannequin and the daughter of the shop owner at the time, Pascuala Esparza, who had been fatally bitten by a black widow spider on her wedding day. This, alongside the fact that the mannequin had been installed in the shop window very soon after the daughter’s passing, made locals wonder if the mannequin was actually her embalmed corpse.

Read more: The Wrap Around Spider and the Man Who Discovered It

Over the years, additional rumors circulated, including one about a French magician visiting La Pascualita at night, who would make her come to life before taking her around the town.

Many people feel unnerved by La Pascualita’s presence, with some stating that her eyes follow customers around the store as they browse the bridal wear. Others claim to have turned around and seen the mannequin in a different position than before.

La Pascualita in the store window. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Joeysodi)
La Pascualita in the store window. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Joeysodi)

Even some of the store employees are spooked out by La Pascualita, including Sonia Burciaga, who changes the mannequin’s bridal gown twice a week: “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.”

Can embalmment last 90 years?

The preservation of corpses isn’t a new concept. Following his death in 1924, Bolshevik revolutionary Lenin was embalmed and can still be found in a mausoleum in Moscow’s Red Square today. Communist China’s founder Chairman Mao has also been embalmed and laid to rest in a mausoleum in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

Read more: What is Megalophobia?

However, the embalmment of these historic figures has actually led to people questioning the feasibility of La Pascualita being Esparza’s daughter. According to one commenter on this story on the Museum of Hoax website: “Both Lenin and Mao have basically been [rendered] to a state much like rubber, and are kept under [extraordinarily] monitored conditions. Most of the stuff that undertakers […] do is with the aim of making the corpse look good until burial. Anything over a couple weeks, and things start going very, very bad.”

What do you think: Is La Pascualita a well-preserved corpse or just an extremely realistic mannequin?

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