The Island of the Dolls/La Isla de las Muñecas

Informant Information – SI

  • Nationality: American
  • Age: 20
  • Occupation: Student
  • Residence: Los Angeles, California
  • Date of Performance/Collection: April 20, 2022
  • Primary Language: English

The informant grew up in Mexico and learned about this legend from family members, as well as on a visit to Lake Teshuilo. They aren’t sure as to whether or not the story is true, but they wouldn’t want to spend a day on the island. They shared this information with me in an in-person interview. 

According to the informant, La Isla de las Muñecas (“The Island of The Dolls”) is an island located in Lake Teshuilo. Sometime in the mid 20th century, the body of a young girl was found near the island. It was rumored that she had been drowned by a relative and that her spirit wandered the island in search of a loving home. 

In sympathy for the deceased child, visitors leave dolls on the island. Due to the island’s popularity, it is said to be the site of very intense emotions, which may attract other, malignant spirits. To prevent the dolls being used by these evil forces, visitors tie them to trees on the island.


This piece of folklore takes place in one of Mexico’s most toured locations. Given that Mexican culture includes several rituals, legends, and holidays that honor family traditions, deceased ancestors, and look back at the land’s history, it makes sense that many of these aspects of culture would be found in this location. 

The legend relates to spirituality, with obligation to some spirits and attempts to ward off others. There is a distinct binary between the young girl’s “good” spirit and the potential for “evil” spirits that might try to take advantage of the offerings left on the island. 

Cultural recognition and celebration of spirituality also plays a large role in Mexico City’s tourism industry. As my informant mentioned, many people earn money by offering the lake’s visitors a boat ride to the island.