Today, thousands of skull faced tourists and locals stalk the streets of Mexico to celebrate the nation’s famous holiday Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead. However, there’s a far more creepier horror show happening off the country’s shores.
It’s the stuff of nightmares – located in the canals of Xochimilco lies a playground of decapitated doll heads and mutilated limbs which hang eerily from trees. La Isla de las Muñecas – Island of the Dolls – attracts hundreds of thrill-seeking tourists all year, but particularly on this haunted night, fascinated by this grotesque display of dolls.
For over 15 years, the dolls have been left scattered on the branches shadowing the banks of this island, or spiked on poles hidden in the nightmarish woods that occupy this remote area just outside of Mexico city. Their soulless eyes seem to follow your every move and visitors have claimed to hear anguished wails and whimpers, believed to be from the ghost of a small girl which haunts the island.
Legend has it that a young girl tragically drowned in these parts some 50 years ago. All that was left of her was her doll floating in the waters where she had disappeared. To pay his respects, the man that found the doll, Julian Santana Barrera, former caretaker of the island, strung it up to a nearby tree and continued to hang more to appease the troubled spirit.
The tale of the girl combined with the spectacle of lifeless doll figures which twitch despite an obvious breeze has created the ultimate halloween attraction. Passengers brave enough to disembark the boat have their own ghost stories to tell – in fact hair-raising accounts from visitors to this island are plentiful.
Don Julian’s family now run popular tours to the island. On this particular Day of the Dead night, visitors can navigate their way through the pitch black canals by candlelight – if they dare.