Ghost Adventures investigate the Island Of The Dolls with mixed results

circa 1947: A child's dolls in a trunk, forgotten when most of the inhabitants left Portsmouth Island off the coast of N Carolina. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)
circa 1947: A child's dolls in a trunk, forgotten when most of the inhabitants left Portsmouth Island off the coast of N Carolina. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images) /

Over the years, the Ghost Adventures crew have investigated some notoriously haunted locations. Though none of those sites carry the same spook factor as the Isla de las Munecas, evidenced by their investigation in “Island Of The Dolls”.

For those unfamiliar with the Ghost Adventures, the crew of investigators visits various locations across the globe that possess paranormal properties. One of their more compelling investigations was at the Island Of The Dolls, a small Mexican island isolated in the canals of Xochimilco.

The myth around the island goes that a man named Don Julian Santana Barrera found the body of a girl floating in the canal waters. Later, the island’s caretaker discovered a doll floating in the same area that he found the little girl in. He assumed the toy belonged to her.

Feeling guilty because he couldn’t save her from a watery grave, he hung the doll in a tree—hoping once the little girl saw her doll—it would appease her angry spirit. While the legend stands and residents of the island believe in it, there’s no supporting evidence to suggest that a child really drowned there. But then again, a girl drowning in a rural area isn’t unheard of and more than likely wouldn’t be accurately recorded.

Don Julian, he believed in the legend and also felt like the girl’s spirit haunted him because he was unable to save her in time. His peace offering of the first doll didn’t seem to work so Don Julian spent the next fifty years collecting dolls and hanging them around the surrounding trees. Now, the island is littered with them—and they’re even creepier now that weather has caused a fair amount of them to decay.

In Season 9, Episode 6 of Ghost Adventures, Zak Bagans and the crew spoke with Don Julian’s nephew, Anastasio Velasquez about his uncle’s story. Anastasio was actually the one who found his uncle’s body in the canals—mind you that it was in the same area the little girl was discovered in. Velasquez even claims he’s seen the dolls move—all of which took place after he assumed his uncle’s duties as the island’s caretaker.

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The question on many fans minds’ is whether or not Don Julian died because of guilt? Or did the little girl’s spirit drown him? There are rumors of DJ being hunted down as vengeance for standing idly by while the little girl drowned. The man’s account could not be verified and that was one of the questions Zak Bagans’ and his intrepid crew were hoping to answer by investigating the site.

Nevertheless, the Island Of The Dolls has maintained a reputation for being a highly active paranormal location, prompting eager paranormal investigators to visit and see these hellish dolls in action. One of them was Josh Gates from the Destination Truth series who did an investigation of the island and captured some paranormal evidence of their own. Zak Bagans, however, is the first investigator to bring a haunted doll as a trigger to provoke a response from the creepy dolls on the island. The theory being that as the island doesn’t like visitors—human or doll—the presence of “Harold” the doll would evoke a response from other dolls.

A little background on Harold, he’s supposedly one of the most haunted dolls in the world. Howard is right up there with Annabelle who was the inspiration for  “Chucky” from Child’s Play.

Ghost Adventures’ Zak Bagans brings along “Harold” The Doll

In 2004, Anthony Quinata purchased Harold on eBay of all places but after experiencing paranormal incidents of his own, Quinata put the doll into storage from 2005-2013. People have even reported suffering a range of painful symptoms hours after mere contact with Harold. The symptoms range from migraines, headaches, severe lower back pain, and feelings of disorientation. This is the doll Zak Bagans wants to accompany him to Mexico’s Island Of The Dolls.

Before subjecting his crew to the doll’s presence, Zak advises his crew not to look directly into the eyes of Harold. Bagans briefly introduces the doll to the episode viewers as a guest investigator, before delving into Harold’s rather sinister past.

The next stop our friendly ghost hunters visit is to a local psychic who tells them that Harold doesn’t like being closed inside a suitcase (surprise…surprise) and wants out. Sabrinah, the psychic, also informs them that there is a demon inside of Harold and that they’re in danger if he accompanies them to the island.

Additionally, the psychic also claims to be in constant communication with Don Julian. She informs the Ghost Adventures crew about DJ’s concerns which present another challenge for them.

According to Don Julian, the canals are filled with the bodies of soldiers killed in the Mexican Revolutionary/Civil war of 1910. Naturally, it was their spirits that haunt the canals and it was those spirits who were responsible for the little girl’s death.

Eventually, the Ghost Adventures’ crew move past Harold, but on their way to the island get sidetracked by legends of Mermaids, haunted canals, and a play about “La Llorona.” The legend of La Llorona is about a woman haunted by guilt for drowning her children.

Finally, the crew arrives at the island, greeted by a fire burning in a pit that wasn’t burning just moments before. Since they were the only people on the island. The fire starting by itself was unexplainable.

Moving into the hut that housed the most haunted dolls, Zak announced that he was going to release Harold out of the suitcase. Suddenly, there is screeching of cats with a cat racing through the hut like Hell is following it, scaring the bejesus out of both Zak and Aaron.

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The crew also invited their boat driver on their adventure—Pedro being Don Julian’s best friend before he died. Don Julian would tell Pedro about the things that happened to him while living on the island. Using a spirit box, the Ghost Adventures crew try to connect DJ with his old friend but the task is more difficult than anticipated, mainly because the voices were too hard to make out.

There has been a lot of evidence collected from earlier investigations that validates the island haunted status, though Zak Bagans failing to capture an actual recording of Don Julian or the little girl who drowned creates an air of doubt. Then again, instances of other investigative teams capturing EVP’s and other recordings gives us the impression that there truly is a paranormal presence on the Island Of The Dolls.

What are your thoughts on this investigation episode? Let us know in the comments section below.

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