Haunted doll

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A haunted doll is a handmade or manufactured doll or stuffed animal that is reported to be cursed or possessed in some way. The earliest report of a haunted doll goes back to Ancient Egypt where the enemies of Ramesses III attempted to use wax images of his likeness to bring about his death. The dolls used in this ritual were said to be living and would curse anyone who bore their resemblance. The ancient Egyptian poppet, effigy and voodoo dolls are often said to be cursed because of their long history of being used to place curses on other people and their association with the occult.

Early history[edit]

The earliest haunted dolls were poppets, effigies and voodoo objects which were created by early peoples for either religious or ceremonial purposes. These traditional objects were later acquired by various civilizations for mystical purposes or the occult.[1] In Rome dolls were used quite often in magical rituals to represent a connection to a god or goddess.[2] Egyptian priests and magicians often used poppets for ceremonial purposes, to rid the body of evil or to place curses on those who went against the will of the Gods.[3]

Poppets have historically been used to place curses on other members of a community for religious or traditional purposes.[1] Some of the earliest effigies were used by African, Native American, and European cultures. The European poppet has its roots in early Germanic and Scandinavian tribes which used them for ceremonial purposes.[1] Modern day Wiccans have adapted this practice for their own uses. Most Wiccans use a poppet as a symbolic representation of a person. Spells and other actions are performed on the poppet to transfer whatever might be affecting the targeted individual out of their body in something like a healing ritual.[1] The Kongolese nkisi statuettes, and the bocio figurines used in Vodun traditions of Benin and Togo, are traditional effigy-like dolls of West and Central Africa believed by their practitioners to be "spirit embodying" forces that can also "heal or protect".[4] Voodoo dolls are fairly modern novelty items. Their concept is thought to be based on European poppet dolls.

Famous haunted dolls[edit]

Although tales of haunted dolls or cursed objects in general have a long history, a number of supposedly haunted dolls have appeared in popular culture in recent years.[5]


Robert the doll

Robert is a doll on display at the East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida that was once owned by Key West painter and author Robert Eugene Otto. The doll is alleged to be possessed by spirits,[6][7] and was the inspiration for Chucky, the doll in the 1988 horror film Child's Play.[8]


Annabelle is a Raggedy Ann doll alleged by Ed and Lorraine Warren to be haunted [9] and displayed in The Warren's Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut. The doll served as the inspiration for the films The Conjuring and Annabelle.[10]

Letta the Doll[edit]

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. According to Walton, he named the doll "Letta Me Out" because of its supposedly supernatural characteristics.[11][11]

Voodoo Zombie Doll[edit]

According to stories publicized on the internet, a voodoo zombie doll claimed to be "almost alive" and "very active" was originally made in New Orleans, and sold through eBay to a woman in Galveston, Texas, in 2004."


According to stories published on the internet, Pupa is a doll said to "contain the spirit" of a dead Italian girl.[11]


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.[11]

Pulau Ubin Barbie[edit]

According to Singapore legend, Pulau Ubin Barbie is a Barbie doll displayed in a memorial temple said to have supernatural powers.[12][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Patti Wigington. "Poppet History - Global Poppet Magic". About.com Religion & Spirituality.
  2. ^ Debbie Turkilsen. "An Examination of Ancient Greek and Roman Witches throughout Literature". academia.edu.
  3. ^ "Heka, the ancient Egyptian magic". reshafim.org.il.
  4. ^ Elias Kifon Bongmba (21 May 2012). The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to African Religions. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 118–. ISBN 978-1-4051-9690-1.
  5. ^ June Pulliam; Anthony Fonseca (26 September 2016). Ghosts in Popular Culture and Legend. ABC-CLIO. pp. 83–. ISBN 978-1-4408-3491-2.
  6. ^ Schensul, Jill (12 January 2014). "Schensul: If you go to Key West, Fla., beware of Robert the Doll". NorthJersey.com.
  7. ^ Ella Morton (18 November 2013). "Robert the Haunted Doll: Creeping Out Floridians Since 1904". Slate.com.
  8. ^ Squires, John (29 January 2014). "Meet Robert; The Haunted Doll That Inspired Child's Play". iHorror. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  9. ^ Nancy Lynch (28 October 2014). "The story behind the 'evil' and 'dangerous' Annabelle doll". AOL.
  10. ^ Rebecka Schumann (2 October 2014). "'Annabelle' True Story: 9 Freaky Facts About The Real Doll Haunting Ahead Of Movie Release". International Business Times.
  11. ^ a b c d e "10 Freaky Dolls You Don't Want To Play With". Listverse.[unreliable source?]
  12. ^ "Worshippers offer cosmetics to Barbie doll at Pulau Ubin temple". AsiaOne. Singapore Press Holdings. 29 March 2013. Retrieved 23 November 2015.

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