Tonight your hosts Danielle Paccione and Bill Bachman discuss Isla de las Munecas...The Island of the Dolls!
The best-known chinampa in Xochimilco belonged to a man named Julián Santana Barrera, a native of the La Asunción neighborhood. Santana Barrera was a loner, who was rarely seen in most of Xochimilco. He came to fame because he would collect the old broken bodies of dolls from the canals and rubbish trips, and then hang them from branches and tie them to tree trunks to keep away evil spirits and appease the spirit of a dead girl he had found. He would say that he believed that the dolls were somehow still “alive” but forgotten by their owners and at night, these dolls are said to walk around the island killing animals. Before this, it was thought that no one lived on this chinampa, but Santana Barrera was there, living in a hut with no services and generally did not receive visitors, other than family. The display of dolls and parts attracted attention of the press. Eventually, he stated to them that the dolls were there to keep away evil spirits and to help with the harvests in his gardens. His favorite was called La Moneca and he frequently moved the dolls around among the tree branches.
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