5 Terrifying Real-Life Haunted Dolls

Hollywood loves haunted dolls and apparently so do you. Both ‘The Conjuring’ and spin-off film ‘Annabelle’ proved a HUGE hit with audiences, focusing on a terrifying child’s doll that caused sleepless nights for so many of us. 

Though the film is pure Hollywood fiction, there was a real Annabelle doll that really did have its owners convinced it was pure evil. And when it comes to haunted dolls, Annabelle is not alone… 

Annabelle

The movie version of Annabelle practically screams 'I’m haunted!’ but the real Annabelle was just a run-of-the-mill Raggedy Ann doll, given to college student Donna by her mother in 1970. Donna reported that Annabelle would move by herself, finding her propped up in corners; later, she would find notes seemingly written by the doll, reading “Help us”. 

Intense nightmares and more disturbances followed, including an incident where Annabelle appeared to be bleeding. When the doll was alleged to have raked three demon claws across one of Donna’s friend’s chest, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (the real subjects of 'The Conjuring’) were called in to remove Annabelle, but then she caused them no end of trouble, almost causing their car to crash on the way home. Annabelle remains inside a locked perspex case to this day. For now…

Robert The Doll

If you ever find yourself in Key West, Florida, head over to the East Martello Museum, where you’ll find Robert The Doll – a haunted plaything that gives even Annabelle a run for her money in the trouser-browning stakes. Named after its owner, young Robert Eugene Otto (known as Gene), Robert was a straw effigy of the boy given to him by his nanny, who hailed from the Bahamas. Gene spent every available minute of his waking life with Robert, but when his owner wasn’t around, Robert would get antsy; servants would hear him walking around the nursery and singing. 

Years later, when an adult Gene brought home his new wife, Robert turned nasty, appearing in a rocking chair to spook Mrs Otto. When the pair both died, Robert stayed behind and was given the daughter of the family who moved into the house, but mysterious activity – including the suspicious death of the family pet – was blamed on the doll. Donated to the nearby museum, Robert has been known to eat peppermints left in his case overnight. We’re never going to Florida again.

Mandy The Haunted Doll

Pushing 100 years old, the cracked, creepy visage of Mandy looks like it’s seen some horrors over the years. Currently residing in the Quesnel Museum in British Columbia, she was donated by a woman who claimed she’d hear the sound of babies crying in her basement, then would find Mandy sitting by an open window. 

Since taking up residency in the museum, Mandy has been up to all sorts of mischief, including but not limited to: stealing lunches from the refrigerator; hiding pens, books and photos; messing with customers’ cameras; and harming the other dolls. Legend has it, her eyes follow you around the room – some patrons have even reported seeing her blink. Oh Mandy… you clocked me and started me shaking… and you freaked me today, oh Mandy…

Letta

This marionette was discovered underneath a porch in Australia in 1972, and was estimated to be 200 years old and Romany in nature. Psychics claimed that the puppet was made by a Romanian gypsy after his son had tragically drowned, and as the gypsies believe in spirit transference, Letta apparently still carries that lost soul. 

But get this: the doll has real human hair, and underneath that is a toy brain. Why would a doll need a brain, you ask? Dolls aren’t supposed to emit a pulse, either, but Letta does. He reportedly causes it to rain every time he’s taken outside and knocks picture frames off of walls. Dogs have the right idea – they try to attack him – but several people have claimed they feel an inexplicable sadness when they gaze upon Letta. Because LOOK AT HIM. Shudder. 

Evil Elmo

Who knows what kind of freaky stuff goes on after dark in Sesame Street? A two-year-old boy named James Bowman saw the dark side of Elmo in 2008, when his 'Elmo Knows Your Name’ doll – programmed to repeat the name of its owner – started threatening to kill him. Reportedly, after Elmo’s batteries were changed, he began saying “Kill James!” over and over, although Fisher Price assured the Bowman family the word 'Kill’ just wasn’t in Elmo’s vocabulary. 

They offered little James a voucher for a replacement Elmo, but nothing to make up for the countless years of therapy he’ll surely need to banish the memories of Sesame Street’s finest threatening to end him. “Well doc, I keep having these dreams of Big Bird chasing me, only I can’t escape…”

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