La Planchada -The Ironed Lady

The famous Mexican ghost La Planchada, or “The Ironed Lady”, is the spirit of a nurse who many claim to have seen at hospitals across Mexico,  but do not fear, many of the patients she visits find themselves mysteriously healed the next day.   There are several legends as to the origin of her story.

The most popular one is  connected to the Hospital Juarez, located in Mexico City. In the 1930s, a nurse by the name of Eulalia worked at the hospital. She always wore clean, crisp ironed uniforms. She was an excellent nurse, and her patients were lucky to be under her care. But this changed when a handsome young 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 respond.  Eulalia was beside herself with worry. She felt that something terrible 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 began 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 say she seems 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. 

Another version of the story claims that Eulalia was never actually engaged to the young doctor, but rejected her and marries a woman he is engaged to. She then takes her disappointment out on her patients. The result is several of them die.

Some believe that  Eulalia was a cruel person who mistreated her patients, so when she died, her punishment was to take care of patients for eternity.  Others believe she was killed by a patient or that the romance with the doctor ended in tragedy and Eulalia killed herself.

Regardless of the story—several hospitals in Mexico lay claim to her ghost. Many witnesses 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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