There are many mysterious places scattered throughout our planet. Some exist under the ground, some on the mountains, some underwater. One such mysterious place is in Mexico, along Lake Xochimilco called the Island of the Dolls.
We, as human beings, are always curious about such places and want to know about them as much as possible. It is used to be a tourist spot where you eat and get drunk on tequila and mariachi music. But recently, it has become famous for something spookier – The Island of the Dolls.
What Exactly is the Island of the Dolls?
The Island of Dolls is a place where hundreds of dolls, with broken eyes, arms, decapitated heads are hung from trees.
This was done by the island owner to honour a young woman who drowned in the canal many years ago. It was believed to scare off the evil spirits present on the island.
Where is the Island of the Dolls Located?
It is located in the south of Mexico City, between the channels of Lake Xochimilco. In Spanish, it is called Isla de las Munecas. It is said that this island is dedicated to the lost soul of a poor girl, who met her fate quite early in some strange circumstances.
The broken and deteriorated dolls with severed limbs, decapitated heads, blank eyes, and of various styles and colours are found on the island, initially placed by the former owner of the island, DonJulián Santana Barrera.
Julián believed that dolls helped to chase away the spirit of a girl, drowned years ago.
History Behind the Island of the Dolls
Here goes the story which may sound like a ghost adventure lurking on the island of dolls. Many years ago, a young woman drowned in the canal, and her body was found on the banks of Santampa chinampas.
Soon after the incident, Don Julián heard the young woman crying out, “I want my doll.” Terrified by this, Julián placed the dolls that he found around the canal area of Cuemanco, with the hope that these dolls would scare the soul of the young woman.
There was also a doll floating on the waters, which Julián hung from a tree as a sign of respect. He thought that the worst was over, but it was not!
A few days passed, and Juliáns tarted is experiencing weird situations like whispers, footsteps, walls in the darkness at his hut, even though the place was far away.
Disturbed by what he was seeing, Julián started hanging more and more dolls over fifty years, to please the drowned girl’s spirit. Later in 2001, Julián’s body was found in the exact spot where the girl’s body was fifty years before.
Locals believe that he joined other spirits present on the island. Since then, the area is known to be a popular tourist attraction until today.
Is Island of the Dolls Haunted?
The locals around the island believe that the place is “charming” rather than “haunted.” But some of them claim that they have seen the dolls move their heads, arms, open their eyes.
Some people also heard the dolls whispering to each other while some say that they were called by the dolls to stay on the island. However, there is no observed evidence that the island is haunted.
Yes, it is a creepy place to visit for sure, with all the dolls hanging from the trees and looking down at the visitors.
A professional photographer describes, “The silence creeps in ominously after reaching the end of the canal, where the dolls are present!”
It seems that you will need to pay a visit to the island to know whether it’s really haunted or not!
How to Get to the Island of the Dolls?
It takes around an hour and a half from Embarcadero Cuemanco. It must be reached by a trajinera, which is a Mexican watercraft – a colourful flat-bottomed boat.
Some rowers may refuse to come due to certain superstitious beliefs. But you will find someone who will take you to the island. The cost for this ride is around 2000 Mexican pesos (80 USD) with an entrance fee of 40 pesos each.
Once you arrive at the Island of Dolls, in addition to hundreds of dolls, there is also a small museum there with some interesting clippings or articles from the local newspaper.
It tells some real stories surrounding these creepy dolls. A room in that museum contains Julian’s favourite doll, Agustinita.
As a form of worship, some visitors place offerings around this doll and ask for miracles or blessings, some change their clothes, or some even bring more dolls to offer.
The Popularity of the Island of the Dolls
Since it became a tourist attraction in 2001, the Island of Dolls is gaining a lot of international fame and popularity. Many articles have been featured, and even TV shows have used the location for filming.
It has also been visited by many celebrities like Anthony Bourdain, Lady Gaga, Guillermo del Toro, and Tim Burton. It continues to be a popular place among tourists who visit Mexico. So, you can get an idea of how famous this place is!
Are Children Allowed on the Island?
There are no restrictions as such for children, but it would be better to avoid bringing young children to this place.
This is because of the dolls of course, which are hung from trees with distorted faces, missing limbs and eyes and the place itself has, kind of, a sad history.
It may not be the best and pleasing experience for young children, and they may get some nightmares.
Thus, the Island of Dolls in Mexico is a creepy yet famous tourist attraction for many visitors. Don Juliánwas were simply trying to keep away the evil spirits by hanging dolls from trees, but little did he know that this would soon turn into a famous tourist spot in Mexico!
If you are fond of such mysterious, creepy, historical places that have a “haunting-like” aura to them, then the Island of Dolls is a must-visit tourist destination, whenever you go to Mexico.