Just to the south of Mexico City is a rural area named Xochimilco (so-chee-meel-koh) which translates into ‘a place of flowers’ – it paints of picturesque scene of calm and serenity doesn’t it? But hidden away deep within its myriad of canals, is ‘The Island Of The Dolls’ a place allegedly home to the supernatural and certainly one of the creepiest places on earth.
Local folklore tells of tale involving a man named Don Julián Santana who chose to live on the island, away from his wife and kids, for 50 years before he passed away in 2001. Isolated and with scarcely any human interaction, he became convinced that the spirit of a young girl was haunting him. A wandering and restless spirit who had perished in the watery depths of the canals.
Today his cousin Anastasio maintains the island and his former home, allowing tourists to visit Don Julián Santana dwelling and obsessions with dolls for a small fee.
There are many stories about why the dolls are here. Some people claim Don Julián was mad, and that he’d fish dolls out of the canal believing they were real children, and that he could nurse them back to life.
But the real story is that, soon after Don Julián arrived on the island, he came to believe this place was haunted by the spirit of a poor young girl who drowned in the canal. So when he saw a doll floating past he took it and put it on a tree, both to protect himself from evil and make the dead girl happy. But one doll wasn’t enough; soon Don Julián had made the entire island into a shrine.
But after 5 decades, those dolls that were once a beacon of comfort and innocent, have degraded and rotten into something more akin to a horror movie props. They are scattered all over the island, left in various positions and strange places by Don Julián to be forgotten by time……until now.