Some stories are weird because they’re out there and unbelievable and others are bizarre because they’re sad and curious. This one is all of the above.
The story of the Island of the Dolls, or Las Isla de Las Munecas as it’s known locally, starts with a man named Don Julian Santana. In the 1950s Don Santana decides he’s going to leave his wife and only child and move to a small island on Teshuilo Lake in the famous Xochimilco canals to essentially be a complete recluse. The island is owned by his family, it’s not great farming land and it’s pretty much an impoverished life.
As the story goes, some time in the late 1950s, Santana discovers the body of a young girl on shore who had drowned in the canals. He also finds a doll that washes up ashore where the girl had been found which he goes on to assume was hers.
What happens next is a little fuzzy, the story tended to change depending on who was telling it but what we know is that the spirit of the girl was restless and began to give Santana a hard time. The the spirit of the girl wasn’t appeased until Santana thought to hang the girls doll near his cabin.
With the ghost of the girl happy, Santana began to collect and add more dolls to the island. He hung them from branches, wire line, fences, tree trunks and anywhere else he could find room.
Before long stories of the dolls themselves started to get passed around. Many say that the dolls move around the island and that they whisper to each other at night. Although it should be noted to no one has ever recorded this but seriously, who want to be there at night?
Over the years Don Santana collected over 1500 dolls until one final tragedy had to play out. In 2001 Santana was found dead on a canal shore, having drowned and washed up in the exact same location as the girl he had found all those years ago.
Now the island is kept up by family as a tourist location, with many people bringing small bits of coin or even their own dolls as tribute.
We are however left with one last question. What happened Don Santana in those last moments. Was it just a case of bad luck and coincidence or did the spirits of the dolls finally catch up with him?