STATUS: Still standing
In the canals of Xochimico (near Mexico City) lies a rather disturbing island decorated with dolls. The Island of the Dolls (in Spanish, “Isla de las Munecas”) is the home to several hundred deformed and creepy dolls, most of them missing limbs, heads, or eyes. They are haunting enough by day, but they are truly terrifying at night.
The island’s twisted history began when the island’s sole inhabitant, Don Julian Santana, found the body of a little girl who had drowned in the canal nearly fifty years ago. Being haunted by the sight of her skeletal cadaver, he did what he could to try and please the girl’s spirit. When he found a doll floating in the canal recently after finding the girl, he put it on a tree to please her and protect the island from evil.
Santana was not pleased with just one doll, however. Somehow, dolls and doll parts kept appearing in the canal, and he would fish them out and hang them up on various trees on the island. This method, though, was not providing Santana with enough dolls to satisfy him, so he started “dumpster diving” whenever he went off of his private island.
Later on, he began trading fruits and vegetables grown on the island for the dolls. Legends and rumors have orbited this mysterious place for years. One such story says that Santana went insane and had begun believing that his dolls were real children he had attempted to rescue.
However, his family members (who now operate the island as a tourist destination) say that Santana simply believed the island was haunted by the young girl, and he believed he could make her happy by displaying his massive collection of dolls.
In 2001, Santana drowned in the canal just like the little girl did. Several people have made rumors that the dolls were possessed by demonic spirits that murdered Santana, while others say his death was accidental and the dolls have taken his place as the island caretaker.
During Don Julian Santana’s lifetime, the island received little-to-no tourism. Now, it is a famous attraction in Mexico. Several TV shows have featured the island, and a few of them have proved that the island is in fact haunted. The Island of the Dolls is considered one of the scariest and disturbing places on Earth, paranormal or not.
In Popular Culture
- The Island of the Dolls was featured on an episode of Destination Truth.