A haunted tour of Historic Downtown

A guide shows you the myths and legends of historic buildings at the heart of the capital

Metropolitan Cathedral - Taken from iStock
English 03/09/2017 15:00 Viridiana Ramírez Mexico City Actualizada 15:00
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Perhaps, many Mexicans are familiar with the Perro Negro pizza shop in Donceles street, but did you know that same building is known as the House of the Hanged, and that each time the business closes, the employees pray not to find themselves face to face with the “lady in white”? Tales such as these are the ones told on the haunted walking tour of the Historic Center of Mexico City.

The tour starts at the Grand Hotel, in the 16 de Septiembre street. It used to be an ancient market during the era of Porfirio Díaz, where wealthy people came to buy clothes brought all the way from Europe. Here, James Bond fans are encouraged to take a look at the Tiffany stained glass window decorating the ceiling and at the iron structure of the elevator, which feature during the opening sequence of the latest 007 movie.

The bell-ringer
The tour makes a stop before the gates of the Zócalo, right in front of the National Palace. The guide tells the visitors that in 1951, this entire quarter of the city remained flooded for six years. Yet this is also the place where the first ghost appears, at the bell tower of the Metropolitan Cathedral.

The audience can see from this spot the “Punished Bell”, which was removed from the clapper for pushing a bell-ringer to his death. The shadow of the ghost of said bell-ringer can be seen at midnight, according to the guide, in the tower across the Nacional Monte de Piedad building.

As you keep walking along Reública de Guatemala, legend has it that since Prehispanic times, on the early mornings, the “child of the tooth” can be found prowling the streets. The apparition earned the name because he once killed a man who doubted of his supernatural powers, and the child taught him a lesson by embedding a tooth in the man's forehead.

The next stop is on Tacuba street, in La Vasconia, the first bakery in Mexico. Here, the meaning of the pan de muerto (bread of the dead) is explained to the visitors, and how the Spaniards managed to convince the Aztecs to stop human ritual sacrifices.

The House of the Hanged

Now, it's time to enter the 66 house in Donceles street, the House of the Hanged. The apparitions of the lady in white are, allegedly, frequent and sometimes deadly. The employees of the Perro Negro pizza shop will gladly tell the visitors of the attempts the spectre made on the life of one of their colleagues at the fountain in the backyard of the House.

“The dandy” of the Fru Fru Theater

In this same street, tourists will find the Fru Fru Theater. At the entrance, they will be greeted by the bronze statue of a dandy holding a tray. Legen has it that visitors need to make an offering of candy to the man; otherwise, they risk earning the ghost's ire, who might just well decide to follow them home that evening.

After three hours of walking around the most haunted streets and buildings of the historic downtown, the tour ends at the lobby of Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts). The guide advises its audience to be careful when attending a concert or a production at the venue, because if your assigned box seat 33, the spectators may encounter the ghost of the violin player, who died for love. The employees of the Palace claim that if the violin player dislikes a staff member, he will not stop playing his violing until said member is withdrawn from their charge.

The haunted tour is offered every weekend by Los Tours del Centro Histórico.
Entrance fee: 300 MXN per person.

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