Blog 7

Island of the Dolls

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Dolls have always been extremely creepy to me. I always felt like their dead eyes would follow me wherever I went. When I first heard about Island of the Dolls, I wanted to know why there was an island in Mexico with hundreds of creepy dolls filling the entire island. Sounds like something out of a nightmare or horror movie to me, but this place really does exist. This tiny man-made island, or floating garden, sits south of Mexico City between the Xochimilco canals. This area is a popular tourist attraction and many visitors bring their own dolls to leave on the island.

What Legends Say
This creepy island has a sad background. Don Julian Santa Barrera once owned the island and was the caretaker for it. Legends say that one night Barrera discovered a little girl that drowned in the canals in mysterious circumstances. He, unfortunately, was not able to save her life. He always blamed himself for not being able to save her. Shortly after discovering her body he found a doll floating in the water near the canals. He assumed the doll belonged to the little girl that had drowned. He decided to show his respect for this little girl by hanging her doll in a tree on the island. No one really knows if this girl actually existed. Barrera was quite a loner and some people believe he might have made the story up.

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Legend also says that Barrera was haunted by the girl’s spirit. He supposedly heard whispering, footsteps, and wails of anguish even though he was miles away from civilization. He spent the next fifty years living in fear and hanging up more dolls throughout the island. He traveled the canals and the streets of nearby towns to look for discarded dolls. If the dolls were missing body parts, he would put new body parts on them from other dolls, creating bizarre Frankenstein-looking dolls. He just wanted to appease what he thought was the drowned girl’s spirit. He eventually believed the dolls were possessed. Individuals close to Barrera said that the girl’s death completely changed him and he was driven by some unseen force to collect and hang up creepy dolls on the island.
Barrera died in 2001 by having a heart attack and then falling into the water. His body was found in the exact location he claimed he found the drowned girl.

Tourist Attraction
Ever since Barrera’s death, people flock from all over to visit Island of the Dolls for a firsthand look at this bizarre place. Locals describe the island as “charmed,” while many other believe the island is haunted. Barrera’s family now owns the floating garden and allow visitors to visit and bring their own dolls to add to Barrera’s collection. To get to Island of the Dolls you have to travel two hours on a colorful wooden gondola boarded in Mexico City. Visitors will go on a journey through the maze-like canals until the eventually hundreds, maybe thousands, of dolls are seen hanging from trees and all over the island.

The Island May Indeed Be Haunted
Many visitors say that Island of the Dolls is one of the creepiest places they have ever been to. Many people who have visited the island have claimed to have heard the dolls whispering to them. It is believed the island is haunted by some dark force and the only way to appease these dark spirits is to bring a doll whenever you visit the island. Ghost investigations have been done at Island of the Dolls and investigators heard sounds of dragging on the roof and hearing other creepy noises in the dark. Sensors for detecting paranormal entities were used during investigations and were said to have gone wild with readings. Dolls were seen opening and closing their eyes, which can be seen on an episode of the show Destination Truth.

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Do you think Island of the Dolls is haunted by some evil force? Would you consider visiting? As much as dolls creep me out, I would visit this location in a heartbeat to try and face my fears head on.

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