It’s common for people to ignore store mannequins. The sole purpose of their existence is to display clothes a store sells. What if, instead of being made from plastic, a store mannequin was made from a human being? The story of a mannequin coming to life has been the basis of a 1980s romcom. In Chihuaua, Mexico, however, there is a mannequin who people claim to be a real woman by the name of La Pascualita.
How the legend of La Pacualita was born…
La Pascualita (or “Little Pascuala”) was displayed at the La Popular store in Chihuahua, Mexico. For almost 90 years, her lifelike appearance has captivated many customers and onlookers. Pascuala Esparza, the store owner, put the mannequin on display in 1930 and people immediately noticed how realistic it looked. The hands looked wrinkled and varicose veins were visible on the mannequin’s legs. La Pascualita also had wispy eyelashes and realistic brown eyes that seemed to follow everyone around.
The mannequin’s most striking feature, however, was her resemblance to Esparza’s deceased daughter. In the days leading up to Esparza’s daughter’s wedding, a poisonous spider bit the girl, and La Pascualita soon appeared in the store wearing a wedding gown. As a result, people began to believe that the mannequin was actually the embalmed body of the deceased daughter, thus creating the legend of La Pascualita.
Is La Pascualita really an embalmed body?
Esparza has denied the story, saying she acquired the mannequin while visiting Paris. It is also possible she commissioned a mannequin to look like her daughter. However, many people were still convinced the mannequin was a real person. People wanted to believe that La Pascualita was given the chance to eternally become the bride she could never be. She was even the subject of a story about a French magician who fell in love with her beauty. Every night, he would bring her to life and dance with her in the store. Although that story cannot be true, it contributed to La Pascualita’s mythic status of being a bride even in death.
Can you really display a corpse?
Despite the rumors surrounding La Pacualita, the chances of the mannequin being a real person are very slim. Human bodies cannot be displayed and taxidermied like animals. Vladimir Lenin is an example of how a real human body is displayed. He has been on display for nearly 100 years, but his remains have been regularly cleaned and chemically bathed to preserve them. He is also buried in a climate-controlled tomb. It can’t be possible for La Pascualita to be a real human especially for a dress shop which probably doesn’t have the resources to maintain human remains.
It’s no surprise La Pacualita has stood the test of time for close to 100 years as a morbid fascination. Whether you believe her to be a preserved corpse or a realistic mannequin, the story surrounding her is intriguing. She continues to draw curious onlookers to the La Popular shop in Mexico to this day, and she will do so for years to come.