Isla de Las Munecas The Island of The Dolls

The Island of the Dolls (Isla de las Munecas) located in the canals south of Mexico City and is the current home of hundreds of terrifying, mutilated dolls. Their severed limbs, decapitated heads, and blank eyes adorn trees, fences and nearly every available surface. The dolls appear menacing even in the bright light of midday, but in the dark they are particularly haunting. Isla de las Munecas is about 28km south of the centre of Mexico City. Visitors can catch a ferry there from the Embarcedero Cuemanco or Embarcadero Fernando Celada, and it’s about a four-hour round trip — but not all tour boats stop at Isla De las Munecas.

According to local legend, Don Julian Santana Barrera (the caretaker of the island) found a little girl drowned in mysterious circumstances while he was not able to save her life. Shortly thereafter, he saw a floating doll near the canals. Then, he hung the first doll to honor a little girl that he had found drowned on the island (the doll was thought to be hers). 

Later, he felt as if he was being haunted by the girl's spirit, so he continued to string up dolls in hopes of appeasing her. He believed that he could make the dead girl happy and keep evil at bay by hanging discarded dolls in all of the island’s trees. Julian salvaged the dolls from the canals and garbage. He lived in a small cabin, where his photo and a few possessions are still on display, surrounded by trees and hundreds of his decaying dolls. As word of the island spread Santana began accepting a small fee to show some visitors around his peculiar home. According to those close to him, it was as if Julian was driven by some unseen force that completely changed him. Fifty years he collecting plenty of dolls and hanging them on the island. Unfortunately in 2001, his nephew found him dead, drowned in the same spot the girl did. 

The island officially opened to tourists after his death. Some witnesses claim that the dolls move their heads and arms and even opened their eyes. They even heard the dolls whispering to each other, while others who were on a boat near the island said the dolls lured them to come down to the island.


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