31 Days of Halloween: On Atlas Obscura this month, every day is Halloween. Stop by the blog every day this month for true tales of the unquiet dead. Come for the severed heads, stay for the book bound in human skin. Every story is true, and each one is a real place you can visit. We dare you.
When faced with terrifying visions of a long-dead child, should one a) get the hell out of Dodge, b) seek the source of the specter’s discontent, or c) decorate your little island home with hundreds of dismembered heads, legs, and arms of baby dolls?
Surprisingly, Don Julian Santana of the Isla de Las Munecas in Mexico chose to go with option c. Today, the slowly decaying remnants of dolls hang from trees and hide in bushes in an effort to ward off the restless spirit of a young girl who - as legend tells it - drowned off the shore.
Santana did not set out to create this creepy shrine to a girl he never knew, but upon his arrival to Isla de Las Munecas he felt the presence of a spirit he believed to be that of this young girl who drowned. He became both afraid of the restless spirit and obsessed with it.
Then, in a terrifying horror film moment, he found a doll floating in the very spot where he felt the girl had drowned. He rescued it from the water and hung it in the tree to appease he girl’s spirit. Obsessed with protecting himself from the girls sprit - instead of doing the logical thing and getting the hell off the island - he proceeded to fill his house with dolls and hung them both whole and dismembered from the trees and bushes around the island.
Because stories like these never have happy endings, Don Julian was found in 2001 drowned at the same spot where he claimed to young girl had lost her life.
To those who visit be warned, you may be haunted by two spirits.
WHO DOESN’T LIKE BABY DOLLS?
ISLA DE LAS MUNECAS, Mexico