Let’s face it, dolls are creepy. No matter how cute or innocent looking they are, dolls just have an unsettling quality to them that makes them perfect for the many tales of haunted dolls out there. One subspecies of the haunted doll phenomenon is based on the fact that a great many accounts of toys that are haunted, cursed, or both, revolve around that mainstay of childhood happiness, the ever present teddy bear. While these are supposed to be cute and cuddly childhood companions, there are quite a few cases where these toys have been anything but.
One such report comes from a commenter on Reddit who says she found a little black teddy bear one day as she was perusing yard sales with her kids. The toy is described as “old, obviously, because it was well worn. It was made of chenille and had black buttons for eyes.” The witness would soon learn that the teddy bear had belonged to its owner’s son, and that it was vintage, dating back to the early 1900s, although she was unsure of where it had originally come from. The witness purchased this classic teddy bear for a mere $3, but would soon come to regret it. She says of what happened next:
When I got it home, I cleaned it up a little and sat it on my bed among some other stuffed animals I had there. Later, I went back to my room to take a short nap. I pushed the animals aside, though the little black bear was close to my arm and at some point I must have put my hand on it.
I guess I dozed off quickly because when I woke up it was getting dark outside and I felt as if someone were tugging at me to wake up. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the little black bear moving. It looked as if someone was tugging it, but there was NO ONE in the room with me. Unseen hands were pulling the bear away from me. Instinctively, I grasped the bear and held it tightly, still amazed to find that something was tugging against me.
I sat up and put the table lamp on. The bear fell to the floor – I might have knocked it, or my unseen opponent might have pulled it down. Either way, I was convinced that if this particular little bear was going to be in my home, he wasn’t going to sit on my bed! Perhaps the ghost of a previous owner hadn’t liked that the bear was sold in a yard sale? Who knows? I just know, if anyone from the “other side” misses it, they can visit it in my china closet from now on!
A perhaps even spookier account was given on the site Your Ghost Stories, by a witness who believes that the teddy bear that she has had since she was a little girl has been infused with some sort of mysterious energy that animates it. The bear, named Donnie, has apparently shown to be quite mobile, and although not exactly sinister or malicious, it still manages to creep everyone out. The witness says of her beloved bear:
The way Donnie acts for, what I first thought to be a possessed, stuffed animal strikes me as odd. He moves, I know this for a fact from having felt him hold me back when I hug him and having placed him down, turned for a minute and looked back to find him closer to me, but those occasions tend to not happen often unless I've left him alone for long periods of time.
What does happen often, however, seems to only happen if my mom or little brother goes into my room without my permission and I'm not around. That and, with my mom since she's a bit more acute to paranormal things around her, if I accidentally leave Donnie in her bedroom. With my mom he seems to swing down from the ceiling at an angle not possible, just to hit her on the head and be resting on the bed the moment she turns to look at him. I've gotten her to go more into detail about it and she says that she only sees something black in the shape of Donnie swooping down upon her right before it hits her upside the head. If I leave Donnie alone with her without really realizing it, my bear apparently begins to demand where I am and then proceeds to say my name over and over until mom eventually gets fed up with it and ends up either throwing him at me or tossing him in my room.
With my little brother I only have one account of Donnie doing anything and that was standing up on my bed and charging right at him when he went into my room to get one of my CDs while I was over at a friend's house. Donnie didn't touch my brother at all, but he effectively chased him out.
Was this teddy bear possessed by some spirit? What is going on here? There are even stories of haunted teddy bears actually talking, such as the case of a possessed one reported on This Morning. The toy is called simply Mr. Ted, and according to the report was bought at a local fair by a witness named Debbie Davis, who claimed to have subsequently been plagued by various unexplained phenomena in the days after. The witness said that the bear would often issue snorts or growls, and even say words like “no” or “go away” on occasion. It was also noted that those who stood near it for too long would experience headaches, nausea, or even nosebleeds, to the point that the owner ended up burying it in a field 30 miles away from her home.
So far, so creepy, but it isn’t over yet. This Morning claims that they sent a crew and three volunteers to go investigate the reports and actually spend the night with the possessed bear while being monitored by paranormal researcher Jo Lockwood. CCTV cameras were set up to catch anything unusual and the experiment began, with Mr. Ted rather eerily and prominently displayed sat atop a rocking chair. Strangeness would ensue. At some point at around 3 AM, the camera reportedly lost power, and it was found that the power cord had been pulled, although everyone insisted that it had not been them. Also during the night was witnessed a glowing orb, and when the crew asked the spirit to show itself a voice from the bear reportedly growled “No. Leave.” Adding to all of this is the claim that a producer of the show who was there suddenly came down with a mysterious bout of nausea and had to be taken to the hospital. The teddy bear has been kept under lock and key ever since.
It is a rather spectacular report, and one wonders just what was going on here. Speaking of talking evil teddy bears, the king of them all is a toy produced by in the 1980s called Teddy Ruxpin, which was either a source of great joy or utter nightmare fuel, depending on the person. The toy itself was a stuffed teddy bear equipped with a tape recorder unit and an animatronic mouth and moving, blinking eyes, and it would talk and tell stories from tapes placed within it. This incidentally also makes them perfect for mouthpieces for demons and evil spirits, and there is no shortage of reports of supposed possessed Teddy Ruxpin dolls. One such report comes from a commenter on Reddit who says he had a Teddy Ruxpin as a child and that it had been stored away until one day he was cleaning house and found it by chance in the corner of the closet of the spare room. He says at first he was nostalgic and happy to see it, but the menacing events that would unfold changed his mind pretty fast. He says:
I’m rummaging around through the closet... I see the forgotten about Teddy Ruxpin doll, smile at it and tap it on the nose. At this point the most terrifying thing that’s ever happened to me (so far) happens. 'Hi,' says the doll. His animatronic mouth opening and closing for a brief moment as it mumbles the word. Out of the room I go, running faster than I’ve ever ran before. My brother hears the commotion and calls out to me.
Once I got my sh*t together I told my brother what happened. He laughed at me, called me a wuss, and proceeded to go into the spare room and pulls the doll off the shelf. No batteries, cassette tape, nothing. Its eyes just open and blank. 'You’re dumb,' says my brother. He thinks I’m trying to scare him and nothing I say convinces about what just happened. I begin to doubt myself. Maybe it didn’t really happen? Maybe there was some weird malfunction? I don’t know what happened, but I was terrified.
The same witness would put the odd incident out of his mind, but this particular Teddy Ruxpin was not quite finished yet. He says that one of his friends got it in his head to get some people together and hold a séance with the doll and a little toy caterpillar Teddy Ruxpin accessory called Grubby. The witness explains:
Each of us in turn asks the dolls to show themselves for what they really were. I don’t know what any of us were expecting, but you could sense that a couple of them weren’t taking this seriously. Then we heard it. 'Hi,' accompanied by the mechanical sound of Teddy Ruxpin’s jaw as it moved. Everybody freezes and it’s now complete silence. No movement, nobody is even breathing. Something in the closet stirs slightly and then everything is silent again. 'Who’s there?' somebody asks. Nothing. No words, no sounds, nothing.
We all sit there in complete silence for hours, too terrified to move. Dawn is approaching now, and the faint bit of light it creates gives us the horrifying realization that both Teddy Ruxpin and Grubby are on the floor just a few feet away from us, eyes and mouths wide open. Again another hour passes, none of us brave enough to move. The sun is out now and the room is beginning to brighten. Josh gets the courage to stand up first, followed quickly by the rest of us. We dart out of the room, slamming the door behind us, locking it, and continuing our quick pace up the stairs and out the front door. Josh’s house is just a couple of houses down.
Those dolls had to be destroyed, and we’re the ones that are going to have to do it. We get back to my place, armed with matches and lighter fluid. There’s a note on the door, 'Jonathan, I saw those dolls you left on the stairwell. Took them with me to donate them at the local shelter.
This is just one of many frightening Teddy Ruxpin tales out there that read like something straight out of a horror film, and another was given on ThoughtCo. by a witness who tells of one that was bought by his mother at a yard sale. The doll quickly demonstrated an ability to say things that it was never programmed to, and which were not on any of the available tapes, and it would devolve into something very mysterious and quite sinister and malevolent indeed, of which the witness says:
He started out by singing this super creepy song that went something like 'Touch my heart, you can talk to me, all your secrets and daydreams, see how fun it can be.' Then right off the bat 'Can I tell you a secret? Would you believe sometimes I like to be naughty?' Lol wut. So even though he creeped me out from the start, I kept talking to him, asking him questions like, 'What's your name? What do you like to do?' etc...
He slowly got more creepy. I talked to the thing for maybe 20 minutes, at first he was almost reluctant, he would answer a few questions and then stop and say 'Bye-bye!' And I'd have to push the button again to get him to keep talking. Then he opened up telling me things like 'I like to go swimming with my friends, what do you like to do at night?' And 'Sometimes I feel really sad. What makes you feel sad?' His answers were always quick and seemed to keep up pretty well until he told me he didn't like high places, and I threatened to put him on a shelf above the door. He took a huge pause, then said 'I'm sorry you feel that way. Bye-bye!' And wouldn't respond when I pushed the button again.
He has different responses and conversations with every different person that talks to him. When my mom tried to talk to him all he wanted to tell her was how much he likes to be naughty. At one point he even said 'Sometimes I like to play with matches even though I'm not supposed to. Have you ever played with fire?' My mom has always had a thing for fire and even once almost burned down my childhood house because she decided to light the weeds on fire to get yard work done faster.
When we had my little brother (14 years old) try to talk to him, he talked for hours, even though he still refused to work for me. He got almost explicit with my brother, telling him things like, 'Sometimes I like being naughty, what do you like to do when you get into bed at night?' And 'I like to go to sleep with my friends sometimes, who do you like to go to sleep with? Are you ever naughty?'... my mom heard the bear talking throughout the night even though my brother was asleep and wasn't saying anything back. When she went in to turn the sound box off it was already in the 'off' position. She thought maybe it was a problem with the wiring so she switched it onto the 'on' position but he kept talking no matter what she did. After a few times he told her 'That really hurts! Has anyone ever hurt you? You can tell me your secrets.'...
This morning before I went over my mom left him in the room next to her and he started talking. She didn't respond and after a few minutes he says 'Are you still there? I know you can hear me.' My brother won't let us sell him and sleeps with it in his room even though the rest of us can barely touch him without getting creeped out.
One veritable treasure trove of possessed and haunted teddy bear stories is paranormal researcher Gina Lanier, who specializes in haunted dolls and other toys, and has amassed quite a few cases on haunted teddy bears as well. In one case, Lanier explains that a woman was trying to sort of wean her son off of sleeping with his teddy bear every night, and began keeping it in her room instead. One evening, the woman felt the bear moving, and thinking it was her son trying to steal it back she sat up to tell him to go away, only to find the room empty. That was when she noticed that the bear was actually moving and struggling to get out from under her arm, as if it was trying to go back to the little boy’s bed. This frightened the mother so much had she had the bear locked away from then on.
More sinister is a story she relates about a teddy bear that was in the possession of a little girl who was routinely abused by her stepfather. This does not seem to have gone over well at all with the apparently possessed toy, because one evening in the middle of the night the teddy bear allegedly went missing from the girl’s room to appear on the stairs in just the right place for the stepfather to step on it to send him tumbling down the stairs and to the hospital. Making it even odder still was that the stepfather had gone off down the stairs in the first place because he had heard a strange, inexplicable noise that he had been going to investigate. Lanier says of it all:
That’s an interesting case. First of all it seems the bear was determined to get at the person it felt was harming those it loved. Also, in that case, no one except the target heard the noises that caused him to walk down the stairs in the first place. He firmly believes that bear might have killed him if he hadn’t have screamed loud enough to wake the whole house! Then, finally, when the man came home from the hospital, the activity only got worse.
By "worse" she means that the man would start finding the bear in all sorts of places where it shouldn’t be, and often witnessed it to move on its own. The stepfather, who was still recovering from his injuries, would often awaken to find the bear sitting in his room, even though the rest of the household strongly denied having moved it, and one evening he even awoke to find it sitting in his bed atop his injured leg. This incident was enough to cause the terrified man to leave the house for good, after which the paranormal activity surrounding the teddy bear ceased and it became just a regular toy. One of Lanier’s cases even has a teddy bear apparently coming back from the grave after it was buried with an elderly lady with Alzheimer’s who had kept it with her at all times. Lanier explains:
The family felt it only fitting that the bear should be put in the coffin with the lady when she finally did pass away, so this is what they did. Several people, including the entire family, witnessed the bear in the coffin when the lid was closed. The same people saw the coffin lowered into the ground. After the funeral the granddaughter and an aunt went to the nursing home to collect the remainder of the deceased’s things; this amounted to a small box and couple of shopping bags. Imagine their distress and consternation when they opened one of the shopping bags only to find grandmother’s favorite teddy bear lying right on top!
Reading through these startling and eerie tales of haunted or possessed teddy bears one may wonder just why these toys should do this. What is it about these ostensibly cute and benign toys that makes them behave this way? Why is it that these teddy bears should be so infused with the paranormal? No one really knows, but there are ideas. One is that these playthings draw to them and absorb the energy of their owners, which can then draw in spirits or even demons. Lanier has said of her ideas on this:
I firmly believe that what begins as a base energy in the teddy bear – just the combination of its history and reputation gives it that – produces a reaction and connection with its owner. It’s likely that discarnate spirits – human and otherwise – are attracted to this energy and begin to feed off of it. These spirits find more energy connected with the child or person keeping the teddy bear and discovering this, they aren’t inclined to leave. Given all that the Teddy Bear is exposed to, it would be absurd to think that somewhere along the way you wouldn’t get some pretty haunted and even possessed toys out of it.
Another theory is that the teddy bears are not the actual source of the disturbances at all, but are rather serving as a sort of conduit for a child’s pent up psychic energy. In this case, it becomes the means for this energy to project outwards and through the object in order to lash out at the world. This is very similar to the prevalent idea that poltergeist activity is caused by such psychic energy rather than ghosts, and Lanier also has expressed her opinion with regards to this, saying:
I have found this phenomenon in some of the subjects I have received or removed from homes where there is a history of abuse, either of the teddy bear’s child or of a sibling. I speculate that the primary energy the toy gets exposed to is fear, obviously, and then anger that the child isn’t able to express outwardly. As in other situations where pent up emotion combines with a child’s strong energy, poltergeist activity centered around the teddy bear is not uncommon.
Then of course, as with a lot of haunted dolls, some sort of entity just might have decided to take up residence within it for whatever reason. This would be similar to so-called “spirit attachments,” wherein spirits find themselves drawn to a particular person and are not inclined to let them go, only in this case the attachment is based around an inanimate object. Why this would be is anyone’s guess, perhaps the object has some meaning to the entity, or has some energy to it that it finds pleasing, who knows? In the end we don’t know what the reasons for these accounts might be, and we are forced to speculate. Is this latent psychic energy out of control, spirits and demons circling them or even inhabiting them, or is it simply overactive imaginations and tall tales? Whatever you think, it is enough to make one keep an eye on that teddy bear sitting on the nightstand. You never know, it might be looking right back at you.