Friday, June 15, 2012

Mexican Ghost Story: La Planchada

La Planchada in spanish means “ironed lady”. This is a well known ghost legend in Mexico. It is a story of a ghostly nurse who is seen in hospitals in central Mexico in urban areas. This nurse is seen wearing an old-fashioned nurses uniform. There are several versions of this story. The following is one that has been told many times. This story is connected to the Hospital Juarez located in Mexico City.

An example of 1930's
nurses' uniform.
In the 1930s a nurse by the name of Eulalia worked at the hospital. She always wore very clean, crisp ironed uniforms. She was a very good nurse and her patients where lucky to be under her care. But this changed when a nice young handsome doctor joined the hospital’s staff. Eulalia and this doctor started to see each other socially. It was not long before Eulalia fell in love and the two were engaged.

Shortly after they became engaged the doctor left to attend a medical seminar. To Eulalia’s surprise and concern he did not return the following week. Then another week passed and the doctor still did not return. Eulalia was beside herself with worry. She felt that something bad must have happened. It wasn’t until several weeks had passed that the hospital got word from the doctor—it seems he had met a woman in the town that hosted the seminar and the two had wed.

Heart-broken, Eulalia lapsed until a deep state of depression. She was so distracted by her sorrow that her work suffered. She started to neglect the patients that were under her care. One night one of her patients died as a direct result of her neglect. Realizing her terrible error, Eulalia became ill herself. Not having the will to fight for her own life she died in the hospital where she worked.

After her death, strange things started to occur. Patients, nurses, and doctors started to see a nurse in the emergency room area. Some stories state that she appears to glow and floats instead of walks through the hospital corridors. Other witnesses state she appears to walk normally. But in all of these reports it is stated her footsteps are not heard. Hospital staff started to call this ghostly nurse, “La Planchada” because she always appears wearing a clean, freshly pressed uniform.

The reports from patients are the most intriguing. This ghostly nurse not only appears but cares for patients in the emergency area of the hospital. * It is often reported that at night when some of the hospital staff neglect their patients this nurse cares for them instead. In the morning these patients are well enough to be moved to less intensive care rooms. When asked how they are feeling they reply, “a nurse came in and healed me.”

It is stated that Eulalia returns as a spirit nurse because of a sense of guilt. It seems she is forever doomed to pay for her mistake in life. As mentioned above, there are several versions of this story. In one version it is stated that the nurse was a cruel person who treated her patients badly so when she died her punishment was to take care of patients for eternity. In another version Eulalia was never actually engaged to the young doctor, this version states he rejects her interest in him and marries a woman he is engaged to. She then takes her disappointment out on her patients. The result is several of them die.

Regardless of the story—several hospitals in Mexico lay claim to her ghost. There are many witnesses who state they have seen her or have been under her care at night.

*  It is sometimes stated that she specifically takes care of patients that stay in the room where she died.

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