Catedral Basílica Menor de Durango (Durango Cathedral) – Durango, Mexico - Atlas Obscura
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Catedral Basílica Menor de Durango (Durango Cathedral)

An eerie illusion of a nun is said to haunt this cathedral’s Baroque-style bell tower. 

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One of Durango’s most famous ghost stories starts with an international conflict, when French forces invaded Mexico in 1861 as part of Napoleon III’s bid to expand his influence.

As the story goes, a French officer was attacked in the street but survived because a young nun named Beatriz tended to his wounds. The two fell in love, but duty called the officer away from Durango. Every night Beatriz climbed up to the cathedral’s bell tower to watch for his return—until one morning a priest found her body on the ground below. Some say she threw herself from the tower, while others say she stumbled and fell. Locals say that on moonlit nights, a nun can be seen in the bell tower, dressed in white and looking out toward the horizon.

Looking up at the bell tower from Calle Constitución, it’s possible to see a white outline that resembles a person in a nun’s habit at certain times of day—an illusion caused by the way light hits the cathedral’s Baroque-style architecture. 

Several bronze plaques commemorate Beatriz’s story, including one located in the spot where you can see the enigmatic figure that once caused terror among locals. The plaques do not mention exactly where the ghostly figure can be seen. If you’re having trouble finding it, ask around—many of the people of Durango love to show off their ghost.

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