Is the fear of dolls really an irrational fear? Or is there something behind it all? Pedophobia is the fear of dolls, and that has some connection to being scared of puppets as well. The horror movie genre is filled with terrifying movies that bring dolls to life; these dolls often do horrifying things to people. Annabelle is a classic example of a doll that no one wanted to mess with, but there’s a long line of them. The Puppet Master franchise brought about the idea that dolls or puppets could be possessed and kill people. Most people won’t admit to being scared of dolls, but many will at least admit that dolls creep them out. So why do we have this fear over something that’s supposed to be sweet and innocent?
Folklore has often suggested, as do horror movies, that dolls can be inhabited by spirits in order to roam the world freely to do as they wish. Dolls are often linked to the idea of poltergeists or demon possession. Many people find dolls creepy because they’re uncannily human-like, but there’s also just something “off” about them as well. You feel just can’t quite trust them. There are so many stories out that involve cursed dolls or hauntings that involve dolls. So what do you believe? We’ve dug up some interesting and pretty creepy stories of people who’ve encountered dolls and what their experiences were like with them. Stay tuned to be creeped out by haunting stories involving dolls.
15. Watching Doll
It sucks when there’s a doll in the home that you want to get rid of, but your parents have a serious love for it.
“You know those cheapie plastic dolls that you can get at craft stores that you can knit or crochet elaborate dresses for? Popular with grannies. My mom received one of these dolls with a purple and white dress from an elderly neighbor lady not long before the lady passed away. My mom had a blue armchair in her bedroom and had the doll sitting on it. She always kept the door open. Every time I would pass her room, the doll would turn its head to look at me. My nephew (who is not much younger than me) experienced the same thing. I had nightmares about that doll; I just hated it. Eventually, my mom gave it away, and I was beyond relieved.” (Reddit)
14. Purple Smoke
“When I was a kid, I used to live with my grandparents. I have an aunt and uncle who is just 4-5 years older than me, and we would be home alone after school. One time, my grandparents were out a little longer; we were watching TV in the living room and out of nowhere heard a little kid talking in one of the guest room[s]. Back then, one of the rooms was never used, so we used to play in there; the only toy that was in the guest room was my aunt’s doll, and I can remember the voice clearly asking us to go in there to play with it. My grandpa burned the toy that night at the beach. It was weird how the smoke was purple when he burned it.” (Reddit)
13. Possessed Puppet
The Puppet Master movies brought a whole new meeting to terrifying puppets, but this story certainly is no less terrifying. This seemingly innocent-looking puppet became possessed by spirits and was locked inside a glass case, very much like Annabelle. The couple who owned the puppet claimed that one evening, it raised up on its own and started to knock on the glass of the case, wanting to get out. They locked it in the case because it once attacked its owners. They believe that it’s possessed by a powerful spirit and they don’t know how to control it. Now, if you ask me, I would have taken it out to the back and set it on fire, but I guess a locked case is just as good. Shockingly enough, the puppet is still with its owners despite that fact that they saw it knocking on the class case, trying to get out.
12. The Growling Doll
Some people don’t realize that they have possessed dolls in their homes. These dolls often come from attics or garage sales, and the owners don’t know where they originated. In this story, there was a doll that the dog didn’t like very much. “I had an experience when I was a kid. I would sleep over at my babysitter’s house all the time. Her daughter was a few years older than me and we got along great, so I would sleep in the same bed with her. She had an enormous collection of stuffed animals and dolls. One day, we heard her dog barking aggressively at one of her dolls…. What made it creepier was that it was a Raggedy Anne doll. We told her parents, and they didn’t listen, and if the doll was in the room, we couldn’t sleep, so her dad placed it on the kitchen counter. We woke up to him cursing up a storm. We ran out and could hear the dog and the doll growling at each other. Her dad got dressed, grabbed the doll, and supposedly dropped it off at a dumpster a few miles away. I’ll never forget the noise that was coming out of this doll.” (Reddit)
11. Even Barney is Possessed
Barney is probably the last doll you would think would be possessed, or maybe he’s the one you always feared.
“I don’t have a fear of dolls, but old antique dolls are pretty scary. When I was about seven years old, I had a lot of stuffed animals (still do), and I remember there was this Barney the Dinosaur doll on my dresser, and it was staring at me then fell off the edge of my dresser. I picked it up and put it at the back of the dresser, and a little bit later, there was a small sound like something fell, and Barney the f*cking possessed dinosaur was on the ground again. So, being 7, I put the guy back on my bed at the end. Woke up in the morning and he was on my chest staring at me. Now that scared the sh!t out of me!” (Reddit)
10. The Mandy Doll
This might look like a normal doll, even a cute one, but it’s not. The owner of this cute little doll claimed that the doll woke her up nightly with crying. When she heard the crying, she would try to search for the sound of it. She would go downstairs to the basement and try to find the source of the crying. She found no baby, but she did find an open window. The doll was made between 1910-1920 in Germany, and the woman realized that something was wrong with the doll and finally got rid of it in 1991. Oddly enough, she thought it was cool to just give it to someone else. It ended up at Canada’s Quesnel Museum, where the staff claimed that the doll would bang against the glass of its case. They claimed their lunches went missing and that Mandy “hated” other dolls and would mutilate any that she found. What a bizarre story.
9. A Sailor Named Gene
The doll that inspired the movie Chucky was a sailor doll originally named Robert. A wealthy family found out that their nanny was practicing black magic, and so they fired her. Before she left, she gave their son, Robert, a sailor doll, which he named after himself. The young boy eventually asked to be called by his middle name, Gene, because Robert was the doll’s name now. After a few weeks, the adults started noticing that Gene was having long conversations with the doll and at times found the boy hiding in a corner with the doll staring at him angrily from across the room. Then, what you would expect to happen started happening: strange occurrences were going on around the house, and Gene tried to tell his parents that it was Robert doing them. They punished the boy and locked his doll in the attic. He was eventually forgotten until the new owners of the house found him, and he threatened them with a knife. He now lives in a museum where there’s a legend that if you attempt to take a picture with him, then you, along with anyone else you bring with you, will be cursed.
8. The Joliet Doll
Joliet had been a part of four different generations of the same family. The family claimed that the doll was cursed and that curse came in the form of a son being taken from each generation. Each woman in the family had a boy, and that boy died just three days after birth. Anna is the youngest generation that has accepted the doll. The family is too scared to get rid of it because apparently, the souls of their dead sons are captive within the doll. The doll originally came from a great grandmother, and the family has heard giggles and cries coming from the creepy doll. Strange footsteps have also been heard throughout the night. They claim the doll’s voice changes over generations as well. Will Anna pass the doll to her daughter and have it continue to claim more souls? “Each of us in my family have [sic] loved the doll and cared for our lost children to this day,” said Anna, Joliet’s current owner.
7. China Doll
We all know that the idea of a spirit possessing a doll is pretty creepy, and this kid knew enough to not mess around with it. “I wouldn’t say it was possessed or anything, but I have this creepy china doll in my room (it was given to me by my grandmother). As you might imagine, I was scared of it and never touched it. The thing has been sitting in exactly the same spot for 13 years. One day, getting ready for school, I heard a soft thud behind me. Turning around, I saw the doll’s hat had flown off its head and landed in the middle of my room. I just kind of quietly turned back around and finished getting dressed before booking it out of there. I don’t think it was the doll itself; I think it was a spirit that I was feeling at the time.” (Reddit)
6. The Black Hooded Thing
Every child’s worst nightmare!
“When I was a little kid, I used to sleep with a bed full of soft toys. I fell asleep after a few hours of being trapped in my room, but something woke me up after my mom had gone to bed. It was very early in the morning, 1-2 a.m., and I could hear something. I stayed very still and listened. Then I felt it; one of my soft toys climbed over me and slid off the side of the bed and onto the floor with a thud. I tried to catch it moving, but it was just standing next to my bed (it was a floppy toy bear so it couldn’t stand on its own). I grabbed it and asked it what it was doing. It didn’t say anything or move. I dumped it back on the bed and fell back to sleep after a while. I made sure all the dolls and soft toys left my room after that. I’ve tried to rationalize it since then. I was still pretty young when it happened, under ten, but I remember it so clearly. I was not dreaming; I know I wasn’t. This happened before I saw the black hooded thing standing next to my bed one morning but after something had woken me up, scratching my leg in the night. Whatever that was bolted when it realized I was awake.”
5. Creepy Clowns
No one likes clowns anymore; the movie IT pretty much ruined that for everyone, so the next story is very creepy for that reason alone. “My friend and I had a sleepover at his house; I think we were around ten years old. Both his brothers were sleeping at their friends’ houses, and it was a perfect night. We played PC games and just enjoyed ourselves; then we went to bed; he usually falls asleep before I do, but the next morning, we wake up, and this old stuffed clown was hanging from his burglar bars for his windows (we lived in South Africa; [it] was a normal thing to have) in a crucifixion way. Jeez, we got so freaked out, and that doll always felt like it was watching us, bad vibes. His mother thought we were mad. It wasn’t his parents playing a trick on us either; they were very religious and would find it very blasphemous.” (Reddit)
4. A Doll Inside the Painting
Haunted dolls are nothing; this is a painting about a haunted doll inside of a painting. The painting is called The Hands Resist Him, and it was painted by Bill Stoneham in 1972 and depicts a boy with his doll standing beside the window. “According to its 2000 eBay listing, the terrified sellers declared: ‘THIS PAINTING MAY OR MAY NOT POSSESS SUPERNATURAL POWERS, THAT COULD IMPACT OR CHANGE YOUR LIFE.'”
They didn’t need to use caps lock to make it freaky — just the way they casually add, “OUR 4 AND 1/2-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER CLAIMED THAT THE CHILDREN IN THE PICTURE WERE FIGHTING AND COMING INTO THE ROOM DURING THE NIGHT.”
3. She’s Watching You
“We have this doll called Chikeeta; she’s about 120 years old, has been in my family for 4/5 generations (bought by an adult aunt and given to my great-grandmother when she was a child). It has been passed down mother-to-eldest-daughter ever since. She’s mine now. She was made by a master doll-maker at the end of the C19th and came with my family when they moved from Argentina in 1947. She’s a jointed doll, and the string that keeps her limbs attached has loosened over the years, so she ‘slips’ out of position. We used to sit her in a doll rocking chair in a glass display cabinet, and one of my friends absolutely hated her. The weird/creepy thing about her is that whenever this one friend was around, Chikeeta would ‘slip,’ so she looked directly at her. There was always a rational explanation for the movement — wobbly floorboards, someone knocked the cabinet, gust of wind, whatever — but it was mildly worrying that she would always slip (which was uncommon otherwise) when this one friend was around, and the doll would slip in such a way that she looked directly at this friend.” (Reddit)
2. The Antique Shop Doll
“I saw this one antique doll in a junk shop that gave me the shivers. She was a composite doll, probably from the 30s or 40s. She was very pretty, but you could see her age. She had tiny cracks all over her. The guy who owned the shop knew I loved dolls, and he was closing up shop, and he said [he] wanted me to have her, but I was just like ‘Uh, thanks, but no thanks.’ There was just something wrong with that doll, some vibe that she gave off that told me not to go there. I refused to even touch her, let alone take her. He wasn’t offended by my refusal. In fact, he seemed to approve [of] my decision to not take her home. I don’t think he really wanted me to have her so much as he wanted to see what I’d do if he offered her to me. I do think he would have let me take her, but sometimes, I wonder what the man’s motives really were in offering me that particular doll. I almost felt like it was some kind of weird test, and I somehow passed it. I know it doesn’t make any sense, but that’s how I felt at the time.” (Reddit)
1. A Vermont Teddy Bear
“When I was growing up, my house was always uncomfortable. There was something off about it, and I had a lot of unexplainable experiences living there. I had a Vermont Teddy bear my mom had given me when I was very small. I loved it more than any other toy, and so I can only explain what happened as my house turning it against me. At first, it was the feeling of being watched by it. However, I always had the feeling of being watched in that house, so I ignored it. Next came the distinct feeling it was in different positions when I came back. Not the other end of the room, but maybe its head was pointing a different way, or it was on the wrong side of my bed. Then, one night, I was lying in bed; the bear was lying next to me, flat on its back. I heard a noise in the hallway and sat up. When I turned around, the bear was sitting up next to me with its head turned and its arms outstretched, like it was trying to grab me. I fell out of bed trying to get some distance between the bear and me. The next day, I packed up any toy with a face left in my room and put it in the crawlspace.” (Reddit)