The Double Eagle restaurant is set in an 1840’s mansion, the plaza’s oldest building. The colossal adobe resembles a series of treasure-filled caves. It actually houses two restaurants — the Double Eagle, serving pricey Continental fare in elegant salons and a ballroom, and the more casual Peppers Restaurant, with its delicious New Mexican food presented in a patio covered by a transparent ceiling. The dozen rooms that are open to the public energetically bring together such exotic features as Baccarat chandeliers, a 30-foot oak and walnut bar from Chicago’s Drake Hotel, Pueblo folk art, a gilt-covered ceiling, and a lounge decorated with turquoise snakeskin. Double Eagle guests feast on dinner in the regal Maximillian Room, which is adorned with Baccarat crystal chandeliers and a ceiling leafed with 24 karat gold.
In the 1850s, the restaurant was the home of a wealthy Mexican family named Maese. One day the family hired a maid named Ines. The family had a teenage son named Armando, who fell in love with the maid, much to his mother’s distress.
Their love continued, however, and Carlota, the mother, came home one afternoon to find the two lovers romantically embraced in her bedroom. Enraged at the sight, the mother grabbed a pair of scissors and ran towards Ines to stab her. In an attempt to protect his lover, Armando leaped in front of Ines, and Carlota accidentally stabbed her son in the scuffle. Unfortunately, Armando would soon die from his wound. Ines managed to escape the bloody scene and was not seen in town for over a year. Thus, Carlota became a bitter and antagonistic woman.
One evening, Ines returned to Mesilla in disguise but was recognized by a drunken cowboy in the plaza. A confrontation occurred between the two, and Ines was fatally shot. Local citizens, unaware of her identity, brought her wounded body into Carlota’s home and placed it inside Carlota’s very own bedroom. It was there on Carlota’s bed that Ines died.
Employees and guests alike say that the ghosts of the young lovers inhabit the Carlota Salon to this day. The ghosts apparently make their presence known in several different ways. Broken glasses and turned-over chairs are found in the morning when opening up the building, despite high tech detection alarms that are installed throughout the building. The alarm system itself has a habit of going off by itself. When local law enforcement arrives and enters the building, they cannot find anyone.
Two Victorian armchairs in the Carlota room are seldom used, yet the fabric is worn in the shape of human bodies. One is larger than the other but both small by today’s standards. Another phenomenon that has been reported is an apparition of a woman in the Maximillian room, just outside the kitchen door. Knives have been found stacked upon the floor in the mornings. Employees also hear their names called by an unseen presence.
Once a waitress was waiting on customers in the Maximillian room. When she placed two cups of coffee upon the table before the patrons, the cups started to slowly move by themselves. Then they rapidly moved around the placemats, flatware, and dishes as if an unseen hand was pushing them along. The cups eventually rested on the opposite side of the table.
The spirit of Inez remained quiet until the room was remodeled in the 1980s, after which the ghost of Inez began gliding across the floor. The frightening apparition was also seen reflected in mirrors. The photograph of her ghostly form hangs in the Carlotta Room. Inez sometimes manifests as a cold spot in the tiny room, which only seats eight people. Unexplainable noises, such as the sounds of pottery breaking and disembodied voices, are also heard in the area. At least a dozen guests and employees have observed supernatural phenomena. For example, on October 24, 1989, amazed witnesses saw eighty glasses fly off the back shelf onto the floor, but only three of them broke.
A Well-Peppered Landscape – The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/09/travel/a-well-peppered-landscape.html
Updated 30 August 2019