Doll Bride (Mexican Legend)

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Mexican
Age: 19
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Date of Performance/Collection:
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Spanish

Context/Background: The informant is Mexican and grew up with Mexican folk narratives and beliefs such as that of La Pascualita, a mannequin in a shop that people believe to be the “embalmed young pride of a former dressmaker.” She is believed to be ‘mummified’ in a way because of the strikingly detailed features she possesses and lifelike quality that almost seems to interact with customers in the shop, today.

Informant:

“So basically, store owner’s name was Pascuala Esparza and she was embalmed of her daughter who died on her wedding date after being bitten by a black widow spider. So everyone’s saying that her eyes are actually very glass-like. They say her eyes follow people around the store… like her hands are very lifelike… so yeah!”

[Informant is showing photographs online to support her statements].

Onlooker #1: Wow… I think there’s literal fingerprints (referring to close-ups of her hands in photographs).

Onlooker #2: I’m pretty sure that’s real.

KA: And where did you first hear that from? Or like… find out about that?

“I don’t even know… I think it honestly was my mom, actually. I don’t know how we’d even come to that, but I was told in high school … that she brought up this whole thing about La Pascualita and she told the story and it was very interesting actually.”

Introduction: The Informant was Introduced to La Pascualita (the Doll Bride) from her mother.

Analysis/Interpretation: I found this story particularly intriguing because I’m always fascinated with folklore surrounding dolls. What differs from others though, is the notion that the “doll” in a shop, is in fact, an actual person who has been preserved. I’ve heard of certain stories involving preserved people in certain forms that somehow still live to see today, but  I found this interesting in the fact that it’s so accessible by people. Given that it’s in a store and customers have regularly interacted with the La Pascualita mannequin, there’s still a large uncertainty in the air regarding the legitimacy of Esparza’s presence.