Many of you have taken what we consider to be an unhealthy interest in the origin of Crazy Baby. We’ve repeatedly been asked “Where did Crazy Baby come from?” We’ve also been asked:
What the hell is that thing?
Why wouldn’t you burn it with the help of a young priest and an old priest?
Does it smell like it looks?
First, Crazy Baby is not an “it”; she’s a girl. We know this because she is wearing lipstick† and so, since we’re sexist*, she’s a she. Second, we’ve decided to finally oblige and fill you in on the origin of Crazy Baby. Actually we’re going to serve up the ‘origins’ of Crazy Baby. I mean if Johnny Blaze gets multiple origin stories, why not Crazy Baby? Right?
What we’re going to do is this: along with the real story we’ll come up with few extra – and completely plausible – stories for your entertainment. Then we’ll figure out some way to let you vote on which story becomes The Official Story of Crazy Baby!
Everyone get it? Good. Ok…let’s go. Here’s your first origin story. Enjoy with a glass of holy water and a necklace of garlic!
The Origin of Crazy Baby, Take 1:
The Island of Lost Dolls
In the canals of Xochimilco, near Mexico City, there lies a strange island. The island, like most of the islands in the lake, is not natural. It is a chinampa…an island built over years as a by-product of the creation of floating rafts designed to grow crops. The rafts are built and anchored to trees. Heaped with mud and soil, they are then planted. Over time, each raft sinks and then the process begins again Eventually enough rafts sink in one spot to form an island.
But this process is not what makes this chinampa strange; this is how all chinampas are formed. What makes this island strange is the death of a young girl and the man who found her.
Don Julián Santana Barrera
Don Julián Santana Barrera, a native of Mexico City was a solitary man who took up residence on a chinampa of Lake Xochimilco. After moving to the island, he lived a mostly solitary life with the exception of occasional visits from his wife and children‡. In fact, no one but his family knew that Don Julián was living on the chinampa for years.
The Girl’s Body
Don Julián occupied much of his time by scouring the shores of his and nearby chinampas for useful bits of flotsam and jetsam. He used only found objects to build his shack and such furnishings and decoration as he had.
While foraging, Don Julián came upon the body of a girl, 6 or 7, washed up on the shore of his chinampa. Don Julián searched the body for a sign of what had happened…had she been murdered? Accidentally drowned? There were no cuts or scrapes. No wounds or bruises. Not even any water in the girls mouth. In fact, she would have appeared to be sleeping had her skin not been so cold.
In the course of searching the body, Don Julián found a few items in the girl’s pockets. Some chewing gum, an elastic ponytail holder, and a small homemade doll. He also found a piece of paper that looked like a school assignment. On the barely legible paper, written in pencil, was the name, “Moneca” and short description of her favorite possession, the doll her mother had made for her.
He stuffed the items, including the doll, back into her pocket and he began to agonize over what he should do. If he reported the body, people would come to his island. If they came to his island, they would know he lived there. This was not acceptable. He decided the only option was to bury her on the island. To assuage his guilt for not reporting the death, he began making plans for an elaborate ceremony and grave site. Don Julián would build a monument to the girl. He knew the perfect spot to bury her, right in the center of the island under the boughs of a giant juniper tree…probably the original tree that the first raft of the chinampas was anchored to.
Don Julián lifted the body and carried it to the juniper tree where he carefully laid her on the ground. Looking around he was doubly convinced that his decision to bury her here was the right one. The ancient tree, the whistles of songbirds, the flowering vines. They all combined to create an oasis of serenity and beauty; a perfect resting place for the girl.
He decided to begin immediately. He needed some tools so he returned to his small shack to collect them. It was a short walk, maybe 10 minutes in each direction. As he walked he continued to plan the burial and ceremony. He would build a casket out of some wood from an old billboard he had found washed up on the shore in about the same place he had found the girl. He had some tin and aluminum that he would decorate the casket with. He would carve her memorial directly into the old juniper tree.
In the middle of thought he returned to the clearing created by the arching boughs of the juniper. Don Julián was so deep in thought that for a moment he didn’t realize something was amiss. It took a few seconds but eventually he noticed the birds had stopped singing. He scanned around and saw that the blooms had shriveled and dropped from all the vines. He looked closer and realized that the songbirds had not merely quit singing; their small bodies now littered the forest floor. Finally, he noticed the girl’s body…was gone.
In her place was the small homemade doll.
Don Julián was a religious and superstitious man. He decided that the girl’s spirit was angry. That her spirit had found a new home in the doll. That the spirit must be appeased.
But how to appease her? He knew almost nothing about the girl. Almost…nothing… He knew her name. He knew that she loved the doll that had been her most cherished possession. He knew that all trace of the girl was gone other than the doll.
With this to go on, Don Julián reasoned that perhaps he could appease her spirit with more dolls. Perhaps she simply wanted companions. From that day forward, until his death in 2001, he scoured the shores of his chinampa for dolls which he hung throughout the island as offerings to Moneca.
However, legends tell that Moneca was not fully appeased. The legends say that the dolls moved around the island at night and that they fed on any animals they found.
Not too long after the passing of Don Julián in 2001, something strange happened. The dolls he had hung began to disappear and within three months they were gone. Even stranger, the chinampa itself began to disintegrate. Within another three months nothing remained but the dying husk of a giant juniper tree.
The Moneca doll was not seen again until she turned up in a closet, next to some embalming fluid, at the Minneapolis funeral home where Lance and Amy lived for a few years. Neither of us remember packing her in our bags when we moved to Maine, but here she is.
†…or is that blood?
*Amy says “We are not sexist. Only one of us is.”**
**Lance says “It ain’t me!”
‡One theory states that Don Julián moved to the chinampa to get away from his children.
We took a lot of liberties with info from these sources:
Wikipedia – Xochimilco
Amusing Planet – Island Of The Dolls: Mexico’s Creepiest Places