"I'm a barbie girl, in a barbie world. Life in plastic, it's fantastic. "
Whilst most of us at some point in our lives probably had a Barbie or Ken doll or maybe you leaned towards He-man Master of the Universe or a superhero, not all dolls were the seemingly harmless variety of the aforementioned. Throughout history there have been many reports of dolls who I for one wouldn't be touching let alone giving to my children. Personally I can't stand clown dolls or those porcelain looking dolls that just stare at you wide eyed no matter where you move. But I digress, let's have a look at some of the not so pleasant dolls that people have been unfortunate enough to come across.
The most famous is probably Robert the Doll. Robert was created close to the turn of the 20th century and is dressed like a sailor boy, he was stuffed with straw and had buttons for eyes. The story goes that in the late 1890's Mr and Mrs Otto built their new home in Key West, Florida, they were rather well off, but not kind to their servants at all. One of their serving girls, who it was said was versed in the art of Voodoo and who had been mistreated, gave their son Robert Eugene Otto this doll who would become his constant companion. Robert became obsessed with the doll, he would sit it at the table at dinner time, dress it in his own clothes and insisted on being tucked into bed with it each night.
After a while Robert asked only to be called by his middle name 'Gene' as Robert was now the dolls name and his parents often heard him having conversations in his room, with a second lower voice answering him. Gene began to start blaming Robert for household things getting thrown around, toys getting mutilated and his room being messed up. Giggling could often be heard and more than once his mother came into his room to find Gene cowering in the corner with Robert sitting on the bed staring. Many servants left as the antics escalated, causing his parents and relatives to eventually remove Robert and put him in a box in the attic where he stayed for years.
Gene's father died and left him the house so he moved back with his new wife. He collected Robert from the attic and the doll took hold again. Gene's wife claimed she had seen his facial expressions change, others claimed to see the doll staring at them from out of the turret windows, they would find him in the rocking chair when he'd been left in the attic. Gene took the doll with them wherever they went and even had it sitting in a chair in their bedroom. His wife eventually insisted the doll be moved back to the attic as their marriage broke down. Mrs Otto supposedly went insane and died of unknown causes, Gene followed not long after on June 24th 1974.
Robert was left on his own but still got up to mischief. Reports of laughing came from within the house, he reportedly locked people in the attic or attacked them. Tenants heard footsteps in the attic and a plumber found the doll moved across the room. Eventually another family brought the house and as soon as their 10 year old daughter found Robert the mischief started again. She claimed, and still did 30 years later, that the doll used to torture her. They used to find Robert all around the house, after locking him in the attic but the last straw was finding the doll at the foot of their bed with a kitchen knife.
In 1994 he was donated to the Fort East Martello Museum where his mischief hasn't stopped and where he remains to this day closed up in a glass case. Cameras and electrical devices often fail in front of his display. One staff member claimed to have cleaned him up and turned all the lights off, locked up for the night only to arrive in the morning with all the lights on and dust all over the shoes of the doll as if he'd been walking around. Staff will often find him moved in his display case or report hearing someone tapping on glass when they walk past. Visitors also have claimed to see his face change expression like Gene's wife did. Legend has it that if you try to take his picture without asking his permission then Robert will curse you. Are you willing to try???
Let's talk about Annabelle now! Many kids I knew growing up had a Raggedy Ann doll, not many I'm sure would've been like this!
This doll was brought in 1970 from an antique store, Donnas mother brought it for her as a graduation present from nursing college. At the time Donna lived with a roommate Angie, neither of them noticed anything strange about the doll. Soon though they began to notice the doll had moved, to start with just small things like a hand or leg being in a different position, but eventually they would find her in different rooms of the house to where she had been left. Sometimes she would be crossed legged on the couch or standing upright next to a kitchen chair.
Often Donna would leave her in the lounge and go to work, only to come home and find her in the bedroom with the door closed and vice versa. Their friend Lou hated the doll and insisted there was something evil about it. Soon they started to come home and find notes written on parchment paper asking to 'help me' or 'help Lou'. No one in the house had any parchment paper so where did this come from and the writing was that of a child. The kicker came when Donna came home one night to find Annabelle on her bed with what looked like blood on her. Donna contacted a medium. The medium came and claimed to be in touch with a girl called Annabelle Higgins, she used to live there before the apartment was built and she was killed there. The girl claimed to feel safe with Donna and Angie and wanted to stay with them. They gave her permission to inhabit the doll and stay with them. Those of us who deal with the paranormal will know that who a spirit shows itself to be is not always the case and sadly in this situation that is exactly what happened!
Lou began to have horrific dreams where Annabelle was climbing up his leg while he slept and strangling him, he would wake up out of breath and with a pounding head. He became concerned for his friends. The next day Lou was in the house with Angie when they heard noises coming from Donnas room. Fearing they had an intruder they quietly went to the door, waited for the noises to stop then flung the door and turned the light on. The room was empty apart from Annabelle who was tossed in a corner. Lou walked into the room to investigate and as he moved closer to the doll he had the feeling someone was behind him. He spun around to see no one there, but suddenly had a burning pain in his chest. He opened his shirt to see 7 apparent claw marks on his chest that had drawn blood. They began to heal almost immediately but there was no doubt in Lou's mind that Annabelle had done it.
They called on a priest for help, who in turn called on paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warrens determined that there was a demon attached to the doll and its final goal was to take over Donnas body. They took the doll away with them and the priest exorcised the house! Ed took the back way home, fearing the doll would cause problems on the drive home. Which it did, the power steering failed, the brakes kept failing almost causing collisions and the car kept stalling, he eventually doused the doll in holy water and it stayed quiet for the rest of the drive. At their home, Ed sat the doll in a chair near his desk where it levitated several times. Over the next few weeks it would appear in different rooms of the house and seemed to have a hatred for the clergy. One priest came to visit and basically said she was just a doll and no threat to anyone. On his way home he was involved in a near fatal collision when his brakes failed. To this day Annabelle is now housed in a purpose built glass case in the Warren's Occult museum.
While she seems quiet now she is blamed for one more death, a young man and his girlfriend were viewing her in the museum when the young guy banged on the cabinet and provoked her. On their trip home on a motorcycle they crashed with the young man dying instantly. When the girl was later questioned by the Warrens she claimed that just before they crashed they were laughing and joking about the doll.
I don't know about you but I'll never look at Raggedy Ann the same way again!
What about creepy baby dolls, Mandy is the epitome of this!! Mandy is one of those creepy porcelain dolls that I just hate to look at. She was either made in Germany or England around 1910-1920 and she was donated to the Quesnel Museum in British Columbia in 1991. Her previous owner could no longer keep her as she used to be woken up constantly by a baby crying in the night in her house. Needless to say there was no baby living there at the time. The sound would echo through the halls coming up from the basement. When she investigated she would find nothing but an open window.
Finally she had enough and donated the doll to the museum and the crying in her house stopped. It cannot be substantiated but there was a story that a little girl died in the basement while she was with the doll, but at this point that is just a story. The museum was told she couldn't be put with other dolls or she would harm them.
Once she arrived at the museum strange things began to happen. Staff would have their lunches disappear from the refrigerator only to find them tucked away in drawers later. Pens, books, pictures and other objects would go missing, some never to be found again. Staff would report hearing footsteps when no one was around. She was originally placed near the front entrance to the museum where many people discussed her cracked and creepy face. She was eventually moved to another section in a case by herself but almost as if throwing a tantrum, the staff came in to find papers thrown all about the place. Electrical devices often failed around her and many visitors claimed to feel an uneasiness when near her. Some have also claimed to see her head and fingers move on their own accord, she's also been known to move to a different display case.
Mandy also has a little lamb toy that sometimes appears outside of her display case even though the museum has been closed. Staff has also reported tapping on the glass of her cabinet. She seems to like attention and the staff, to sometimes settle her down, will carry her around with them at night or sit her on their lap while they work. This seems to placate her and most agree she doesn't seem to be evil but just a small child that wants some attention.
There are many other 'haunted' dolls out there that I can discuss but that can be for the next blog. It's a subject that fascinates yet terrifies me at the same time. I'll just leave this one here by letting you know that Target will be having their toy sale in a couple of months ;)
Amanda Moloney is a mum to 2 children and a husband by day and paranormal investigator by night. Amanda's passion is not only finding answers to her questions but also the historical side of a lot of the cases and she is an avid researcher. She also likes to take romantic walks along the beach