Creepy, Haunted, Living Dolls
True Paranormal Phenomenon or Bogus Hocus Pocus?
You can find them on eBay, eBidz, in museums, and in the homes of avid collectors. Creepy, haunted, and evil dolls attract wanton spirits and strange humans (of which I am admittedly one), fascinate the horror fan, and scare the daylights out of most. But what is it about dolls that make us believe they are actually alive or possessed?
Throughout time, dolls have been created as vessels in which to house a variety of spirits. Ritual, superstition, myth, and legends abound about real living dolls that have the power to haunt and influence people and events. In the United States, there are some dolls that are widely accepted as being haunted. This lens covers some of those creepy, haunted, living dolls, as well as others that are just downright evil.
This lens is a work in progress. I have more to add but will have to do so at a late date.
Pictured is Robert the Doll, photo by http://www.robertthedoll.org/.
The so-called DARK SIDE
is not wholly an evil or negative place or force; after all, some things remain in the shadows because we've placed them there out of fear or squeamishness.
~ Jay Kinney
Robert the Doll
Robert the Doll is a doll that was once owned by Key West painter Robert Eugene Otto. The doll, which is supposedly possessed, has become a fixture of ghost tours in the Key West area since it was inducted into the Martello Gallery-Key West Art and Historical Museum.
The Devil Baby Doll of New Orleans
In my neck of the woods, well, where I was born, raised, and lived for over 30 years in any event, there is the legend of the Devil baby Doll. Below is an excerpt from my new book, Voodoo Dolls in Magick and Ritual about these creepy dolls.
Devil baby dolls are also hand-crafted family heirlooms, passed down from generation to generation to keep the Devil baby spirit away. The real Devil baby of Bourbon Street has a rich lore in New Orleans with just about as many versions of the legend as there are people telling it. According to one account, in the 1800s, a rich plantation owner who wanted a male heir married a Creole widower. They had six healthy daughters together, and when pregnant for the seventh time, his wife is said to have gone to a Voodoo Hoodoo Queen to ask for help with conceiving a boy child. However, the rich plantation owner was despised by most people, least of all the Voodoo Queen. So, instead of helping, the Voodoo Queen hexed the unborn child, declaring the wife to bear the Devil's son instead of another girl. When the baby was born with red eyes, horns, cloven hooves, claws, and a tail, it was apparent that the Voodoo Queen's black magic worked. It is said that the ghastly newborn was locked away in the attic loft where he was held captive by his parents. One night during a hurricane, the Devil baby escaped, running wild in the streets, wreaking havoc, eating the neighbor's children, and scaring the life out of anyone who crossed his path. He remained hidden under the buildings of Bourbon Street, where he would emerge to frequent the old Absinthe Bars in New Orleans, attacking the patrons and drinking their absinthe-tainted blood. Many witnessed the demon child wandering the cemeteries for many years. Legend says that the Devil Baby's birthday is on Mardi Gras Day.
Because it was believed that the Devil baby lurked in the shadows of the world, Devil Baby dolls complete with horns and a knotted jute tail were hung in the windows of old cottages to frighten him off. Occasionally, Devil baby dolls would appear on the stoop of unfortunate victims of local workers. Many people claim that their heirloom devil baby dolls are haunted.
Check out the whole story by Alyne Pustanio in the premiere issue of Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly.
Djab, Wild Voodoo Spirit Doll
Cursed Voodoo Dolls
You have found an unusual looking doll on your doorstep or in your parking garage at work. You get a creepy feeling just looking at it. Come to think of it, you have had a streak of bad luck lately. Was this doll put there for you to find? Is someone sending you a message on the downlow?
A person who wants to lay a trick on you can use any type of doll they wish. It does not have to be the stereotypical ugly Voodoo doll with some of your personal effects attached to it. Sometimes, it can be as innocent looking as a sweet baby doll that is the object of any little girl's affection.
On the other hand, it could look something like the one in the photo...
Mississippi Death Dolls and Ant Bed Spell
Music by Studio Voodoo, www.studiovoodoomusic.com. Part 1 of Mississippi Death Conjure is based on a class of hoodoo spells referred to as "death conjure" or "killing hurts". Part 1 illustrates the creation of two conjure doll babies and their preparation for the antbed spell. Learn more about Mississippi Death Conjure and Killing Hurts in Volume 2 of Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly.
Part 2 of Mississippi Death Conjure documents the "Ant Bed Spell", based on a class of hoodoo spells referred to as "death conjure" or "killing hurts". Part 1 illustrated the creation of two conjure doll babies and their preparation for the ant bed spell. Learn more about Mississippi Death Conjure and Killing Hurts in Volume 2 of Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly, the first hoodoo and conjure magazine in the world.
Voodoo Dolls in Magick and Ritual
Tracing the Voodoo doll’s roots back in time, author Denise Alvarado provides a fascinating account of the most provocative and mystifying icon of the African-derived healing tradition of Creole Voodoo. The author explains the multicultural history of the Voodoo doll, dispels stereotypes and myths, while at the same time showing the reader how to make and use Voodoo dolls to enhance everyday life. Learn how to make three kinds of Voodoo dolls, find over 40 spells and rituals to find love, attract wealth, offer protection, and promote healing and happiness. The book is richly illustrated with the artwork of the author.
Spirit of Death Voodoo Doll
Excerpt from "Voodoo Dolls in Magick and Ritual"
Among the slave population in Louisiana during the 18th and 19th centuries, image magick using dolls was commonplace. Image magick is a type of magick based on the concept of like attracts like and is discussed in greater detail in the chapter Voodoo Doll Magick. Archaic dolls bound with cat gut or twine and stuck with pins or fish bones have been discovered on several Louisiana plantations. Some of these figural forms found among the slave population bore a striking resemblance to the bocio of Africa. The bocio figurines were aesthetically provocative empowerment objects produced primarily in the lower Western Africa regions of Benin and Togo. These figures were artistic assemblages as well as magickal objects, and would oftenhave a variety of items attached to the figure. For example, personal items, cloth, rope, nails or tacks were driven into the figure to activate its power and invoke the spirit. According to Moreau de Saint Mry (1797), the Africans "believed in magic and that the power of their fetiches have followed them across the sea…Little rude figures of wood or stone, representing men or animals, are for them things of supernatural power, and they call them garde corps (body guards). There are a number of Negroes who acquire absolute power over others by this means" (Herskovitz, 1964, p. 221).
The bocio figurines were more than just scary looking magickal objects; they served a psychotherapeutic role as well. Traditionally, bocio were created in response to specific needs, and were believed to help people influence events in their lives for positive or negative ends. For example, bocio may be constructed for protection from illness, safety on the road, to promote success in economic matters, or fertility. It is easy to envision some of the reasons bocio may have been created and employed by slaves. For example, they may have been used for protection from abuse and brutality, safety for the family, revenge for abuse suffered at the hands of their masters, and/or to promote freedom from bondage. Obviously, bocio were a powerful means for psychological catharsis, as well as an effective tool for empowerment in the context of social and political crisis.