In the canals of Xochimico in Mexico sits the Isla de las Munecas, or Island of the Dolls. The island was dedicated to the lost soul of a little girl who drowned in the canals. The man who lived on the island, Don Julian Santana found the body of the young girl about 50 years ago and he couldn’t get over her death. He found a doll floating by in the canal and hung it in a tree to please the little girl’s spirit and to protect the island from evil. He wasn’t satisfied with only one doll though, so he continued to claim dolls and doll parts from the canal whenever he saw them and hung them all carefully along the island, until that wasn’t enough either so he began to scavenge through garbage heaps to find more when he went on his rare trips into the city. Later in life he began to trade his home produce for dolls as well. He believed that the island was haunted by the little girl’s spirit and he believed he could make her happy if he kept all the dolls in the trees, although rumors began to circulate that he had gone mad and he believed the dolls were real children he pulled from the canal and he was trying to revive them. However, in 2001 he drowned in the canal while presumably trying to get another doll he saw floating by. Rumors have it that the dolls were inhabited by tortured sprits and conspired to murder the old man, others believe it was an accident only. Since then no one has inhabited the island, and the dolls have been left hanging there although it has now become a popular tourist spot for people trying to disprove or prove the existence of ghosts.



The story goes like this:

It was around 50 years ago that a little girl drowned off a small island hidden deep amongst the canals of Xochimico. The island’s only permanent inhabitant was a recluse named Don Julián Santana Barrera. Soon after the girl’s death Barrera fished an old doll out of the water. 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.


Just south of Mexico City, between the canals of Xochimico you can find a small island with a sad background which never intended to be a tourist destination.

The island is known as Isla de las Munecas (Island of the Dolls).

It is dedicated to the lost soul of a poor girl who met her fate too soon in strange circumstances.

It is said that a girl was found drowned in mysterious circumstances many years ago on this island and that the dolls are possessed by her spirit.

Local legend says that the dolls move their heads and arms and even opened their eyes.

Some witnesses claim they had 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.

Of course these witnesses are exaggerating and the island is in no way possessed but the truth is that the Isla de las Munecas is a very creepy place that marks the casual visitor.

Dolores Olmedo.

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