El Tiradito (also known as The Wishing Shrine), located in Tucson, Arizona is the only shrine of its kind in the United States dedicated to a sinner - a man known as El Tiradito (loosely meaning a castaway or reject, in Spanish).
Many legends have been told on the origins of this shrine but most versions tell the story of a man (possibly a Mexican sheep herder) that fell in love with a married woman. He was killed by the woman's husband in front of the couple's home. It is believed that he was buried on the spot, in front of the house, because as a sinner he could not be buried in the local cemetery.
Word about El Tiradito's murder spread around the neighborhood and people came to the grave to place candles in the hope of freeing his soul from Purgatory. The candle lighting tradition has continued over decades. Only the intentions and wishes have changed: candles are lit praying for the safety of a loved one in the military, or for the return of a long lost relative. Candles are long and tapered, encased in glass, with an image of a saint.
The shrine dates back to the 1870's. It is located in the Old Barrio section of downtown Tucson and consists mostly of a crumbling brick wall and metal candle holders.
The walls surrounding the shrine are full of little nooks and crannies. Small pieces of paper with messages along with tokens and photographs are tucked into the cracks in the walls. According to local folklore, the messages are from the heartbroken and/or lovesick.
Plaque facing the street. The shrine was entered in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.