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True Tales of Haunted Dolls

Dolls have long been a source of amusement for both children and adults. However, they can also bring terror as well as joy. Read on for chilling true tales of haunted dolls and possessed playthings. 

The Legend of Robert the Doll

When it comes to haunted dolls, Robert is arguably America’s most famous. The Key West doll is a fixture on local ghost tours and even served as an inspiration for Chucky in Child’s Play.

robert the haunted doll

Robert belonged to Key West painter and author Robert Eugene Otto. In 1906, a Bahamian maid reportedly gave the doll to Robert and then cursed the toy after Robert’s parents displeased her. Soon after the maid’s departure, strange events began plaguing the Otto household.

Young Robert enjoyed talking to his namesake, and servants insisted the doll talked back. They also claimed the plaything could change expressions at will and move about the house on his own. Neighbors reportedly saw the doll move from window to window when the family was away, and members of the Otto household heard maniacal giggles emanating from the toy.

Robert the Doll spooked plenty of folks during the day, but at night he focused on young Robert Otto. The boy would wake in the middle of the night, screaming in fear, as the heavy furniture in his room crashed to the floor. When his parents demanded to know what happened, Otto’s response was always the same: “Robert did it! It was Robert.”

Robert Otto died in 1974, and his notorious doll now sits on display at the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West. Legend has it the doll will curse anyone who takes a photo without permission, which Robert grants by slightly tilting his head. Visitors who forget can always beg for forgiveness which is what cameramen from the Travel Channel did after their HD camera mysteriously stopped working.

haunted doll

The Eyes Follow You

Though dolls like Robert grab headlines and spark imaginations, they’re not alone. Hundreds of haunted doll tales fill ghost blogs and forums across web, including one from an average woman in Moundsville, WV.

Years ago, the woman had a grade school friend named Emily and the two spent a lot of time at Emily’s home. The entire house had a strange feeling to it, but it was the attic that was the most unnerving.

“The attic was finished, but had that ‘death’ smell to it, like an abandoned building,” the woman writes. “It was always cold, despite the hot air that would rise from the floors below. The attic contained four small rooms, and one room was entirely devoted to dolls which I always found terrifying.”

One afternoon, the girls played with a few of the dolls until Emily’s grandmother called them to lunch. They placed the rag dolls back on the shelf, but one tumbled off just as they were about to leave. This was strange as the doll fell in a way that seemed physically impossible. Puzzled, the woman returned the doll to its shelf and went downstairs to eat. However, that wasn’t the end of the encounter.

“Later on that day, Emily and I were playing in the woods adjacent to her house, and I squatted down to pick up a pretty stone,” the woman writes. “When I went down, I felt something poking me in my pocket. I put my hand in the pocket, and I found two doll eyes …the eyes from the doll I had picked up earlier that day. Needless to say, I have been terrified of dolls ever since.”


Haunted Doll Sites

Though most people avoid haunted dolls, some have a passion for possessed playthings and share their knowledge and interest online.

The Doll House Cam

The Doll House Cam streams videos of haunted dolls 24/7, giving armchair ghost hunters the chance to spot a possessed doll in action.

“Set in a farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania, amongst the mountains and streams, is a little known secret,” reads the title page of “Seven dolls that once were loved by little girls now adorn the home of a family of five. They don’t just sit on a shelf looking pretty. These porcelain beauties, for lack of a better description, have taken on a life of their own.”

David’s Haunted Dolls

doll_eyesDavid’s Haunted Dolls is dedicated to educating the public about haunted dolls and the best way to care for any “Spirit Children” they might come across.

“A haunted doll is not your everyday Betsy Wetsy,” he writes. “Haunted dolls are real life spirits that are attached to a certain host doll. Nobody really knows if the spirit picks that host doll, or if they are just drawn there, but we do know it happens. You might even have a haunted doll in your home, and not even know it.”

AJ’s Haunted Dolls

Folks looking to buy a haunted doll need look no further than AJ’s Haunted Dolls. The site offers a variety of creepy playthings, ranging from the innocent and sweet to the dark and destructive.

“Each and every one of my Spirit Children and paranormal items are unique in their own special way,” AJ writes. “Not only because they are inhabited with a beautiful spirit, but because of the vessel they have chosen. I try and collect a variety of hosts, spirits, and unique paranormal magical items.”

Have you had an experience with a haunted doll? Think haunted doll stories are crap? Sound off in the comments below.

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  • Peggy Boyle

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I do not aspire to collect haunted dolls, but I do like read about them. I am a very curious person about a lot things. The ventriloquest’s dummies of old is what scares me the most, followed by clowns; certain ones anyway. I have seen all of the “Chucky” movies; it is amazing! He just keeps coming back like bad penny! Keep sharing with us!!

  • Peggy Boyle

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I do ñot aspire to collect any haunted dolls, but I do like to read about them. I am a very curious person by nature. What does scare me is ventrilôquist’s dummies of old; they are so creepy! Certain clowns creep me out too; both from childhood to the present

  • Dana Wilson

    Around 2004, I had awakened suddenly from a deep sleep. I felt very anxious, but could not recall any particular dream that may have contributed to this feeling. I lived by myself as I had divorced in 1999 and my children were grown and out of the house. I turned on my lamp, picked up my bible laying on the table beside me and began to read. Suddenly, the sound of a music box began to play. I followed it to a doll that had belonged to my grandmother and was sitting on a sewing cabinet across the room. It played for around 30 seconds or so. I had no idea that the doll even had a music box in it. I was very afraid, but determined that whatever was trying to scare me would not have power over me. I felt something tell me to pick up the doll and make peace with it. I got out of bed, walked over to the doll and kissed it, then prayed for peace. It took me awhile to calm down and I had to turn on soft music and sleep with the light on. I ended up getting rid of the doll . I have a large doll from the famous Schwartz Toy Store in New York City that belonged to her. It was given to her when she was 6, which means it was purchased in 1909. My daughter swears it’s haunted. I have decided to get rid of this as well as my grandmother’s other personal items as our family seemed to have an unclean spirit and I believe that maybe there is a bad spirit attached to these items.

  • anonomyssy

    google Romanian Gypsy doll found in australia…creepiest story I’ve ever read.

  • Kitty

    I actually have a decently large collection of creepy dolls, a couple of them are in fact haunted. I was inspired by the Story of Mandy. After that I just had a thing for them. One day I want to start a website or something, but I’m not positive yet. Another good haunted doll story is Annabel (not sure of the spelling) a possessed Raggidy Ann Doll.

  • Ariana Valentine

    I love creepy haunted dolls. I have porcelain dolls, rag dolls, & a doll that does things on it’s own.

  • Sebastian

    As of right now, I was searching through websites for a haunting story due to a doll that I have…My father died 9 years ago and a few years after I bought this adorable doll named “brenda” It said that on the tag, and it had a music box inside that played the Nutcracker song, and well…. My father had taken upon himself to play with it in the middle of the night…alll…night…long…. Ug. He’s driving me up the walls. I know, he’s my father..I have to love him..but playing that f*cking box ALL NIGHT LONG has pissed me off after two years… I duck taped the doll to the rocking chair that I had it in and removed the turnkey and put it under my bed in my diary. I put the doll in the garage..and faithfully..EVERY SINGLE F*CKING NIGHT it goes on it’s so annoying. I’m thinking of having an exorcism just to make him go away…I’m sick of him. He knows that musical dolls scare the f*ck outta me…. HE’s been torturing me since seeing a documentary on a haunting of dolls… -.- discovery isnt always good…

  • genesis

    u crazy cx