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The Island of the Dolls , located in the channels of Xochimilc, south of the center of Mexico City , very close to the Estadio Azteca football stadium, is a chinaman of the Laguna de Teshuilo and one of the main attractions of the channels. Philip dolls of various styles and colors are found throughout the island.
The Island of the Dolls, originally owned by Julián Santana Barrera, is full of dolls hanging from trees and buildings covered with cobwebs and insects. The place was named during the 1950s when the owner began to hang them as protection against evil spirits. Santana was a neighbor of the Barrio de la Asunción, where he used to go to drink ppulque after having sold his vegetables, until, due to superstitions, he began to preach the Bible, being expelled from the sector.
According to legend, a young woman drowned entangled among the lilies of the canal and her body was found on the banks of the Santampa chinampas. Don Julián began to experience inexplicable situations so, terrified, he placed dolls that he found in the garbage or in the canals of Cuemanco with the idea that they would scare the soul of the young woman who would cry out "I want my doll". He also found a doll floating nearby and, assuming it belonged to the deceased girl, hung it from a tree as a sign of respect. After this, he began to hear whispers, footsteps, in the darkness even though his hut—hidden deep inside the woods of Xochimilco—was miles away from civilization. Driven by fear, he spent the next fifty years hanging more and more dolls, some missing body parts, all over the island in an attempt to appease what he believed to be the drowned girl's spirit.
After Barrera’s death in 2001—his body reportedly found in the area where he found the girl’s body fifty years before—the area became a popular tourist attraction where visitors bring more dolls. The locals describe it as "charmed"—not haunted—even though travelers claim the dolls whisper to them.