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10 Most Scary True Stories about Haunted Dolls
Joliet is a doll who has stayed in one cursed family for generations. For a grand total of 4 generations, the doll has cursed all the women in my family. It seems, every woman in the family gives birth to two children, a girl and a boy. But sadly, the son always dies under mysterious circumstances on the 3rd day of his life. The curse began when Joliet the doll was given to a woman by her vengeful friend. After getting the doll, the woman gave birth to a boy only to have him die on the third day. The doll is thought to be a vessel for all the lost babies over the years. Screams and infant noises can be heard from the doll at night.
It’s hard to believe that the beloved Elmo doll could be haunted but unfortunately, an Elmo haunting was a real reality for the Bowman family. In 2008, two-year-old James Bowman had an Elmo ‘Knows Your Name Doll’. The point of the doll was that it could recite its owners name and some other fun phrases. The only problem with James’ doll was that Elmo liked to add the word kill before he said James. As a result, the doll would repeatedly sing “Kill James.” Eventually James’ mom got fed up with the whole thing and got the doll out of the house before Elmo could follow through on his threat.
Annabelle is a real doll that managed to scare others around her so much that she made her way onto the big screen. The doll was given to a nursing student named Donna on her 28th birthday. Shortly after Donna received the doll, she and her roommate Angie started to notice some strange things. The doll would move on its own, it wrote messages, and it even attacked their friend Lou. Eventually the Warrens managed to get the doll out of Donna’s house. The doll currently resides at the Warren Occult Museum if you ever want to plan a visit.
Mandy is a porcelain doll who was manufactured in England or Germany between 1910 and 1920. Mandy was donated to the Quensel Museum in British Columbia, in 1991 after her owner complained that she would hear crying in the middle of the night coming from the doll. When the doll was donated to the museum, workers began to notice their lunches going missing and footsteps when no one else was around. In addition, Mandy seems to enjoy causing all sorts of problems by messing with cameras and freaking out guests by following them with her eyes.
THE DEVIL BABY DOLL
The creepy factor of this haunted doll is pretty self explanatory given the name and all but let me explain anyway. The legend of the doll goes that in the 1800s, an angry ex-lover sought revenge on the daughter of a wealthy Scotsman. He enlisted Marie Laveau’s help. Laveau ended up cursing the bride so that when she went into labor she died, but not before bringing a devilish creature into the world. Laveau ended up caring for the baby until its death. The baby is said to be buried next to Laveau. A lot of people were scared of the devil baby and its powers so they made their own version of the baby in doll form to ward off evil spirits. But as it turns out this wasn’t a very good idea. The doll versions of the baby are rumored to be possessed.
PATTY REED'S DOLL
Although this doll isn’t thought to be haunted, its creepy factor is still off the charts. The doll belonged to Patty Reed. You may remember Patty Reed as being a member of the Donner party, a group of people travelling to California who were forced to eat each other after getting stuck in the snow. When the Reeds were making the long trek to California, Patty was told to get rid of all of her toys to lighten the load of the wagon. However, Patty managed to sneak in one of her favorite dolls to play with. The Reeds ended up surviving the horrifying circumstances of their snowbound wagon along with Patty’s doll. Patty’s doll is now displayed at Sutter’s Fort State Historical Park Museum and even though its not haunted, the doll still evokes terrifying images of the Reeds chomping down on some human flesh in order to survive.
Pupa the doll was given to her owner in 1920, and stayed with her until her death. The owner of the doll used to tell others that her doll was her best friend and confidant. However, after the owner died, Pupa began acting up. Some reports of her haunted activities included steaming the glass case in which she is kept and writing “Pupa hate,” on it, pushing things around on her own, and of course moving around from place to place presumably to scare the pants off her new owners. Her owners have even said that they caught the doll walking on her own on video, however whenever they tried to upload the video, it was covered with a white film and the words, “Pupa No!”
ROBERT THE DOLL
Robert the doll is one of the most well known haunted dolls of all time. He is even the inspiration for Chucky in the 1988 film Child’s Play. Robert’s creepy history goes as follows; the Otto family lived in Key West, Florida and had a nasty habit of mistreating their servants. One day, a Haitian servant was fired after Mrs. Otto saw her practicing Black magic in the yard. Before she left, she gave Robert a doll, which is now known as Robert the doll. Robert took the doll everywhere but then, some strange things began to happen. Robert was heard having conversations with his doll, objects would be found thrown across the room, and giggling could be heard throughout the house. Robert even attacked people, and locked them in the attic. Today, Robert can be seen in the East Martello Museum in Key West. Visitors claim that they have seen the doll move and scowl at them.
In 1973, Kerry Walton forced himself to face a childhood fear when he visited an abandoned house that had scared him as a child. When he went to the house he found a doll and decided to take it home. The doll is thought to have been made 200 years ago by a Romanian gypsy for his drowned son. Gypsies believed that the human spirit would transfer over to the doll. Nothing too evil has happened with Letta but there have been some strange occurrences. It rains whenever the doll is taken outside, pictures fall when he goes into a room, and people feel a sudden rush of sadness when they see the doll. And of course the doll is apparently capable of moving on his own.
CHRYSTAL, TRUE, MONIKA, SHARLA, ISAAC, ASHLEY and CAMERON
Most people have some kind of collection. However, this one is a bit strange. The names above are a collection of dolls that are thought to be haunted. Apparently, a family in Pennsylvania has been purchasing haunted dolls in order to investigate them. Luckily for all of us haunted doll lovers out there, we can observe these creepy beauties as well. A camera is constantly filming these dolls to see if it can catch any creepy occurrences. One of the weirdest events that the camera captured was in 2009, when it filmed an apparition that was thought to be a little boy.
9 Scariest Haunted Dolls You Do Not Want in Your Home
Harmless toys or the Devil's plaything?
- Photo Credit: Visit El Paso / Flickr (CC)
As kids, we find comfort in dolls; they’re a fun and delightful companion during playtime. As we grow older, however, these once cherished playthings transform into pure nightmare fuel. The vacant eyes and frozen grins are scary enough. But what happens when a doll stirs in the night—and starts moving around on its own?
The haunted dolls below are known for haunting dreams, scurrying through homes, and bringing misfortune upon anyone unlucky enough to come into contact with them. Some, such as Annabelle or Robert the Doll, are infamous. Others are less well known but just as chilling. Whether these toys are truly possessed is up for you to decide. Either way, you can’t deny that they’re downright creepy to look at.
Lorraine and Ed Warren with Annabelle
Annabelle is a Raggedy Ann doll, now imprisoned in special glass case in the collection of the famous paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren . Annabelle is so famous that she was the inspiration for a movie and a sequel .
Related: Something Spooky This Way Comes
In the movie, Annabelle is played by a much creepier looking doll. In real life, Annabelle has the same sweet face of any Raggedy Ann. Her story, however, is not sweet at all. According to the Warrens, Annabelle was given to a young nursing student named Donna by her mother in 1970. The doll would move around the apartment when Donna and her roommate Angie weren’t home. The young women were willing to put up with a doll that moved around on her own, but things soon got scarier. The doll left notes asking for help. Then she attacked Angie’s boyfriend. When the young women found blood on the doll’s dress, they called in a psychic. The psychic revealed the doll was possessed by the spirit of a girl named Annabelle.
The girls’ next call was to the Warrens who took Annabelle out of their hands, putting her in a glass case with a written warning to the unsuspecting: “Positively Do Not Open.”
2. Robert the Doll
Robert the Doll on display at the East Martello Museum
Robert was an inspiration for the terrifying Chucky doll of the Child’s Play series. Robert is a life-sized doll, which is rather unusual in itself. It was reportedly made by the famous Steiff toy company in Germany. It was given to the Florida artist Robert Eugene “Gene” Otto as a birthday present when he was a child in 1904. His grandfather had bought it while on a trip to Germany.
The creepy doll wears a sailor suit that was probably a childhood outfit of the real Gene. Another story has it that the doll was a gift from a malicious voodoo-practicing maid as revenge for some unknown wrongdoing by the family.
Stories of the doll’s odd behavior began early, with reports of the doll changing expressions and moving around the house on its own. One theory says that Gene himself unleashed the doll’s powers by blaming his childhood misdeeds on the life-size doll who wore his clothes and had his name. Those who lived in the house reported hearing Gene talking to Robert—perhaps not that unusual, but Robert would talk back.
Related: Robert the Haunted Doll
As the years went on, Robert’s deeds turned darker. The doll is blamed for many misfortunes including financial collapse, broken bones, and car accidents. Robert remained in the Otto family home in Key West, Florida throughout Gene’s life and even after his death. The house passed to new owners who kept the ‘living’ doll for twenty years. Robert now resides in a museum in Key West, where brave tourists can visit him.
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The furry red Elmo doll is one of the most successful toys ever sold. Talking Elmo dolls have been a must-have holiday gift since the first one was sold in 1996. Early Elmos giggled when they were tickled. They acquired larger vocabularies as the years went on. But that doesn’t explain the Elmo Knows Your Name doll purchased by the Bowman family in 2008 for their two-year-old son James. Elmo Knows Your Name was programmed to speak its owner’s name along with a few other phrases. But when the Bowmans changed Elmo’s batteries, he started ad-libbing. In a sing-songy voice, the doll chanted “Kill James.” Not something any parent is likely to find endearing.
4. Mandy the Haunted Doll
Mandy in her case at the Quesnel Museum
Mandy does not play well with others. In the Quesnel Museum in Canada where she now lives, staff say they must keep her in a separate display case. When she is displayed with other dolls, she knocks them over. Staff also report their lunches disappear and that visitors’ cameras often fail when taking pictures of the doll. Mandy is a porcelain baby doll, probably manufactured in Europe around 1910. The woman who donated her reportedly told the museum she was getting rid of the doll because it would cry at night.
Related: What’s That in the Window? The Creepy Legend of the Janesville Doll
5. The Haunted Gang
- Photo Credit: dollhousecam.us
Most haunted dolls are dumped by their owners when they start behaving badly. But the owners of these eight terrifying dolls were reportedly interested in paranormal phenomena and bought this collection because they were said to be possessed. Their names: Chrystal, Monika, Sharla, True, Isaac, Lilly, Cameron and Ashley. The owners have a camera constantly recording the dolls and other parts of the house. In 2009, one camera appears to have recorded something strange : a ghostly boy appearing at the bottom of a staircase.
6. Ruby the Haunted Doll
- Photo Credit: The Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and the Occult
Like a few of the dolls on this list, Ruby could never stay in one place at a time. Its owners often found the doll in different rooms of the house. What’s more, picking Ruby up induced feelings of sadness and nausea.
According to its former owners, Ruby was passed down from generation to generation. The doll’s spooky origin traces back many years ago to a young family relative, who was said to have passed away while clutching the figurine. After jumping between different family members, Ruby has now found her forever home at The Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and the Occult , where visitors often feel an overwhelming feeling of sorrow from the doll.
7. Charley the Haunted Doll
- Photo Credit: Local Artisan
Charley was first discovered in the attic of an old Victorian home in upstate New York in 1968. Charley was locked away inside a trunk with newspapers dating back to the 1930s and a yellowed piece of paper that had the Lord’s Prayer written on it. The family placed the figurine on display with their other dolls and toys. Soon, however, Charley seemed to move on its own, swapping places with the other toys.
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Not long thereafter, the family’s youngest daughter claimed that Charley spoke to her in the middle of the night. The parents dismissed the claim, chalking it up to their daughter’s overactive imagination. But the little girl and her siblings were terrified of Charley; they refused to go near it. When mysterious scratches appeared on the little girl’s body, the family decided to lock Charley back up in the attic trunk. Charley now resides at Local Artisan , a Beverly, Massachusetts oddities shop just minutes away from Salem. Swing by and say hello!
8. Island of the Dolls
- Photo Credit: Esparta Palma / Flickr
The Island of the Dolls is located in the Xochimilco canal system just south of Mexico City. The isle is completely covered by broken and decaying dolls that hang from the trees. The dolls were placed there by Julián Santana Barrera, the former owner of the island who festooned the island with dolls in an effort to appease the spirit of a girl who drowned nearby.
The site is only accessible by boat. Given its eerie backstory and unsettling state, the Island of the Dolls is a popular tourist destination. Those who visit the island and walk among the dolls often claim the figurines “whisper” to them. Visitors are also encouraged to leave offerings or other dolls on the island to add to the collection.
9. Letta the Haunted Doll
- Photo Credit: Facebook
Letta the Doll, also known as Letta Me Out, is truly one of scariest looking haunted dolls out there. The child-sized figurine is said to be about 200 years old, and is made of carved wood and real human hair. The doll’s owner, Kerry Walton, claims to have found Letta in the 1970s while exploring a deserted home in Wagga Wagga, Australia.
Walton brought back the figurine to his home in Queensland. Soon thereafter, strange events began to occur . Household items shifted positions. Scuffmarks appeared on the floor. Walton’s children complained of nightmares; one night, they woke up screaming that Letta was talking and moving around on its own. Dogs turned aggressive whenever they were near the doll while guests claimed to see the doll move. At some point, Walton tried to sell off Letta—only to find that he “physically couldn’t get him out of the car.”
RELATED: 10 Wild Tales of Feral Children
Walton asserts Letta’s origins trace back to Eastern Europe. He believes the doll is a vessel, haunted by the spirit of a boy who drowned many years ago. Letta currently tours around Australia with Walton, sitting on the laps of those who are brave enough to take a picture with the grinning figurine.
Featured photo: Visit El Paso / Flickr ( CC ); Additional photos: tiffany terry / Flickr ( CC ); Quesnel TV / YouTube ; Doll House Cam ; The Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and the Occult ; Local Artisan ; Esparta Palma / Flickr ( CC ); Facebook page of Letta Me Out
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The History of Creepy Dolls
Take a trip to the uncanny valley and hope you make it back unscathed
Linda Rodriguez McRobbie
Pollock’s Toy Museum is one of London’s loveliest small museums, a creaking Dickensian warren of wooden floors, low ceilings, threadbare carpets, and steep, winding stairs, housed in two connected townhouses. Its small rooms house a large, haphazard collection of antique and vintage toys – tin cars and trains; board games from the 1920s; figures of animals and people in wood, plastic, lead; paint-chipped and faintly dangerous-looking rocking horses; stuffed teddy bears from the early 20 th century; even – purportedly – a 4,000 year old mouse fashioned from Nile clay.
And dolls. Dolls with “sleepy eyes”, with staring, glass eyes. Dolls with porcelain faces, with “true-to-life” painted ragdoll faces, with mops of real hair atop their heads, with no hair at all. One-hundred-and-fifty-year-old Victorian dolls, rare dolls with wax faces. Dolls with cheery countenances, dolls with stern expressions. Sweet dolls and vaguely sinister dolls. Skinny Dutch wooden dolls from the end of the 19th century, dolls in “traditional” Japanese or Chinese dress. One glassed-off nook of a room is crammed with porcelain-faced dolls in 19th-century clothing, sitting in vintage model carriages and propped up in wrought iron bedsteads, as if in a miniaturized, overcrowded Victorian orphanage.
Some visitors to the museum, however, can’t manage the doll room, which is the last room before the museum’s exit; instead, they trek all the way back to the museum’s entrance, rather than go through. “It just freaks them out,” says Ken Hoyt, who has worked at the museum for more than seven years. He says it’s usually adults, not children, who can’t handle the dolls. And it happens more often during the winter, when the sun goes down early and the rooms are a bit darker. “It’s like you’d think they’ve gone through a haunted house… It’s not a great way to end their visit to the Pollock’s Toy Museum,” he says, laughing, “because anything else that they would have seen that would have been charming and wonderful is totally gone now.”
A fear of dolls does have a proper name, pediophobia , classified under the broader fear of humanoid figures ( automatonophobia ) and related to pupaphobia , a fear of puppets. But most of the people made uncomfortable by the doll room at Pollock’s Toy Museum probably don’t suffer from pediophobia so much as an easy-to-laugh-off, often culturally reinforced, unease. “I think people just dismiss them, ‘Oh, I’m scared of dolls’, almost humorously – ‘I can’t look at those, I hate them,’ laughingly, jokingly. Most people come down laughing and saying, ‘I hated that last room, that was terrible,’” Hoyt says. Dolls – and it must be said, not all dolls – don’t really frighten people so much as they “creep” them out. And that is a different emotional state all together.
SEE ALSO: Read about the history and psychology of scary clowns
Dolls have been a part of human play for thousands of years – in 2004, a 4,000-year-old stone doll was unearthed in an archeological dig on the Mediterranean island of Pantelleria; the British Museum has several examples of ancient Egyptian rag dolls , made of papyrus-stuffed linen. Over millennia, toy dolls crossed continents and social strata, were made from sticks and rags, porcelain and vinyl, and have been found in the hands of children everywhere. And by virtue of the fact that dolls are people in miniature, unanimated by their own emotions, it’s easy for a society to project whatever it wanted on to them: Just as much as they could be made out of anything, they could be made into anything.
“I think there is quite a tradition of using dolls to reflect cultural values and how we see children or who we wish them to be,” says Patricia Hogan, curator at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, and associate editor of the American Journal of Play . For example, she says, by the end of the 19th century, many parents no longer saw their children as unfinished adults, but rather regarded childhood as a time of innocence that ought to be protected. In turn, dolls’ faces took on a more cherubic, angelic look. Dolls also have an instructional function, often reinforcing gender norms and social behavior: Through the 18 th and 19 th century, dressing up dolls gave little girls the opportunity to learn to sew or knit; Hogan says girls also used to act out social interactions with their dolls, not only the classic tea parties, but also more complicated social rituals such as funerals as well. In the early 20th century, right around the time that women were increasingly leaving the home and entering the workplace, infant dolls became more popular, inducting young girls into a cult of maternal domesticity. In the second half of the 20th century, Barbie and her myriad career (and sartorial) options provided girls with alternative aspirations, while action figures offered boys a socially acceptable way to play with dolls. The recent glut of boy-crazy, bizarrely proportioned, hyper-consumerist girl dolls (think Bratz , Monster High ) says something about both how society sees girls and how girls see themselves, although what is for another discussion.
So dolls, without meaning to, mean a lot. But one of the more relatively recent ways we relate to dolls is as strange objects of – and this is a totally scientific term – creepiness.
Research into why we think things are creepy and what potential use that might have is somewhat limited, but it does exist (“creepy”, in the modern sense of the word, has been around since the middle of the 19th century; its first appearance in The New York Times was in an 1877 reference to a story about a ghost ). In 2013, Frank McAndrew, a psychologist at Knox College in Illinois, and Sara Koehnke, a graduate student, put out a small paper on their working hypothesis about what “creepiness” means ; the paper was based on the results of a survey of more than 1,300 people investigating what “creeped” them out (collecting dolls was named as one of the creepiest hobbies ).
Creepiness, McAndrew says, comes down to uncertainty. “You’re getting mixed messages. If something is clearly frightening, you scream, you run away. If something is disgusting, you know how to act,” he explains. “But if something is creepy… it might be dangerous but you’re not sure it is… there’s an ambivalence.” If someone is acting outside of accepted social norms – standing too close, or staring, say – we become suspicious of their intentions. But in the absence of real evidence of a threat, we wait and in the meantime, call them creepy. The upshot, McAndrew says, is that being in a state of “creeped out” makes you “hyper-vigilant”. “It really focuses your attention and helps you process any relevant information to help you decide whether there is something to be afraid of or not. I really think creepiness is where we respond in situations where we don’t know have enough information to respond, but we have enough to put us on our guard.”
Human survival over countless generations depended on the avoidance of threats; at the same time, humans thrived in groups. The creeped out response, McAndrew theorized, is shaped by the twin forces of being attuned to potential threats, and therefore out-of-the-ordinary behavior, and of being wary of rocking the social boat. “From an evolutionary perspective, people who responded with this creeped out response did better in the long run. People who didn’t might have ignored dangerous things, or they’re more likely to jump to the wrong conclusion too quickly and be socially ostracized,” he explains.
Dolls inhabit this area of uncertainty largely because they look human but we know they are not. Our brains are designed to read faces for important information about intentions, emotions and potential threats; indeed, we’re so primed to see faces and respond to them that we see them everywhere , in streaked windows and smears of Marmite, toast and banana peels, a phenomenon under the catchall term “pareidolia” (try not to see the faces in this I See Faces Instagram feed ). However much we know that a doll is (likely) not a threat, seeing a face that looks human but isn’t unsettles our most basic human instincts.
“We shouldn’t be afraid of a little piece of plastic, but it’s sending out social signals,” says McAndrew, noting too that depending on the doll, these signals could just as easily trigger a positive response, such as protectiveness. “They look like people but aren’t people, so we don’t know how to respond to it, just like we don’t know how to respond when we don’t know whether there is a danger or not... the world in which we evolved how we process information, there weren’t things like dolls.”
Some researchers also believe that a level of mimicry of nonverbal cues, such as hand movements or body language, is fundamental to smooth human interaction. The key is that it has to be the right level of mimicry – too much or too little and we get creeped out. In a study published in Psychological Science in 2012, researchers from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands found that inappropriate nonverbal mimicry produced a physical response in the creeped out subject: They felt chills. Dolls don’t have the ability to mimic (although they do seem to have the ability to make eye contact), but because at least part some part of our brain is suspicious about whether this is a human or not, we may expect them to, further confusing things.
You can’t talk about creepy dolls without invoking the “uncanny valley”, the unsettling place where creepy dolls, like their robot cousins, and before them, the automatons, reside. The uncanny valley refers to the idea that human react favorably to humanoid figures until a point at which these figures become too human. At that point, the small differences between the human and the inhuman – maybe an awkward gait, an inability to use appropriate eye contact or speech patterns – become amplified to the point of discomfort, unease, disgust, and terror. The idea originated with Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori’s 1970 essay anticipating the challenges robot-makers would face. Although the title of the paper, “Bukimi No Tani”, is actually more closely translated as “valley of eeriness” , the word “uncanny” hearkens back to a concept that psychiatrist Ernst Jentsch explored in 1906 and that Sigmund Freud described in a 1919 paper, “The Uncanny” . Though the two differed in their interpretations – Freud’s was, unsurprisingly, Freudian: the uncanny recalls our repressed fears and anti-social desires – the basic idea was that the familiar is somehow rendered strange, and that discomfort is rooted in uncertainty.
But the uncanny valley is, for scientists and psychologists alike, a woolly area. Given the resources being poured into robotics, there’s been more research into whether or not the uncanny valley is real , if it’s even a valley and not a cliff, and where exactly it resides. Thus far, results aren’t conclusive; some studies suggest that the uncanny valley doesn’t exist, some reinforce the notion that people are unsettled by inhuman objects that look and act too human. These studies are likely complicated by the fact that widespread exposure to more “natural” looking humanoid figures is on the rise through animated films and video games. Maybe like the Supreme Court standard for obscenity, we know uncanny, creepy humanoids when we see them?
But before the 18th and 19th centuries, dolls weren’t real enough to be threatening. Only when they began to look too human, did dolls start to become creepy, uncanny, and psychology began investigating.
“Doll manufacturers figured out how to better manipulate materials to make dolls look more lifelike or to develop mechanisms that make them appear to behave in ways that humans behave,” says Hogan, pointing to the “sleep eye” innovation in the early 1900s, where the doll would close her eyes when laid horizontal in exactly the way real children don’t (that would be too easy for parents). “I think that’s where the unease comes with dolls, they look like humans and in some ways move like humans and the more convincing they look or move or look like humans, the more uneasy we become.”
At Pollock’s, the dolls that people find particularly creepy are the ones that look more lifelike, says Hoyt; these are also the ones that have begun to decay in eerily inhuman ways. “The dolls don’t age well.… I think any time that a doll really tried to look like a human being and now is 100 years old, the hair is decaying, the eyes don’t work any more. So it looks as much like a baby as possible, but like an ancient baby,” Hoyt says.
Which presents an interesting phenomenon: The creepiness of realistic dolls is complicated by the fact that some people want dolls (and robots) that look as lifelike as possible. Reborns are a good illustration of the problem; hyper-realistic, these are custom-crafted infant dolls that, reborn artists and makers say, “you can love forever”. The more lifelike an infant doll is – and some of them even boast heartbeats, breathing motion , and cooing – the more desirable it is among reborn devotees, but equally, the more it seems to repulse the general public .
Perhaps it comes down to what we can make dolls into. In A.F. Robertson’s 2004 investigation into doll-collecting, Life Like Dolls: The Collector Doll Phenomenon and the Lives of the Women Who Love Them , some of the women who collected porcelain dolls thought of their dolls as alive, as sentient beings with feelings and emotions; these women who referred to their doll collections as “nurseries” were sometimes “shunned” by other antique doll collectors who did not have the relationship to their own dolls. Women – and it is almost exclusively women – who collect reborns often treat them as they would real babies; some psychologists have talked about “reborns” as “transition objects” for people dealing with loss or anxiety. Freud may have argued that all children wish their dolls could come to life, but even so, it’s not socially acceptable for adults to entertain the same desire. If we are creeped out by inanimate things that aren’t human looking too human, we may also be creeped out by adult humans pretending that these inanimate things are real.
“We’re creeped out by people who have these kinds of hobbies and occupations because right away, we jump to the conclusion, ‘What kind of person would willingly surround themselves with… humanlike things that are not human?’” says McAndrew, who also noted that he and Koehnke’s survey on creepiness found that most people think that creepy people don’t realize they’re creepy. “We’re on our guard to those types of people because they’re out of the ordinary.”
It’s also exactly the kind of thing easy to exploit in media. Some doll makers blame Hollywood films for the creepy doll stigma , and there’s no doubt that moviemakers have used dolls to great effect. But the doll was creepy well before Hollywood came calling. In the 18th and 19th centuries, as dolls became more realistic and as their brethren, the automata, performed more dexterous feats, artists and writers began exploring the horror of that almost immediately. The tales of German writer E.T.A Hoffman are widely seen as the beginning of the creepy automaton/doll genre; Jentsch and Freud used Hoffman’s “The Sandman,” as a case study in the uncanny. The story, published in 1816, involves a traumatized young man who discovers that the object of his affection is in fact a clever wind-up doll, the work of a sinister alchemist who may or may not have murdered the young man’s father; it drives him mad. The horror in this story turned on the deceptive attractiveness of the girl, rather than any innate murderousness in her; for the 19th century, creepy dolls stories tended to be about the malevolence of the maker than the doll itself.
In the 20th century, creepy dolls became more actively homicidal, as motion picture technology transformed the safely inanimate into the dangerously animate. Some evil dolls still had an evil human behind them: Dracula director Tod Browning’s 1936 The Devil-Doll featured Lionel Barrymore as man wrongly convicted of murder who turns two living humans into doll-sized assassins to wreak his revenge on the men who framed him. But then there was The Twilight Zone ’s murderous Talky Tina , inspired by one of the most popular and influential dolls of the 20 th century, Chatty Cathy – “My name is Talky Tina and you’d better be nice to me!”; the evil clown doll from Poltergeist , cannily marrying two creepy memes for maximum terror; and of course, Chucky, the My Buddy clone possessed by the soul of a serial killer in the Child’s Play series. The 1980s and 1990s saw dozens of B-movie variations on the homicidal doll theme: Dolly Dearest, Demonic Toys , Blood Dolls . In 2005, the evil denizens of the Doll Graveyard came back for teenaged souls (and eyeballs, it appears); in 2007, homicidal ventriloquist dummies were going around ripping people’s tongues out in Dead Silence .
Most recently, devil worshippers inadvertently turned a smiling vintage doll into a grinning demon in last October’s Annabelle , a film in the Conjuring franchise. Director John Leonetti, who did not return requests for comment, told The Huffington Post that dolls made exceptional vehicles for horror films. “If you think about them, most dolls are emulating a human figure,” said Leonetti. “But they’re missing one big thing, which is emotion. So they’re shells. It’s a natural psychological and justifiable vehicle for demons to take it over. If you look at a doll in its eyes, it just stares. That’s creepy. They’re hollow inside. That space needs to be filled.” With evil .
But the story of Annabelle the demonic doll, however, becomes far creepier – and more titillating – when it’s accompanied by the claim that it’s “based on a true story”. Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren claimed that Annabelle the Raggedy Ann doll , whose original owners frequently found her in places they hadn’t left her, was being used by a demonic spirit in its quest to possess a human soul; she now lives in a specially-made demon-proof case marked “Warning: Positively Do Not Open” at the Warren’s Occult Museum in Connecticut. Annabelle is not the only evil doll the museum alleges it houses, and there are many more such purportedly real-life possessed dolls around the world; as NPR reported in March, “Haunted dolls are a thing” . Robert the Doll , the lifelong companion of an eccentric Key West artist, glowers at people from the East Martello Museum, where he’s become a tiny, haunted cottage industry unto himself; you can even buy your own replica Robert doll to blame things on. If you are unable to visit a haunted or possessed doll in the flesh (or porcelain, as the case may be), then you can always watch a live feed of this rural Pennsylvania family’s haunted doll collection . These stories, like the stories of real live clowns who murdered, feed into a narrative that makes dolls scary.
John has found the perfect gift for his wife, Mia: a beautiful, rare vintage doll. But Mia's delight with Annabelle the doll doesn't last long.
It doesn’t appear that the creepy stigma increasingly attached to dolls, nor the bevy of scary doll films, has done anything to really harm sales of dolls in the US. While sales of dolls in 2014 were lower than they had been 10 years earlier, the figures were still in the billions of dollars – $2.32 billion to be exact, outstripping sales of vehicular toys, action figures, arts and crafts, and plush toys, and second only to outdoors and sports toys sales . it hasn’t put a damper on the secondhand and collectible doll market, where handmade porcelain dolls regularly fetch in the thousands of dollars. In September 2014, a rare Kämmer & Reinhardt doll from the early 1900s was auctioned off for an unbelievable £242,500 ($395,750) ; the report suggested the buyer not see Annabelle , which was due to be released soon after.
The creepiness of dolls sometimes adds to their appeal; some doll makers are actively courting creepy, such as this reborn artist who sells “monster” babies alongside regular babies, or the popular and scary Living Dead Dolls line. Because the fact is, people like creepy. The same mechanism that makes us hyper-vigilant also keeps us interested: “We’re fascinated and enthralled and little on edge because we don’t know what comes next, but we’re not in any way paralyzed by it,” muses Hogan. “We’re more drawn into it, which I think it’s that drawing in or almost being the under spell of wanting to find out what comes next is what good storytellers exploit.”
And, maybe, good doll makers, too?
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Linda Rodriguez McRobbie | | READ MORE
Linda Rodriguez McRobbie is an American freelance writer living in London, England. She covers the weird stuff for Smithsonian.com , Boing Boing , Slate , mental_floss , and others, and she's the author of Princesses Behaving Badly.
7 Allegedly Haunted Dolls
By jake rossen | sep 14, 2021.
Watch enough horror movies like 1988’s Child’s Play or 2014’s Annabelle and you’ll come to the conclusion that a creepy-looking doll is something to be avoided at all costs. Dolls and their vaguely lifelike features are unsettling at best, possessed with vengeful spirits and homicidal at worst.
But films aren’t the only place where dolls have been charged with paranormal abilities or general mischief. History has logged a number of tiny porcelain or stuffed playthings that have been said to be doing the devil’s bidding. Here's a sampling of some tiny terrors.
Twilight fans will recall that the film series concluded with the birth of the offspring of fang-crossed lovers Bella and Edward. In The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 1 (2011), their baby, Renesmee, was represented by some questionable CGI. On set, she was embodied by a very peculiar-looking animatronic doll (above). That prop is now being accused of malevolent sentience by people near the Forever Twilight display at the Chamber of Commerce in Forks, Washington, where the movies are set.
“One day she might be standing up straight, and the next, when you come in on another day, she’s in a weird position,” Lissy Andros, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, told Jezebel in 2020. “It’s like, is she moving around in there? We don’t know. But we tell everybody that the [display case] cover is on her for their protection.”
Fortunately, Renesmee appears to be decomposing as a result of the fragile materials used to build her, so she likely won’t be around to disturb people for too much longer.
2. Robert the Doll
This straw-stuffed moppet, with black eyes reminiscent of a shark’s, can be seen at the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida—though why anyone would want to is a mystery. Robert’s first owner was Robert Eugene Otto, whose grandfather bought the doll for his grandson in Germany as a gift. While residing with Otto, and with another owner after Otto's death in 1974, Robert was said to have appeared in windows, changed facial expressions, and played in the property’s attic. Recently, visitors to the museum have claimed they’ve fallen into misfortune after “disrespecting” the doll.
Even souvenirs don’t appear to be safe from Robert’s influence: Musician Ozzy Osbourne once blamed his health issues on a replica Robert doll he purchased from the museum.
Made famous in a series of films spun off from The Conjuring franchise, Annabelle herself is no work of fiction. As reported by Ed and Lorraine Warren , the famous paranormal investigators portrayed by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, Annabelle was actually a Raggedy Ann doll (a red-haired rag doll introduced in 1915) who was given as a gift to an unnamed nurse in 1970. After settling in, Annabelle began to shift around on her bed, leak blood, and leave handwritten notes imploring the nurse to “help me” and “help us.” According to Lorraine Warren, the nurse and her friends discovered that a young girl named Annabelle Higgins had died on the site of the apartment building they occupied when she was just 7 years old. The doll, then, was believed to be imbued with her spirit (the Warrens later determined the doll was being controlled by an "inhuman spirit" that was looking for a human host).
Now located at the Warrens’ Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut, Annabelle has been blamed for a visitor’s fatal motorcycle accident. The man apparently taunted her before driving off to his fate.
At the Quesnel and District Museum in Quesnel, British Columbia, Canada, visitors can come face to face with Mandy, a doll that so terrified her original owner that she was given up. As the story goes, Lisa Sorensen was given Mereanda, or Mandy, by her grandmother. Believing the doll was sinister, Sorensen gave it to the museum in 1991. Today, museum employees believe Mandy can follow them with her eyes, a possible result of having three-dimensional eye sockets that give the appearance of movement; attempts to record her have resulted in malfunctioning equipment.
Visitors to Mannenji Temple in Hokkaido, Japan, are welcome to gaze upon Okiku, but no photography is allowed. As legend has it, the doll was originally purchased in 1918 by Eikichi Suzuki to give to his sister, Kikuko. The doll had a short haircut. When Kikuko tragically passed away the following year, Okiku’s hair began to grow out. When the family moved away in 1938, they gave Okiku to monks at the temple. Today, her hair is nearly down to her knees. Some observers also report that a close inspection of Okiku’s mouth reveals erupting teeth.
6. Island of the Dolls
Adventurous tourists near Mexico City can make a stop 17 miles south at La Isla de las Muñecas (Island of the Dolls), a tiny floating garden which is populated primarily by creepy dolls of every type. Local lore has it that the island’s caretaker, Don Julian Santana Barrera, once came across a young girl who had drowned (though some say he simply imagined her), then found a doll in the water he believed to have been owned by the girl. In tribute, he placed the doll on a tree and added more to begin a collection that grew until Barrera was found drowned in the same spot in 2001. Today, the property is awash in dolls in various stages of creepy disrepair, with some visitors believing the dolls are possessed.
Fans of the animated hit Frozen (2013) know Elsa, the forlorn princess whose powers have relegated her to an endless winter. For a Houston family, buying an Elsa doll apparently relegated them to endless problems. The Madonias claimed that the mass-market doll inexplicably switched between English and Spanish voices, even when it was turned off. After throwing it away, Elsa inexplicably returned to the family home. The family stuffed the doll in two garbage bags and discarded it ... but Elsa returned a second time, none the worse for the wear. The family then mailed Elsa to a friend in Minnesota, where she appears to be content. For now.
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Deep in the heart of the canals of Xochimilco — Mexico City’s last vestige of the Aztecs — is one of the world’s most haunted and tragic locations: the Island of the Dolls.
Here, on this single acre, which houses three huts and a crowd of decaying dolls, locals swear they see ghosts and hear shadows talking. It is, they believe, cursed.
“During the time of Cortez many people fled here to Xochimilco and hid on the canals,” Gerardo Ibarra, co-founder of Ruta Origen, a sustainable travel company in Mexico, told The Post. “A lot of these people were women and children hiding from the conquistadores. And many women killed themselves rather than be caught and raped [by the Spanish].”
The Island of the Dolls was, for centuries, a place to disappear.
Remarkably, it’s within the city limits of one of the world’s biggest metropolises. Mexico City was originally an island in a volcanic caldera lake surrounded by the Sierra Madre mountains. The Aztec empire (1300 BC – 1521 BC) was the first to start developing the area, building a system of manmade islands, called chinampas, and a canal system for farmers to navigate them.
After the Aztecs were defeated in the Spanish Aztec war (1591- 1521), much of the chinampas were filled in and turned into the basis of the city we know today. Except for, that is, the most southern end of Mexico City, in Xochimilco, where the chinampas and canal system still exist – an integral part of local life and are a UNESCO world heritage site.
At times, the neighborhood was also used as shelter for Mexican revolutionaries and religious practitioners who may have fallen out of favor; some of them ended up killed or drowned in these canals.
Ibarra introduced me to Don Lauro, a community leader who has spent his entire life in Xochimilco, paddling through the small islands that are used for farming maize, squash and chiles.
Using a on a wooden, flat-bottomed chalupa, Lauro paddled to the infamous Island of the Dolls and recalled how, 50 years ago, the water was “so clear you could see to the bottom.”
And that’s how, in the 1950s, Julian Santana Barrera found the body of a young girl at the bottom of the waterway just outside his door.
“The girl was swimming with her sister or friends and the current took and she drowned,” said Rogelio Sanchez Santana, the current “guardian of the dolls” and a great nephew of Barrera.
According to him, it was after his uncle found the body that trouble started.
“The spirit of the girl was living in sorrow,” Santana said. “In the mornings Julian started seeing ghosts, and one day woke up and found all his crops had died. He tried many things to improve his crops but he couldn’t because the spirit damaged it. He became more and more scared.”
Barrera built an altar in his one-room cabin on the island where he and his wife lived, hoping to appease the spirit.
“But the spirit still came,” Santna said. “So he started collecting dolls as a way to protect himself from the spirit.”
Over the next half-century, Barrera collected more than 1,000 dolls — some from the trash in the area’s main city, others gifted by neighbors and visitors. They’re all still there, decaying, sometimes beheaded and truly creepy. Everywhere you look, there are dirty dolls hanging from trees, nailed to buildings and other structures, strung along clothes line.
In 2001, according to Santana, Barrera died of a heart attack in the same spot where he had found the body of the girl.
“The spirit of the girl came to him and dragged him into the water,” Rogelio said. “He and his wife could never have children [because of the island], so my uncle Anastacio took over.”
After Anastacio’s death in 2019, Santana assumed guardianship of the island, although he and his wife and three children do not live there, choosing to stay on their own island 20 minutes away.
Over the years, several other imitation doll islands have popped up in the canal. “It is big business now,” Santana said. But there is only one true Island of the Dolls.
Santa said he sometimes sees “some shadows in the night with the moonlight” but other visitors have claimed to have witnessed the dolls eyes moving and hearing them talk.
As for what will happen to the island when he dies, Santana said: “The ownership, I leave to the dead.”
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- ‘How do you kill something that’s undead?’: Pa. museum houses vampire stakes, Ouija boards
- Updated: Oct. 26, 2023, 4:05 p.m. |
- Published: Oct. 26, 2023, 1:14 p.m.
The VAMPA museum in Bucks County is home to vampire stakes, Ouija boards, and haunted dolls, amongst other creepy things. (photo by Colton Sturgeon via Unsplash) Colton Sturgeon
- Claudia Dimuro | [email protected]
“How do you kill something that’s undead ?”
A thought-provoking question, to be sure, especially if you’re looking at all the undead-killing weapons and other creepy trinkets that call this museum in Pennsylvania home.
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Edmondo Crimi, says PhillyBurbs.com , opened up what is now known as VAMPA — the “Vampire Art Museum and Paranormal Activity” — in what was once the ground floor of his old home in Buckingham Township, Bucks County.
PhillBurbs.com goes on to explain how VAMPA boasts a collection of not only vampire stakes and hammers — prompting Crimi to ask the aforementioned “undead” killing question — but also Ouija boards, paintings of a demonic persuasion, a bunch of haunted dolls, and a lot of Satans. There’s even a haunted ghost ship that Crimi, a rare antiques dealer, says seems to have a mind of its own.
“It moves,” he tells the publication. “The previous owner gave it to me saying it would turn in one direction, then another, by itself.”
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer , for Crimi, “The museum is about how art has been influenced by the battle between good and evil for over 400 years.”
Crimi has collected this art, explains PhillyBurbs.com , ever since he watched “The Night Stalker (1972)” — a movie about a serial killer that turns out to be a vampire — when he was 18.
“It’s a serious look at the paranormal,” he emphasizes. “This isn’t Ripley’s Believe It or Not.”
You can check out VAMPA yourself when it opens up this Saturday, Oct. 28, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.. Tickets are $15 a pop, and the museum is located at 3686 US 202, Buckingham Township, Pa. 18901.
Call (215) 345-4153 for more information. Please note it’ll open up for just one day.
Editor’s note: Welcome to the world of “Paranormal PA,” a PennLive series that delves into Pennsylvania-grown stories of spirits; cryptids; oddities and legends; and the unexplained. Sign up here to get our Paranormal PA newsletter delivered to your inbox.
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Real Haunted Dolls Stories – 4 Scary Doll Stories that’ll Give you the Creeps
A fear of dolls is known as pediophobia, which is pretty closely related to a fear of puppets, unsurprisingly. It’s safe to say that most of us aren’t a huge fan of dolls, and with films like Annabelle and The Conjuring becoming more and more popular, even hardened horror fans are having to put up with these scary dolls. Although people might not necessarily be scared of dolls, it’s safe to say that they creep many of us out. We’ve been playing with dolls for thousands of years, which is perhaps why haunted dolls have been part of folklore for hundreds of years too.
Legend tends to follow that because dolls are humanoid in form, sometimes, spirits inhabit a doll when they’re roaming this plane because they don’t know where to go and dolls look familiar to them. They may may inhabit the doll of a former owner, or a doll that they used to own. Another theory is that these scary dolls may be possessed or cursed. Possessed dolls are often associated with demon or poltergeist activity, while cursed dolls tend to be associated with voodoo. Stories of cursed dolls are rarer, although they do exist – Robert the doll in Florida being one of the most popular. Sit back, relax and enjoy whilst we explain just why these dolls are scary and explore some of the spookiest stories of these devilish dolls.
Why Are Dolls Scary?
Scary dolls have existed in many forms for hundreds of years, and although scary is subjective, it’s understandable that we find some dolls scarier than others, simply because of the uncanny valley effect. This is when something looks human, and we accept it as looking human, but there’s something slightly off about it. It’s that “offness”, that something that we can’t quite put our finger on that creeps us out. And that’s without a doll being haunted.
1. The Story of Annabelle
Annabelle, the scary doll featured in the Conjuring films as well as the more recent Annabelle film was actually based on the stories of the Warrens. She’s one of the most notorious haunted dolls in history, and you can still meet her today – if you’ve got a spare $169 to drop. Do you want to spend four hours with one of the creepiest possessed dolls in America? Us neither.
Annabelle used to belong to the Warrens. They took an item from every paranormal investigation they went to, and as the legend goes, “trapped” the errant spirit inside said item. Annabelle was supposedly one of the most violent and aggressive spirits they ever had to deal with and was known for moving around the house on her own, scratching her owners and talking. Once Annabelle was dealt with, she was kept in a locked box in order to protect the Warrens, because they couldn’t risk her getting out. Her case is now supposedly blessed with holy water.
Read the story of the real annabelle doll
2. Patty Reed's Doll
4. Devil Infant Doll
Although the baby was looked after by her father until her death, residents feared the child greatly. She was said to walk in the shadows and terrify residents in the state, and they started to buy recreations of the baby in order to keep themselves safe and ward off evil. However, because these dolls were created in the baby’s image, they were said to be possessed. Remnants of these dolls can still be found today, and new dolls are created from them. Beware, though, as these are said to be haunted dolls, and the devil infant can still cause mayhem, with the eyes moving on their own and the dolls disappearing and reappearing at will.
Many people collect paranormal memorabilia and spooky, scary dolls and haunted toys are a horror fan’s favourite. Scary stories about dolls are a brilliant way to sell these artefacts and although we can take a lot of these tales with a rather large grain of salt, with some of the more famous stories, there is always an element of truth buried somewhere in the tale. Would you want to take that chance?
Read our article on Robert the Doll .
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5 real-life stories of haunted dolls you must know about
We share the real story of Annabelle and tell you stories about four more haunted dolls that will leave you shivering in fear
The horror movie Annabelle: Creation is here and fans are making no qualms in saying that the film is possibly one of the scariest ones ever made. The fourth instalment in The Conjuring series, it focuses on the possessed porcelain doll that has bewildered occult enthusiasts and movie goers for years.
While, the movie, indeed is very scary with one twitter user going on to say that movie halls are playing the hanuman chalisa instead of the national anthem, the true story behind the creepy flick is even scarier.
The original doll, which is now locked up in Ed and Lorraine Warrens’ Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut, is said to have unleashed a reign of terror on a group of flatmates in a chain of events that ended with a man dying.
Interestingly, the rag doll, with huge black eyes, looks very different from the film’s china doll. However, her story is equally scary.
Annabelle’s story began in the 1970s when a mum bought the doll from a hobby shop for her daughter Donna as a birthday gift.
Donna took the doll back to the flat she shared with her friend Angie and soon began to notice small hand movements, which they explained away.
According to Lorraine Warren, who spoke to The Sun, the doll then began moving around the flat, appearing outside Angie’s room after being placed on Donna’s bed. Soon afterwards, things took a turn for the sinister worst.
It turns out that a close friend of the girls’, Lou, warned them that the doll might be possessed but they did not pay heed to her. Soon notes, reading “Help us” and “Help Lou” in a child’s handwriting, began to appear around the flat.
The girls soon had to call a medium and after the medium claimed the apartment was built on the site of a field, where a dead seven-year-old girl called Annabelle Higgins had been found many years before.
When the doll was brought to the apartment Annabelle’s spirit was apparently in the area and she became fond of the doll, opting to possess it.
The girls kept the doll, feeling sorry for the real Annabelle, but before long Lou was attacked, it is claimed.
A series of instances followed including one where Lou was attacked by a presence that left seven scratch marks on his body: three vertically, four horizontally, all searing hot but they disappeared without trace within two days.
Donna would soon go on to call an Episcopal priest father Hegan who referred them to occult experts Ed and Lorraine Warren.
The couple told the girls the doll being manipulated by an “inhuman demonic spirit”.
The apartment was “cleansed” by Ed, using a special Episcopal blessing and the couple took the doll away and housed it in their museum.
The doll which has been in their possession since then has caused a few more mischief and miseries with a priest meeting with an accident and a man who berated it dying from a head-on collision.
Ed Warren died in 2006 and Lorraine says she can’t look at the doll because it’s the “worst thing in the whole Museum.”
Here are four other dolls that have been known to be haunted
Robert the doll: Originally gifted to Robert Eugene Otto in 1906, the gift was apparently from a disgruntled servant who practiced black magic. Otto's parents would go on to hear him talking to the doll, who would in turn, reply in his voice. However, the haunting was not confined to a simple conversation. Neighbours reportedly saw the doll peering through the windows when the family was out. Apparently, the doll would also blink and change his expression. One night the family was woken by screaming coming from Otto's room, on entering which they found that he was surrounded by upturned furniture.
Otto claimed that Robert the doll had done it.
After enduring Robert for 20 years, the family donated it to the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida in 1994. He still resides there till this date, locked in a glass case.
Elmo: Everyone knows the popular character Elmo. One of the most popular toys in the market for young children, nothing seems amiss with the funny red puppet. However, in 2008, when the Bowman family bought an Elmo Knows Your Name doll for their two-year-old son Jame, little did they know that the doll's personalised messages were soon going to take a sinister turn. This Elmo would say the word “kill” before James’ name. It would say, “Kill James.” The parents took it away, but it continued to spout death threats to the entire family.
Mandy the doll: Mandy is a doll of unknown origin who apparently haunted her owners for years. The latest owner complained of hearing her crying at night and it was not until Mandy was donated to Quesnel Museum in British Columbia that the crying finally stopped. However, now Mandy haunts the staff of the museum in which she resides. According to the staff, their lunches go missing and Mandy has broken or otherwise harmed dolls that she has been encased with. Pictures or videos of Mandy are known to come out distorted or erased, making her one of the most haunted dolls in the world.
Haunted dolls: The dolls named Crystal, Monika, Sharla, True, Isaac, Lilly, Cameron and Ashley were purchased by a couple who research paranormal activity. A video feed was set up to monitor the dolls and there have been sighting caught on tape that are difficult to explain. Although they don’t seem to be very active, in 2009 the camera witnessed a strange occurrence when an apparition of what appears to be a little boy revealed itself at the bottom of their steps.
Tags: annabelle , annabelle creation , horror , haunting , haunted , haunted dolls , spooky , paranormal , robert the doll , elmo , mandy the doll , doll , ghost , demonic possession
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World’s Creepiest Haunted Dolls and Stories Behind Them
by Chelsey Dagner | May 27, 2017 | New Releases | 6 comments
1. Peggy – The Holocaust Doll
Jayne Harris is an English woman who devotes all her time and energy into dealing with haunted dolls . It’s not uncommon for Jayne to receive alleged haunted dolls in the mail from time to time, but there is one doll that seems more powerful – and deadlier – than the rest.
A few years ago, Jayne received a package and a letter in the mail. In the letter, an unknown woman explained that the package was a doll she had once purchased. The doll, who she had named Peggy, had caused strange paranormal activity in the woman’s home. The lady wrote that she hoped Jayne’s expertise would shed some light on Peggy and her abilities.
Intrigued, Jayne began conducting various experiments with the doll. Part of her investigation included taking several photographs and videos of Peggy and posting them to her website. Within a few hours, Jayne was shocked to see that numerous fans of her website had written her comments and emails, claiming that the footage of Peggy was making them feel ill.Many complained of severe migraines, and nausea. One poor woman even claims that she suffered from a heart attack minutes after looking at a photo of Peggy.
Over time, Jayne hired a few mediums to come visit the doll. Most agreed that after holding Peggy in their arms, they could discern an extremely sad spirit trapped within the doll. One woman even told Jayne that she sensed that the spirit that dwelled within the doll had once been someone who had died during the holocaust. Today, Jayne continues to run various experiments with Peggy, and is constantly amazed at what the haunted doll can do.
2. Joliet – The Doll of Death
The story of Joliet goes back several generations. One day, a husband and wife discovered they were pregnant with their first child. Excited beyond belief, the woman shared the news with her best friend. The friend pretended to be happy for the couple, but was privately seething in jealousy. She had been trying to get pregnant for years, without any luck. Driven by envy, the friend found a doll that was said to be cursed and gave it to the pregnant woman as a gift.
Nine months later, the woman gave birth to a boy. Everything was bliss for two days, but on the third day, the baby boy died, much to the surprise of his doctors. The woman was still grieving the loss of her child when she began to hear the sound of her son’s infant cries emanating from the doll her friend had given her. It shocked her, but she kept her experiences primarily to herself, convinced that nobody would believe her. She and her husband gave birth to a baby girl a few years later.
When that baby grew up, she got married and became pregnant. Her mother gave the doll to her as a gift for the new baby. Everyone was as happy as could be, until the young lady gave birth to a boy, who died three days later. Afterward she confessed to her mother that she had begun to hear her son’s cries in the house. They seemed to be coming from the doll.
For two more generations, each female descendant in the family has given birth to a son, only to watch him suddenly perish three days after being born. Each time, the women have claimed to be tortured by the sounds of their babies crying, stuck in the confines of the doll, Joliet.
3. Ledda – The Abandoned Doll
Kerry Walton’s childhood was spent actively avoiding an abandoned house in his neighborhood of New South Wales, Australia. Every child who lived nearby was convinced that the empty house was haunted. Kerry eventually moved away, but returned to his hometown several years later. While taking a walk in his old neighborhood, Kerry came across the still-abandoned house, and decided to finally explore it.
While walking through, Kerry noticed a couple of floorboards that seemed out of place. Upon further examination, he realized that there was an old, dust covered marionette doll that had been neglected under the floor. Kerry pulled the doll out and began to drive back towards his house. During the drive, he heard a high-pitched voice from the backseat, where he had placed the doll. “Ledda me out!” the doll had cried. Shocked and amazed, Kerry decided to call the doll Ledda.
4. Annabelle – Doll of the Evil Spirit
Fans of James Wan’s horror films are likely very familiar with the story of Annabelle , the haunted rag doll. His movies, The Conjuring, and Annabelle take creative liberties, but were both inspired by a real haunted doll. In 1970, a young nurse named Donna received Annabelle from her mother as a gift. Not long after, Donna and her roommate, Angie, began to notice that Annabelle seemed to suddenly appear in different positions than how they usually left her.
Soon, Annabelle began to appear in varying rooms of the apartment. Realizing the doll was somehow moving on her own, the two young ladies hired a psychic to visit the doll. The psychic informed them that there once was a little girl named Annabelle who lived in the complex. She had died there, and seemed to have taken a liking to the doll. Feeling sorry for the dead girl, Donna and Angie told Annabelle’s spirit that she could reside in the doll.
Not long after, things grew very creepy. A dark red substance seemed to ooze out of the doll’s hands for no apparent reason. The final straw was when a friend had crashed on their couch, and had woken up to the doll attempting to strangle him. Donna and Angie realized the spirit of Annabelle was by no means friendly. The nurses eventually got a hold of renowned paranormal specialists, Ed and Lorraine Warren , who keep the doll locked in a special cabinet in their home.
5. Robert – The World’s Most Haunted Doll
The year was 1904 when Robert Eugene Otto received a homemade doll from the family maid. The boy had decided to call the doll Robert, as he always went by his middle name, Eugene. Within a few days after getting the doll, Eugene began to claim that the doll would come to life and would become very destructive. Eugene’s parents would come into his room at night, only to find that his toys had all been destroyed, and the furniture knocked over.
Once Eugene became an adult, he moved out of the house and left Robert behind, in the attic. The house was converted into a bed and breakfast, and the new owners became convinced that Robert would move around at night, chuckling to himself. The doll eventually gained so much notoriety, that he was moved into the Fort East Martello Museum.
Robert the doll is still on display there together with eerie paintings to this day. Museum curators warn visitors that it’s imperative they do not photograph Robert, nor act rude in front of the doll, as he does not like it. Now, the museum gets hundreds of letters each year, addressed to Robert. Previous visitors write sincere apologies to the doll, for acting rudely in his presence. What Robert does to them as punishment is not something most people are willing to learn firsthand.
Indeed, Stranger than Fiction
I really enjoy the scarestreet short articles they send by email. I just finished reading a Sara Clancy Triology and of couse I have most of Ron Ripley ‘s works. Creepy entertainment is for sure !
I have a porcelain doll that has music box in it that will just start playing. Everyone says the doll creeps them out. No one wants the doll near them.
Thank you so very much for providing me with much needed kindling for the imaginitve effort of story creation. I consider myself an unfulfilled writing talent, and I am compelled to press on with my writings. At times I become sluggish, even trapped within a malaise of broken ideas, and half finished tales. Your current delivery unto my mail box has excited and enticed my creative river. For too long I have been jammed and suppressed, but now I begin to flow once more as a torrent of ideas has begun to swell the river driving a flood of new dreams.
Loved these…tyvm!!!! Bring us more haunted doll stories…Please!!!
I love reading about haunted dolls, spirits and paranormal activity.
I’ve seen photos of that god awful Ledda doll and even its pictures creep me out. No wonder people who had the misfortune to actually meet it were uneasy. And for the Joliet doll, if the story is true, why do they keep passing it down? They should just bury it somewhere or something.
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24 scariest haunted dolls you do not want in your home
- ⬝ Oct19,2020
- ⇄ Aug24,2023
Real Haunted Dolls are a very popular subject because there are so many victim reports that have bad experiences with haunted dolls from all over the world. Several stores sell haunted dolls, and some people have a vast collection of haunted dolls. Such dolls include Robert the Doll, Amanda, Pupa the Haunted Doll, Mandy the Doll and the famous Annabelle Doll currently showcased in the Ed and Lorraine Warrens’ Occult Museum. Besides these famous names, there are so many others that haunt people terribly.
1 | Robert – The Evil Talking Doll
Robert the Doll is said to be one of the most haunted dolls in history. The museum where he currently lives claims that Robert moves around at night on his own and follows you around with his beady eyes. One of the museum rules is, if you don’t ask Robert for permission before taking a photo, he will cause misfortune in your life for disrespecting him.
2 | Annabelle – The Haunted Doll
In 1970, a mother purchased an antique Raggedy Anne doll as a present for her daughter Donna on her birthday. Pleased with the doll, Donna placed it on her bed as a decoration. With time, she noticed something very strange and creepy about the doll. The doll apparently moved on its own and even changed its position and much worse, would be found in a completely different room from which it was placed.
Donna later seeks the advice of a priest who then contacted expert paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, who after visiting Donna, took the ragdoll with them when they left. Annabelle’s antics were so bad, she is now locked inside a protective glass case in an occult museum to keep her at bay. It is still reported that Annabelle somehow manages to turn up in the strangest of places.
Even though she lives in a glass case, Annabelle is still responsible for many deaths. Years ago, a teenage boy and his girlfriend visited the museum in Ohio, where Annabelle resided. The boy insulted the doll, slamming her case, saying how it’s bullshit, he was then kicked out. The boy and girl got on a motorcycle and left. As they were driving, the boy lost control of his bike and slammed into a tree, he died on impact, but his girlfriend survived without a scratch. Right before they crashed, they were laughing about the doll.
3 | Okiku – The Haunted Japanese Doll
According to modern Japanese folklore, in 1918, a teenager named Eikichi Suzuki purchased a large doll from Hokkaido for his younger sister, Okiku, who gave the doll her name. When Okiku died, her family came to believe that Okiku’s spirit was inhabiting the doll and the hair on the doll was growing. The doll resides in Mannenji Temple in Hokkaido, where it is claimed that a priest regularly trims Okiku’s still-growing hair.
4 | Letta The Doll – The Gipsy Doll That Cries Out “Letta Me Out!”
Kerry Walton, of Brisbane, Australia has appeared on a number of television programs with a doll he claims to have found while visiting an abandoned building in 1972 in Wagga Wagga, Australia. According to Walton, he named the doll “Letta Me Out” because of its supposedly supernatural characteristics. Kerry claims that people have seen the doll move in front of them, and that the doll has left visible scuff marks around the house. Currently, Letta Me Out is owned by Kerry in Warwick, Queensland.
5 | Pupa – The Haunted Doll With Real Human Hair
According to stories published on the internet, Pupa is a doll said to “contain the spirit” of a dead Italian girl. Pupa the Doll was made in the likeness of her owner, a young girl in Italy in the 19203. Pupa became that little girl’s best friend and secret keeper, until the end of her life in 2005. Since then, Pupa has been kept in a display cabinet, which she does not seem to like at all. They often find the doll positioned differently than where they left her. The family who now owns Pupa says objects in the display case where she is kept are frequently moved around. On several occasions, they have heard a tapping on the glass of the case. Upon hearing the noise, they look to find Pupa’s hands pressed against the glass.
6 | Mandy – The Cracked Face Doll
Made in England or Germany between 1910 and 1920, Mandy is a porcelain baby doll donated to the Quesnel Museum in British Columbia in 1991. Mandy is also said to have supernatural powers. It is claimed that Mandy’s eyes follow visitors as they walk in the room. The doll gained notoriety when it appeared alongside the curator and donor of the doll on the Montel Williams Show.
7 | The Pulau Ubin Barbie Doll
The German Girl Shrine, also known as Berlin Heilingtum, is situated on the island of Pulau Ubin and is one of the most unconventional shrines in Singapore, dedicated to an unnamed German girl who is worshipped as a local deity. An altar is placed within a hardwood structure that was built in the place of a small yellow hut to honour her memory, where visitors pay tribute to the unnamed German girl by leaving behind an array of items like candles, fruits, perfumes, nail polish, and lipstick as offerings.
Inside the hut, there is a cross and a cased barbie doll placed at the altar. Though, numerous stories surround the origin of the German Girl Shrine, the most widely believed one is that during World War I an 18-year old German girl jumped to her death in a bid to run away from the British forces who were rounding up German families on the island. Locals and travellers pay their tribute to the memory of the young German girl whose body was found by the coffee plantation workers.
8 | The Doll That Aged
When dolls age they tend to look quite creepy: hair falls out, colour fades, cracks appear and, at times, the eyes go missing. It’s a natural process that comes with time and neglect. But this doll is different. A couple, who had children, one birthday or Christmas they bought their young daughter a doll. Although the doll had been well played with it was still in a rather good condition when it was placed in an attic and forgotten about. Eleven years later, the family was having a cleanout of the attic when they stumbled across this rather odd-looking doll. The doll was wrinkled and aged like a person does, though much more rapidly. Therefore, it has led many to believe it to be a haunted living doll.
9 | The Peruvian Anabelle
The Nunez Family, who live in EL Callao, Peru, claim to have suffered seven years of misery at the hands of a “possessed angelic-looking doll” since it was given to them as a gift. They usually see strange lights, hear weird noises in the house and the doll apparently moves around the house on its own. And the most strange thing is that the bizarre scratches which often appear on their children. The blue-eyed doll has been dubbed the ‘Peruvian Anabelle’ by netizens.
10 | The Cookie Monster Doll And The Elmo Doll
In the 1980s, many reports of children having nightmares, brought on by sleeping with a cookie monster doll. What got people worried about this was not because the children were having nightmares, but that all the nightmares were the same. They would wake up in their bed in the dark, and see a man in the shadows staring at them. Over the years, this happened less and less, however, children with Elmo Dolls are now experiencing these nightmares.
The furry red Elmo Doll is one of the most successful toys ever sold. Talking Elmo Dolls have been a must-have holiday gift since the first one was sold in 1996. Early Elmos giggled when they were tickled. They acquired larger vocabularies as the years went on. But that doesn’t explain the ‘Elmo Knows Your Name’ doll purchased by the Bowman family in 2008 for their two-year-old son James. ‘Elmo Knows Your Name’ was programmed to speak its owner’s name along with a few other phrases. But when the Bowmans changed Elmo’s batteries, he started ad-libbing. In a sing-songy voice, the doll chanted “Kill James.” Not something any parent is likely to find endearing.
11 | Charley – The Haunted Doll
Charley was first discovered in the attic of an old Victorian home in upstate New York in 1968. Charley was locked away inside a trunk with newspapers dating back to the 1930s and a yellowed piece of paper that had the Lord’s Prayer written on it. The family placed the figurine on display with their other dolls and toys. Soon, however, Charley seemed to move on its own, swapping places with the other toys.
Not long thereafter, the family’s youngest daughter claimed that Charley spoke to her in the middle of the night. The parents dismissed the claim, chalking it up to their daughter’s overactive imagination. But the little girl and her siblings were terrified of Charley; they refused to go near it. When mysterious scratches appeared on the little girl’s body, the family decided to lock Charley back up in the attic trunk. Charley now resides at Local Artisan, a Beverly, Massachusetts oddities shop just minutes away from Salem. Swing by and say hello!
12 | Ruby – The Haunted Doll
Like a few of the dolls on this list, Ruby could never stay in one place at a time. Its owners often found the doll in different rooms of the house. What’s more, picking up Ruby induced feelings of sadness and nausea.
According to its former owners, Ruby was passed down from generation to generation. The doll’s spooky origin traces back many years ago to a young family relative, who was said to have passed away while clutching the figurine. After jumping between different family members, Ruby has now found her forever home at The Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and the Occult, where visitors often feel an overwhelming feeling of sorrow from the doll.
13 | Mercy – The Haunted Evil Doll
The haunted evil doll Mercy is said to be possessed by the spirit of a seven-year-old girl and remains haunted due to its presence. Several unusual happenings surrounded the doll and many owners reported that the doll changes the positions of its own and the radio or television station changes when the doll is around.
14 | Amanda
Amanda was considered to be a doll with a lonely spirit who was sold more than 10 times without staying in the same place for long. Many believed that the doll brought bad luck and others reported that the doll made unusual noises and tends to change its positions of her own.
Peggy was believed to be haunted that triggers headaches and chest pain and has an effect on those who have never ever been around her. The videos and photos of the doll caused many to suffer from anxiety, headaches and other mental disorders and it also resulted in a heart attack to a woman after viewing the online videos of the doll.
16 | The Blindfolded Doll
With its name unknown, the doll was commonly known as the “Blindfolded Doll” with its eyes covered by a blindfold. The reports about the ability of the doll to move around of its own, moving its head from side to side and that it speaks in an adult woman’s voice altogether left the doll haunted. However, many believed that whoever lifted the blindfold was indeed followed by the creepiness of the doll.
17 | Caroline
This haunted porcelain doll is said to be haunted by three spirits and was found at a Massachusetts antique shop. In regards to the spirits, they fight for control of the doll, often acting as one entity. While this may sound bad, it is believed that the spirits that currently possess Caroline were actually the former owners of the doll and that they are actually benevolent.
Caroline reportedly never harms her owners, but instead, she plays harmless pranks on them. She would do things like hiding books behind the bookshelves or put unlit candles in the oven while it was off, and she would purposefully misplace objects. many believe that when you hold the Caroline doll up to your ear, it may start talking and whispering to you.
18 | Christina – The Peaceful Haunted Doll
“Christiana, The Peaceful Haunted Doll” was bought on eBay over 4 years ago and she still has a few haunted tricks up sleeves. If you look closely at her eyes, you can see that something paranormal is going on. Christina loves having her pictures taken but when she has had enough, then watch out! The series of photos of her will start to change as you see the ghost inside her manifest itself. At times, she just sits peacefully in her chair, at other times she will be found out of her little chair and onto the floor. She also changes positions or she is slumped to one side of the chair as if asleep. If you brush the knots out of her hair, it gets tangled the very next day. It seems that Christina likes watching television.
19 | Joliet – Haunted Doll
Joliet is a strange doll that belongs to a woman named Anna. Joliet has been in Anna’s family for four generations. A friend of the family gave Joliet to Anna’s great grandmother as a baby shower gift when she was expecting a child. However, this friend was not a true friend; she harboured envy and malice, though it is unclear why.
The doll brought a curse into the family, and therefore, negative things began to take place. The curse would dictate that each woman, starting with Anna’s great grandmother, would have one boy and one girl. Each boy would die soon after being born, while the daughter would grow up to perpetuate the curse. This is exactly what happened over and again in a series. First, to Anna’s great grandmother, then to Anna’s grandmother, mother, and ultimately her. She too had a boy that died three days old.
The doll is currently said to possess four spirits, and the family refuses to part with it. They can now hear multiple cries coming from Joliet, and they truly believe the spirits of those four children are in Joliet. They will continue to care for the doll as a part of the family, and Anna’s daughter will one day inherit Joliet, who will wait patiently for her next victim.
20 | Katza – The Cursed Russian Dol
Katja is a cursed doll! This name was given by Tsar Mistresses in Russia in 1730. A mistress was pregnant and wished for a baby boy; the opposite happened and the baby girl was burnt alive. It was said that the baby girl had some defects.
When this happened, the baby’s mom made a doll from the baby’s ashes and mixed the same with ceramic and porcelain. After that, all generations have guarded the doll because they believe it’s cursed. Some people say that when you stare at it for 20 seconds, it blinks at you. In fact, this is a sign of something bad happening. The doll was up for sale on eBay but soon, the company closed the thread because some weird incidents were reported.
21 | Emilia – The Haunted Italian Doll
This over 100-year-old haunted doll came originally from one of the royal guards to King Umberto I. Umberto I was the King of Italy from 9 January 1878 until his death on July 29, 1900. He was deeply loathed in left-wing circles, especially among anarchists, because of his hard-line conservatism and support of the Bava Beccaris massacre in Milan. He was killed by anarchist Gaetano Bresci one year after the incident. He was the only King of Italy to be assassinated. This doll named Emilia was said to be given to Ulvado Bellina one of his most trusted and respected friends and personal Captain of the Royal Guard who was also assassinated. Then Emilia was sent as a gift to Ulvado’s daughter Marie from Humbert I.
The doll survived WWI and WWII only losing both her arms and scalp in the second war to a bomb on a train to Udine, Italy. Because she was a prized gift to Marie Bellina from the king no matter what condition she was in, the doll was rescued from the rubble. And from that day on, she was haunted by the soul of the woman who died trying to rescue herself and the doll for Marie as they fled the explosion. Emilia the Haunted Doll is said to open and close her eyes, and her soundbox is still heard at times in the darkness of the night crying for its mama. Though her original voice box no longer works. Marie loved this doll so much she even named her daughter Emilia.
22 | Harold – The First Haunted Doll Ever Sold On eBay
The man who sold this doll on eBay was petrified by its presence. He had bought it at a flea market from a desolate father who wanted to sell the doll because he believed it was responsible for his son’s death. He was warned that the doll was ‘eerie’ but he didn’t believe until he lost his cat, his girlfriend and started suffering from chronic migraines. He kept it in an armadillo coffin in his basement for a year from where he could hear the laughing and crying of a baby. He also claimed that the doll seemed to have a pulse. The doll has changed several hands by now. Beware when you’re shopping online!
23 | The Voodoo Zombie Doll That Attacked Its Owner Several Times
One must listen to the directions of the salesman when buying something, especially when buying a haunted doll. A woman in Texas learnt this the hard way. She bought a haunted voodoo doll on eBay and not taking the warning seriously, took it out of its coffin. She was attacked by the doll and severely injured. she hurriedly put it back in its place but to no avail. Her attempts to sell the doll or burn it were a failure. She would find it sitting in the living room at night, making weird noises. Several attacks later, she called for a priest who blessed the doll and locked it up in her basement.
24 | Smoking Demon Doll
In 2014, residents in Jurong West reported sightings of a demonic doll at the void deck of a block of HDB flats. Only one grainy picture ever provided proof of these sightings and it’s already giving major evil spirit vibes.
It’s hard to pick up anything other than its horns, tufts of jet black hair, squarish jaw and strange sitting position. People who saw it claimed it was holding a cigarette in its hand. Residents haven’t seen it again since that one incident. Maybe it left its lepak spot after a good smoking session. That could explain the vague smile on its face.
The Doll Island
Just south of Mexico City, between the canals of Xochimilco, there’s a small island that was never meant to be a tourist destination, but through tragedy has become one. Legend has it that a girl was found drowned under mysterious circumstances on the island, and to quell her spirit thousands of dolls found their way to the island. There are severed limbs, decapitated heads and blank eyes that just stare at you. The rumour has it that she inhabits the dolls, so it’s not odd to see them opening their eyes or moving.
7 spooky science stories that will have you hiding behind the couch
To unmask the hidden science of Halloween, we've made these seven premium articles free to read for a week. Enjoy... if you dare!
By New Scientist
25 October 2023
Halloween as it is celebrated today takes its roots from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which means “summer’s end” in modern Irish. Dating back to the Neolithic period 6000 years ago , this celebration traditionally marked halfway between the northern hemisphere’s autumn equinox – the date when the length of daylight and darkness is roughly the same – and the winter solstice, the day with the fewest hours of light. This usually fell around 31 October. On this day, the Celts believed that the boundary between the living and the dead was thinnest, allowing the spirits of the departed to visit the living. To scare off these rogue spirits, they would light bonfires and wear costumes made of animal skins and heads .
Today you’re as likely to find Halloween revellers dressed up as movie stars and cartoon characters as ghastly ghouls and goblins. But our curious fascination with horror, fright and the boundary between life and death seems to grow each year – not to mention our interest in increasingly sophisticated haunted houses and elaborate pumpkin carving techniques .
Unmask the hidden science of Halloween with the premium articles below, and discover why humans love horror, what drives our belief of an afterlife, the rotten mysteries of the corpse flower and much more. Mwahahaha.
Why almost everyone believes in an afterlife – even atheists
Most people hold curiously similar ideas about life after death, suggesting there is more to it than religion, fear or an inability to imagine not existing
Scientists studied a ‘haunted house’ to understand why we love horror
To understand why many of us enjoy being scared, a team of scientists studied the people visiting a haunted house set in a dilapidated factory
Why the line between life and death is now more blurred than ever
Brains resurrected after death, communications with people in comas and advances in cryogenics all suggest that life's end is less final than we thought
The surprising evolutionary history of pumpkins and squashes
Shops are stocking up on pumpkins for Halloween. While I haven't always been a fan of squashes, I've been charmed by how such unlikely fruits came to spread worldwide, says Penny Sarchet
Nightmare Fuel review: The psychology that underpins horror films
Scary movies really get under our skin, but why is this the case and how do film-makers know what will scare us? A new book has some interesting answers
Ball lightning is so strange it might just come from another dimension
Mysterious floating orbs of light have puzzled scientists for centuries, inspiring no end of creative explanations. A new idea suggests they aren't entirely of this world
The strange plant that just might be the worst smell on the planet
Corpse flowers rarely bloom but if one does when you’re nearby you’ll know about it. Though many botanical gardens have their own corpse flowers, the plant's mysteries still abound
More from New Scientist
Explore the latest news, articles and features
The scariest sci-fi horror movies for Halloween, chosen by an expert
The best new science fiction books of october 2023, ghostwatch interview: writer of cult paranormal tv show tells all.
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11 Bone-Chilling Experiences From People Who Survived Living In Haunted Houses
"The one terrifying memory I have is one night when I was 8 years old. I laid awake for hours most nights, listening to the ghost's steps that would approach my door and then pace back down the hall. This night, for whatever reason, I got really frustrated and yelled, 'Just go away! Now!' The steps stopped at my door, it opened slightly, and the pillow under my head was yanked furiously and thrown completely across the room."
Recently, I asked the BuzzFeed Community to share their stories about living in a haunted house.
Here are 11 of the creepy and scary experiences they shared:, 1. "my husband and i used to live in a 100-year-old, hand-built craftsman home. any time we would change something (paint, hang pictures, etc.), we would hear footsteps, doors slamming, and glass breaking and find our things moved around. neither one of us ever felt 'alone' in the house either. however, it never felt scary or dangerous until we started having marital problems.".
"Long story short, after an incident, I asked my husband to leave, and he went to stay with his parents for a few days. It was really looking like we were headed for divorce.
One day, he came to the house to get some of his things. We were standing in the kitchen talking before he was going to leave, and the lights flickered and the back door slammed. We heard heavy footsteps RUNNING up and down the basement stairs, followed by a bunch of crashing noises. It was the first time that I felt true terror being in that house.
We both checked the basement, and there was no one there, but we could hear the noises continuing upstairs. I burst into tears and told him I did not feel safe staying in the house alone. He said he would stay over and sleep in the guest room, and as soon as he said that, the noises stopped.
We ended up going to counseling and working things out. Eight years later, and we're still married, have two kids, and are happier than ever. That darn ghost saved my marriage."
2. "I spent my childhood in south Louisiana in a home just off the Bayou Teche with a ghost. My 83-year-old mother lives there to this day. We often saw a translucent young man walking slowly across the front window and through the yard. Lamps and radios turned themselves on and off all hours of the night. The worst growing up was the heavy boot steps that were up and down the long back hallway of the house leading to the addition that held my bedroom."
"My parents were far too poor to consider moving five kids to another house, so their solution was to always be really frank and calm about what was happening and that it couldn't hurt us.
The one terrifying memory I have is one night when I was 8 years old. I laid awake for hours most nights listening to the ghost's steps that would approach my door and then pace back down the hall. This night, for whatever reason, I got really frustrated and yelled, 'Just go away! Now!' The steps stopped at my door, it opened slightly, and the pillow under my head was yanked furiously and thrown completely across the room. I still remember the feeling of the fabric being pulled against my cheek. Crying and screaming ensued, and my parents ran into calm me. Not much sleep was had that night."
3. "After both of my grandparents had passed, my 6-year-old son and I moved into their home. It has been in our family since the 1960s. On our first night staying in the house, I was walking down the stairs, and my son was waiting at the bottom. He looked up at me and asked, 'Who is that guy behind you?'"
"I whipped around and didn't see anything. I asked what he meant, and he just stared for a few seconds then said, 'Never mind.'
As soon as he said 'guy,' I knew who he was talking about. I had an uncle who was 16 when I was born. When I was about a year old, he shot himself in my grandparent's room and passed. He had friends with him at the time, and they said he was playing Russian roulette, but we will never really know what happened.
Anyway, one of the wildest coincidences is that my son and my deceased uncle share the same birthday. Our kitchen door opens on occasion, but other than that, my uncle has been fairly quiet the last several years."
4. "I lived with my mom and grandmother in a house outside of Gettysburg, PA (technically Cashtown) and SUPER close to all the spooky stuff. My grandparents built their house on a mountain in 2000. There was nothing on the land before, but being so close to Gettysburg, it's not surprising that we still had creepy stuff happening in our house."
"One time, I went to the kitchen to get a soda and went back to my room in the basement (there were five bedrooms upstairs, but the vibes upstairs were OFF and mom and I refused to sleep up there). I set my drink on my desk and went to take my dog out. When I came back inside, my drink was gone. I looked all over my room, went back to the kitchen, but couldn't find it anywhere. I figured I was losing it and went to take a shower, and when I opened the curtain...my drink was IN THE SHOWER.
Another time, I was sleeping (I am a HEAVY sleeper...I've slept through fire alarms...I don't wake up easily) and heard my name whispered, which woke me from a dead sleep. On multiple occasions, my mom had seen 'me' walk by her...and when I actually entered the room, she looked at me like I'd grown three heads, convinced that I'd been in the room long enough to have a conversation.
Another time my grandma saw 'me' sitting at the kitchen table at 4 a.m....just sitting...not reading or on my phone...just a creepy silhouette with the stove light on...I was not awake. My mom also got home from work (like 4 p.m., so sunny and bright) and said I was in the backyard and didn't answer when she called down to me. She figured I had headphones or something in and went inside and found me passed out on the couch and shook me awake, asking why I was messing with her.
All around creepy place. ESPECIALLY since SOMETHING kept impersonating me, which isn't always a great omen, but at least I never saw MYSELF."
5. "I lived in a typical 'haunted' house as a young woman. All the usual bumps in the night, footsteps on the stairs, doors and cabinets opening seemingly on their own. I just kind of got used to it. One day, I was standing at my kitchen sink and looked over my left shoulder to see what I can only describe as a glitch in the matrix. I saw my living room, but it wasn't how I knew it."
"People were milling about the fireplace as if a party was going on. Someone went to set down a cup on the mantle and missed the edge.
Just as the cup came crashing down to the floor, the scene changed back to my modern-day living room setup. It was bizarre, to say the least, and still after over 20 years, I have difficulty truly explaining exactly what I saw for a moment in time."
6. "The house I grew up in was haunted (IDK why, I think it might have been more so attached to a physical object than the house itself), which included full-blown apparitions, hearing people talk (including once a child calling my name), and slight poltergeist-like activity, including objects disappearing and later reappearing, loud noises, and shouting at night."
"I mostly was afraid because it's that feeling of never being alone and not knowing what their intentions were. There were times I would be home alone at night and hear people having a conversation, and I was scared because I wasn't sure if it was just the ghosts or if people had broken in."
7. "I've lived in our haunted house for about 22 years. Mum deals with the ghost the most. They really like walking on our flat roof. At first, we thought it was animals or people. Nope. You hear very distinct human footfalls, but when we go check no one is there. It freaks the cats out something fierce."
8. "I have so so so many stories. I lived in a very active haunted house from the age of 6–22. You could not go more than a few days without seeing someone who wasn't there on the steps or in window reflections, seeing things moving, hearing someone run the hallway and steps, hearing voices calling your name when home alone, or hearing voices in another room, only to open the door and find the room empty."
"I saw the first apparition when I was six. A woman in white followed my mom into her bedroom.
The last experience I had there was the night before we moved out. Activity had been high all week, but that last night, I saw the man on the steps. I smiled at him and said, 'I'll miss you guys' as I walked up the steps.
I could fill pages with what myself, my family, and my friends experienced in that house. I still miss it sometimes."
9. "I grew up in a haunted house, but it was pretty mild. We would see what looked like human-shaped smoke clouds, especially in my room, the living room, and the kitchen. There were also times I'd see a bearded man looking at me through my doorway, and I would think my dad was home when he was not. On two occasions, I was sitting on the floor and felt hands holding my legs down. The most memorable incident, however, was when I was trying to pour myself a cup of water and something kept pushing the cup away when I tried."
"After the third time, I told it to stop, and it pushed the cup toward me, and that was the end of it."
10. "I currently live in a haunted house and really, it's great. Our ghost, who we have several names for (Salty Ghosty, Salty One, S.G.) is honestly cool. I think he's just lonely. Someone did die in our home 20 years ago, and he never seemed to leave."
"He's pretty inactive spring through early fall and makes himself known again by slamming our bedroom door. He moves specific figures around in the TV room. He also likes messing with the blinds. But when he's feeling salty and moody, that's when he messes with the doors. So, I talk out loud, and he settles down. It's never felt malicious; it's never felt evil. I just think he's not ready to move on just yet, so we're not forcing him to. One cat really likes him, too, LOL. So we have a chill ghost.
I have always told him that when he's ready to move on, move the fan pin on my shelf, and I will make it happen."
11. And finally: "The house I grew up in was haunted. The biggest event happened when I was in middle school. My sister and I were having a sleepover, and we usually all slept in the living room since we had a big sectional couch. At the time, my mom was working nights at a casino, so she wasn't home yet when we went to bed. When we woke up the next morning, my dad asked us why we left all the downstairs lights on. This was weird because we had several overhead lights in our house, and when they were all on, they lit up the whole downstairs. When we had sleepovers, we tended to leave the oven light on for mom or dad if they were coming home late from work, but not the over head lights. We explained that we hadn't, but our dad said when mom got home that night, they were all on. We kind of just forgot about it until a few days later. Our dad was reading the paper one morning when he said, 'Holy shit!' and started reading one of the obituaries."
"The women who had owned the house before us had passed away a few days ago — the same night that my mom said all the downstairs lights were left on. My dad says she came home to visit.
After that, we had other things happen. Footsteps in the hall, doors swinging open, lights flickering. Her name was Mrs. Swanson, so every time something happened that we couldn't explain, we said it was Mrs. Swanson saying hello."
Which story did you find the most frightening? Do you have any similar ones? Share your own experiences in the comments!
Some entries have been edited for length/clarity.
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3 Real Haunted Doll Stories
In this story collection, we will be covering a handful of real haunted doll stories – these little bundles of joy are not the type of bedtime companions you’ll want your kids to snuggle up with…
Robert the Possessed Doll
Probably the most famous haunted doll of them all – the extremely creepy Robert! If this name isn’t familiar to you already I highly suggest you take a look at the full Robert the doll story. Possibly one of the most talked-about dolls with a grim story – this is one you can actually visit and is on the bucket list of more than a few ghost hunters.
There are two versions of this story that seem to end up in the same place – one involves a boy named Robert Gene Otto receiving the doll of a Bahamian girl who knew the doll had a voodoo past, whilst the other involves the same boy receiving the doll of his grandfather (a gift from Germany).
Either way – the doll was pretty messed up!
Robert became so obsessed with the strange doll that he gave it his own first name, he then began using his middle name (Gene) so that the doll could keep his own identity.
Whenever Gene was in trouble with his parents he would always blame his close doll friend Robert – the pair of them remained together even in Gene’s adult years.
When Gene eventually died, his wife finally took the chance to get rid of the creepy doll – she locked it in a chest, in the attic of their elaborate house.
She eventually decided to sell the house – but Robert did not go with her.
Myrtle Reuter became Robert’s new owner and she kept the doll for several years until she donated him to a museum. She informed the museum that the doll was an extremely ‘special’ object.
Letta the Doll
Paranormal incidents seemed to follow the doll around almost instantly – when he was driving back home with his hoard of discovered oddities, he noticed the bag containing the doll rustling and moving.
Over the next few weeks, he was convinced that the facial expressions of the doll were changing at a daily rate…and pets seemed to shy away from it.
From the moment he brought Letta into the house – his kids started to wake frequently with night terrors.
Kerry eventually decided that enough was enough – he was going to get the doll out of the house once and for all. He found someone interested in it and drove it to the new owner…but he never reached that destination.
For some reason Kerry felt an unnatural urge to keep the doll as he drove it to its new home – he just couldn’t let go of it!
He returned home with the doll and decided to learn more about it.
He found an expert on antique dolls in a nearby museum who dated the doll at over 200 years old. This expert also informed Kerry that the doll originated from Eastern Europe.
An Australian psychic also took an interest in the doll, and after examining it, informed Kerry that the doll was made by a man who was grief-stricken because his son had drowned.
The doll was supposed to act as a spiritual vessel for his dead son’s soul…
Annabelle the Possessed Doll
The famous Raggedy Ann doll is now under lock and key in Lorraine Warren’s paranormal museum.
The original owner of Annabelle hired a psychic to look into the paranormal activity surrounding it. This psychic concluded that the doll was possessed by the spirit of a dead girl named Annabelle Higgins .
When the Warrens became involved in the case they claimed that this ‘Annabelle Higgins spirit’ was actually demonic.
The original owner was convinced that the doll attempted to kill her boyfriend as he slept by strangling him. She also claimed that the doll would somehow manage to leave written notes on scraps of paper around the apartment.
The paranormal museum where it is now kept has a warning nailed below its locked glass casing – Warning, positively do not open .
Obsessed by ghost hunting and all things paranormal. Chris spends a lot of time (some would say too much time ) investigating ghosts and spirits and documenting stories and paranormal communication. He teaches aspiring ghost hunters in the Paranormal Academy .
Haunted Dolls: Unraveling the Mystery, Legends, and Curses
Author: Radu Razvan
Published: February 21, 2023 / Updated: March 2, 2023
This page may contain links to products/services. Ancient Theory may earn a commission on sales made through these links.
- What is a Haunted Doll?
- How Can a Doll Become Haunted
- Can Toys Come to Life?
- Haunted Dolls in Popular Culture
- The Curse of Robert the Doll
- How to Cleanse a Haunted Doll
For centuries, haunted dolls have been associated with everything from witchcraft to possession, making them a fascinating subject of study and speculation.
But what exactly is a haunted doll? How can they become possessed, and is there a way to cleanse them?
This article will explore the world of haunted dolls, delving into their history, legends, and infamous tales.
A haunted doll is an object thought to be possessed by a supernatural entity, spirit, or energy.
Haunted dolls have been the subject of fascination and fear for many, as their origins can be traced back to ancient times.
However, the belief in haunted dolls is often associated with animism, an archaic concept that claims inanimate objects may possess a soul or spirit.
Haunted dolls are characterized by a range of unusual behaviors, such as moving or changing position on their own, making strange noises, or giving off a sense of negative energy.
In extreme cases, haunted dolls may even carry the ability to cause harm or bring bad luck to those who come into contact with them.
Despite their reputation, haunted dolls are sought after by collectors and paranormal enthusiasts.
Some believe that the dolls possess a unique energy or power that makes them invaluable for spiritual purposes, while others are drawn to the eerie beauty and dark history of these objects.
There are numerous theories and beliefs about how a doll can become haunted.
Some believe that the spirit of a deceased person can attach itself to an object, while others propose that negative energies can be bound to a doll through intentional or unintentional means.
According to one common theory, a doll can become haunted if created with negative energy or used for dark magic or witchcraft. For instance, dolls made with human hair or bones can be particularly susceptible to being haunted.
Similarly, an object (it doesn’t have to be a doll, it can be any object) can become haunted through attachment to a specific person. This can occur if the object was owned by someone incredibly attached to it or if it was associated with a particular event or memory.
Finally, dolls can become haunted through intentional means. This may happen if someone deliberately imbues the object with negative energy or curses it using magic or other paranormal means.
Ultimately, in rare cases, a doll may become haunted when passed down through generations, with each new owner inheriting the energy and memories of the previous owner.
Regardless of how a doll becomes haunted, it is important to protect oneself from the negative energy associated with these objects.
The idea that toys can come to life is a common theme in folklore, literature, and pop culture.
From the traditional story of Pinocchio to the beloved Toy Story franchise, the concept of inanimate objects possessing life-like qualities has captured the imaginations of people of all ages.
While the concept of toys coming to life is largely a work of fiction, there have been some instances where people have reported experiencing strange and unexplainable occurrences with their toys.
For example, some parents have reported that their children’s toys have moved or spoken on their own, leading some to believe that the toys may be possessed by supernatural entities.
While no scientific evidence supports the idea that toys can come to life, some believe that the concept may be rooted in the human desire to connect with the world around us.
For many, toys represent a link to their childhood and a time when the world was full of magic and wonder. In short, we can create a sense of connection and meaning by ingraining toys with human-like qualities.
Haunted dolls have been a popular theme in literature and film for decades.
Horror films such as “Child’s Play” or “Annabelle” have brought into discussion the concept of possessed dolls that are almost impossible to defeat and can cause harm to those they come in contact with.
One of the most famous examples of a haunted doll in popular culture is Annabelle, a porcelain doll with a sinister reputation. According to the story, her mother gave the doll as a gift to a nursing student named Donna in the 1970s.
Soon after receiving the doll, Donna and her roommate Angie began to notice strange occurrences – the doll moving on its own, bizarre notes and messages left around the apartment, strange noises in the middle of the night, etc.
After seeking the help of a medium, the two women were told that the doll was inhabited by the spirit of a young girl named Annabelle Higgins, who had died in the apartment complex where they lived.
Terrified by what might happen, Donna and Angie eventually contacted paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.
They took the doll and locked it away in a special case designed to hold the demonic entity believed to possess Annabelle.
Another famous example of a haunted doll is Robert, a 3-foot-tall figure made of stuffed fabric and painted with human-like characteristics.
According to the horrific story behind Robert, the doll was given to a young boy named Robert Eugene Otto in the early 1900s and soon became the object of his affection.
However, as he grew older, the boy became convinced that Robert was alive and responsible for a series of misfortunes that befell him and his family.
Today, Robert the Doll is considered one of the most haunted dolls in the world, with many people reporting strange occurrences and a dark energy surrounding the object.
Some even believe that the doll is cursed, with those who disrespect it or take its photo without permission suffering a series of misfortunes and bad luck.
Robert the Doll, also known as Robert Eugene Otto’s Doll, is one of the most infamous haunted dolls in the world. Its bizarre story has been told and retold, becoming a staple of local folklore in Key West, Florida.
According to legend, a Bahamian maid who practiced voodoo gave the doll to a young boy named Robert Eugene Otto in the early 1900s.
Soon after receiving the doll, strange things began to happen.
In several instances, the parents heard voices coming from the boy’s room upstairs. However, they found the room empty, and the doll moved to another spot or in a different position than it was left.
As the years went by, Robert became a source of fear and fascination for the Otto family.
In fact, Eugene was convinced that the doll was alive and had a mind of its own, and it was rumored that the Robert would often move on its own, leave its room at night, and even attack people.
When Robert Eugene Otto died in 1974, the doll was left in his family’s estate.
But the story of Robert the Doll doesn’t end here. In fact, it gets even weirder.
A few years later, new owners bought the estate and moved in. And it didn’t take long for this new family to realize that something was wrong with Robert.
They claimed that Robert had caused strange occurrences in their home, such as objects moving on their own and the sound of a child’s laughter in the night.
The doll was eventually donated to the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, where it remains on display to this day.
While under lock and isolated in a glass case, Robert can still spread its dark energies.
Visitors who have seen Robert have reported feeling a strange, harmful vibrancy surrounding the object. Some even claim to have seen the doll move or change facial expressions.
Suppose you are the owner of a haunted doll and are experiencing strange occurrences in your home. In that case, you may wonder how to cleanse the object and remove any negative energy attached to it.
Here are a few tips on how to perform a doll cleansing:
Respect the object: Before cleaning a haunted doll, it is crucial to show the object respect. If you do not treat the object with care, you could anger any spirits attached to it and worsen the situation.
Prepare for the cleansing: Gather the necessary supplies for the purification, which can include sage, salt, holy water, and candles. Set up a safe and quiet space where you can perform the ritual.
Perform the cleansing: Light the sage and let the smoke waft over the doll, paying particular attention to any heavy or hostile areas. Sprinkle salt around the doll’s base and say a prayer or chant to remove negative energy. You can also use holy water to bless the haunted doll.
Leave the doll in a positive space: Once the cleansing is complete, place the doll in a cheerful and well-lit room to dissipate any remaining negative energy. You can also put crystals or other protective items around the object to help keep it free of other entities and spirits that might want to possess it.
While a doll cleansing can help remove demonic and evil spirits from the object, it is essential to remember that some haunted dolls may not be able to be cleansed thoroughly.
If you feel uncomfortable around a certain object or feel the object might be dangerous, it’s best to dispose of it or seek the help of a professional medium, a priest, or a paranormal investigator.
Haunted dolls have long been a source of fascination and fear for people worldwide.
Whether it is due to the dolls themselves or the spirits that may be attached to them, these objects have captured our imaginations and inspired countless stories and legends.
While the idea of a haunted doll may seem like something out of a horror movie, there are many real-life accounts of people experiencing unexplained phenomena related to these objects.
Whether it is the curse of Robert the Doll or the mysterious occurrences surrounding Letta, Okiku, or Pulau Ubin Barbie, haunted dolls have become a staple of paranormal lore.
If you are a collector or are simply curious about haunted dolls, it is important to remember that these objects should be treated with respect and caution.
Always approach them with an open mind, but be mindful of any negative energy attached to them.
Ultimately, the mystery of haunted dolls will likely continue to captivate us for years to come. Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, the allure of these eerie objects and the stories surrounding them is no denying it.
At Ancient Theory we only use trusted sources to document our articles. Such relevant sources include authentic documents, newspaper and magazine articles, established authors, or reputable websites.
- Haunted Dolls: A History. Smithsonian Magazine. smithsonian.com
- The Curse of Robert the Doll. liveabout.com.
- Robert the Doll. wikipedia.org. [ Source ]
- Annabelle. wikipedia.org [ Source ]
- Anuj Tiwari - The World's Most Haunted Doll: Meet Robert The Doll. indiatimes.com.
- The History of Creepy Dolls. smithsonianmag.com.
- James M. R. and Joshi S. T. - The Haunted Dolls' House and Other Ghost Stories: The Complete Ghost Stories. Penguin Publishing, London, 2006.
- James M. R.- Collected Ghost Stories. Oxford University Press, 2011.
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Paranormal Playthings: The World’s Most Famous Haunted Dolls
We're bringing you face-to-face with the most evil dolls in the world.
Even before Chucky and Annabelle hit the big screen, many people professed a deep-seated mistrust of a very particular childhood staple: dolls. These misgivings are not without cause. According to the Smithsonian Magazine , when dolls became more lifelike in the 19th century, they wandered into the uncanny valley : a gray area in which something that looks almost human evokes a negative response. Dolls, with their vacant stare and human-esque physique, certainly fit the bill. Beyond that, humans have managed to attach a myriad of cultural rituals and folklore to dolls. With that in mind, here are 6 dolls who’ve somehow gone above and beyond with their creep factor and garnered international fame for being haunted.
Photo by: screenshot via Discovery, Inc.
screenshot via Discovery, Inc.
The story of Annabelle became infamous with the release of The Conjuring and Annabelle films. The real Annabelle is a Raggedy Ann doll that, while much less sinister in appearance, made quite a name for itself in the 1970s. Annabelle was given to a nursing student, Donna, by her mother. Donna, and her roommate Angie would often return home to discover that the doll had changed positions and or moved rooms. They’d also find handwritten notes scrawled onto parchment paper asking for help. In their book, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren indicate that the behavior went on for nearly a year before they became involved and ultimately took Annabelle into their care. In late 2020, rumors began to circulate that Annabelle had escaped the Warren’s Occult Museum, a panic that was eventually assuaged when the Warren’s son posted a picture of Annabelle safely in her case.
Photo by: screenshot via Beyond Science/YouTube
screenshot via Beyond Science/YouTube
As the story goes , Okiku was purchased by a young man sometime around 1918 in Japan, as a gift for his younger sister. Tragically, after a year, the little girl passed away from a severe case of the flu. The family created a shrine in her memory, placing the large doll on display. Sometime later, they noticed the doll’s hair, which had originally been cut in a short bob, had grown past its shoulders. When the family moved in 1938, they entrusted the doll to the care of the Mennenji Temple in Hokkaido, where caretakers continue to maintain Okiku and her ever-growing hair.
Photo by: Zak Bagan's Haunted Museum
Zak Bagan's Haunted Museum
Now residing at Zak Bagans of Ghost Adventures’ Haunted Museum, “Lilly '' was made during the 1800’s in Germany, and features real human hair. According to the museum’s Facebook post , she was discovered by an antiques dealer, who took her home but, “began having recurring nightmares about “a little girl who had a very bad accident”. She was subsequently put up for sale at the antique shop. On one occasion, a customer’s little girl spoke to the doll for 3 hours, interacting with her like a fellow child. She informed the proprietor that “’Lilly’ was a little girl that had been subjected to “extreme violence.” When first encountering the doll, Bagans reported that he felt an “immense energy” radiating from the figurine.
Robert the Doll
[Screenshot via VisitFlorida.com/Youtube]
Robert came to the Otto family of Key West, Florida in the early 1900’s as a gift to their youngest son Robert Eugene Otto. The boy and doll became inseparable, with the child often laying blame for his misdeeds on the doll. The family alleged that the toy often seemed to change positions of its own accord. They also claimed that when their son was alone in his room, they could hear him conversing with the doll, and the doll responding in a completely different voice. After Eugene’s death in 1974, Robert was given to the East Martello Museum . Visitors who have taken his picture without permission claim to have experienced terrible misfortune as a result of their transgressions. Robert is surrounded by letters of apology and admiration.
Photo by: screenshot via Channel of Cursed Object/YouTube
screenshot via Channel of Cursed Object/YouTube
Ruby is a porcelain doll with a penchant for moving around from place to place. Currently residing with the Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and the Occult , she comes from mysterious origins. Her previous owners said she had originally belonged to a little girl in the family, who died while holding the toy. Following that tragedy, she was passed down through generations until coming to her current residence at the museum. Visitors often report experiencing an overwhelming feeling of sorrow radiating from Ruby.
Photo by: screenshot via Lettameout/YouTube
screenshot via Lettameout/YouTube
Short for “Letta-Me-Out”, Letta is a 200-year-old wooden doll with human hair. He was discovered beneath a house in Wagga Wagga Australia by his current caretaker, Kerry Walton. Walton told the Warwick Daily News , "I reckon he walks in the night time: We came in here, as a new house, and I've never heard so many strange things in my life”. He’s found scuff marks on the floor of his home as well as objects mysteriously shifted. Walton has brought Letta with him to multiple television interviews , and has started an Instagram page dedicated to the doll.
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Ghosts, ashes and a bride's ring: 5 creepy haunted legends and rumors from Disney World
Posted: October 25, 2023 | Last updated: October 25, 2023
Want Disney to scare you? You could checking out "Haunted Mansion," the 2023 movie based on the popular Disney attraction that premiered to good-but-not-great reviews , or even check out the widely mocked but underrated first one with Eddie Murphy 20 years ago.
But it might be more terrifying to just... go to the Magic Kingdom.
Walt Disney's theme parks have long been rumored to have haunted areas and spooky occurrences. Is any of it true, or are they just ghost stories passed along from Disney Cast Members to freak out guests?
Here are some of the most famous creepy legends about Walt Disney World. Read on, if you dare.
1. Walt Disney's frozen body is underneath the Pirates of the Caribbean ride
Let's go ahead and get this one out of the way, as it's one of the oldest urban Disney legends and the most easily debunked. Walt Disney was known to be a futurist, and rumors of his cryogenically-frozen body being somewhere on the premises of his greatest creation started spreading within weeks of his death in 1966.
In January 1967, according to PBS , a reporter from a tabloid newspaper called The National Spotlite claimed he snuck into the hospital where Disney was being treated for circulatory collapse and saw his dead body suspended in a cryogenic metal cylinder. Cryogenics, the science of freezing humans so that future, more advanced societies could bring them back to life, had just been featured in a popular book a few years previously. Other papers picked up the "eyewitness account" and ran with it, with some suggesting Disney was interred in a freezer underneath the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride at Disneyland.
The rumor gained steam thanks to two more recent Disney biographies that both suggested the man had a deep interest in cryogenics and extending his life, Leonard Mosley's 1986 "Disney's World," and Marc Eliot's 1993 "Walt Disney — Hollywood's Dark Prince." Neither book offers any proof of this at all, according to debunking site Snopes.com .
Over the years some Disney cast members have helped creep out guests by hinting that the man himself, or even just his head, was underneath the Pirates ride in California, or Florida, or maybe under Cinderella's Castle. There was even a crowdfunded, feature-length indie movie, "The Further Adventures of Walt's Frozen Head" released in 2018 about "the unlikely friendship between the frozen head of Walt and Peter, a low-level theme park employee," parts of which were secretly shot on location at Disney World without the park's knowledge or permission.
In fact, Walt Disney was cremated two days after his death and his ashes were interred in a family plot at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. Sorry.
But, speaking of ashes...
2. There are dead people's ashes at the Haunted Mansion
"We have 999 happy haunts here, but there's room for a thousand, Any volunteers?" the Ghost Host has asked amused guests for over 50 years at the Haunted Mansion, the Magic Kingdom's spooky, New Orleans-inspired attraction full of ghosts, ghouls and goblins.
Apparently, there are lots of volunteers, the story goes, as guests regularly spread their loved ones' ashes there and elsewhere around the park.
Turns out this one is actually true. The Wall Street Journal verified it in 2018, and Disney is kind of annoyed by it.
Guests reportedly sneak in their family members' ashes in plastic bags or pill bottles hidden inside purses or backpacks. Once inside, visitors spread them through landscaping in the park, flower beds and water rides, including Pirates of the Caribbean and It's a Small World. But the most popular place by far is the Haunted Mansion.
“The Haunted Mansion probably has so much human ashes in it that it’s not even funny,” one Disneyland custodian told the Journal.
Do not do this. Releasing human ashes violates Disney's rules. They may clog irrigation drains. They can disturb other guests, either by their presence or because if human ashes are spotted on a ride everything gets shut down. No matter how sneaky you might be, most of Disney is watched at all times and a "HEPA cleanup" alert means the ride will be closed and employees will bring out the Dustbuster with a powerful filter to collect the scattered ancestor in question. Any guests caught doing it will be escorted off the property.
What's banned at Disney World? What guests should know before visiting
Disney parks produce a lot of waste. But here’s a peek at how they manage it.
3. The Curse of the Wedding Ring
There are four Haunted Mansions celebrating the dark and macabre: Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, and "Phantom Manor" in Disneyland Paris. But only Florida's grim graveyard has the cursed bride's wedding ring.
Years ago, park employees removed a turnstile stanchion along the waiting line to get into the mansion, which left a metal circle with a small square on one end embedded in the ground. Guests waiting in the long line noticed that it resembled a wedding ring , and the story began to grow.
In the current version of the Haunted Mansion's backstories, the Bride (Constance Hatchaway) murdered her seven husbands with an axe. Guests in line decided the ring was hers (although some claimed it belonged to Madame Leota, the witch and medium in the seance scene). But the story of how it must have gotten there changed over the years as fans and then Cast Members continued to tell the tale.
- According to the Ghost Gallery , an unofficial collection of the Haunted Mansion's backstories compiled by Cast Members, Master Gracey planned to put on the ring at his bride's funeral to show his devotion and discourage rumors of his involvement in her death) but the ring fell off the bride's finger during her funeral procession and the hearse ran over it, forcing it into the ground.
- It was jammed into the road after she plummeted to her death from suicide or from being murdered.
- Master Gracey, furious at his bride for cheating on him, threw it from the mansion where horses trampled it into the road, dooming the residents of the mansion.
- The bride threw it off the balcony after she murdered her last husband.
- Gracey flung it off the balcony after the bride's death and vowed to give away his worldly possessions, which is what caused the ghosts' eternal anger .
During a remodel the ring was removed, much to the disappointment of fans, but when the new queue area was built the Disney Imagineers added a custom-made ring to keep the legend alive. Look behind the brick planter containing the graves of Grandpa Marc and Xavier.
The Haunted Mansion has plenty of supernatural rumors. Reportedly the ghost of a small boy has been seen and guests have said they heard crying. Some people have claimed to have seen an old man with a cane riding the doombuggies in the area after guests have gotten off.
Some say the spellbook in the seance room is a real one from the 14th century and Cast Members have to keep putting it back after it moves. (It's a prop.)
A new haunt is coming: Disney World shares new Hatbox Ghost details as ‘Haunted Mansion’ hits theaters
3. The ghost of a dead employee haunts the Pirates of the Caribbean ride
Have you met George? The Pirates of the Caribbean Cast Members have, or at least they talk to him regularly. They have to, if he gets annoyed the ride breaks down.
As the story goes, George was working construction on the ride, possibly welding, when he fell to his death (or possibly was crushed by a falling beam). There is no documented evidence of this, but since the day the ride opened, it has been plagued with mysterious breakdowns and uncanny happenings. According to one detailed account from a former Cast Member 18 years ago, reposted to Reddit in 2020, an old woman regularly boarded the ride during the first few months and asked for a boat by herself.
"On the in-ride security cameras, she could be seen weeping and talking to nobody," the post by MesaVerde87 said. "Eventually, it was discovered that she was having imaginary conversations with her deceased son, George."
George is said to be a mischievous spirit and loves to wreak havoc. Doors open by themselves and people claim to feel tugs or taps, and chilly areas . The control room gets calls with no one on the other end. Glowing orbs have been captured on film. The ride glitches in different ways, some minor, some serious. They say George's initials are carved on the bottom of the tall, windowed tower (called "George's Tower" by staffers), and bleed through if anyone paints over them. If the light is on in that tower, Cast Members get extra watchful.
A small door behind the dog holding the jail cell keys in its mouth is "George's Door" and it must be kept closed at all times. If it's left open, experienced staffers know the ride will probably break down soon. To keep their supernatural coworker appeased, with any breakdowns blamed on Cast Members failing to show respect. "Hello, George" is boomed over the PA every morning and that door is checked every night.
Reports of George aren't as frequent as they used to be. According to a Reddit AMA from Pirates of the Caribbean Cast Member "disneymagic" in 2014, Crew Members were asked to stop telling the story to guests after a little boy "got really freaked out" and his parents complained.
Is George real? Or was he a good excuse for recurring problems with a notoriously complicated and finicky ride that Cast Members used to scare new employees and guests? Or is he both?
"I still say goodnight to him every time I close the ride though. :)," disneymagic said.
4. There's a creepy doll in Liberty Square
Cast Members are happy to point out the disturbing-looking doll lurking in a window of a building in the Liberty Square Market, behind a wheelbarrow and a cellar door. Sometimes they'll mention, offhandedly, that they've seen it move.
According to themainstreetmouse.com , the doll is there because in colonial times, dolls were often placed in windows to alert firefighters that children lived in the house.
5. Disney World is haunted by people who have died there
George is the most famous of the Magic Kingdom spirits, but any time something tragic happens to someone in the Magic Kingdom — or people think something tragic happened — their story becomes part of the Happiest Place on Earth. Some of the notable ghost stories spread over the years include:
- A guest died on the Space Mountain ride in the 1970s and Cast Members will tell you his ghost will grab any empty seat to ride it again.
- A 4-year-old boy died on the Mission Space ride at Epcot in 2005. Cast Members claim to feel cold spots there, and sometimes shuttle doors close at the wrong times.
- A "bellhop" cast member reportedly died of a heart attack in the Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Cast Members will tell you. His ghost haunts the ride still, and Cast Members won't ride the Platform D elevator alone because lights might flicker and he may appear.
- A persistent urban myth claims that someone hanged themselves on the "It's a Small World" ride in the late 1990s and it was caught on film by a guest. There was never any evidence of this, and an image that later went viral online was actually one of the animatronic characters moving along on a zipline.
This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Ghosts, ashes and a bride's ring: 5 creepy haunted legends and rumors from Disney World
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10 Infamously Haunted Dolls That Will Murder You
Believe it or not, haunted dolls are not altogether hard to find.
Many people list these dolls for sale online, along with other haunted objects.
But what once was a rare and terrifying item has somehow evolved into a marketing ploy.
Creepy Annabelle Doll
Updated 2/10/2020 – Are there dolls out there that are truly haunted?
They may be hard to find, but there are creepy haunted dolls in the world that have a horrific history…and even terrifying abilities.
These dolls have been known to move on their own.
Some believe they are possessed by the spirits of demons.
One doll is even known to have the ability to cause mischief from afar.
There are people in the world who believe that there is no such thing as a haunted doll.
These very people often change their minds after encountering dolls such as Robert or Annabelle.
Read on to discover more about them and the other eight most genuinely supernatural dolls in the world.
The Ten Most Haunted Dolls In The World
Table of Contents
- 1 10) Peggy, The Doll Who Gives You Chest Pain
- 2 9) The Janesville Doll
- 3 8) Mandy, the Crying Doll
- 4 7) The Haunted Barbie
- 5 6) The Italian Doll
- 6 5) Joliet, the Cursed Doll
- 7 4) The Dolls of Satan
- 8 3) The Real Annabelle Doll
- 9 2) The Doll in the Abandoned House
- 10 1) Robert the Doll
10) Peggy, The Doll Who Gives You Chest Pain
Jayne Harris is a leading paranormal investigator in England who deals almost exclusively with dolls that are haunted.
One day Jayne received a package and a letter in the mail.
The package contained a blonde haired doll.
In the note, a woman said the doll’s name was Peggy and that she was haunted.
Jayne began a case study on the doll, and posted many photos and disturbing videos of Peggy online.
Soon she began to receive letters and emails from people who saw the photos and videos and claimed that Peggy caused them to experience nausea and intense migraines.
One unfortunate woman even suffered from a heart attack after looking at a photo of Peggy.
Mediums have reported that the spirit of someone who died in the Holocaust dwells within the doll.
9) The Janesville Doll
During the 1970s, a man lived by himself in Janesville, Minnesota.
There was a small square window in the attic that faced the street.
In 1976, the man took a porcelain doll and placed it in the window.
Children noticed the doll in the attic window and became weary of it, claiming its expression would change.
Overtime, the entire town of Janesville believed the doll to be haunted.
Some theorized that the man once had a daughter who he murdered.
Afterward, he deeply regretted his decision and placed the doll in the window as a memorial to her.
Folks believed her spirit had transferred itself into the doll.
Nobody is quite sure why the doll was placed by the window on that fateful day, which further lends to creepy stories and legends.
The truth behind the doll, and it’s paranormal abilities, may never be known.
8) Mandy, the Crying Doll
In 1991, the Quesnel and District Museum received an anonymous donation in the form of an antiquated baby doll.
The donor informed them that she could no longer endure hearing the doll cry in the middle of the night.
Puzzled, the museum curators included the doll in one of their exhibits, against the local psychic’s advice.
Soon, visitors began to claim they heard disembodied footsteps in the room where Mandy was kept.
Anytime someone attempted to photograph the doll, their cameras would malfunction.
Even creepier is the fact that when Mandy has been placed in the same cases as other dolls, the other dolls become damaged and on the floor of the display case.
7) The Haunted Barbie
It may be hard to believe, but one of the most haunted dolls in the world is in fact a Barbie.
During World War I, British occupied Singapore was once home to a family of German spies.
Once discovered, the British chased the family out, and the teenaged daughter fell from a cliff.
The local townspeople built a shrine for the little girl near the Cliffside.
Fast forward to 2007, when an Australian man began having dreams of a dead German girl who guided the man to the local toy store.
Once there she pointed to a Barbie doll in the display window.
The man had this dream three nights in a row and was convinced it was the German girl from Singapore.
He went to a toy store and bought the very doll the girl had pointed to, and took it to the girl’s shrine.
Now, hundreds of people believe the soul of the German girl now lives in the Barbie.
6) The Italian Doll
During the 1920s, a little girl in Italy received a doll.
The doll was primarily made of felt, but had a head covered in real human hair.
The girl became inseparable from the doll immediately.
She named her Pupa and prized her above all other possessions.
As the girl spent more time with Pupa, she began to insist that the doll was alive and would often speak to her.
The girl grew to be a woman and kept the doll until her death in 2005.
Her family kept Pupa and placed her in a glass case as a tribute to the woman.
The family has said that Pupa does not like to be confined and can be heard knocking on the glass at night.
Occasionally she likes to sneak out and roam around the house as well.
5) Joliet, the Cursed Doll
Many years ago, a woman discovered she and her husband were going to have a baby.
Delighted by her good fortune, she shared the news with her best friend.
That friend had been trying to have a baby for a long time, and was intensely jealous.
The friend acquired a doll with a terrible curse and gave it to the pregnant woman as a gift.
Nine months later, the woman gave birth to a healthy baby boy…who mysteriously died three days later.
After the death of her son, the woman began to hear her baby’s cries emanating from the doll.
A few years later, the woman had a baby girl, who grew up and acquired the doll.
Her son also died three days after being born.
For four generations the women in the family all had sons who died on their third day of life, and each could hear the sounds of their crying babies come from the doll.
4) The Dolls of Satan
During the 1800s many affluent families lived in New Orleans.
One of those families had a daughter who was ready for marriage.
The young woman had had a secret affair with a boy in town, but was arranged to wed a wealthy Scotsman.
When her lover found out, he sought the help of voodoo queen Marie Laveau.
The girl was married and soon became pregnant.
But she did not give birth to an ordinary baby.
Instead, she gave birth to a grotesque, deformed monstrosity everybody believed to be the spawn of the devil.
The good people of New Orleans began to believe that the baby would wander the city at night and attack anyone in the streets.
Some began to believe that by carving a likeness of the baby into a gourd and leaving it on the porch would protect them from Satan’s child.
To this day, the devil gourd dolls are still made.
Many believe they are still cursed objects, courtesy of Marie Laveau.
3) The Real Annabelle Doll
Many horror fans know about Annabelle from The Conjuring, and the movie that was made about her a few years later.
But the story of the real Annabelle doll is quite different.
In 1970, a young woman named Donna received a Raggedy Ann doll from her mother.
She kept the doll around her apartment.
Soon, Donna and her roommate Angie began to notice that the doll would often change position or be in a different room altogether.
The girls decided to call a psychic who told them a girl named Annabelle once died in their apartment complex.
Saddened by the story, the girls invited Annabelle’s spirit to fully transfer itself into the doll.
The doll then began to emit a blood-like substance from its hands…it even attempted to strangle one of their friends.
Today, Annabelle lives at Ed and Lorraine Warren’s Occult Museum.
2) The Doll in the Abandoned House
Kerry Walton grew up in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.
There was an abandoned house on the street that Kerry and his friends all believed to be haunted.
After Kerry grew up and moved away, he decided to visit his hometown and the abandoned house.
Hidden underneath the floorboards he discovered a historic marionette doll.
Intrigued, Kerry put the doll in his car and began to drive home.
During the drive he heard the doll cry out “Ledda me out!” and decided to call it Ledda.
After Kerry brought Ledda home, people would scream and grow extremely uncomfortable in the presence of the doll.
They started making appearances on television shows, and one cameraman insisted that the doll turned his head to look at him.
Kerry still has Ledda, and has gone on several Australian television shows with what is now considered one of the most evil dolls in existence.
1) Robert the Doll
Robert the doll is considered one of the most haunted dolls in the world.
In 1904, a boy named Robert Eugene Otto received a doll from the family’s maid.
Robert, who went by the name Eugene, decided to call the doll Robert.
Not long after he got the doll, Eugene told his parents the doll destroyed his other toys and would knock furniture over during the night.
When Eugene became an adult, he moved out of the house and left Robert behind.
The house was converted into a bed and breakfast and the owners said they heard Robert moving around at night, and he would often laugh to himself.
Today, Robert the doll lives at the Fort East Martello Museum.
Rumor has it that the staff routinely receive letters of apology written to Robert by those who acted rude around him when they visited the museum.
Legends About Dolls That Are Absolutely Creepy
What is it about dolls that gets under people's skin? Smithsonian Magazine says that it might be the uncanny valley, a psychological response to something that looks almost human but isn't quite believable. An object like a doll that sits in that valley seems monstrous, as if it might have an animating spirit like a human but which is, like its appearance, somehow wrong .
Someone who's genuinely affected by these objects could have pediophobia, described by Healthline as an "intense and irrational fear of dolls." Even if you aren't thrown into a paroxysm of fear when presented with a doll, you might still think about all of the pop culture that's trained us to be wary of them. Think of films like Chucky or Annabelle or the murderous puppets from Puppet Master .
Perhaps some of us love stories of haunted dolls because we also enjoy that little twist of fear. Yeah, that doll in the corner of your room probably won't get up and scratch eerie messages on the wall. It would never silently watch you sleep, unmoving but still watching and waiting. It's all just in your imagination. Right?
Mandy creeps people out in British Columbia
Maybe the strangest thing about purportedly haunted dolls is the fact that so many people want to see them. It's an odd phenomenon, to be sure, but it can be a handy marketing tool for the places that house an eerie doll.
Take the story of "Mandy," a vintage doll currently exhibited at the Quesnel Museum in British Columbia. According to the museum , Mandy was donated in 1991. She was already well-aged even then, with a cracked porcelain face and ripped cloth body. While the staff has apparently given Mandy some clean new clothes, that eerie visage alone is still timeworn and haunting. Mandy doesn't stop at atmospherics, however. Mandy's donor reported odd sounds of a baby crying in her basement. Once Mandy was situated in the museum, staff claimed to hear phantom footsteps and also blamed the doll for missing office supplies.
Visitors have also had creepy experiences with her, says Huffington Post . Some say that Mandy's eyes follow them. Others swear that they've found her stuffed toy lamb on the floor, though it should be right next to her behind plexiglass. One report via the Quesnel Observer tells the tale of a woman who tried to film Mandy. Though her camera worked just fine in other exhibits, it went haywire whenever she focused on the doll. When she tried to play the VHS tape at home, it promptly jammed. Mandy is apparently camera-shy.
Charley the doll likes to move around
You'd think dolls, even of the haunted variety, would go easy on their intended audience: kids. Then again, for Charley, who's currently packed away in an oddities shop in Massachusetts, menacing children seems to be his favorite move.
It all began in 1968 in New York, says Atlas Obscura . Charley was supposed to be just another addition to an unnamed family's doll collection. Soon, however, weird things began happening around the new acquisition. Charley seemed to always be in a different spot than where someone had last left him. Annoying, but that's something a mischievous kid could do when no one's looking, or else chalked up to mere forgetfulness.
Then, the family's four-year-old daughter started to tell everyone that Charley spoke to her. All five children soon grew hysterical, saying that the doll spoke to them and even scratched their skin. Wanting to put an end to the collective freakout or avoid the supernatural escalation, the parents locked Charley in an attic trunk.
Charley emerged years later at a garage sale. A woman finally bought the doll, though she was told the eerie story, which has since followed Charley through many different owners. He's currently creeping out children and adults alike at Local Artisan, a small store in Beverly, Massachusetts.
Annabelle looks cute but might be a demonic toy
Annabelle's reputation is so fearsome that she inspired a horror movie franchise bearing her name, but the real Annabelle is less immediately awful. She appears to be a standard-issue Raggedy Ann doll ready for cuddling. Don't be fooled, say some paranormal investigators. According to the New Haven Register , Annabelle is so dangerous that she's been locked away in a case at The Warren's Occult Museum for years.
What's Annabelle's deal? The story goes that she was given to a student nurse in the 1970s. The nurse and her roommate noticed strange activity happening around the doll, as if it was moving and even writing messages like "Help me" on scattered bits of paper. When consulted, a psychic claimed that this was due to the spirit of a little girl named "Annabelle." The two women tried to accept the doll, but things got violent. When contacted, the Warrens told the pair that, whoops, they had actually invited a demon into their home. Luckily, the Warrens had just the right place for Annabelle. She would be going to The Warren's Occult Museum, where, according to Atlas Obscura , she'd be in the company of other creepy dolls and demonic artifacts.
Recently, reports Newsweek , the Occult Museum was closed due to zoning violations. Rumors claimed that Annabelle had escaped, but owner Tony Spera says she's still contained. For now.
Pupa scared people in Italy
Pupa is said to be made out of felt, a gentle material that doesn't exactly inspire fear. The beginning of her story, as described in Demonic Dolls , doesn't even sound that bad. As the tale goes, she first appeared in Italy during the 1920s, when she was given to a little girl. Soon enough, the girl became devoted to Pupa, so much so that she kept her childhood toy close by even as she moved into adulthood.
Charming, right? Except, the woman's family says grandma believed that Pupa was alive. She had said that the doll could talk and move on her own, even going so far as to save her owner's life. Eventually, the woman passed away. Pupa changed hands and is now living with another family in the United States.
According to Chucky Dies , she's gone a bit sour in her new digs. The current owners keep her in a case in which visitors claim to have seen a fog forming on the inside. People may even see messages written in the condensation, such as "Pupa does not like." Once, says a family member, she even began to walk. He tried to upload a video of the incident but says it was obscured. Only a single message was visible in the footage: "Pupa No!"
Letta the doll appeared in Australia
Few horror movies have better openings than the tale of Letta the doll. According to The Chronicle , Kerry Walton and his brother stumbled across Letta while exploring an abandoned home in Wagga Wagga, Australia. Like any sane, regular person, Kerry decided to take the doll back home with him to Queensland. Soon, Kerry's children began to claim that the doll could talk and move. It was easy at first to attribute this to bad dreams after dad brought home a dirty, grotesque doll from a derelict house.
Then, other visitors said the doll moved. When dogs were brought around, Letta appeared to drive them into an aggressive frenzy where some attempted to attack the doll itself. Walton says he can't even sell the doll. When he tried to do so years ago, he was physically unable to remove Letta from his car.
Those are all stories that could be dismissed as fantasies, but there are some real facts here to unsettle even the biggest skeptic. Walton says that he's had the doll checked out by staff members at the Australian Museum, reports The Chronicle . They've told him that Letta is made out of wood, has glass eyes, and is crowned with real human hair. Perhaps now Walton should consult with Annabelle's owner on the best doll-containment case to make sure Letta stays right where it is.
A Japanese spirit is said to inhabit a temple figure
A temple on Japan's northernmost main island, Hokkaido, is said to be home to the spirit of a young girl. The twist? She's still living inside a traditional doll. According to Japanese Ghost Stories , visitors to the Mannenji temple there can view the Okiku doll, a vintage figurine whose hair is said to still be growing.
The legend goes that a boy visited the island sometime in 1918 and bought a doll for his toddler sister, Okiku. She loved the gift and even named the doll after herself. Tragedy struck when the human Okiku died just a year later. The grief-stricken family placed her doll on their home altar as a remembrance of their lost girl. That was a normal part of the grieving process, but things got strange a few months later. That's when they started to notice that the doll's hair was growing.
Some time later, the family was in the process of moving. They offered the supernatural doll, whose hair was now even longer, to the Mannenji temple. The doll is still there today, says Demonic Dolls . Every year, it claims, a priest even gives Okiku a haircut to keep the length under control.
A Barbie doll haunts a shrine in Singapore
Just off the coast of Singapore sits a tiny island called Pulau Ubin. Amidst the abundant natural beauty, visitors can make their way to an old structure known as the "German Girl Shrine." Inside, surrounded by offerings of cosmetics, is a Barbie doll with a surprising history.
According to Atlas Obscura , the German Girl Shrine is dedicated to the memory of a local girl who died before World War I . Her European parents owned a plantation on the island, giving the girl a uniquely privileged life that couldn't last. As WWI began, British forces invaded the island and apprehended the family. As she ran from the soldiers, the teenage daughter fell off a cliff to her death. Local people buried her, later exhuming her remains and storing them in an urn housed at the shrine. Over the years, the memory of the girl shifted until she became a local Taoist deity.
The Barbie was placed there in the 21st century, reports AsiaOne , after the urn containing the girl's remains was stolen. A local man says he was then visited in a dream by a white girl who told him to buy a Barbie doll from a local shop and install it in the shrine. Visitors now say that the spirit of the German Girl resides in the Barbie. Those who bring a gift, like the cosmetics placed around the doll, are granted luck.
Chucky is for real
Long before Annabelle hit the screens, Chucky was frightening people worldwide in 1988's Child's Play . Lest you think that murderous doll was invented whole-cloth, however, know that he was inspired by a very real, very ominous toy named Robert.
Robert the doll was given to Robert Eugene Otto in 1904. Gene, as he was called, would later grow up to be a successful but eccentric painter, living in what's now known as Key West's Artist House . Gene was just four years old when the family maid gave him a large doll dressed in a sailor suit, reports Slate . Even as he grew older, the boy would have conversations with Robert and insist that the doll have his own seat at the dinner table. Gene also apparently had anger issues, though he blamed Robert for the mess of his tantrums.
When Gene married, Robert was banished upstairs, where passersby said he could be seen moving between different rooms. Eventually, Gene passed away, and the Artist House came under new ownership. The next residents said they heard giggles coming from Robert, who still sat in the upper floor of the home.
Robert was donated to the local Fort East Martello Museum in 1994. The museum says Robert routinely disrupts electronic devices like cameras. They've also received letters from people who have insulted Robert, now begging for his forgiveness after they've experienced unearthly misfortune.
Ann the doll creeped people out on a livestream
While some dolls serve up the creepiness through old-fashioned stories and legends, Ann the doll made the leap into the 21st century with some human help. As reported by CNET , Ann supposedly has a good paranormal pedigree. Unnamed investigators claim that she's inhabited by the spirit of a girl who passed away from tuberculosis at the infamous Waverly Hills Sanatorium.
The sanatorium, which opened in 1910, was built to house tuberculosis patients just outside of Louisville, Kentucky, says Atlas Obscura . The location had the dual advantage of clean, fresh air and quarantined distance from civilization. Over the years, many patients nonetheless died at Waverly Hills, leading some to believe that the now semi-abandoned building is haunted.
The story goes that Ann the girl died. Her spirit followed her nurse, Lois, back home. Lois supposedly kept a doll collection to house the child spirits that trailed her. She even maintained a log of their spectral hijinks, which included cries for help and actual tears. CNET, however, couldn't confirm that someone by that name had ever worked at Waverly Hills.
Not one to let research get in the way of a good story, horror site The Lineup hosted a livestream featuring Ann. Viewers reported that Ann closed her eyes and caused technical glitches, while one saw a "ghost blip." Ann now lives with a new couple in Illinois.
The Island of the Dolls is full of horrors
If one doll is creepy, then what do you do with an island packed full of them? The Island of the Dolls is legendarily unsettling, thanks to its nearly wall-to-wall complement of grimy children's toys.
What would possess someone to create such an eerie place just outside the bustle of Mexico City? According to Vice , it all comes down to Don Julian Santana. The ultra-religious Don Julian abandoned his family and set up on an uninhabited island, where he would live for another five decades until his death in 2001. Until then, he could be seen traveling the old canals, fishing out dolls to bring back to his growing collection.
Why dolls, though? In the version of the story related by Atlas Obscura , not long after his move, Don Julian found the remains of a drowned girl floating near his island. The dolls were an attempt to either appease or protect her spirit. If one doll was good, then perhaps Don Julian thought that a small island packed full of them, even as they rotted in the sun and humidity, was even better.
Then again, the discovery of the girl's body may have been all in Don Julian's head, the product of untreated mental illness. Either way, the Island of the Dolls is a very real, very creepy landmark that still stands today.
A doll named Claire tormented a child
Sometimes, you get a gift that just doesn't work for you. Maybe it's an ill-fitting piece of clothing, a book that doesn't strike your fancy, or some odd collection of scented soaps that you toss into the back of a cabinet somewhere. Disappointing as that is, just be grateful that a pair of socks has never tried to haunt you.
Jill was an innocent eight-year-old child when she received a doll, says Haunted Objects . The old-fashioned porcelain toy was a gift from a family friend who then shortly passed away. Jill kept the doll, which she named Claire, as a memento. Jill recalled that music boxes began to play on their own, always around Claire. Objects would fall from shelves whenever she was nearby, too, and missing items would be found in the doll's pockets.
In one of the most horrifying incidents, recounted by Jill on Reddit , Claire was placed in a rocking chair in the corner of Jill's room. In the middle of the night, it began to rock on its own, waking Jill. As the horrified Jill watched, Claire's head turned to stare at her, while every music box in the room began to play.
Claire was swiftly packed into a box and hidden in the back of a closet. Jill says that the doll is still there, where it could be responsible for some of the other paranormal happenings in her parents' home.
Is an Elsa doll haunting a Houston family?
Dolls of all sorts are possible haunting magnets. Even if a beloved toy is a simple, mass-produced movie tie-in, there's always the chance that something creepy could latch onto it.
One Houston family says that just such a toy, an Elsa doll from the Frozen movie franchise, might be haunted. According to Today , the Madonia family had been trying to get rid of the thing for years. Father Mat attempted to throw it out the first time, only for the family to discover the doll inside a wooden bench.
That first could have been chalked up to forgetfulness or even a sneaky child who wasn't ready to let her doll go into the great beyond. The second time, however, gets a little weirder. Emily, the mother, wrote that Elsa was then put into a garbage bag inside another bag, placed inside the can beneath other refuse, and wheeled out to the curb. A short while later, the very same Elsa, identifiable by some marker stains, appeared in the backyard. The doll, which was programmed to sing and speak when a button on its chest is pressed, began to do so, whenever it cared to and regardless of button-pressing.
Emily eventually mailed the doll to a friend who offered to give the spooky toy a home, reports Vice . Elsa now lives a quiet life affixed to the brush guard of the friend's Jeep.