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The Island of Dolls: The Haunted Place in Mexico with a Dark and Mysterious Past



Imagine yourself lost in "The Island of Dolls"! These dolls aren't pretty and gorgeous, but they are haunted. People are always curious about a place having a dark and mysterious past. Rumours, curses and phantoms add extra thrills and chills down the spine.


The origin and the story of La Isla de las Muñecas, “The Island of the Dolls” in Mexico is creepier than your imagination. Possessed by a spirit, the dolls are full of life. People have seen them move, talk to each other and lures travellers on boats to reach the island.


The small, sad island is located to the south of Mexico City, between the Xochimilco canals, which always have failed to be a great place for the tourists. Legends state that the island has been dedicated to the lost soul of a poor girl, who met with her fate in strange circumstances.


Although the area is home to thousands of people, the island is home to hundreds of dolls. The trees of the island are adorned with severed limbs, decapitated heads and blank eyes of these dolls. The dolls threaten the people during the mid-day, but their presence under the dark night sky is quite disturbing.


The story of The Island of the Dolls alias La Isla de las Muñecas has intimate connections with the life story of Don Julian Santana Barrera. He was a native of Xochimilco with an unsound mind. During the mid-20th century, he left his family and spent his time on an island on Teshuilo Lake.


After his relocation to his new abode, he shortly discovered the body of a young girl drowned in the lake along the shores of the island. Unfortunately, he failed to save the girl. Later, he found a doll that came floating down the canals. The doll changed Barrera’s whole life, shaping the island for future years.


Also Read: Hastings House: Not One But Spirits of Three Ghosts Roam Here at Night. India's Most Haunted Place!


Barrera tried to appease the spirit of the deceased young girl and hung the doll from a tree. He thought himself the caretaker of the island and felt a single doll is not enough for him. For the next 50 years, he roamed about on the island, collected dolls from the trash or the canal and hung them over the trees.


The dolls he collected were found in different states. While some were whole; the others were in a severe state of disrepair- missed their head, limb or even torso.


Although these seem to be actions of unhealthy minds, yet there are several doubts surrounding the legend. The mystery lies in the existence of the deceased girl. Santana Barrera’s family failed to believe the existence of the dead girl. Instead, they believed that he made up the story, but Julian devoted his whole life to her.


Even the end of Julian’s life was closely attached to the story of the drowned child. He died the same way as he found the drowned girl, and it’s perhaps the creepiest of all the circumstances.

Don Julian’s cabin used to flood with various dolls. He dressed them in headdresses, sunglasses and other accessories. Although the people visiting the isle found it frightening, the dolls were the most beautiful protectors to Don Julian.


He welcomed the visitors to his isle and charged a small token of money for taking photos of the dolls. Many people believed that Julian joined with the spirits of the island.


In response, tourists began to pay tribute to the doll collector and flocked to the island. They brought their own dolls. Even today, people honor both the living spirits of the girl and Julian by hanging the dolls in trees. Several ferries stop at the island causing an immense disturbance for the fear of death among the people setting foot on the island.


Up next: Lawang Sewu: Most Haunted Place of Indonesia, Reputed as Home to Unhappy Dead Souls!


Plan a Horror Night Next Time & Share the Stories Among Friends!

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