We take a look at what makes people spend hundreds of pounds on possessed dolls.

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Most people would gladly go out of their way to avoid bringing haunted items into their home. But, surprisingly, there’s a growing trend for people purchasing possessed dolls. And with them retailing from anything from £50 to the thousands, it appears this is a lucrative business.

Jayne Harris, a UK-based paranormal investigator, allows people to adopt these spooky dolls on her site HD Paranormal. Speaking to the women’s website Broadly, she said these objects had been latched on to by spirits, in a similar way to house hauntings the ghosts become associated with the dolls and move within them.

If you want to adopt one of Jayne’s dolls, you’ll have to go through a vetting process to assess if you’re actually suitable. Many of the people who do this are paranormal investigators also looking into the phenomenon. Jayne uses the Internet telephone service Skype to conduct interviews, so she knows the dolls are going to be in safe hands – and the new parents are going to be safe too. ‘We want people to understand that there’s a big responsibility when you’re taking on something like this. We keep in touch with everyone who has items from our collection because they may need advice at some point,’ she told Broadly.

But there are also several eBay sellers also offering the objects. Be warned – many of them aren’t going to be as thorough as Jayne Harris. One eBay user, Misslady113, wrote a guide to purchasing possessed dolls from the auction site, and it’s really spooky. ‘I can only tell you what I’ve experienced,’ she writes. ‘ The feeling of someone watching you, seeing movement in the corner of your eye, things moving or falling with no explaination, lights flickering when the bulbs are new, disturbing dreams, banging on walls, scratching under your pillow, smells like something has died, cool breezes going past you, strong energy when holding the doll, you might even hear things.’ She goes on to say you shouldn’t think a crying doll is innocent either. ‘I’ve spoken to people who had that sad energy come upon them and they became depressed.’ Oh, and the entity in the doll might not even be human – it could be an evil demon…

 

Links to another world

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So why do some people buy them? One woman, Katrin Reedick, has spent thousands on the dolls. The 32-year-old from Glasgow told the MailOnline she’s hired a babysitter to look after her 12 haunted dolls. She says they’re ‘links to another world’ and uses paranormal equipment, such as special voice recorders, in an attempt to communicate with them. One of her dolls, Michael, has the spirit of a baby who died of cot death attached to him. ‘He is very active, he will twist his head. My mum noticed this too, and his facial expression changes. When Michael sees me playing with my children I often sense him crying out: “Mummy, play with me.” But what do you expect? He is only a child. One day I was watching TV and the channels kept flipping to cartoons, I turned them back, but it kept flipping. I realised it was Michael. He is only a baby and he wanted to watch cartoons,’ she said.

Another woman, Ashley Nicole-Fine, says some of her collection of dolls have gone so far as to attack her boyfriend – eeek! Speaking to the Mirror, she said her boyfriend woke up with scratches in the night. ‘I had to have a word with two of the dolls and they said they had been acting out because they detested men and had both been killed by their lovers,’ she added.

 

Historical curses

Fears around haunted dolls go back to the days of the Egyptian pharoah Rameses III. His enemies would reportedly use wax images of his likeness in an attempt to bring about his death. This, arguably, is also one of the earliest incidences of a voodoo doll, objects which are synonymously associated with the occult. Puppets have also historically been used to place curses on people in areas such as Scandinavia, some parts of Africa and in some Native American cultures.

 

Robert the doll

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Perhaps the most famous haunted doll story is Robert the doll. The inspiration for cult horror character Chucky, Robert was believed to have been a present given to a young boy, also called Robert, by his nanny, just before the childminder was sacked for practising black magic in the family’s garden. The doll brought nothing but trouble to the family. Adults would hear Robert chatting for hours with his namesake doll, and some saw him cowering in a corner as the doll angrily glared at him.

Then more strange things started to happen. Boy Robert’s clothes would be ripped up in the middle of the night, his teddy bears destroyed. He pleaded with his parents it wasn’t him causing the wrongdoing – it was the doll. So Robert the doll was packed up and locked in the attic. Years passed, and the doll was forgotten – until it walked into the house’s new owners’ bedroom and threatened them with a kitchen knife.

Robert the doll now spends his days behind a glass case in the Fort East Martello museum in Florida. But be warned, if you fancy paying him a visit – tourists have reported an eerie feeling of being watched and seeing his eyes flicker… And it’s said if you don’t ask permission when you take his picture he’ll curse you and whoever accompanied you that day, as well as wipe all your images!

 

Would you ever buy a haunted doll? Let us know in the comments below!