Even The Plastic Dead Have Bad Hair Days
Mannequins. I do not like them and I’m quite sure they aren’t that keen on me either. What with their fixed, sightless eyes and their ridiculously skinny arses. The first time I can recall recoiling from the sight of a mannequin was when I was about ten and I went into a sports shop with my parents. I went to try something on and almost fell over backwards with fright when I came face to face with one of the Plastic Dead lurking in the changing room. I’m not sure why someone thought it would be a good place to store such a thing, perhaps to ensure people didn’t linger. I certainly did not linger and it was the quickest change of clothes I’d ever managed in my life.
Sorry, Beetlejuice Got There First
Mannequins have continued to haunt me into my adult life too. They sometimes invade my dreams. After having gone to see Lights Out at the cinema (a pretty good horror flick, as horror flicks go), the opening scene where dad is working at his textile factory jolted something in my mind and dredged up a rather uncomfortable dream I had a couple of years back. I was in a school somewhere. It wasn’t a place I knew although it felt oddly familiar. There was a long corridor with glass sides and plastic strips hanging down from the doorways at either end, the kind of plastic strips you see at the butchers to keep flies out – thick, heavy things that barely stirred when you pushed through them. The corridor edged a square space in the centre which was dark and dingy, with moss smudged along the windows. A couple of male mannequins languished in the middle of the square. They were just standing there, one had orangey red painted on hair and the other one was dark-haired. I remember walking down the corridor just looking at them, thinking how horrible they were, just standing there – what business could a couple of mannequins have being there? After a while I realised that the mannequins had moved. They were no longer in the glass surrounded square; they were out and coming for me. The feeling of terror as I lost sight of them but knew they were loose and somehow coming to do… um… terrible mannequiny things was overwhelming. Yeah, I have no idea what mannequins would do if they got me – improve my dress sense possibly.
And then this turned up on my radar. There’s a little bridal shop in Chihuahua, Mexico, called La Popular where, in 1930, a very realistic looking mannequin suddenly appeared in the window dressed in the latest bridal gown fashions. Nicknamed La Pascualita, people took a serious interest in the lifelike mannequin and came from far and wide to have a peek at her.
Just A Mannequin? Or Some Damned Fine Embalming?
What was it that was so interesting about this particular mannequin? Apparently she has human hair, extremely detailed features – just take a look at the detail of her hands. And apparently she also has varicose veins… who gives a mannequin varicose veins?:
Some people think she is the embalmed body of the shopkeeper’s daughter and stories abound about the mannequin mysteriously shifting positions at night:
Yes, okay, I can see a resemblance, however keeping a body in such a good state after embalming is no mean feat. The Russians apparently spend huge amounts of money keeping Vladimir Lenin’s corpse in good condition and it’s unlikely that a bridal shop could spare that kind of time and money on such a thing. More likely it’s just a very detailed mannequin that keeps the tongues wagging and the tourists visiting.
But apparently not all mannequins are dangerously deranged or out to haunt bridal shops as the film Mannequin from 1987 demonstrates. Oddly enough, despite my dislike of the Plastic Dead, I really liked this film. Go figure.
©Nicola Kirk 2016 and www.nicolakirk.wordpress.com