Island ​of Dead Dolls: The Eerie Story of a Popular Tourist Destination

Oct.25.2021
Island ​of Dead Dolls

People who appreciate horror movies take special pleasure in the feeling of fear. But there is a place on earth, which looks as if they forgot to remove the scenery after filming one of the horror films. If you want to plunge into the atmosphere of fear – go to Mexico, to the floating island of Lake Xochimilco, known as the Island of the Dead Dolls.

In fairness, it should be noted that the inhabitants of this eerie place have never been alive. But what would have happened if it had just been called “Island of the Dolls”? Frivolous tourists with children, having noticed it on the map, would go here expecting to see something like Disneyland! But the island is not only not for children – even faint-hearted adults should not go there! The name perfectly reflects its spirit: the island is like an ominous graveyard of unfortunate creatures lost between worlds.

Many children’s toys are in a terrible state: they have been exposed to the elements for a long time, as they are hung on trees in the open air. Many dolls have severed arms or legs, there are toys with empty eye sockets, cracked “skin” from heat and moisture, mouths covered with cobwebs. Children’s toys are frozen forever in strange positions, in their form there is nothing left that could cause joy in a child. Moreover, their abundance on the island can shock any person. The only inhabitant of the island collected these toys and hung them on snags and trees: a native of Xochimilco, Mexico City, Don Julián Santana Barrera. This man was isolated from society in the 1950s for preaching religious superstition. Since then he has lived on the island, growing vegetables and flowers. And all these years, he single-handedly collected children’s toys with enviable persistence and carried them around the island, placing them on branches, tree trunks, and stumps. What was the reason for the emergence of doll island in Mexico? What made an inhabitant of this place engage in such strange activities?

The Story of the Doll Island

The Story of the Doll Island

The history of the Isla de las Munecas is shrouded in mystery. There are several versions of why the hermit Santana Barrera began to collect and hang terrifying dolls. It is believed that he got them from the waters of the very channel where he lived.

First Version

One story contradicts conventional wisdom about why Don Julián became an outcast and was expelled from the populated area of ​​the capital, La Asunción. It states that the hermit was not persecuted for his mystical beliefs. Julian had a possessed wife who was afraid of baby dolls. After her death, her spirit began to visit the man. The visits frightened him so much that he was forced to go to a secluded place on the indicated island. There Don Julián began to collect dolls and hang them wherever possible to protect himself from the soul of his crazy wife, who could not find peace.

Second Version

According to another version, it’s all about the canals that surround the Xochimilco area. Once upon a time, allegedly many small children drowned here. After that, their souls were left to wander around the ill-fated island. It was here that Julián Santana Barrera, expelled from society for superstition, was able to apply his mystical knowledge in practice. He began collecting dolls that drove away from the spirits of babies and allowed a hermit to live on the island for many years.

Third Version

This story about the scary dolls is considered the truest. In addition, the journalists who visited the island when they found out about its existence claim that they got this story from Don Julián himself.

One day Julian, while he was already living on the island, heard a girl’s cry. He hastened to help but found only the body of the deceased girl in the waters of the overgrown canal. According to other rumors, the hermit never found the corpse. The hermit was very upset that he could not help the child in time. And after a while, a doll swam to the shore where the man was standing. The hermit suggested that the toy belonged to a girl who drowned in the canal. Therefore, in memory of her, he sat the doll on a tree nearby so that the girl’s spirit could calm down.

history of haunted doll island

The death of the girl greatly depressed Santana, and a little later something strange began to happen to him: at night the hermit heard laughter and voices as if someone was crying in the forest. The man found the answer to this riddle: it was the spirit of the deceased child asking for a doll.

Since then, he began to collect discarded dolls, which were brought by water through the canal, and hang them on trees to pacify the soul of the unfortunate girl. And so the island of cursed dolls appeared, which was demanded by the ghost of a drowned girl. The owner of the territory tried to alleviate the suffering of the spirit as best he could, but for this, it was necessary to constantly bring her new toys. For 50 years, he was looking for new dolls – in the end, he collected about 1000 of them. Santana put the very first doll in his hut in the most conspicuous place, making it something of an altar.

The press found out about the doll island, Don Barrera became a celebrity, tourists and politicians wanted to visit this eerie Mexican doll island … But in 2001, Julian Barrera drowned in a canal – in the very place where he found the first doll. Most likely Don Barrera has gone mad. Long before his death, he stated that creepy toys from the past kill small animals at night. Now, when the owner of the island has long been dead, and the legend of the Isla de las Munecas is covered with dust, hundreds of old creepy dolls still live on the island. They gaze into the Mexican night sky with their empty glass eyes … and wait.

Many tourists who visit this island destination believe that Julian has joined other spirits of the Dead Dolls Island.

Locals say the Mexico doll island near Xochimilco is both spooky and amazing at the same time. After Julian’s death, the doll island became a tourist attraction, where visitors go in search of adventure and bring old toys.

How to Get to Haunted Doll Island

How to Get to Haunted Doll Island

The Island of the Dead Dolls is located in the Xochimilco area, located 18 km south of downtown Mexico City. You can get to the island as follows: take the underground to Tasquena station (line 2), change to the tram marked Tren Ligero, which would take you to Xochimilco station. Then – on foot to one of the Xochimilco berths, where you can order a boat, on which, sailing along the Xochimilco canals, you can reach the island. To get to the island, you need to explain to the boatman that you need to go there, otherwise, they may think that you are ordering a regular walk around Xochimilco. A boat ride through the canals and from the island takes about 4 hours and would cost you about 800 pesos. Visiting the island is not recommended for children and faint-hearted adults.

The Island of Dead Dolls in Mexico, according to numerous visitors, is the eeriest attraction that was not created specifically for tourists. This is the only place in the world where children’s toys cause real horror in people. Locals prefer to bypass the island without risking appearing there, and the history of the place is a real mystery. But if you are a fan of such excursions and want to feel like in a horror movie, then you can safely visit this eerie but interesting place.

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