Island of Puppets in Mexico, the creepiest place in the world

History of the infamous Puppet Island in Mexico (4 photos + 2 videos)

If you want to visit a very unusual or even incredibly creepy place, then the Mexican Island of Puppets is exactly what you need. The island is located in the middle of the canals of Xochimilco, 28 kilometers south of the center of Mexico City, and it is just full of old dolls. There are thousands of them there, hanging themselves from trees and on stretched wire.

Photo: Happy Traveler

This place is associated with a sad legend about the death of a young girl and a madman who spent 50 years of his life on a desert island, decorating it all this time with old dolls. To say that Puppet Island is an extremely frightening and strange attraction would be too mild… Ahead of you is the story of a very creepy yet extremely popular place in Mexico.

The legend of the island and the story of Don Julian

Legend has it that many years ago a little girl drowned near this island under very strange circumstances. A man named Don Julian Santana Barrera found the body of the young drowned girl in the river, and later a doll of the girl. Don Julian hung the toy from a tree as a sign of respect and grief over the child’s death. The man began to blame himself for not saving the girl, and later became a hermit and moved to the island to become its lone caretaker.

Uninhabited Puppet Island, Sochimilco Canals, Mexico City.

The man claimed that at night he could hear footsteps and women screaming, even though his cabin was deep in the woods several kilometers away from the entire civilized world. He was also convinced that the ghost of the drowned girl had taken possession of the doll he had found, and the madman began to hang other toys around the island to appease the spirit of the deceased. For 50 whole years, Don Julian decorated his entire island with old dolls, many of which were missing some body parts.

The man survived by having his own vegetable garden and growing flowers, which he sold in a nearby town. Rumor has it that he never spoke to anyone during his forays into the great outdoors. Don Julian spent most of his life on the island until his death in 2001. By the way, he died under rather mysterious circumstances – his nephew found his body in the same place where that very drowned girl had once been found.

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A tourist attraction

After Barrera’s death, his relatives began looking after the island, and the place quickly became a popular attraction among locals and foreign tourists alike. Visitors even bring their own dolls here to leave them in the woods, as if the island didn’t have enough of its creepy toys. Coins and all sorts of trinkets are also left here, especially in the doll sanctuaries hiding in different parts of the island.

The fastest and easiest way to get to Puppet Island is to come here on one of the pleasure boats. In this case you will have 2 hours of swimming through the labyrinths of canals surrounded by amazing nature with birdsong. And then a spooky island will appear on the horizon, and it will literally immediately grab all your attention with its old toys hanging from all the trees.

Some guests even complained of mysterious whispers and said they could feel the dolls literally following their every movement on the gloomy island. By the way, if the thought of dolls hanging from everywhere doesn’t terrify you, know that there are even more toys lurking in the high-grown grass…


This island looks very scary and without any mention of supernatural occurrences. The dolls themselves are capable of scaring almost anyone. Some of them have no legs or arms, others have only one head left of them hanging from a tree. Many of these toys have been on the island for decades, which has had a detrimental effect on their appearance. The old dolls began to literally decompose. In addition, spiders have settled on the toys, actively winding their nets here, and from their eye sockets and mouths now and then snuyut all sorts of insects.

As for paranormal activity, rumor has it that almost all of the island’s dolls are haunted. Locals believe the toys have been possessed by the same girl who drowned nearby 50 years ago. Some visitors to the island say they have seen the dolls moving their arms, heads and even their entire bodies. People say the toys sometimes open their eyes and whisper among themselves as if they were alive. Someone even heard one doll cry as if it still had working batteries in it, though it turned out in the end that the toy had no batteries at all. These dolls are everywhere on the island! Not only do they hang from trees or poles, but they also lie in piles in the grass or under trees.

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Ghost Adventures Television Program

Spooky Island once caught the attention of even professional ghost hunters. In 2014, a TV show team called Ghost Adventures decided to investigate this famous place in Mexico on its own. The experts conducted surveys, during which a local historian told them about the 1911 revolution. In those days, many bodies were dumped in Sochimilco canals. The investigators also spoke with Don Julian’s nephew, who found his uncle’s body in the water near the infamous island.

During their investigation, the Ghost Adventures team also encountered unexplained phenomena. The ghost hunters witnessed a fire appear on its own in the fire pit just minutes after they moved away to another location, even though no one else was on the island at the time. They also heard something resembling a cat fight, and then suddenly all the dolls on the island burst into hysterical laughter. Upon inspection, the camera crew confirmed that there were no batteries in the laughing dolls so they could do any of the above.


Locals consider Puppet Island to be enchanted and haunted, although not everyone shares this viewpoint, as some people find the place simply unpleasant and highly unusual, but nothing more. One professional photographer who visited the inglorious island said that in all his practice he had never seen creepier places. Whether one believes in the supernatural or not, Puppet Island is definitely worth a tour. Both the stirring legend of the drowned girl and the story of the deranged man who decorated the entire island with creepy puppets all shake the imagination and make the uninhabited island a very appealing place for adventurers.

Puppet Island in Mexico

There are places in the world that terrify even the bravest and most desperate people. One such spooky place is the Mexican Island of Dolls. If you like to visit areas shrouded in mystical phenomena and mysteries, then this attraction in Mexico will definitely interest you. Read on to find out the incredible facts, myths and legends enveloped around hermit island.

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Illustration on Spooky Doll Island, Mexico: Facts, Myths and Legends

Puppet Island in Mexico

This place is located twenty kilometers from the capital of Mexico in the area of Socimilco, and it is popular among tourists. Here you can see many canals created by the Aztecs. But the place is famous not for architectural monuments and local beauties, but on the contrary – the creepy place “Puppet Island”.

Illustration on Spooky Doll Island, Mexico: Facts, Myths and Legends

Get ready for the fact that when you visit you will be waiting for creepy pictures like in a horror movie, namely, hundreds of dolls, hung among the trees throughout the island. No people live on the island, but there are many mysteries and legends surrounding it, according to which at night all the dolls come to life because the souls of the dead move in them. The only way to get to the island is by boat.

The legend of the island’s appearance

The creator of the strange doll museum was local resident Julian Santana Barriera, born in 1921. He was no different from the rest of the locals, was very devout, but could sometimes drink heavily. When a little girl drowned near the island, the man found the body of the young drowned girl and her doll. In memory of the child, he hung the doll on a tree. After a while, the man began to blame himself for the child’s death and moved to live on the island and began to look after it. What would you have done in his place? Probably just ignore what was going on or go to church.

Illustration on Spooky Doll Island, Mexico: Facts, Myths and Legends

Often the man said he heard footsteps and women crying on the island, even though there were no other people on the island besides him. Also, after a while, Jullian began to tell that the spirit of a little girl had taken possession of a doll and that it came to life at night. For fifty years he brought old dolls to the island to placate the girl’s spirit, and hung them around the grounds. Often the toys were missing some body parts, and that made them look very creepy. In all his time, the man was hardly in contact with anyone, his only profit being the sale of the flowers he grew. He died in 2001, his body was found by his nephew in the same place where the child had once drowned. After the death of the only inhabitant, his relatives began to look after the island. Now the place has become popular with tourists from almost all over the world.

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Illustration on Spooky Doll Island, Mexico: Facts, Myths and Legends

Some tourists bring dolls with them to the island and leave them in the thickets. Thus, the collection of dolls is constantly updated. To get to your destination, you have to take a boat trip of two hours through the winding canals. As soon as you see the island, you will be immediately struck by strange feelings. After visiting, some people have claimed to have heard strange voices and they are sure that the dolls were watching them as if they were alive. Keep in mind that the toys may also be underfoot in the tall grass.

How did you find out about the island’s existence?

The existence of this island became known to the masses completely by accident. It was discovered by a group of tourists sailing by. Through the dense fog, they saw a strange place with the mutilated corpses of children all over the place. It was because of the fog that the dolls were mistaken for children. The strange find was immediately reported to the authorities and an investigation team was sent to the scene. When investigators arrived on the scene, they found that these were not children’s corpses, but old mutilated dolls.

Illustration on Spooky Doll Island, Mexico: Facts, Myths and Legends

News of the strange place leaked to the media, and soon people began to move to the island. Newspaper articles with gruesome pictures also appeared. This was the reason why, in a fairly short time, people started coming to see the strange place. The owner was not happy that people were coming here all the time. In order to somehow placate him, tourists began to bring him toys as gifts. Some thought that if they brought a new toy to the island, they would thus placate the spirit of the girl and her soul would rest in peace. The pre-modern people quickly figured out how to make money from this place and started taking tourists to it by boat.

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Why do the dolls scare the visitors?

The owner of the island lived on the island for many years and died at the age of eighty. He drowned in the same place as the girl he found once. It is assumed that because of alcohol the man began to have mental problems, he constantly saw some visions, heard voices, and from this turned mad. Now the island continues to be watched by Julian’s relatives, and a collection of dolls collected on it are constantly updated with visitors.

Illustration on Spooky Doll Island, Mexico: Facts, Myths and Legends

The dolls scare people because they look scary and almost all of them are disfigured. Also scary is the fact that all of the dolls are hung from trees by their necks. Time has not spared toys and, under the sun, rain and wind, they wore down and took even more hideous appearance. Fearful may still lack eyeballs and the fact that they can climb out of bugs or worms that settled inside. People with a sensitive psyche and children better not visit the island, otherwise it is as if they will go to the shooting of a horror movie.

If the island was just a collection of children’s dolls, which would have a normal look, the island would be like a children’s world, but unfortunately it is quite the opposite. Locals call the island a “doll cemetery” and try to avoid it.

If you like unusual places or thrills, visit this place and feel all its energy. So you can see the unique place of the planet and feel for yourself what a person can do obsession with a single event and bad habits. Perhaps you also want to add to your island collection. Then bring along a couple of dolls and add them to the collection on the island.

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