Evita’s corpse remained unburied and was hidden for years in several places. It seemed to bring suffering and death with it everywhere.
On July 26th 1952 at 8:25 p.m. Argentina stood still – movies and music stopped playing and an announcer of the emergency broadcast choking on his own tears and devastating millions reported that “Eva Peron, the spiritual leader of the nation entered immortality”. The people of Argentina mourned not just their adored first lady, but also their bright happy future that won’t come and the hope for a better life that was taken from them.
Shortly after Evita’s death Juan Peron who tried his best to keep Evita’s cult alive, decided to have her body embalmed. For that mission he has chosen Dr. Pedro Ara , the professor of anatomy with European education who was known as a true master of “the art of death.” Ara’s method of preserving corpses was based on replacing their blood with glycerine, which kept the internal organs and created a lifelike appearance. Evita’s body was without a doubt the professor’s best work – she looked as if she was smiling and breathing in her sleep. Dr. Ara was rumored to fall madly in love with his masterpiece and he eventually ended up in a mental institution.
For 13 days Eva Peron’s body was on a display at a presidential residence for national mourning and every single day a few suicide attempts were made in front of it. Then Evita’s corpse was moved to the Ministry of Labor building.
The Disappearance of Evita’s Body
In 1955 Peron’s regime was overthrown in a military coup and a former president left the country without making any arrangements about his wife’s body. The new government was not interested in leaving any memories of Peron and much less in supporting Evita’s cult, so it was decided by the authorities to hide the body. What happened next resembled a combination of a captivating detective story and a horror movie. Two wax copies of Evita’s body were secretly buried in two different cemeteries in Buenos Aires. Two people involved in the burials died under mysterious circumstances. One of them lost his life in a car accident, while the other committed suicide.
The real body was hidden in different places all over Argentina and seemed to bring a curse with it everywhere it appeared. It was hidden at a military base, in a movie theatre and in a house of one of the army officers who accidentally shot his pregnant wife dead mistaking her for the intruders who he thought broke into his home in order to steal Evita’s body. After five years of wandering Evita’s body was finally buried in Milan, Italy, under the name “María Maggi”.
Evita’s Return and More Mysterious Deaths
In the early 1970s the regime in Argentina changed again and Juan Peron returned to Buenos Aires. During his exile in Spain he married a dancer Isabel Martinez who in turn was obsessed with Evita. Peron’s third wife copied Eva’s hairstyle and outfits and changed her name to Isabelita. Isabel Peron was even rumored to have some kind of satanic ritual to be preformed on her so Evita’s soul will live in her body. That didn’t seem to help though. After Peron’s death in 1974 Isabelita, who became a first female president in South America, made arrangements to bring Eva’s body back to Argentina in order to bury her next to Peron. Shortly after Evita’s return Isabel Peron was overthrown and placed in jail.
When Evita’s body was on it’s final way to Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires the driver of a truck suddenly died of a heart attack, which led to an accident killing five more people. In addition, as a result of an unexpected stop, two soldiers who were guarding the coffin accidentally pierced each other’s necks with their bayonets. All those events could be coincidental, but many superstitious Argentinians believe that they were caused by Evita’s spirit who does not like to be disturbed. Now Evita has finally found peace in the legendary Recoleta cemetery surrounded by the most outstanding Argentinians of all times. She is buried under two leaden tombstones in a vault. Its’ wall is decorated with the carved inscription: “I shall come back and become millions”.
- Fraser, Nicholas and Navaro, Melissa. Evita. New York: Norton and Company, 1996.
- Wolf, Vytali. Women and Power. Moscow: Eskmo,2010.