La Recoleta Cemetery
Buenos Aires Argentina
La Recoleta Cemetery – Buenos Aires Argentina
“I’m sorry but she’s gone”, whispered the doctor to the distraught parents of the striking young woman lying before them. Even death could not steal away her youthful pink-cheeked beauty; she could have been simply sleeping.
The year was 1910. Rufine Cambaceres was anxiously preparing to celebrate her nineteenth birthday by attending a show at the new Buenos Aires Colon Theater. Although it was built only two years previous it was now considered to be one of the most renowned and decadent theatres in the world. Rufine found it hard to contain her excitement!
“Mi querida amor!” calls her mother “We are going to be late…Rufine!” With much exasperation Mama Cambaceres rushes upstairs to see what could possibly be delaying her daughter. Papa Cambaceres impatiently looks at his pocket watch as he waits at the bottom of the stairs; however his peevish contemplation is brutally interrupted by his wife’s bloodcurdling scream.
After preparing Rufine’s body, dressing her in her finest silks and jewelry, she was taken by horse-drawn carriage to be interred in the family crypt at La Recoleta Cemetery. Once there her body was taken to the chapel. After funeral rites the family stepped out into a dark rainy cemetery for the sad trek home. “Even the sky weeps for my poor Rufine!” cried Mama Cambaceres as she steps into the carriage.
Not wanting to inter the casket in the rain and hoping for better weather to complete their work the cemetery workers decided to wait until morning, leaving her casket for an overnight stay in the Chapel.
The morning arrives and brings with it a sun filled sky, “Much better conditions!” smiles the grave keeper as he enters the Chapel. As he approaches the casket he stops dead in his tracks. Thinking that his eyes are playing tricks on him it looks like the casket lid has been moved ajar and a closer inspection confirms this. He slowly backs away while gesturing a sign of the cross, locks the Chapel door and immediately sends for the family.
Upon the Cambaceres arrival they requested an opening of the casket. They had placed many of Rufine’s fine jewelries inside and were distraught to think the indignity of a robbery may have taken place. Once opened what they saw was even more horrifying than they could have imagined. Inside was a scratched and bloodied Rufine and the look of terror on her face was unmistakable, the unfortunate young woman had been entombed alive.
Rufine Cambaceres’ beautiful tomb is one of the most visited because of her tragic story. Those who pay their respects know her as “The girl who died twice” and she is purportedly seen walking the cemetery at night.
For two centuries Buenos Aires did not have an official cemetery. The monks of the Order of the Recoletos owned the land where the current cemetery exists and once the order was disbanded in 1822 it was turned over to become the first public cemetery.
La Recoleta Cemetery is one of the largest and most beautiful in Argentina. Its above ground intricately designed tombs are much like a small city and its vaults hold the remains of many celebrated Argentinians including local wealthy families, artists, actors, poets, presidents, military generals and, perhaps the most famous of all, the legendary first lady Evita Perón.
Its beauty and ghostly reputation along with its famous occupants have made this a major Argentinean tourist site.