Updated: Jun 14
No-one knows if the first dolls were perceived as cult figurines that had achieved their purpose or if they were constructed in order to simply entertain children. Nevertheless, dolls, are considered to be the oldest known toy dating back to 2000 b.c. Ancient Greece had an important tradition in the manufacture of dolls. The adolescent girls were dedicating their dolls to the goddess Artemis before entering adulthood. In Rome, the first “contemporary” metropolis, the doll manufacturers were known as “siggilatores” and had their own street and guilt within the commercial district of the city. Through the centuries, dolls were constructed of wax, clay, cloth, bone, wood and they were articulated with joint parts. In medieval Europe, people were using the last leaves of cereals after the harvesting period in order to construct them. They believed that the “spirit” of the grain would find a new place in the body of the toy. The used dolls were thrown in the field, along with the new seeds during the autumn period. American Indians were using the same technique, although they would construct them from corn leaves. The first porcelain figurines were constructed during the 19th century. After a while the manufacturers started to use plastic for their making. Many people have developed a fear of dolls. Some even, may get panic attacks when they find themselves around them. This fear is more common than most people imagine. A small survey among children revealed that most girls owned a doll that for some unjustified reason they feared. They thought the doll was looking at them menacingly or they would imagine that the doll would hover above them during night-time. Is that a wild childish fantasy?
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Robert: The living doll
One of the most famous and old stories refers to a unique cursed doll which is still preserved up to this day. Almost a century ago, a gypsy nanny gave this doll to Robert Otto, a child of a wealthy American Family who relocated in Key West, California. The doll was named “Robert” and it is made of wire, cloth and it is stuffed with straw. It is one meter tall and its face resembles a rodent. The paranormal phenomena started to occur from the first days the boy hold the toy, in the old mansion of the family. Objects would start to disappear and later on they would reappear broken. The servants were reporting strange sounds like subtle footprints. In the beginning everybody suspected the little child, but the child in return was claiming that the doll would cause all these phenomena! As the years went by, the strange occurrences continued. His parents died and he grew up to marry Ann Parker, a young wealthy woman. Ann immediately disliked her husband’s favorite toy and insisted that the doll would be kept in the old attic. Even-though the toy was locked, strange sounds would derive from the attic and the doll would even appear in the boy’s old room. Nowadays, that Robert Otto has died, the doll still exists and exerts its bizarre powers at the East Martello Tower museum in California. The executive director has reported that Robert is the most famous exhibit of the museum up to this day. Most of the visitor’s photographs come out blurry or totally black when they attempt to capture the doll through their photographic lenses. Some believe that Robert’s power can bring bad luck to any who will make fun of the figurine or express their hate towards the doll. This is the reason why some people bring candy and write letters to the doll in an attempt to avoid any misfortunate event. Robert Otto’s house has been renamed to the Artist Residence and strange paranormal phenomena would still occur as many people believe that doll’s spirit is still haunting the house. Students of the area are reporting that the figurine’s face is still appearing to the windows of the mansion from time to time.
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The devil’s baby
One of the most repellent and scary dolls which is connected with paranormal phenomena is that which represents the baby of the Devil. According to tradition, in 19th century New Orleans, a famous witch by the name of Mari Lavo gave birth to the child of the Satan. As it is said, the real baby had a horrific figure, horns and tale. It is said that the baby did not live long. Many people claim that after it’s death, it was transformed to a dragon, which haunted the old district of the town. The citizens of the area, in an attempt to exorcise evil, would construct dolls similar to the figure of the baby and place them outside their front door. The first dolls were made of gourds, but during the 20th century people would make them from other materials as well. It is said that Mari Lavo’s spirit, cursed those dolls and many of the citizens were very unfortunate during their lives. After those incidents, people would start to remove the dolls from their front doors. In recent years, Ricardo Pustanio, an artist who is studying worship and voodoo concepts claims to have discovered, half-destroyed, one of the last surviving dolls of devil’s baby. He copied the form and its characteristics and started to sell his hand-made creations on the web. In an attempt to test its renown powers, Pustanio gave a few dolls to his friends and he soon discovered that the rumors were true. One of his friends was keeping the doll within a cupboard and from time to time he would find the cupboard half-open and the doll would hang outside of it starring at him. A woman reported that from the moment she brought the doll to her house, strange crying baby sounds would occur during the nighttime. A couple who also bought the doll reported that they would find objects scattered around the house every single morning. The couple did not have children nor pets. Silvia Cross, a renown parapsychologist researcher bought the doll from the web and she would also hear baby crying sounds during the night. She reported that her two cats would not even approach the figurine. All of these incidents occurred when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in the August of 2005. Can this be only a coincidence?
The haunted museum’s doll
In Quensel museum in the British Columbia there is a doll by the name of Mandy, which is more than 100 years old. The woman who donated it to the museum had the doll in the basement of her house as a remnant of another era. She reported that overnight, she would hear a baby crying and every morning she would find all of the windows of her house wide open. As she claims, all of these strange phenomena stopped from the moment she donated the doll to the museum. The museum’s employees have reported many incidents during the years as they can hear footprints in places nobody is walking. Many visitors claim that they feel the look of the doll watching over them as they move throughout the spaces of the museum, while others claim that the doll is blinking her plastic eyelashes from time to time. Is that only an urban legend? Nevertheless, no-one wants to stay alone to them museum, especially after dark!