- There are more than a hundred dolls all over La Isla de las Muñecas.
- A Dia de la Muerto altar is called an ofrenda which Mexicans fill with food, marigold petals, candles, and pictures of their dead loved ones.
- You can take a boat from Embarcadero Cuemanco or from Embarcadero Fernando Celada for $15-$20 to get to the Island of the Dead Dolls.
Nothing has stirred the interest from people online quite like this island that's reminiscent of a scene straight out of a horror movie. It has all the elements of a scary blockbuster--terrifying decapitated dolls that look possessed, strange backstory, and a few unexplained deaths are what make the Island of the Dead Dolls such an exciting story to tell and share.
You may have seen pictures circulating online and wondered about the story behind the scary picture of decapitated dolls strung over and around trees in some obscure island, or maybe heard conversations about the person behind the hundreds of dolls and the death that surrounds its history. Here are a few things you might want to know about the island.
5. It is located in Mexico
The island of the Dead Dolls or what's locally known as La Isla de las Muñecas is located in Mexico. Along the canals of Xochimilco (pronounced So-chee-meel-ko), that's an hour away by car from Mexico City. The canals here are what remains of the vast and complex waterways built by the Aztecs.
The place itself is a tourist destination that offers an array of exciting experiences, including a ride in one of the many colorful gondolas traversing the waterways, and a street food tour. Aside from the happy music of the mariachi bands and colorful scenes afforded by the flower gardens, tourists can also embark on a journey to the creepy island of the dead dolls.
4. The island's caretaker was a man named Don Julian Santana
A local named Don Santana moved to the island in the 1950s after abandoning his family and soon became the island's caretaker. Legend has it that he found the body of a dead girl right outside the canals, along with the body of the girl in the water is her doll. He hung the doll as a way to pay respects to the spirit of the young girl. However, he believed that her spirit continued to haunt the island, which prompted him to collect more dolls. He strung the dolls all over trees in and around the island in an effort to appease the girl's spirit.
3. He got more dolls from the garbage and even the canals
Convinced that the spirit that haunted the island wanted more, Don Santana spent his days scouring the surrounding area's garbage bins and wastebaskets for dolls. He also fished some of them out of the canal waters. Some of the dolls he found were mere bits and pieces that he strung around trees, fences, and bridges using strings.
Others headless, some missing an arm or a leg he collected them all and displayed them all over the island. Soon the place became a creepy museum cum gallery of decapitated dolls. Because these dolls weren't protected from the rain and heat, some have gone to look even more decomposed making them look more frightening.
2. He was found dead in the island
After spending 50 years in the island, Don Santana was found dead there in 2001. According to reports he drowned in the canal waters and locals believe it was in the same spot where he found the body of the young girl many years ago.
His mysterious death added a more sinister appeal to the island, making its back story even creepier or more interesting depending on who's listening. Now many flock the island to see the dolls up close or walk around to wait for them to move! Some locals claim these dolls move their little limbs or sometimes whisper to each other.
1. There are special tours to explore the island
If you're one of those who are fascinated with anything haunted and mysterious a trip to the island should be included in your itinerary. There's a huge demand to see the dolls that there are even tours offered by big companies to tourists who want to go there.
A company called Flash Pack offers 'Day of the Dead' tours for brave, thrill-seeking tourists and the itinerary includes a stopover at the Island of the Dead Dolls. The tour, which also takes visitors to other areas around Central Mexico also includes a visit to other supposedly haunted places and a chance to experience Mexico's Dia de la Muertos or day of the dead.