Mesilla New Mexico
Double Eagle Mesilla
Not listening to a mother with temper issues caused deadly actions.
A fatal mistake still haunts this spirit.
The Crown Jewel of Historic Old Mesilla
Described as being built in the Territorial-style, Double Eagle Mesilla, made up of Double Eagles and Pepper’s Restaurants, are in the oldest building in Mesilla, being one hundred and seventy four years old. Tom and I visited them on a road trip. We walked into the open gate on the left side of the building and went through the narrow rectangular patio where there were outside tables.
The entrance is at the end on the patio to the right of the little fountain. Stepping inside is truly a step back in time, an unexpected experience that knocked our socks off. Wow! The combination of museum quality antiques, decor additions and southwest architecture really provide the perfect setting for upper class restaurants. To the left of the entrance, is a breath-taking area with an elaborate historic bar, and tables for two as well.
Their website does a great job describing this one-of-a-kind bar.
“The 30-foot hand-carved oak and walnut Eastlake style bar is framed with four Corinthian columns in gold leaf. The detail of the back bar is illuminated by two Imperial French floral Corones: each five feet tall, with 23 lighted brass flowers, 10 of which have blue Lalique crystal rosette shades. The antique brass foot rail was originally from the Billy the Kid Saloon. Hanging above the bar are two magnificent classic French Baccarat chandeliers, measuring seven feet by three feet.”
On the right is a small parlor, the Lew Wallace Room which was part of the original hacienda built by the Maese family. It is furnished in the Victorian and Eastlake styles, very elegant indeed. The upscale paintings come from such artists as W. L. Judson, circa 1910, Wilfred Jentin, circa 1880, and F. Bauer, circa 1910. The cherry on top is the “1857 map of New Mexico and Arizona which shows Mesilla as the capital of Arizona, with both Territories extending to California.”
The foyer leads to a large, beautiful dining area in the covered central patio, where Pepper’s New Mexico Cafe and Bar serve their patrons, marked by Spanish tile, and a plethora of plants, palms, and a seven foot fountain. It is a peaceful, pleasant area to dine. It seats fifty to ninety people.
Double Eagles Restaurant serves its guests in all the other, smaller dining rooms, off to the right of the large patio. “Our Sales and Event Staff look forward to working with you to plan a memorable and productive meeting or event. In addition to the six historic event spaces accommodating up to 225 guests, the Double Eagle offers A/V and Catering Services including an imaginative menu featuring aged steaks and regional favorites.”
The back dining room is the Carlota Salon, that can handle four to eight guests who can have a meal amongst the best of spectral company. Portrait Paintings of the original hacienda owners, Valentin and Carlotta Maese, greet you on the wall left of the fireplace, and the portrait of Empress of Mexico Marie Carlota faces this power couple on the opposite wall. A framed Las Cruces Sun News article about the spirits of Armando Maese and his beloved Inez with an actual photo of the “Young Lover Ghosts” is also on display. It is very popular with all the resident spirits.
The elegant Gadsden Room, with its elaborate tin ceiling, wainscoting and spectacular overhead stained glass, and expansive light, can seat a party of four to fifteen around the rectangular table.
Juarez Diaz Room is a place to admire! The lucky party of ten to thirty-six guests can dine in another one of the original rooms.
“The cowhide-covered Empire sofa and snakeskin-covered Grecian Revival chairs are outstanding pieces of Southwestern decor. The wrought iron chandelier is an especially fine piece of Spanish Toledo work and is complimented by the Mesilla blacksmith gates. The New Mexico colonial chairs were copied from a 350-year-old museum piece and are hand-carved. The turquoise lizard-covered Queen Anne chairs and ebony tables accent the Southwest Dining decor of pottery duck, fish ladies and hand-carved pigs. The Indian pottery and graphic motifs painted on the floors and French doors are examples of award-winning designs by Karen Wood.”
The large banquet rooms, the Isabella (twenty to seventy) and the Maximillian (fifty to one hundred) are great places for wedding receptions, parties of all kinds, social events or family celebrations.
At the end of the Spanish American War, the American government took over New Mexico’s northern and central towns such as Santa Fe, with the result of a mass migration to the part of the state that hadn’t been annexed yet. The Maese family left Santa Fe to start over in a Spanish-friendly area.
The history of the Double Eagle Restaurants building began in 1849, as a small home for Valentin Maese and his family, who became one of the founding families of Mesilla, a small Mexican village in New Mexico. After first arriving from Santa Fe, Valentin built a practical two room vertical log and adobe plaster jacal, as did other founding families around the land that would be Mesilla’s historic plaza, built in the center of historic Mesilla. This formation of jacals helped to offer protection from Native American attacks.
While Mesilla started off as a sleepy little village, it was becoming a popular stop for travelers and merchants, and was the location of the main watering hole for both the east and west trails and north and south trails. Valentin saw Mesilla as having a lot of potential for his freight line importing and exporting business. When his business took off and made him quite wealthy, he enlarged his modest home into a grand Territorial style hacienda that showcased his prosperity.
Mrs. Carlotta Maese, known as La Senora, was a strong-willed force to be reckoned with. Not many would dare to cross her.
“Senora had stars in her eyes.” (oldmesilla.org). She was very proud of her family because of its great wealth, prestige and power. Everyone respected the success of the family. Many servants were hired to take care of them and handle the household chores.
Years later, she had great plans for her eldest, sixteen year old Armando, a quiet young man. She reminded him constantly about his duty to his family. Trouble came when a drop-dead gorgeous, teenaged girl, Inez, was hired to be a maid by Mrs. Maese. Armando and Inez fell in love. Knowing that his mother would have kittens in the kitchen over this relationship, he decided to keep it a secret. The other servants and Mesilla villagers knew about it but also kept his secret.
However, the inevitable happened. La Senora noticed that Armando was lavishing too much attention on Inez, acting like a boy in love. When confronted by La Senora, Armando was honest with his mother and told her that he loved Inez. La Senora flew into a temper and expelled Inez from the house. She reminded Armando about his station in life, his duty to his family, and forbade him to see her. However, love would conquer the social expectations laid down by La Senora.
La Senora left immediately to arrange a marriage for her son to an acceptable young woman of breeding. After accomplishing that, she returned unexpectedly. Apparently, Armando underestimated his mother’s temper issues. La Senora found Armando and Inez in his bedroom (now known as the Carlota Salon) expressing their love physically. Horrors!
La Senora became enraged, and in a trance grabbed her sewing scissors and fatally stabbed Inez. When Armando tried to stop her, she accidentally stabbed her son as well. She came out of her murderous state of mind, realizing what she had done. Armando held Inez as she died. He heard a voice coming from the corner of his room, and saw the spirit of Inez, and smiled broadly before collapsing on the floor, never looking at his distressed mother. He died three days later.
Because of their wealth and influence, La Senora never was held accountable for killing two people. The Maese family sold their beloved home and moved into the interior of Mexico. Emotionally, Carlotta did pay a crippling price. She never got over it, and didn’t speak until the day she died, when she murmured, “Armando.”
The citizens of Mesilla knew what happened that fateful day, as nothing stays a secret in a small village. The murdered lovebirds were honored every year at the Day of the Dead celebration for many years until their story was for a time forgotten.
When activity from spectral residents became common during the first years of Double Eagle Restaurant, locals remembered the story of the ill-fated lovers. Research was done and it was found to be true by checking the Mesilla Cathedral and the early town records of Mesilla and El Paso. Double Eagle now honors two of their resident spirits with a memorial shrine during the Hispanic culture’s version of Halloween, called Day of the Dead.
Other early hispanic inhabitants such as the Guerra, Valencia and Gamboa families enjoyed living here. Each added to the main hacienda to make it their own home. It remained a home until the 1950s, when it was abandoned, probably because it needed a boatload of money to renovate it. It wasn’t empty for long, being right on the historic Mesilla plaza, which made it a strategic spot to open a business or two.
After some work, it first became a place to store cotton. When tourists discovered Mesilla, it became a shopping center, drawing customers in to visit the shops inside, selling items that reflect the character and culture of the historic town.
In 1972, the property was bought by mover and shaker Robert O Anderson, who had an inspiring dream on what to do with this property. He completely restored and upgraded the structure with modern amenities while keeping the hispanic aura and original building intact. He covered the large, inner courtyard, making it a grand dining room with tables all around the fountain.The old bedrooms became smaller dining areas for groups of people. Two larger inside spaces became the banquet areas for larger social events.
He hired an internationally known collector, John Miegs, who was responsible for all the museum quality grand chandeliers, the marvelous bar, and all the antiques, paintings and sculptures in the decor. He hire a top-notch chef to prepare the meals for patrons.
Needless to say, this thriving business endeavor has since been passed down from owner to owner. At some point, they decided to create two businesses in this beautiful building, under the corporate umbrella of Double Eagle Mesilla. Pepper’s Mexican Cafe is located on the large central patio, while the other smaller rooms and two larger spaces are reserved for groups of people wanting to book small to medium family and business gatherings, and for large social events.
It is the place for locals to enjoy the highest quality meals in a restored historic setting, as well as for tired tourists in need of a lift, such as Tom and myself.
Experts agree. This building is listed on the National and State Historic Landmark, and also made the cut to be honored on the National Register of Historic Places.
Apparently, the living aren’t the only ones who appreciate it.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
Sometimes spirits who have experienced a traumatic event or death, want to spend their afterlives in places that gave them comfort and peace while alive.
Kahler Grand, MN (The spirit of a woman who was brutally killed by underworld thugs, visits/stays here for peace and to relive her great memories of happier times).
USS Lexington, TX (Saw a lot of hot action in four major WW 2 battles, suffering many dead. Many spirits who died uncomfortable or violent deaths, find peace and comfort by staying aboard ship, still on duty. They enjoy memories of their service here and even take on new jobs to help the living, becoming spectral team volunteers).
Wabasha Street Caves, MN (Three spirits of gangsters who were executed by a rival mob soldier while playing cards in a side room of this speakeasy have decided to spend their afterlives together, attending receptions where people are happy and enjoying themselves).
Double Eagle Mesilla, NM (The three spirits of the original family who made this old hacienda their home before the deadly confrontation that killed two of them, and traumatized the third, try to find peace and normalcy in their beloved forever home. Life was emotionally hard for Valentin as well after the murders).
When true love is forbidden or stopped abruptly by cruel circumstances, sometimes the love-lorn spirits find each other in their afterlives.
Chapel of the Cross, MS (A young couple’s wedding plans were abruptly blown up when the would-be groom was killed in a duel. Their spirits sit together in a tree in the original graveyard, together again).
Saint Francis Inn, FL (A young soldier fell in love with a black house slave. When his father caught them making love, he forbade his son to see her again. The son made love with her once again and then killed himself. In their afterlives, they are together again).
Double Eagle Mesilla, NM (Though they suffered the death sentence for their forbidden love, they found each other right after they died, and are spending their afterlives together in the home where they met).
Sometimes spirits like to attach themselves to their portrait paintings, where they can observe the living. The living notice these spirits when they give off energy, cause paranormal activity, or literally follow them with their eyes.
Curtis House Inn, CT (The spirit of Rev. Anthony Stoddard, who built the 1734 part of the inn, attached himself to the portrait painting when it was given to the Curtis House Inn by his descendants. When it was hung in the foyer, he became a tough supervisor of the living employees, radiating disapproval of their work, or perhaps gave off intense vibes because his spirit was trying to do a good job).
General Wayne Inn, PA (The menacing Hessian soldier, whose picture hung in the big dining room, liked to come out of it and terrorize the Wayne Inn employee Nathan by walking straight through him).
Stanley Ware House, CA (A solemn portrait of J.G. Chandler has, on occasion, been reported to smile at unsuspecting visitors).
Double Eagle Mesilla, NM (The sprits of Carlotta and maybe her husband Valentin reside here and love to sit in their portraits in a back dining room called Carlota’s Salon).
When spirits have regrets about their own rash life-changing acts done during their lifetimes, they try to continue in this world. They often don’t want to be reminded of them by the living, and will sometimes react when the living bring up the deeds done).
Hassayampa Inn, AZ (A newly married bride was deserted by her groom, and hung herself in the inn’s wedding suite. Whenever anyone brings it up in a demeaning manner or wants to look up the records for more information, her spirit will spring into action).
Bull’s Head Inn, NY (The spirit of a temperance leader, Gracie Steacy became incensed when the living set up a bar in her bedroom! She expressed her outrage, sometimes at the bartenders, but always threw things like glasses safely so no one got hurt. Over the years she has mellowed and is ashamed of her temper outbursts, and will cry if asked about it).
Double Eagle Mesilla, NM (The spirit of the out-of-control mother or of her concerned spouse in this story lets the living know of their displeasure in startling ways when the living speak about what she did in a fit of rage).
Sometimes murderers are stuck in the same place as their victims. These spirits may want to ask for forgiveness, try to relieve their guilt, and/or want to stop their victims from telling what happened.
Ashley’s of Rockledge, FL (The killer of a young woman is stuck in the same Restaurants/bar as his victim, where he expresses his anger, as he worries that she will spill the beans).
Old Faithful Inn, WY (The spirit of the groom in his merchant marine outfit, who killed his new bride here, is grounded in the inn along with his victim, perhaps trying to apologize to lessen his guilt).
La Castañeda Harvey House, NM (The spirit of the La Castañeda employee who killed his wife is stuck in the inn’s old bar with her, perhaps full of guilt, trying to undo his evil deed).
Double Eagle Mesilla, NM (The spirit of La Senora is stuck in this space to be with her son, perhaps longing for his forgiveness and to be with him, so she can perhaps forgive herself).
When a spirit’s favorite place is spruced up by the living, they may be heartened and decide to become more active.
Brumder Mansion, WI (When a bar was added to the newly revamped basement theatre, the spirits from the 1920s speakeasy became very active).
Hartford Twain House Museum, CT (After their wreck of a home was completely restored to become a house museum, displaying some of the Twains’ personal possessions donated from their descendants, the whole Twain family of spirits moved back inside).
Duff Green Mansion Bed and Breakfast, MS (Spirits who reside here became very active after their home was restored and furnished with antiques they would have had when they were alive).
Double Eagle Mesilla, NM (Though the teen spirits have been active since they died, they became really active after the 1972 renovation. The spirit of La Senora and maybe Valentin became quietly active as well after their home was restored and filled with museum-quality antiques, paintings, sculptures, woodwork and other items, which lifted it out of being just a place for ordinary shops into unique, upscale restaurants that honors the beauty of the past. La Senora and perhaps Valentin now have something to admire and enjoy, which must give her some temporary relief from her painful regret).
Two teenage spirits are thrilled to have such a grand hacienda to reside, as well as having a steady stream of living young people to interact with. The spirit of La Senora Carlotta, a much quieter entity, has also joined them, wanting to be near her son, while being comforted by her spectral spouse, and her portrait, that hangs in the same dining room as the portraits of Valentin, Armando and Inez. Carlotta must love the impressive restaurants serving people that she would personally approve of.
The Spirit of Inez
She is still a ball of fire, full of energy, and loves the living who work in the restaurants, doing jobs that she probably did while alive, and jobs she would like to try if she could.
She is a positive spirit and loves to have fun and be social the best that she can.
She is making the best of it, and enjoys what she is able to.
When she is near, the living can smell lavender perfume.
I’m Here! Hi there!
She likes to call out the names of staff when they are working and alone, and sometimes make personal appearances when she really likes them.
Before closing the Restaurants for the night, a waiter named Danny was setting up the tables in the Maximillian Room for an upcoming event. He felt an unseen presence in the room with him.
He went into the central patio, about ready to close when he saw a young Hispanic girl dressed in white come out of the Maximillian Room and walk toward the Carlotta Room.
After checking all doors to be sure they were locked and that no one had slipped inside, he called out, “INEZ, is that you?” He then heard a female voice in a hispanic accent say, “DANNY!”
He didn’t waste any time locking up and making a quick exit. The next day, he made his employer promise in writing not to leave him alone in the restaurants again.
The Spirits of Inez and Armando
These two spirits get together to play practical jokes on the living.
They play with the lights, move items around, break glasses, and commit other acts of mischief.
They move chairs around. A chair that was properly placed in the correct dining room, will be out in the hall thirty minutes later.
The Spirit(s) of La Senora Carlotta and perhaps her husband Valentin
Her spirit is more reserved but will make herself known to the living who visit her room when appropriate.
His spirit may also have joined his wife, as he may keep her company.
A woman I met in the bar area showed me the haunted dining room.
I tried to tell her about how La Senora flew into a rage and killed Inez and accidentally killed Armando as well
Suddenly, the room became cold and I felt an angry presence. The lights went off halfway through my explanation.
When the lights went back on, I apologized for upsetting her. As an after-thought, it could’ve been the spirit of Valentin, trying to protect his wife’s feelings.
STILL Enjoying their forever home
In the small Lew Wallace parlor, two of the gently used chairs that were recently reupholstered began to take the shapes of a larger imprint and a smaller imprint.
It makes sense that these two spirits, Valentin and Carlotta, would enjoy sitting in one of their original rooms, with such lovely paintings to look at, and to see the 1857 map of New Mexico and Arizona with Mesilla as the capitol.
All three or four spirits like to watch the living while inhabiting their portraits and lovebird picture that all hang in the back dining room called Carlotta’s Salon.
The living have heard disembodied voices having civil conversations.
A skeptical assistant manager in jest, left a bottle of wine and two glasses in the Carlota Salon, and invited them to drink it.
When he checked the next day, the wine bottle was empty and the glasses were thrown into the fireplace.
This could have been the spirit teens or the spirits of Valentin and La Senora Carlotta.
The teen spirits have been noticed ever since their murders. When it was restored and made into a blast from the past, they became joyfully active. Their interactions with the staff enlightened all that they were there.
The spirits of Valentin and Carlotta are more subtle in their activity, but will let the living know when they have offended.
The spirit of Inez has been outgoing and friendly with the paranormal groups who have come to visit the spirits, giving them a lot of hard evidence. Members of the Research in Paranormal Science Investigation Group got a thrill when the shadow of Inez boldly walked by their cameraman as he filmed.
A Big Yes Indeed!
Hard evidence and a boatload of personal experiences point to the spirits of the Maese family and Armando’s beloved residing here in their afterlives to enjoy their much improved hacienda, with so many high-class antiques to enjoy, living people to watch, and their positive memories, while at the same time trying to work through their individual traumas.
2355 Calle De Guadalupe
Mesilla, NM 88046
Double Eagle Mesilla can be found in a large, historic hacienda, located in the heart of old Mesilla, among the group of historic buildings that surround the town plaza.
- Passport to the Paranormal: Your Guide to Haunted Spots in America, by Rich Newman, Llewellyn Publications, 2021
- Ghost Hunter’s Field Guide, by Rich Newman, Llewellyn Publications, 2011
- Haunted Places: The National Directory, by Dennis William Hauck, Penguin Books, 2002.