Isla de las Munecas (Mexico) / by Kenneth Kao

This picture was taken in the Isla de las Munecas, the Island of the Dolls.

We had to drift down a river to reach this property, not so much an island as a riverfront property, where dolls like this hung strung up over everywhere. Many were mutilated, or had heads switched, breasts cut off, and eyes gouged out. We paid the owner 5 pesos (I think), to have access to the island, where two white cats roamed and dolls were nailed to run down and rotting cabins.

The story goes that the original owner was haunted by the ghost of a little girl who he failed to save from drowning--he only found her doll. He hung it up out of respect, but apparently she haunted him until he went crazy. He tried to scare her or please her by hanging up these many dolls over the years, and it became an obsession. The story goes that he died where the girl had originally drowned.

ISO 100, 1.8, 35mm, 1/1600