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.
“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.