Posts Tagged ‘Ripley’

Little Pascuala (or La Pascualita) has been doing the rounds on my internet feed for a while now, so I figured she’d be worth a post. She’s a mannequin in a shop window, drawing people in to see the bridal shop because of a bizarre story circulating around her.

The mannequin has an attached urban legend because of her life-like appearance, some are convinced that she is a corpse and was embalmed then used as a model for the wedding dresses on sale there.

On the 25th March 1930 she was unveiled in a spring season gown, instantly the attention came to the very life-like looking mannequin with her wide-eyed glass orbs and richly detailed skin and features. The mannequin looked very much like the owner at that time, Pascuala Esparza, and people concluded that it could in fact be her embalmed body. The daughter had recently died the day after her wedding as she had been bitten by a black widow spider.

La Popular, Chihuahua, Mexico, met with the disapproval of the locals because of this idea. By the time Pascuala himself had issued a formal statement against the growing rumours it wasn’t helpful, the rumours were abound and it seemed quite a great deal of people were unwilling to believe the mother. Over time her daughters name was sadly lost in the recounting of the tales, La Pascualita is now the living memory of that newly wed.

The mannequin comes attached to some supernatural happenings, none are confirmed. If she truly is an embalmed woman it might be worth a consideration but the one I found fantastical was the idea of the love-sick French Magician who would come to her at night, magically revive her and take her out in the town. More believable experiences are those of feeling she is watching someone, or her eyes feel like they follow you. I get that with good wax-work models. Another says she shifts positions over night.

The staff are asked to change her behind closed doors and many have said that they feel uncomfortable about it, she even has varicose veins on her legs. Another account I spotted from an employee also said that only the hand and head were that details and that is why there are never revealing dresses on her.

Some people have considered the ‘corpse’ worth of a sainthood due to her condition, some brides use the dress she is wearing that day to be the choice for them as a symbol of good luck, quite why I cannot see if the daughters wedding and day after were so disastrous she died…

I am inclined to believe the Museum of Hoaxes in considering this one, it would take a considerable effort to keep a body in that condition especially if you are to consider she is regularly moved and handled. Corpses are meant to deteriorate, embalming and mummification will preserve them to a great degree but as the environment changes nature quickly takes over the intended role of breaking the remains down.

Lenin’s perfectly well tended body is cared for and only displayed not touched, to remain so well preserved. The mannequin is moved to change, handled to be dressed and therefore it is my opinion that whilst she is an expensive and good addition to the shop, she is not a corpse. My verdict is an urban legend.

Corpse-Bride-Header

Carl Tanzer, Feb 8th 1877 to July 3rd 1952, was a German-born radiologic technologist in Key-West, Florida, USA who developed a particularly morbid obsession for Elena Milagro de Hoyos, a tuberculosis patient. During his childhood and later in Genoa, Italy, he claimed he had been visited by a dead ancestor who revealed the face of his true love, her face was one of an exotic dark-haired woman.

22nd April 1930, de Hoyos came to the hospital for an examination, she was brought in by her mother. He recognised her as the woman from the visitations of his ancestor. De Hoyos was diagnosed with TB, a fatal disease at the time and eventually despite Tanzler’s best efforts she succumbed to the disease.

Tanzer paid for her funeral, with the permission of the family he then commissioned the construction of an above ground mausoleum. It was constructed in the Key West Cemetery and he visited there pretty much most nights. To be honest this already seems to rate high on the WTF list, but it gets more bizarre.

April, 1933 Tanzer crept into the mausoleum and stole her body, taking her home and here he said her spirit would visit. He claimed she often asked him to take her from the grave, and so it seems he did. What he did to preserve her sounds like a work of horror fiction. Her bones were attached together by wire and coat hangers, her face was fitted with glass eyes and as the corpses skin decomposed he would replace it with silk cloth, soaked in wax and plaster of Paris.

Her hair was replaced by using Hoyo’s wig hair, who gave him the hair? Well her mother had collected her hair for a wig and gave it to him after her death. I am still wondering why but at this point the story continues…

Tanzer filled her chest and abdominal cavity with rags to keep her in her original form, then dressed her, put on stockings and jewellery and kept her body in his bed. He then used a lot of fragrances, detergent and preserving agents to mask the msells. Yes I am still going, I did say it was morbid.

October 1940 (Seven years later) her sister visited Tanzley, she had heard odd rumours, Florida authorities were notified when she saw the truth for herself. He was found to be mentallyl competent, he was charged with destruction of the grave and theft of the body. Bizarrely he never had to defend himself because the case was dropped, the statute of limitations for the crime had expired. Even more upsetting for her family the body was put on display at the Dean-Lopez Funeral Home and around 6,800 ish people came to see it.

Eventually she was reburied at the cemetery but to prevent tampering it was an unmarked grave. Strangely it seems the public mood was that sympathy for a hopeless romantic should be given to Tanzler. I can’t help but think that’s not quite the reaction I’d have had… later there was a claim that he had inserted a tube into her vagina too but this evidence has been met with scepticism, mostly because other than the rumour there appears to be no evidence…

Separated from the woman’s body he then used a death mask to create a life-sized effigy of Hoyos, the effigy lived with him until he died 3rd July. 1952. He was found on the floor three weeks after his death and died under the name Carl Tanzer.

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum in Key West, Florida has an exibit that recreats the caring he did to her body. And Svbway to Sally have a video themed around it.

Carl Tanzler (1940)