The Doll’s Island, Mexico

A horror film with the title dead Doll’s Island seems appropriate, and the local legend that explains how it came to be is just as disturbing.

Doll’s Island
Wa17gs, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The tale of Don Julian Santana Barrera is intricately intertwined with that of La Isla de las Muecas, or “The Island of the Dolls.” Don Julian, a native of the borough of Xochimilco in Mexico City, left his wife and family around the middle of the 20th century to live alone on an island in Teshuilo Lake.

Although Santana Barrera’s motives are at best hazy, it quickly became apparent that he was not always in sound mind.He made a startling discovery on the island’s shores shortly after moving:a young girl’s drowned body in the lake.Shortly thereafter, a doll sailed through the canals and changed Santana Barrera’s life and the island’s shape for years to come.

Barrera took the doll and hung it from a tree while he was alone on the island to console the girl’s spirit. However, the single doll was insufficient, at least in the eyes of the man who now considered himself to be the island’s caretaker.Santana Barrera would collect dolls from the trash and canals over the next 50 years and hang them from the many trees on the island. He would hang some of them whole, while others would be in various states of disrepair, like headless, torsoless, or broken in other ways.

Doll’s Island
Wa17gs, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
These don’t sound like the actions of someone who has a good grasp on the facts, and there are a lot of questions about this legend. The greatest inquiry? The truth of the young lady who passed on.There were a lot of people, including Don Julian’s own family, who didn’t think he ever found the girl. It’s unclear whether they think he made it up, imagined the experience, or was wrong in some way.

It is abundantly clear that, regardless of the girl’s existence, Don Julian devoted his entire life to her.And perhaps the most disturbing aspect of all was that even his passing had clear connections to the story of the drowned child.

Doll’s Island
Psagency1990, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Don Julian Santana Barrera passed away in 2001.The canal where he had always claimed to have seen the little girl was where his drowned body was found.

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