Zacatecana House Museum – Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico - Atlas Obscura
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Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico

Zacatecana House Museum

This eerily opulent residential museum is home to a haunting local legend. 

The Casa de la Zacatecana Museum in Querétaro is an incredibly preserved collection of 17th-century interior design and art. But thanks to an enduring local legend, it’s also kind of spooky.

According to the legend, the house was once inhabited by a married couple whose relationship ended under mysterious circumstances. With the husband away for work a great deal, talk of her infidelity began to circulate before the husband eventually disappeared completely. It’s now rumored that the couple’s ghosts still haunt the halls. 

When collector José Antonio Origel Aguayo heard of the legend, he acquired the house and turned it into a personal museum, decorating it with objects and decorations dating from the 17th to the 20th centuries. 

Entering the museum is like intruding on the private life of an opulent family from the city’s past, but each object has an air of the uncanny. You’ll see objects including a painting of the souls of purgatory, a vase with the face of Medusa, chairs decorated with dragons, and even dining room cupboards supported by what appear to be elves. It’s easy to see how the house has garnered legends of supernatural happenings. The atmosphere seems heavy, and perhaps that’s why the entrance to the bedroom is decorated with 53 crucifixes on the wall. 

But perhaps the most unsettling feature of the museum is found in the backyard, where one of the windows holds a haunting optical illusion. When looking at one of the high windows, it appears to show a woman’s face in the reflection. This illusion is known as the “anima,” supposedly one of the ghosts that inhabit this eerie museum.

Know Before You Go

If you find the window on the patio floor, don't forget to look out. The best time to visit the museum is from Monday to Thursday, as it is when there are fewer tourists, and you can better feel the haunted atmosphere.

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