La Isla De Las Muñecas (Island of the Dolls)

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Imagine traveling in a boat and then slowly approaching an island where the landscape is littered with mutilated dolls, decapitated doll heads, and doll limbs, hanging from trees like Christmas ornaments or dangling from a dead man’s noose.  Would you be brave enough to explore and stay overnight on the Island of the Dolls?

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La Isla De Las Muñecas is located on what was once Lake Xochimilco, south of Mexico City. Before the Spanish colonization the area was part of the Aztec Empire.  The Aztecs created artificial islands known as chinampas that provided a variety of crops that became a primary source of food for the people of the Empire.  These man-made islands were connected through a labyrinth of canals that established a network with other nearby lakes.

Folklore

The legend of The Island of the Dolls starts in the 1950’s.  A man, either by the name of Don Julian Santana or Julian Santana Barrera, took residence and became the caretaker of the island.  One day while Julian was walking he stumbled upon the body of a dead girl on the shore of his island.  One source states that a group of girls were playing near a canal and one of the girls ended up drowning and washed up on Julian’s island.  Some sources claim that Julian also found an abandoned doll next to the girl and out of respect he hanged the doll on a limb of a nearby tree to keep the spirit of the girl at peace.  From time to time Julian would find dolls floating in the canals nearby the island.  He would hang them from trees or tie them to trunks or posts.  It is even stated that he would venture off his island and look for discarded dolls through other people’s garbage.

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My sources vary when it comes to the reasoning for Julian’s obsession of collecting abandoned or lost dolls/doll parts and hanging them to trees.  One source claims that after discovering the girl’s body, the spirit of the girl was tormenting him and he was protecting himself from the wrath of the spirit by giving her dolls to keep the vengeful spirit happy.  His family stated that the ghost of the girl was just a figment of his imagination.  Another source stated that the girl reminded him of his daughter whom he abandoned when he decided to become a hermit and was collecting dolls for the spirit of the girl out of kindness.  However, all the variations have a common and mysterious ending.  In 2001, the dead body of Julian was found on the same exact spot where the girl was found in the 1950’s.

Tourists Beware…

The family of Julian Santana have made the La Isla De Las Muñecas a tourist site.  Tours of the Island are given during the daytime.  However,  locals claim that at night the island becomes alive.  The dolls will move their remaining limbs or heads.  It has been reported that the dolls will whisper to each other and sometimes child laughter will echo through the eerie landscape of the Island of the Dolls.

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References

Hoeller, S. (2015). There’s a terrifying island in Mexico that’s full of hundreds of mutilated dolls. Retrieved August 21, 2016, from http://www.businessinsider.com/la-isla-de-las-muecas-doll-island-in-mexico-2015-10

Swancer, B. (2014, July 01). The Mysterious and Creepy Island of Dolls | Mysterious Universe. Retrieved August 21, 2016, from http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2014/07/the-mysterious-and-creepy-island-of-dolls/

The Island of the Dolls in Mexico | Oddity Central – Collecting Oddities. (2009). Retrieved August 21, 2016, from http://www.odditycentral.com/pics/mexicos-island-of-the-dolls-is-beyond-creepy.html

La Isla de la Munecas – Island of the Dolls. (2012). Retrieved August 21, 2016, from http://unusualplaces.org/la-isla-de-la-munecas-island-of-the-dolls/

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Kuchisake Onna (the Slit-Mouthed Woman)

Kuchisake Onna

The legend of Kuchisake-Onna, a.k.a. The Slit-Mouth Woman, is a Japanese tale about the consequences of vanity and infidelity that can be dated back to the Heian Era (794-1185).  Many variations of the tale have been adapted to fit modern times, but the underlying life lessons still remain.

Folklore

A very beautiful wife of a Samurai was obsessed with pulling males complimentary attention to her radiant glow of her promiscuous presence that reached a point where suspicion of infidelity started to creep into the thoughts of her husband.  Eventually the Samurai couldn’t bare the shame and  humiliation of his wife having an affair and out of rage the husband started to beat his wife and took a knife to her mouth that gave her a permanent smile from ear to ear while yelling, “who will think you’re beautiful now?”  The woman died shortly after her domestic assault and then arose as the vengeful spirit known as Kuchisake Onna.

According to the earliest version of this story that I have found, the first appearance of Kuchisake Onna was described to be wearing a Kimono and would hide her face with one of the large sleeves while haunting the streets looking for her next victim.  She would approach lone male travelers while hiding her hideous deformity with her sleeve and ask them, “Do you think I’m pretty?”  If the unsuspecting prey says yes, she will reveal her face and and ask “Do you think I’m pretty now?”.  If the victim lies and says “yes” Kuchisake Onna will give the liar a permanent smile just like hers or If he says no she will slit his throat.

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A more modern version of the tale states that Kuchisake Onna was a victim of a botched plastic surgery operation and haunts the streets wearing a trenchcoat and a surgical mask to cover her mouth.  Instead of using a knife as a weapon, she would use a pair of dull rusty scissors to bring a smile to her victims.

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The surgical mask adaptation is the scariest version, in my opinion, due the fact that it is very common to see people commuting around the bigger cities of Japan.  Due to huge populations in cities such as Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, etc.  the fear of spreading germs is a norm in the culture of the populace and surgical masks have become the standard accessory that people wear while commuting in these cities.

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True Events

In 1979, the legend of Kuchisake Onna blew up into mass hysteria among the children of Japan.  A woman with a Glasgow Grin was witnessed chasing children around.  The news spread rapidly like a forest fire through the rest of Japan, South Korea, and even China.  Parents, teachers, and local law enforcement of Japan got swept up into the scare by closing schools earlier in the day to allow teachers to escort the children home before it got dark.   Parks, once filled with children playing, became ghost towns.  Police increased their patrols in the neighborhoods.

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Survival guide to avoid or escape the Slit-Mouthed Woman

It was a common belief that Kuchisake Onna comes from shadows, so children would avoid streets that had shadows present in the area.  Many other tactics were developed to avoid or to ward her off.  When she asks if she is pretty, answering her question with the question, “do you think you’re pretty?” or reply “So-So” is believed to confuse her and buy you sometime to escape your deadly date with this vengeful spirit.  The smell of Pomade (a certain type of hair gel) offends her and will prevent her from coming near you.  It is believed, according to the modern plastic surgery version, that the surgeon was wearing Pomade while performing his operation on the soon-to-be Kuchisake Onna and the smell of it caused her to move her head which led to her deformity and death.

References

Matsuura, Thersa. “Frightful Japan: The Torn-Mouth Woman (Kuchisake Onna) – HNN | Horrornews.net – Official News Site.” HNN Horrornewsnet Official News Site. N.p., 06 Feb. 2011. Web. 08 Aug. 2016.  Retrieved from http://horrornews.net/30080/frightful-japan-the-torn-mouth-woman-kuchisake-onna/

Kuchisake-Onna. (n.d.). Retrieved August 08, 2016, from http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/Kuchisake-Onna

Wirawan, Anita. “Legend Of The Slit-Mouthed Woman: Kuchisake Onna – Anita’s Notebook.” Anita’s Notebook. N.p., 04 Feb. 2013. Web. 08 Aug. 2016.  Retrieved from http://anitasnotebook.com/2013/02/legend-of-the-slit-mouthed-woman-kuchisake-onna.html

Schwarz, Rob. “Kuchisake-Onna, the Slit-Mouthed Woman.” Stranger Dimensions. N.p., 01 July 2013. Web. 08 Aug. 2016.  Retrieved from http://www.strangerdimensions.com/2013/07/01/kuchisake-onna-the-slit-mouthed-woman/