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Legend has it that the dolls move their heads, their arms, open their eyes, and sometimes change their position, locals claim that they heard the dolls whispering to each other at night.

The Island of the dolls is full of creepy dolls hanging from the trees.
The Island of the dolls is full of creepy dolls hanging from the trees.

The Island of Dolls is fulls of dolls hanging from the trees and the buildings are covered with cobwebs and insects – possibly thousands of haunted, decomposing, and decapitated dolls.

The story of the Island of the dolls is intimately entwined with the story of Don Julian Santana Barrera. Julian left his wife and family sometime in the mid-20th century to isolate himself on an island on Teshuilo Lake.

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Not long after relocating, he made a chilling discovery on the shore of the island; the dead body of a young girl drowned in the lake. A doll came floating down the canals shortly afterward, which changed the life of Don Julian and the shape of the Island for years to come.

Superstitious and deeply religious, Don Julian grew fearful that the dead girl’s spirit haunts the island. He then decided to hang her doll on a tree to appease the girl’s vengeful spirit and started a habit that he wouldn’t break for the rest of his life.

To keep her soul happy, he started to retrieve dolls that washed up in the lilies of the canal and saved them from the garbage whenever he went. He started collecting the dolls and hanged up them across the island in whatever ramshackle state he found them in.

Who was Don Julian Santana Barrera?

Don Julian was haunted by the girl, he started hearing a girl whispering, “I want my doll” and footsteps in the dead of night. To keep the spirit content he kept hanging the dolls on trees, while it’s uncertain what exactly he experienced in his hut.

The Island of the dolls was originally owned by Don Julian Santana Barrera and is filled with dolls hanging from trees.

The story behind La Isla de Las Munecas (the haunted Island of Dolls is pretty creepy on its own. According to legend, a young girl drowned entangled among the lilies of the canal and her body was found on the banks of the Santampa chinampas.

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How Island of The Dolls became an Attraction?

Many people, including Don Julian’s family, never believed that he found a girl, although they believe that he made the story up, and was somehow mistaken about the whole scenario. While others believe that a girl did drown there and that she haunted Don Julian until his death.

Don Julian Santana Barrera with one of his Island's dolls.
Don Julian Santana Barrera with one of his Island’s dolls.

Whether the story behind the origin is true, the entire island still boasts today in various states of despair – headless, torso-less, or in states of decay.

Don Julian also maintained a cabin filled with dolls, he would dress up then in headdresses and sunglasses and a whole lot of other accessories. As the word spread about the haunted island, more and more curious visitors came to see the haunted island, where Julian welcome them with open arms.

Don Julian was found dead in 2001 – where? – the exact sport where he reported finding the dead girl and her doll nearly 50 years before.

After Julian died, tourist began flocking to the island to pay tribute, they brought dolls of their own, and to this day, people honor both Don Julian and the girl, by hanging up dolls in tribute.

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Creepy Images of Island of the Dolls

Take a look at the creepy haunted Island of the Dolls below.

Some visitors claim that they heard the dolls whispering
Some visitors claim that they heard the dolls whispering
Julian started to hang dolls around the island
Julian started to hang dolls around the island
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Don Julian started to hang the dolls around the island in the 1950s.
Don Julian started to hang the dolls around the island in the 1950s.
Julian would pick dolls out of the trash.
Julian would pick dolls out of the trash.
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Julian would also collect dolls entangled in the canal's lilies, and hang them in the state he found them, without even cleaning or fixing them.
Julian would also collect dolls entangled in the canal’s lilies, and hang them in the state he found them, without even cleaning or fixing them.
The island of the dolls was once used for farming
The island of the dolls was once used for farming
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The island's longtime caretaker Don Julian Santana Barrera began hanging dolls around the island in the 1950s.
The island’s longtime caretaker Don Julian Santana Barrera began hanging dolls around the island in the 1950s.
Some dolls are even headless , and they're all in varying stages of decay.
Some dolls are even headless , and they’re all in varying stages of decay.
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The oldest doll on the island is tucked about 11 miles from Mexico City's center.
The oldest doll on the island is tucked about 11 miles from Mexico City’s center.
For only $75 visitors can go on a four-hour round trip that includes a trip to the island
For only $75 visitors can go on a four-hour round trip that includes a trip to island
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Professional photographer Cindy Vasko said that the Island of the dolls is the creepiest place she'd ever visited.
Professional photographer Cindy Vasko said that the Island of the dolls is the creepiest place she’d ever visited.
Locals claimed that the dolls come alive at night.
Locals claimed that the dolls come alive at night.
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The dolls either whisper to each other and open their eyes.
The dolls either whisper to each other and open their eyes.
The island of the dolls has a gift shop and a museum which showcases the newspapers clipping about Don Julian.
The island of the dolls has a gift shop and a museum which showcases the newspapers clipping about Don Julian.
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The Island of the Dolls haunted Don Julian until the day he died.
The Island of the Dolls haunted Don Julian until the day he died.
Don Julian abandoned his wife and kids in the 1950s, to live on the isolated island.
Don Julian abandoned his wife and kids in the 1950s, to live on the isolated island.
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As legend has it, Don Julian found the dead girl and her doll floating in the canals.
As legend has it, Don Julian found the dead girl and her doll floating in the canals.
Another doll-saturated area of trees on the Island of the Dolls.
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Many believe that Don Julian made the story up.
Many believe that Don Julian made the story up.
There are some mannequins too, along with the thousands of creepy dolls.
There are some mannequins also present among the thousand of creepy dolls.
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undressed dolls hanging from the tree.
Don Julian’s body was recovered from the canal in 2001, and on the same spot where the girl’s body was discovered by him.
Don Julian's death in 2001 led some skeptics to reconsider the story of haunted being haunted.
Don Julian’s death in 2001 led some skeptics to reconsider the story of haunted being haunted.
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The island of dolls has dolls available in all shapes and sizes.
The island of dolls has dolls available in all shapes and sizes.
Julian started to hang the dolls to content the spirit.
Julian started to hang the dolls to content the spirit.
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Don Julian maintained a cabin for the dolls that he would spend most of his time in.
Don Julian maintained a cabin for the dolls that he would spend most of his time in.
While the dolls themselves are eerie sight to behold, facts surrounding the death of Don Julian are far more ominous.
While the dolls themselves are eerie sight to behold, facts surrounding the death of Don Julian are far more ominous.
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Access to the island

The La Isla De Las Munecas, is an hour and a half from Embarcadero Cuemanco, the one-hour journey includes a tour of the Ecological area, the Ajolote Museum, the apatlcao Canal, the Teshuilo, and the Llorona Island.

The bridge of trees, welcoming you to the island of the dolls.
El puente de arboles, or the bridge of trees, welcoming you to the island of the dolls.

In addition, to thousands of dolls hanging around the trees, the island also contains a small museum with articles from local newspapers about the island and the previous owner. The museum has a store and three rooms, one of which seems to have been used as a bedroom. The room has the first doll that Julian collected, as well as Agustinita, his favorite doll.

The creepy boat ride costs $75. From kingfishers and pelican to egrets and plenty of water snake species, the ride shows the beauty at the heart of the jungle – until the island appears. Professional photographer, Cindy Vasko, described, the Island of the Dolls as the “creepiest place” she ever visited.

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“At the end of the journey, the boat turned along a bend in the waterway, and I was struck by a surreal vision of hundreds, maybe thousands of dolls hanging from trees on the tiny island,” she said.

The locals claim that the dolls come alive every night, and start to whisper to each other. Some visitors bring their own dolls as a sign of respect and to ask for blessings.

Now the island has become a tourist attraction, but it all started after Don Julia left his family and made this isolate island his home. Some believe that when Don Julian died, his spirit joined the others that supposedly haunt The Island of the Dolls.

Loved reading about the Haunted Island of the Dolls, read about some famous ghosts and urban legends around the world.

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