La Isla de las Muñecas

The legend goes that the man who created the island of the dolls (La Isla de las Muñecas) was a loner named Don Julian Santana. He was haunted by the ghost of a teenage girl who drowned near his property. The teenager and two other young girls fell out of a boat in Lake Xochimilco. Two of the girls swam to safety, but the third one couldn’t swim. No sooner had the two friends made shore than they noticed the third girl was missing. They bravely went back into the murky water to try to save their friend, but they couldn’t find her. Frightened, the girls went back for help. That night, Don Julian believed he heard the voice of a girl calling out to him and in the morning he found her lifeless body.

After that night, Don Julian was terrified of the ghost of the girl. He began collecting dolls to appease the restless spirit. Every time he went out, he collected more dolls from wherever he could find them; broken and discarded dolls served as well as new ones. The dolls made him feel safer, but only momentarily, as he was required to bring a new doll each time he passed the area where the girl had drowned. He was never completely free of her angry spirit. Don Julian continued to be plagued by her presence for the next fifty years and the dolls satisfied the ghost enough to let him live.

Until 2001. That year, he had a heart attack and fell dead into the water at the exact spot where the girl had drowned. And he did NOT live happily ever after.