The Haunted Golden Ea­gle

Catron Courier - - Front Page - by Sam Palah­nuk

Just 18 miles south­east of Las Cruces lies the vil­lage of Me­silla, which was in­cor­po­rated in 1848. Dur­ing the days of the Old West, Me­silla be­came known for its sa­loons, wild fes­ti­vals, bull­fights, cock­fights, the­ater and gun­fights. The area at­tracted such fig­ures as Billy the Kid, Pat Gar­rett and Pan­cho Villa, and hus­tlers ar­rived as well, such as the fu­ture Judge Roy Bean. The vil­lage was also the cross­roads of two ma­jor routes: the But­ter­field Stage­coach and the Camino Real de Tierra

Aden­tro. The vil­lage of Me­silla was the most im­por­tant city of the re­gion un­til 1881 when the rail­road by­passed the vil­lage in fa­vor of nearby Las Cruces.

When lively Old West towns lose pop­u­la­tion, and the din of ex­cite­ment goes away, some­times the quiet re­veals the pre­vi­ously hushed voices of ghosts of the past, wan­der­ing the creaky wooden floors of their for­mer haunts.

One such place is the Dou­ble Ea­gle Restau­rant, named for the 1850’s era 20 dol­lar gold coin, the "dou­ble ea­gle". This place is known as the most haunted restau­rant in New Mex­ico. The restau­rant is op­er­ated in the ter­ri­to­rial-style home of the wealthy Maese fami- ly, who owned an im­port/ ex­port busi­ness. It also served as the gover­nor’s head­quar­ters and the mil­i­tary hos­pi­tal dur­ing the Civil War oc­cu­pa­tion of Me­silla.

To this day the restau­rant re­tains its Vic­to­rian-era el­e­gance, with dark paneled walls, tex­tured gold leaf ceil­ings, el­e­gant French chan­de­liers, and or­nate mir­rors and an­tiques.

La Señora Car­lotta Maese was a snobby and wealthy woman who flaunted her power and pres­tige. She planned for her son, Armando, to marry into the aris­toc­racy of Mex­ico City. Her son, how­ever, had dif­fer­ent plans.

He didn’t care about any aris­to­cratic woman from Mex­ico City be­cause he’d al­ready fallen in love with a stun­ning teenage ser­vant girl, Inez. Her dark brown eyes sparkled and her shim­mer­ing black hair hung to her waist. Armando could not con­tain his pas­sion for her. All Me­silla whis­pered of young cou­ple’s love, their fre­quent "se­cret" en­coun­ters.

La Señora learned of the af­fair, fired Inez and or­dered her to stay away.

La Señora thought that was enough to put an end to things, but she was wrong. One fate­ful day, she dis­cov­ered the young cou­ple en­twined in Armando’s bed­room. Mad with rage, she pulled a pair of scis­sors out of her purse and be­gan wildly slash­ing at Inez. She stabbed Inez in the chest, and when Armando stepped be­tween them to pro­tect his love, his mother stabbed him too.

Armando held Inez tightly in his arms as she bled to death. Three days later, he also died from his in­juries. La Señora never spoke an­other word, locked her­self in her bed­room and lived the rest of her days in mis­ery, weighed down by the two mur­ders.

The spir­its of Armando and Inez are said to have never left the room, and many peo­ple at­test to feel­ing the pres­ence of their spir­its. It is said that Inez’s sweet per­fume can still be no­ticed. If you lis­ten care­fully, you can hear the lovers whis­per­ing each other’s names. Some­times, faint screams can be heard as the two re­live the ter­ror of that fate­ful stab­bing, fol­lowed by the faint sounds of Armando weep­ing.

Now the main room, called the Car­lotta Sa­lon, is set in what was Armando’s old bed­room. It is a com­fort­able and wel­com­ing restau­rant of the most el­e­gant sort. Should you visit, you’ll no­tice that the man­age­ment al­ways leaves two can­dles burn­ing on the din­ing ta­ble below por­traits of the two lovers. Keep your eyes on that ta­ble, be­cause with­out warn­ing the spir­its might nudge the fur­ni­ture or toss wine glasses to the floor.

When in Me­silla, also look for two other fa­mously haunted lo­ca­tions, the Foun­tain The­ater and the Old Me­silla Ceme­tery.

The fa­mous Foun­tain The­ater is re­port­edly haunted by the spirit of a long-dead, frus­trated ac­tress. The the­ater is just off the south­east cor­ner of the plaza, on the site where the Con­fed­er­ates set up their re­gional mil­i­tary com­mand dur­ing the Civil War.

The Al­bert Foun­tain fam­ily built the the­ater on the site as a vaude­ville house in 1905. It now is a mo­tion pic­ture the­ater, show­ing movies with the au­di­ence sit­ting in rick­ety wooden seats, café ta­bles and chairs, be­neath his­tor­i­cal wall mu­rals. You can get the usual the­ater fare of pop­corn, but they also serve cof­fee, pas­tries, beer and wine.

Old Me­silla Ceme­tery is said to be the cur­rent home of La Llorona, (see the Oc­to­ber 2017 is­sue of the Ca­tron Courier for a Tall Tale about the Weep­ing Woman). She is one of the most famed ghosts of New Mex­ico, and is said to haunt this ceme­tery, some­times scar­ing the heck out of chil­dren who run among the graves at night on a dare. It is said that if you ex­am­ine each and ev­ery grave marker, if you find a statue or carved fig­ure that fol­lows you with their eyes, that La Llorona is right be­hind you, and will soon leap on your back, and frighten you to death. ●●●

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.