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Double Eagle Restaurant - Old Mesilla, New Mexico

The 150 year-old building that houses the Double Eagle Restaurant has an illustrious history. It was where the treaty that ended the Mexican-American war in 1848 was signed, where Billy the Kid was incarcerated, and where the lovers Armando and Inez lived, died, and haunt to this day.

The legend says that the wealthy Maes or Maese family came to Mesilla during the Mexican-American War from Santa Fe. The Senora, Carlota, of the household had great plans for the family. Easily the richest family in the area, she wanted to use her eldest son, Armando, as a pawn to increase the family’s name, wealth and connections. She had already promised his hand to an aristocratic family in Mexico City. Armando, however, did not have the same lust for power as his mother. In fact, he was the type who let his heart lead him, and it did, straight into the servant Inez’s arms. It is written that Inez was a beautiful girl, with long dark hair that reached to her waist. They tried to keep their love a secret, but were not very good at hiding it. Soon, the servants were aware of the budding romance. Knowing the Senora’s lofty plans for her son and feeling no real love for her snobbish attitude, they worked at keeping it a secret. As the story of the lovers leaked out into the town, the other inhabitants of Mesilla also worked at protecting the young lovers and keeping the tryst from the Senora’s eyes.

The Senora finally noticed that the relationship between her son and servant was more than it should be, and there was an argument between them that ended with Inez being kicked out of the house. Soon after, the Senora returned early from a trip. Noticing the way the servants were flustered and unclear about Armando’s presence, she went to his room to find him. It was there she caught the two in an illicit embrace. She stumbled backward from shock and anger, knocking over her sewing basket that had been sitting on the patio. She lifted the shears and headed for Inez and Armando, who were getting dressed.

And here is where the most common versions of the lovers’ plight diverge…

Some say Senora Carlota stabbed Inez in the chest, and when Armando flew between them to defend his love, the Senora stabbed him in the back. Inez died in Armando’s arms. Armando collapsed, smiling. He died three days later, never having regained consciousness.

But another version of the stabbing tells it differently…

As Carlota’s scissors slashed down on the frightened Inez, Armando got in her way and took a fatal wound. Inez ran away, not being seen for more than a year. Then one evening Inez returned to Mesilla, disguised. Perhaps she was careless, perhaps she seemed suspicious, but she was recognized by a cowboy who’d been drinking his pay away. A confrontation occurred and the cowboy drew his gun. No one can be sure if he intended to shoot the prodigal Inez, but she suffered a gunshot. Locals (supposedly unable to see past her disguise) took her to the Maese house and laid her in Carlota’s bed. It was there that some say Inez finally died.

The Senora became bitter and supposedly never said another word after the tragic loss of her young son, Armando.

The house itself was either a private residence or intermittently abandoned until 1972. Since opening to the public, many have described strange happenings. The ghosts seem to haunt the Carlotta Salon, which was once Armando’s room. They seem to be pranksters; moving furniture, breaking glasses, whispering names, and even the faint perfume of lavender has been reported. Full-bodied entities have been seen wandering the home by employees. Two newly upholstered chairs in the Salon mysteriously show signs of wear in the cut velvet.

The Double Eagle has been investigated by the Southwest Ghost Hunters Association. They documented some high electromagnetic readings in areas that have no wiring to cause such readings. Others who have done investigations have seen a French baccarat chandelier measuring seven feet by three feet, containing more than 1000 hand-cut glass crystals, weighing over a hundred pounds, and spinning. There is also a painting in the hallway that seems to have a “ghost” in its image. It seems that the house may have its own history, the antiques that fill the building have brought their own “memories” as well.
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