Isla de las Muñecas is Filled With Negative Energy. Better Stay Away From That Place.
An island full of damaged dolls would be borderline scary even without the legend that's associated with it.
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Isla de las Muñecas is one of the most haunted places in the world. A small island in Mexico is associated with a legend about a man who hung dolls around his home to protect himself from evil spirits.
He is said to have been guided by the voice of a girl he couldn't save from drowning. Today, you'd find more than a thousand broken dolls looking at visitors in the most demonic way. Some consider them to be ordinary neglected toys. Others claim there's significant negative energy on the island and that the dolls are obsessed.
Due to its reputation, Isla de las Muñecas has become a popular tourist attraction. Slovak ghost hunter Luke Cenga explained why he wouldn't recommend trips to Isla de las Muñecas to just anyone and what to avoid if people still decide to visit the place.
Ghost of a little girl and witch rituals
The central figure of the terrifying legend of the Isla de las Muñecas is Don Julian Santana Barrera. He moved to a small island off the Xochimilco Canal around the middle of the 20th century. He built a modest dwelling on the site and devoted himself to farming. According to a website dedicated to the Island of the Dolls, his life changed after a little girl drowned in the proximity to the island. Don Julian didn't manage to save her.
"The girl was swimming with her sister or friends, and the current took, and she drowned," said Rogelio Sanchez Santana, the current "guardian of the dolls" and a great-nephew of Barrera for The New York Post. After the death of Don Julian, his nephew Anastasio Santana Velasco took care of the island. His son Rogelio Sanchez Santana took over this role in 2019.
According to Rogelius, the water around the island was crystal clear in Don Julian's time, so the man noticed the drowning girl underwater immediately. However, despite his best efforts, he didn't manage to save her. A doll, allegedly belonging to the deceased girl, soon washed out of the river. Don Julian hung it on a tree in her honor. The legend says that the victim's ghost asked him to do so.
Don Julian's close family and friends claim that he has changed entirely since then. He soon started hanging new and new dolls near his house. The current island administrator, Rogelio Sanchez Santana, says Don Julian wanted to protect himself from the evil spirits that appeared to him. In the presence of evil spirits, Don Julian also blamed the destroyed crop.
He mostly hunted dolls out of the water or bought them from people in the area. Slovak ghost hunter Luke Cenga claims that some allegedly came from various witchcraft and occult rituals. Therefore, in his opinion, the island is not entirely safe for tourists.
"People wanted to use the dolls to connect with the dark side and make something evil happen. Therefore the presence of evil forces on the island can actually hurt the tourists. It's not advised to go to the place, as there's a significant risk of taking negative energy along. We ghost hunters must be careful about that as well. When a person's mind is weakened, negative energy will affect them more easily," he said.
Don Julian is said to have been taken by the ghost of a little girl
We could find more theories about what happened on the island in the past. Some people believe evil spirits are responsible for the hanging dolls. Others claim that the girl's tragic death left traces on Don Julian's psyche. The spirits of people whose bodies ended up in the canals during the Mexican Revolution of the early 20th century may also have created negative energy on the spot.
The island's second administrator, Anastastio Santana Velasco, told Bizzare magazine that, according to some, don Julian was convinced that the dolls he caught from the canal were actual girls. However, it is also possible that he only made up the story of the dead girl and the voices in his head.
Everyone noticed a change in his behavior after the girl's death. He hung the dolls on the island for about 50 more years and collected more than a thousand of them. His favorite, with whom he allegedly talked, is called Agustinita or La Moneca.
According to the Business Insider, he hung the dolls upon the trees in the same condition he found them. Many of them were dirty, damaged, and already missing some limbs or eyes. On top of that, they began to look even more menacing over time than at first.
The scariness of the place is also confirmed by professional photographer Cindy Vaso, who, according to the Daily Mail, called the Island of Dolls the "scariest place" she has ever been to. According to Anastasia Santana Velasco, some of the dolls move at certain moments, and one of them even cries.
Don Julian inhabited Doll Island until 2001 when he died at 86 (various sources indicate different ages, though the year is of death is identical everywhere). According to one version, he died of a heart attack. According to another, he drowned, but Rogelio Sanchez Santana says that the little girl's ghost most likely took him along. His heart reportedly stopped beating in the exact same spot where the little girl drowned.
Obviously, as the island administrator, he must continue to spread the mysterious legend. Denying the ghost story probably wouldn't do any good to local tourism. However, it's also possible that he really believes in his claims. Unlike Don Julian, he prefers not to live on the island with his family.
The ghost hunters on the island got laughed at by a doll
Since the death of Don Julian, tourists, journalists, and ghost hunters have begun to visit the island on a large scale. In 2014, Zak Bagans, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin from the Ghost Adventures team also explored the island. According to the videos they took, they experienced several examples of paranormal phenomena on the island. Legend has it that the dolls on the island come to life at night. Ghostbusters visited the island during the day and then after dark. During the day, they didn't notice anything special on the spot. The biggest action was expecting them in the evening.
Even though no strangers were supposed to be on the island at the time of their arrival, a fire started burning on the spot. The island is too far from civilization for an unexpected visitor to randomly visit at night.
Besides, they allegedly managed to unite with the spirit of Don Julian, to whom the hunters and his former friend spoke before. They also brought Harold's obsessed doll to the island to see how he would react to the place's energy. The moment they tried to pull her out of the bag, they noticed how one of the dolls started laughing on the camera.
However, they couldn't find out which toy the sound came from. The ones they examined on camera were too old to still work. The truth is that since the island opened up to the world, people have started bringing their own dolls. Therefore, it is possible one of the newer dolls could start laughing on its own.
A long journey that isn't for everyone
Isla de las Muñecas is located near the capital of Mexico. Tourists who love paranormal phenomena are among the main clients on the island. The guided tour from the island's administrator isn't even that expensive. According to The Washington Post, the original administrator, Anastasio, asked for only $ 2 from people.
Getting to the island in general definitely costs more. For example, Airbnb guides also ask for a few dozen euros for a cruise. Of course, the amount varies depending on the services offered. However, the tourist manuals point out an imitation of Isla de las Muñecas not far from it.
Tourists who have visited the island also often state on Trip Advisor that the round trip is quite long. Ideally, it can be done within four hours or six to seven in the worst case. Some complain that they didn't get much from the island. Others praise the great atmosphere and suggest that they have experienced an inexplicable phenomenon on the spot.
However, the show is for adults only, and families with children should immediately forget about Isla de las Muñecas. One mother took her four-year-old daughter to the Island of the Dolls, but she wasn't aware of what awaited them there, according to her critical comment. Obviously, she wasn't pleased with the result.
You better lay low, says the ghost hunter
Luke Cenga advises that the best way to protect yourself from the alleged negative energy on the island is to cancel the trip and never go there. However, he understands that man is a curious creature and he totally understands why people want to visit similar places. Therefore, he would advise the potential travelers not to provoke the "other side."
"Crosses won't do much in this place, but a cleansing ritual, which we also do, is appropriate. This can partially protect from negative energies, but even that doesn't guarantee protection. It is also essential that the tourist doesn't play with the other side on the spot and doesn't try to provoke anything," he said.
The biggest danger is that whenever you call something from the other side, you must also call it off, but people don't always bother. "Basically, you wake something up from a deep sleep. You bring it through the portal, and that something wants to come back at the same time. If you don't break the contact, it may stick to you. And as revenge for not leaving it in peace, it may hurt you," he told our newsroom in an older interview.
He explained that the other side isn't always necessarily bad. "Manifestations of paranormal forces aren't exclusively negative. Some ghosts remain in this world to pass on a message or protect a person. This can be distinguished by what we record on the spot. It can be a manifestation of demonic energy but also something positive. When white orbs appear on the camera, it is mostly positive energy. On the contrary, black indicates the dark side," he said. Hovever, he described the forces on the island of Isla de las Muñecas as clearly negative.
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