The Spooky History of the Island of Decomposed Dolls

Near Mexico City hides the "isla de las muñecas", the island where decaying dolls reign supreme. Here is his story.


Photo : Damaris Vilchis/Flickr

In the swampy region of Xochimilco, south of Mexico City, lost in a vast network of canals, lies the "isla de las muñecas", literally, the island of the dolls. While the place appears to be the home of Chucky the doll, it has become one of the most bizarre tourist attractions in the world.

The dolls are scary. One has no more arms, her neighbor is knocked out, while the two twins are hung from a tree by rusty wire. Dismembered, filthy or rotten, the mutilated silhouettes pile up, while the empty eyes of these plastic babies stare at the tourists who come to admire the nightmarish vision of this most gloomy "work of art".


Photo : Damaris Vilchis/Flickr

A haunted island

It all started in the 1950s, when Don Julian Santana Barrera decided to live as a hermit on this little corner of the earth. Once he puts his foot on the ground, he feels like the presence of a spirit. A little girl is said to have drowned in the canal bordering the island. Convinced of the veracity of this story, he decides to collect the old abandoned dolls in order to ward off bad luck and appease the ghost of the girl.

One by one, he hangs them from the trees on the island, forming a strange mausoleum in homage to the deceased child. The man will go so far as to collect more dolls from the landfill. Some will even trade their worn dolls for the vegetables he grows on the island.

It was during a cleaning program of the Xochimilco canals in the 90s that the island was revealed to the general public. Since then, the "trajineras", typical small colorful boats, can go freely to this macabre place. This islet-cemetery would not appear on the classic tourist routes. You have to specifically ask the boat drivers to get there, and endure two hours of navigation to finally reach this mysterious island.


Photo : Alejandro Mejià Greene/Flickr

Don Julian Santana Barrera was found drowned on April 17, 2001, at the age of 80. He will have lived alone with dolls on the island for the last 50 years of his life. He leaves behind a book full of superstition and decaying dolls.

Source : nouvelobs


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