5 True Life Cases of Haunted Dolls

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With the movie “Annabelle” being released this week, everyone is curious about the creepy dolls with the creepier history.  Annabelle isn’t the only haunted doll in history; tales also tell of other dolls that take on a life of their own.  Here are five dolls who terrorized their owners, and will go down in history as toys you definitely don’t want to play with.

Image courtesy of Haunted America Tours

Voodoo Zombie Doll

This particular doll originated in New Orleans, and was sold through eBay to a woman in Galveston, Texas.  The doll came with rules of care, including instructions to not remove it from its silver casing; a rule the woman broke as soon as the doll arrived.

The Texas woman claimed it haunted her dreams, and would attack her repeatedly.  She re-listed the doll on eBay and promptly sold it.  However, the new buyer claimed to have received an empty box, and the Texas woman claimed the doll kept reappearing at her doorstep.

The doll is now in the possession of a self-proclaimed ghost hunter, who hopes to figure out the mystery behind the traveling doll.

Image courtesy of Haunted America Tours


The current “mother” to the little baby doll named Joliet, is Anna.  For four generations of Anna’s family, the women in Anna’s family have been cursed to keep up a cruel tradition.  Each daughter gives birth to two children, one boy and one girl.  In each case, Anna claims that the son mysteriously dies on the third day of life.

They attribute the curse continuation to Joliet, who was given to Anna’s then-pregnant great-grandmother by a vengeful friend.

The family claims they can hear giggles and inhuman screams in the night, coming from the doll.  They also claim that the cries are of different infants, making the doll appear to be a vessel for all the baby boys who have been lost over the years.

Image courtesy of Fisher-Price


While not considered an entirely “haunted” case, the case of the Bowman family’s Elmo doll is admittedly funny.

In 2008, 2-year-old James Bowman was given an Elmo Knows Your Name Doll by his parents.  The doll was programmed to say your name, along with various personalized phrases.

This Elmo doll, however, liked to say “kill” before saying James’ name.  Elmo would sing “Kill James!” repeatedly, until James’ distraught mother Melissa decided to put it out of the toddler’s sight.

The malfunction started right after the batteries to the doll had been changed.  Fisher-Price, creator of the doll, offered to replace the Elmo doll.  It’s not know whether or not the Bowman family accepted the offer.

Image courtesy of Quesnel Museum


Mandy is a porcelain baby doll reportedly made in either England or Germany between 1910 and 1920, and was donated to the Quesnel Museum in British Columbia in 1991.

The donor said she would hear crying in the middle of the night coming from the basement, and it wasn’t until she gave Mandy away, that the crying stopped.

Museum employees claim that since Mandy’s arrival, strange occurrences have taken place.  They say lunches go missing, and turn up elsewhere in the building; the same with office supplies.  Employees claim to hear footsteps when no one is around, and that Mandy makes visitors feel very uneasy. Mandy is no longer kept with other dolls, because employees claimed she has “harmed other dolls”.  She has even been known to cause cameras and other electronic equipment to malfunction.


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 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, 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.

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