The Terrifying Tale Behind The Abandoned Island of the Dolls

They call it the Isla de las Munecas, or the Island of the Dolls — and it isn’t hard to see why.

This terrifying island, located in the swampy heart of Aztec country in Mexico, draws in plenty of tourists year round. The only way to reach the island is to hire a local guide to take them by boat across the canals of nearby Xochimilco — which sounds like the beginning of half of horror movies in existence.

The island is now abandoned, but it was once home to a single resident — a man named Don Julian Santana Barrera, most noted for his extensive collection of dolls, most of them mutilated and strewn about the island in the most terrifying way possible.

But why this obsession? According to legend, a small girl drowned in a nearby canal years ago. Soon after, Barrera discovered her doll washed up on the shores of his lonely island, and then another one some time afterwards. Suddenly, he had a new hobby.

Over the next 50 years, Barrera collected thousands of discarded dolls to decorate the island in a sort of creepy tribute to the drowned girl. He believed the dolls would somehow serve as companions for the dead girl, which subtly implies that that little girl haunts the island and apparently loves playing with gruesomely displayed, discarded dolls. Like all little girls do.

Perhaps the most chilling part of the story is the ending. Turn back now scaredy cats. Ready?

Barrera died in 2001. By drowning. In the same canal as the little girl. Evidently, her ghost wasn’t too pleased with his offerings and finally decided to bring him to her ghostly realm… we imagine.

If visiting this haunted island sounds like your idea of a tropical vacation, don’t delay — book your trip to the Island of the Dolls now!