Haunted dolls aren’t just a thing of the movies. Indeed, there have been reported cases of haunted dolls in real life—with the Annabelle doll listed among the most famous. Whether or not you believe in ghosts, here are some scary stories to chill your soul!
Annabelle is a haunted doll who reached full celebrity status because of some movies loosely based on her story; “loosely based” because the movies completely changed the doll’s appearance. In the trilogy of films, Annabelle is a creepy-looking porcelain doll, while the books describe her as a simple Raggedy Ann doll—which possibly makes her even scarier.
The reportedly real story of Annabelle started in 1970 when a nursing student received the doll as a gift. Once she brought her home, strange things began to happen. Ed and Lorraine Warren, the demonologists portrayed in The Conjuring, investigated the haunted doll.
The story has it that the doll left notes for the student nurse and her roommates and did many other things that frightened the girls. They believed that the spirit in the doll they had welcomed had turned on them. The Warrens deemed the doll demonically possessed and shut her in a glass case in their museum in Connecticut, which is now permanently closed.
Rumored to be the inspiration for the Chucky doll in Child’s Play, Robert is a creepy-looking doll that has caused even more fright than Annabelle through a series of movies. Robert may look innocent in his sailor suit, but he has a terrifying history.
Robert’s story began in the early 1900s when he was made by hand for a child named Eugene Robert Otto. Gene and his new friend Robert were close—as children often are with a favorite toy. Then strange things started happening, like furniture being flipped over and tossed around in Gene’s room. Gene blamed Robert.
Gene’s mom banished the doll to the attic, where visitors in their room claimed to hear him walking about above them. Gene died in 1974, and the next owners of the house had a ten-year-old child who found Robert in the attic. The child soon told her parents that the doll was trying to kill her.
Robert, who some believe came to Gene already cursed by the person who made him, now spends his days locked in a glass case at the East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida, where he continues to frighten museum workers and visitors alike.
Some haunted dolls don’t have a history that can be traced back to the day they were made. However, there are plenty of cursed and haunted items that can be traced back to eBay in this day and age. In fact, Harold the haunted doll got his 15 minutes of fame after being sold online through an eBay auction.
While not much is known about his original owners, when Harold made it into the hands of Kathy Chruszcz, strange things began to happen. Kathy believed that the doll was a hoax, but then many people who came into contact with him died. When she finally sold the doll, he went to Anthony Quinata, who still owns him.
Far from innocent-looking, Harold actually looks like something you’d see come to life in a horror film. Quinata researched the doll’s history and the reports of the deaths surrounding him and put it into a book about Harold.
Like Robert, Pupa is a specially made doll. In this case, the doll was created in the likeness of a little Italian girl from the 1920s. The girl loved her toy doll, which stayed with her until her passing in 2005. The owner took Pupa with her all around the world and told secrets to her even into adulthood.
Beautifully made out of a felt-like material with a painted face, Pupa doesn’t look much like a haunted doll. Her owner always told people her doll was alive, but it wasn’t until after her passing that others would get to experience just how alive Pupa is. The doll stays confined in a closed cabinet where a tapping noise is often heard on the glass; also, she seems to move positions from time to time and even moves the other contents of the cupboard.
Pupa’s current whereabouts are a well-kept secret. While there are reports of her mischievous activities behind the glass, no one knows where she is now.
Mandy’s tale starts in a farmhouse where a passerby heard a baby crying. Upon searching the abandoned home, the man found the long-deceased body of a child with a toy doll wrapped in her arms. Somehow, a woman came into possession of the doll and donated it to the Quesnel and District Museum in British Columbia.
The woman donated the doll for the same reason it was discovered in the first place—it was crying. The museum workers claim that the doll moves around and makes other objects move, which leaves many with uneasy feelings.
According to the movie Mandy the Haunted Doll, the spirit of the little girl who died inhabits the doll she was holding. Perhaps the young girl is trying to get people’s attention because she died alone and frightened.
Whether or not any of these dolls are truly haunted or possessed, there’s no scientific way to find out. Skeptics will always come up with reasons why a doll moves on its own or why strange things happen in its presence—until, that is, they get a taste of the “creepy doll” experience. But believers will continue to believe—even if they never have the misfortune to come into contact with a haunted doll.