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And there's a creepy doll, that always follows you
February 17, 2013 9:29 AM   Subscribe

Amongst the canals of Lake Xochimilco, south of Mexico City, there are artificial islands called chinampas. Chinampas were invented by the Aztecs as a way to increase agricultural production, and while most have been converted for residential or commercial use, there is one that stands apart: Isla de las Munecas (The Island of the Dolls). Home to hundreds of terrifying, mutilated dolls, their severed limbs, decapitated heads, and blank eyes adorn trees, fences, and nearly every available surface.

Video tour (Part 1)
Video tour (Part 2)

Getting there

Google Images
posted by Room 641-A (42 comments total) 57 users marked this as a favorite

 
I want to go to there!
posted by The Deej at 9:48 AM on February 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, that'll certainly help my fend off my narcolepsy.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:53 AM on February 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


One crazy dedicated person _can_ make a tourist destination difference! See also, also, ...
posted by achrise at 10:03 AM on February 17, 2013


Too scared to click on any of the above. *shudders*
posted by Neekee at 10:07 AM on February 17, 2013


Did not mean to imply that JFK was crazy. missed edit window.
posted by achrise at 10:11 AM on February 17, 2013


Yeah, serious nightmare fuel right there.

Love it!
posted by pla at 10:11 AM on February 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like how the first link's title includes "Mexico's Creepiest Places" -- I think we can safely expand that to include the planet, or possibly the known universe.
posted by theredpen at 10:21 AM on February 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


What's Tom Colicchio doing there?
posted by Graygorey at 10:29 AM on February 17, 2013


Didn't Anthony Bourdain go there in an episode of No Reservations?
posted by scottatdrake at 10:32 AM on February 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


The dolls are cool, but there's a lot more to see in the canals. You should see it on a Friday night, when almost all the boats are full, the party is hopping, the beer is flowing, and boats full of mariachis or marimba bands or tacos will pull up alongside.

And most exciting of all, on one of the canals is an incredible parabolic concrete shell (less than one inch thick) restaurant built in 1958 by by Felix Candela, which is still there today.

If you go, also don't miss the incredible Dolores Olmedo Museum, with the best collection of early Diego Rivera paintings anywhere, and a bunch of beautiful Xoloitzcuintli dogs (and statues of same) (not my image).

I loved this place. They still grow an appreciable percentage of DF market vegetables here, though I wonder sometimes how "organic" they are when the canals (which in Aztec times were part of the lake that covered the entire valley of Mexico City and environs) are full of chemical runoff from hundreds of square miles of industialism.
posted by Fnarf at 10:37 AM on February 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


Well, now we know what Sid from Toy Story did with his life...
posted by hippybear at 10:37 AM on February 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Gah! Dolls are so creepy! I can't believe we give them to children...
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 11:27 AM on February 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why are there not fifty movies set here?
posted by kafziel at 11:34 AM on February 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


My mother sells dolls on eBay. Last fall, on two separate occasions, she sold creepy vintage dolls with hacked-off hair and faces turned pale and greenish with age to this guy. I can't wait to see what he does with them.
posted by Knappster at 11:35 AM on February 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


well I think this answers the Metafilterville meetup location question.
posted by Lou Stuells at 11:56 AM on February 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


Destination Truth did an episode there.
posted by quodlibet at 12:01 PM on February 17, 2013


Yeah, nightmare fuel. Definitely nightmare fuel.
posted by dejah420 at 12:07 PM on February 17, 2013


MA-MA.
posted by benzenedream at 12:11 PM on February 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Weird - I was just this week reading about those artificial islands (which I'd never heard of before) in this here book, a history of beans. Apparently, the Aztecs raised many many beans on those islands, surely not expecting that, hundreds of years later, the islands' principal cash crop would be TERRIFYING NIGHTMARE DOLLS.
posted by Dr. Wu at 12:16 PM on February 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Let's play with the hammer!
posted by asperity at 12:16 PM on February 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just in case anyone else was irretrievably earwormed: Creepy Doll.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:23 PM on February 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


nope. no need to go. but thanks for the pictures.
posted by Abinadab at 12:47 PM on February 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why are there not fifty movies set here?

It's pretty small, and there's a lot of boat traffic, just like in the streets of Mexico City.

However, Tim Burton visited Mexico City a few months ago, and he visited the island. So we might see a doll island in his next stop-motion production.
posted by clearlydemon at 1:12 PM on February 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why are there not fifty movies set here?

The film crews keep disappearing.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:18 PM on February 17, 2013 [18 favorites]


Why are there not fifty movies set here?

There was an episode of the short-lived show The River set somewhere similar. Because it was a TV show shot horror documentary style, the characters foolishly made camp there one night because they were the opposite of genre-savvy.
posted by yasaman at 1:41 PM on February 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


This is a great example of what artist and gallerist Phil Slein would call a "creep"—a collection of objects placed in juxtaposition that over time takes on a logic and coherence of its own, becoming something more than the sum of its parts, partly a display, and partly a work in its own right. Also, even if these dolls didn't have souls to begin with, I bet they do now...kind of like the Velveteen Rabbit in reverse. Acquisition of soul through suffering, rather than through being loved.
posted by limeonaire at 2:25 PM on February 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Damn, it's like Jack Off Jill released an island.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 2:46 PM on February 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


The doll version of the Panthéon Dolores!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 4:20 PM on February 17, 2013


where's chuckie?
posted by pyramid termite at 4:28 PM on February 17, 2013


Sometimes that shark, he looks right into ya, right into your eyes. Y'know, the thing about a shark, he's got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eyes.... Ahaa! Not that lifeless! Somebody call The SCP!
posted by Smedleyman at 5:46 PM on February 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


The title of this post reminds me of Robert the Doll, the inspiration for Chucky from Child's Play.
posted by mokin at 5:53 PM on February 17, 2013


Obligatory feline opinion GIF.
posted by Decimask at 7:12 PM on February 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Robert the Doll, the inspiration for Chucky from Child's Play.

Never heard that one before, pretty sure Chucky was based on My Buddy.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:06 PM on February 17, 2013


Here's the old lake system overlaid over modern Mexico City, if any is interested.
posted by Panjandrum at 8:25 PM on February 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


kafziel: "Why are there not fifty movies set here"

I worked on Mai Morire, a film set in Xochimilco, which features some dream sequences using the island of the dolls as a setting. It's not by any stretch a horror movie, though, more like arty drama with sprinklings of magic realism, but at least it has a lot of pretty shots of the Xochimilco area (it won best photography at the Rome Film Festival).

Here's the trailer, in case anyone's interested in my shameless self promotion.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 9:17 PM on February 17, 2013


On All Saint's Eve, the dolls become inhabited by the spirits of those killed by the Conquistadors. It's not a safe place to go then, if you are Spanish.
posted by Goofyy at 11:00 PM on February 17, 2013


"Why are there not fifty movies set here"

It was the inspiration for the second episode of The River. Anyone remember that?
No...
Just me then?

It was also pretty much the best moment in The River. It was pretty much all downhill from there.
posted by Mezentian at 1:25 AM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


However, Tim Burton visited Mexico City a few months ago, and he visited the island. So we might see a doll island in his next stop-motion production.

Yes, but with Burton's strange tastes, he may have just been vacationing, too.

Mezentian, I agree about The River! it started out with so much creepy promise! But it devolved into too much of a family drama, in the end.
posted by misha at 9:01 AM on February 18, 2013


Joakim Ziegler: "I worked on Mai Morire, a film set in Xochimilco, which features some dream sequences using the island of the dolls as a setting."

Were you on location there? I'm so curious if the vibe is actually creepy once you're there or if it's even creepier than one can imagine.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:33 AM on February 18, 2013


Never heard that one before, pretty sure Chucky was based on My Buddy.

Oh right, I forgot about the time that My Buddy was possessed by a murderous evil spirit.
posted by mokin at 8:21 AM on February 21, 2013


Frequently you go here while drinking. The early afternoon kind of drinking.

Any Df denizens want to make a metafilter xochimilco trip?
posted by pynchonesque at 8:39 PM on February 21, 2013


That is not a bad idea at all. It's been a while since our last meetup.
posted by Cobalt at 8:15 PM on February 23, 2013


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