Haunted Dolls – The Rise of
Have you noticed the rise in the number of ‘haunted’ dolls lately? There are a plethora of ‘haunted’ dolls up for sale online, most at an inflated price. Although to be fair, there are some stories of owners being so frightened of their dolls, that they have literally given them away for free! Some come with an interesting back-story of how the owner began to feel ill since it came into their possession, whilst others report strange things happening in their home since the inanimate object arrived on their doorstep. Others just report a feeling of being ‘creeped out’ by the doll.
When I was young (a long time ago) there were a number of different dolls to purchase from the shops. There were movable ones; dolls that fed on a magical bottle where the milk disappeared when tipped; dolls that talked when you pulled a cord, and many more human-like characteristics. Their heights differed, as did the length/style of their hair and the colour of their fake ‘skin’. Some were pretty, others plain, and some were downright ugly. There were old dolls too, not that I was interested in them. They often had cracked faces made of bisque or China, they wore aged clothing and looked creepy, very creepy at times, but they were never ‘haunted’. Never once do I remember a doll being ‘haunted’. Was it not a ‘thing’ back then, or had I just never heard about them?
I decided to research and find out what is going on.
A Brief History of Dolls
Dolls have been around for thousands of years. A four-thousand-year-old stone doll was found in Pantelleria, a Mediterranean Island, in 2004, and there are several dolls made from papyrus, from ancient Egypt, in the British Museum.
Girls were given cherub-faced dolls from a young age, reinforcing the stereotypical age back in the day. Now dolls are for everyone, and the angelic faces from old now come with more realistic features and various colours and abilities, representing diversity. Dolls also now come transformed by talented artists and look so freaky, containing horns, red eyes and much more. The talent of some artists amazes me.
My Personal Thoughts on Haunted Dolls
There has long been a belief that ghosts or spirits can attach themselves to items, such as jewellery or furniture, and there are many stories regarding this. Once, my friend and colleague Alison Oborn was called out by a couple who were experiencing paranormal activity in their home. It was traced to an antique wedding ring; the ring was disposed of and all was well again. It’s not just smaller objects that can be affected, larger ones can too. I have researched one fascinating story about Eastern Airlines Flight 401 where salvageable parts from the downed aeroplane were put into the rest of the fleet, only to have paranormal events occur. This happened so often that the flight company had to take all the old parts back out of the planes and replace them with new ones. So, if spirits can attach themselves to all sorts of objects, is it reasonable to assume that spirits can attach themselves to a doll, especially a much-loved one?
A while ago, I saw a post on an online shopping site that they had a ‘haunted’ doll for sale. It was reported as ‘haunted’ because a KII (an electro-magnetic frequency) meter had lit up ‘once’ whilst next to the doll, so it was deemed as ‘haunted’. I love the honesty in the sales patter, that it only lit up only once. The problem with this article is that they don’t say if they had their mobile phone on at the time, or if the doll was near anything electrical, as this can trigger the KII meter to light up too. Electricians use something similar to the KII to detect electrical cables in walls. Buyers who are not ‘equipment savvy’ could possibly believe that the doll is affected. We’ve all seen KII meters going off like mad on TV shows, so the doll has to be possessed …. right! Surely, if you suspect a doll is ‘haunted’ you would do more than one test on the object!
Have you ever been in a situation where you or the others in your household, always seem to be ill? It appears to be one thing after another, after another. So, what if you have taken possession of an antique doll before or around the time of your illness, is it a coincidence that you are now ill or is the doll possessed and transferring its feeling onto you? Is it the case that the doll is the cause or do we, in times of need, need someone or something to blame? I’m no scholar, but I have studied Psychology in the past and one interesting thing that I learnt from that course was how we ‘group’ things and put them into ‘boxes’. For example, if there is one section of the human race we don’t like or trust, we put ALL those people into a ‘box’, label it and think about them ALL in the same way. Harsh, but that is what our brains do, it makes life easier for us. If you have a belief that dolls can be ‘haunted’ and affect you in some way and you’ve had a bad time health-wise, is it possible that your thoughts are going to ‘metaphorically’ put that doll in the ‘box’ entitled ‘haunted’? Can the toy actually be the issue or are we just looking for something to blame? If a doll can affect us all, so much, why aren’t owners of old dolls, like me, not reporting being ill more often? Unfortunately, life at times is crap and we struggle. Is it really the fault of a doll?
How about a doll that makes us feel uncomfortable in our own homes? Could it be haunted then? Not everyone is a doll lover, especially with those really old dolls. Some people class old dolls as being ‘creepy’, and some are even fearful of the antique object. There is a known phobia of dolls, which is called ‘pediophobia’. Could this be why many people are convinced dolls can be haunted, because they have a ‘fear’ of them? Dolls can be so realistic looking, which can be a significant issue for some. The more realistic (or once realistic, but now aged) is enough to frighten anyone. But surely, this doesn’t make them haunted, just creepy! Could our minds be used to dolls replicating babies and young children with smooth flawless skin? The ageing, cracked exterior of old dolls contradicts our expectations of how they should be, reinforcing the creepy factor.
Another thought, if someone has a ‘haunted’ doll and sells it on, will the spirit move with the doll, or stay with the original owner? None of us truly know how the paranormal works; maybe they like where they are, so stay. If you buy one of those haunted dolls and nothing paranormal happens, could it be because the spirit left the doll or, was the doll not actually ‘haunted’ in the first place? Was it just the former owner unwittingly placing the doll in that ‘box’.
We use a couple of really old dolls in our investigations. They are both beautiful, in their own way, but extremely creepy looking too. We use them as trigger objects when we are away investigating, especially if it is reported that we have a spirit child on-site. We normally sit the doll down with a cat ball on its lap (flashing, motion-activated ball) and ask if there are any children there, and if so would they like to play with the doll or the ball. The ball has lit up occasionally, once even on cue! Was it 100% paranormal? We aren’t sure. Was it cool? Hell yes, very cool at the time. Are the dolls haunted? Not in the slightest, but we love them all the same.
So, are dolls ‘haunted’? Why are there so many ‘haunted’ dolls around? The answer is, we really don’t know. One thing we do know is that there are many reasons why people would think they are and equally as many reasons why they are not. I will leave it to you to decide.
©Adelaide Haunted Horizons 2021
All opinions expressed are not always the views of Adelaide Haunted Horizons
Photos © Adelaide Haunted Horizons
Written by Kag Allwood
Paranormal Researcher, Blogger and Tour Guide