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The Mummified Mannequin of Mexico

Have you ever seen a mannequin in a store that was perhaps a little TOO real looking? No, I’m not talking about Kim Cattrall in that 1987 comedy (?) film. You know what I’m talking about. But I guarantee you, no creepy old department store shopping experience you’ve had can hold a prayer candle to a little shop in Chihuahua, Mexico. The bridal store, called La Popular, is the talk of the town because of a suspiciously realistic mannequin in the store’s window.

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The figure was first displayed in the store in 1930 and immediately the locals thought something was up. Incredible detail (down to varicose veins in her legs apparently), real human hair, and a creepy gaze drew folks from far and wide to look at the strange figure. Then the rumors started: according to the tales, the figure bore an uncanny resemblance to the owner’s daughter, Pascuala Esparza, who (allegedly) had died of a spider bite on her wedding night. Soon whispers began that the figure was indeed the immaculately embalmed and preserved body of Pascuala herself. Despite denials from the poor owner, the legend continued and even today is widely believed.

Even the employees aren’t sure: only two who work there are allowed to change the figure and then, only behind closed doors. Some (of course) even say she changes position all on her own in the middle of the night. True believers have decided she is a saint and they regularly leave candles in front of her display and pray to her for guidance in love and (fortunately for the store) help in deciding which dresses to buy.

Naturally, skeptics say that the preservation that would be involved to keep a body in such pristine condition for 75 years is just not possible, but folks who’ve seen Pascuala up close walk away shaken. But both the current owner and Pascuala herself just dummy up about it (snicker). I would too if it encouraged sales like that.

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