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"La Isla de la Munecas"

Updated on July 12, 2014

Straight Out Of A Stephen King Thriller

Stephen King is known for thrillers that leave you gasping at the thought of who is going to die next or who had just died in his books and movies. He leaves your skin crawling with anticipation. His stories strike fear in many. To others, it becomes a fascination for the morbid and the grotesque. The Island of the Dolls in the canals of Mexico will do all of that and so much more. It might as well be its own book!

Creepy!
Creepy! | Source

The Legend Surrounding The Island

Tragedy often breeds superstition. In the vast canals outside Xochimilco, Mexico, superstition has taken a strong foothold and will not release its death grip off the locals and tourists alike.

It all started a long time ago...

No one knows when it really all started. Legend has it that a young girl drowned in a small canal off the shores of Xochimilco. A hermit who was the only inhabitant of the island, by the name of Don Julián Santana Barrera supposedly found the body and tried to revive her but she was long gone. The event traumatized him so much so that he believed he was being haunted by her spirit.

Dolls began to appear out of nowhere, floating in the canals. The first day, he fished out the doll and hung it in a tree. The next day he fished out another. And then another. Convinced that this was a sign from the netherworld, Barrera started collecting old dolls and hanging them around the island. These dolls, he believed, formed vessels for spirits that kept the deceased girl company and prevented further evil from descending upon the island.

From here the story becomes extremely murky and muddy. Some claim that Barrera himself died under mysterious circumstances, and that the spirit-inhabited dolls murdered him. Others swear that they have witnessed the dolls become alive at night. Some locals even claim that after Barrera’s death they assumed his role as the island’s caretaker.

But the legend lives on...

Sources say this island is extremely haunted.

The Man Behind The Mystery

Don Julián Santana - El Señor de las muñecas
Don Julián Santana - El Señor de las muñecas | Source

Questions Race Through Everyone's Minds

To think that a little girl lost her life far too soon tugs on the heart strings of people for many reasons. Children are pure at heart. They haven't lived long enough to be anything but perfect. If she truly haunts the island, some wish there was a way to put her to rest; to help her cross over into the light.

Many wonder about the sanity of the man who lived on the island. Research shows that he was a married man but chose to live on the island even after the fact of the little girl's drowning. It's almost as if he felt an obligation to the little girl.

If he was still alive and you had the option to ask him a question, what would you ask?


His memorial on the island.
His memorial on the island. | Source

Superstition or Truth?

Do you think this is all a joke? Could it just be folklore or superstition? Either way it has become a hot bed of discussion. What is your take?

The Location Of The Island

Doll heads on stakes.
Doll heads on stakes. | Source

Dolls That Are Beyond Eerie

Take a closer look at every single doll that is strung up all over the island. Some are missing limbs. Some have limbs attached that obviously belong to other dolls. Some dolls have broken apart. Some dolls don't even have heads. Some are cracked. Some have grown fungus. Some have grown into the island so much so that the exotic spiders and bugs of the area have made there home in the empty spaces. Even some doll heads are impaled on stakes as seen in the picture next to this. What all does it mean? What he really haunted? The world may never know the truth.

The island as it is seen today.
The island as it is seen today. | Source

The Island Today

Much of the local lore drives tourists from all over the world to visit this particular island. Getting to it can be a challenge considering most boats that do frequent the canals do not have the island on the itinerary. One of the best ways to get to it is to take a ferry from two of the local "Embarcaderos." The trips normally run about three to four hours in length so make sure if you are visiting to set aside ample time to take in all the surroundings.

If you take a trajinera, a specially decorated wooden boat, directly to the island, the trip shouldn’t last a lot more than two hours depending on your departure point.The island is not very crowded during weekdays but the canals can get a bit overcrowded during the weekends for obvious reasons, just like any other tourist attraction.

Prices vary depending on the time of day and what route you may decide to take.

To this day, many people who visit the island swear they can hear the dolls cry. Some say they have even seen them move.


What Do You Think?

Do you think this island is really haunted?

See results
Hold me mommy!
Hold me mommy! | Source

I can't help but wonder what was going on in the mind of the recluse man who lived and died on the island. It must have been tormenting daily to know that no one really believed him. Not only would that cause him to drop into severe depression, but it probably added to his insanity by the time of his death in the same canal the young girl was found in. I ask you just one question. What would you have done in his situation? Would you have been able to stay sane?

Surreal and macabre.
Surreal and macabre. | Source

"Not even the perverse Chuckie can compare to the creepiness of these decaying play things."

Josh Gates from Destination Truth

The following pictures illustrate exactly what can be seen on the island. Personally I feel the black and white images are more eerie than those in color. Take them as you may.

Eerie to say the least.
Eerie to say the least. | Source
Pink Buttons
Pink Buttons | Source
Sleepy?
Sleepy? | Source
Peek-a-boo!
Peek-a-boo! | Source
Headless.
Headless. | Source
Eerie...just plain eerie...
Eerie...just plain eerie... | Source
Black and white.
Black and white. | Source
No words can describe...
No words can describe... | Source
Sleep tight baby.
Sleep tight baby. | Source

True Ghost Stories

From Destination Truth

This excerpt was taken from the following link that can be found here.

"Mike amplified the recordings in the shed and found an interesting recording saying "leave" rightafter he ran away from the shed. In Josh's EVP session another voice is heard saying the word "leave". Their flir footage where analyzed by the Ghost Hunters Internationals for expert opinions. The doll's eye movement were explained that an energy or a ghost attached to the doll and the other flir anomalies were described as an energy. And another recording in the shed that sounded like somebody is knocking. They concluded it as paranormal. Josh concludes that the island was hard to explain away and maybe Don Julian's drowning is foul play but there's thousands of suspect in the island."

Skeptics may say this is all hooey, but people to the island claim these things happen all the time.

Destination Truth Short Part Of An Episode

Stare Into This Dolls Eyes

What deep dark secret does she hold? Can she speak to you? Will you see her blink her eyes? Will you let the dolls get the best of you? Is the island haunted? Are you haunted? Is seeing believing?

Deep blues and greens.
Deep blues and greens. | Source

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    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 2 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Thank you soooooo much, Amy Lynn, for making me aware of a place I NEVER EVER want to visit! "Creepy" doesn't begin to describe this island! That said, great hub! ;D

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