Dona Guilhermina is a very well known figure in Rio de Janeiro, she is popularly known as the Witch of Lapa. This old lady had a dark power that allowed her to see when someone was going to die. Bold, curious, or just disheartened people used to go meet her at the Street of Mata Cavalos (now Street of Riachuelo) to find out their fates. The Witch herself was afraid of her powers and one day she decided to tear off the eye that allowed her to see the future. However, she discovered that one cannot escape one´s destiny. Every year, in the anniversary of her self-mutilation, it is said that the eye returns to haunt her. This is a night that many dread in Rio de Janeiro, fearing to come across the passing eye, floating in the air through the streets. In such an event, one must avoid staring into it. Some say that this is the origin of the expression “evil eye”.
In 1850 an event shocked the country. The famous Dr. Belem, known for his vast knowledge, which included the mystical arts, and well respected in the social circles, got involved in a macabre story.
Dr. Belem came to live in Rio de Janeiro from Minas Gerais. Here he fell in love and married a beautiful lady of the nobility, Dona Carla de Assis. But, soon after the marriage, the friends of the couple noticed that Dona Carla was getting ill, looking weaker and more upset as the time passed. One day, a journalist who was her friend, Mr. Machado, decided to visit Dona Carla at the gloomy mansion where she lived with her husband. Dr. Belm received Mr. Machado and invited him to coffee and biscuits. Mr. Machado had a terrifying surprise when he saw Dona Filomena, Dr. Belem former wife who had died many years ago, serving coffee at the table as a skeleton!
The story could not be confirmed as Dr. Belem now refuses to receive any visitors and so does his wife Dona Carla. Many suggest, or hope, that the picture from Mr. Machado is an elaborate hoax.
During the last decade one of the most successful attractions in the Imperial City were the shows performed by Mr. Russel, a British citizen living in Rio de Janeiro, popularly known as the Ventriloquist of XV Square. His performances attracted hundreds of people and enchanted the public with the magic of his dolls that seemed to be alive. And so they were. Some of those watching the shows began to notice a resemblance between the dolls and people who had disappeared. Until one day Mr. Olavo recognized among the dolls one that had the exact face of a friend of his who had disappeared some time ago. Shaken by fear, Olavo pronounced the name of his friend and the doll answered! Horror struck those at Square XV on that day.
Mr. Russell was deported in the following week and some of his dolls were confiscated. The families of the missing persons are claiming the dolls, but the Ministry of Justice has not reached a decision yet. Some clay that many of the dolls escaped during the confusion and are wandering through the city. This story so far has not been confirmed.