Monday, March 24, 2014


Do previous owners of objects such as: dolls, toys, or other sentimental items attach themselves to it after they pass away? Or do "lost" spirits find the host item through their journey in our world?

I’d like to address one of my favorite subjects that are one of the most loved and feared of childhood toys-Dolls!  I found so much about this subject online plus combined with my life long association with dolls and their history, I had to break it down to 2 Parts: Haunted Dolls this week next week and Cursed Dolls next week.

What is a doll? Dolls are defined as a representative of the human figure to be played with as a toy by a child. They can be simple-shape objects to life-like human representations (and made of any type of material) that a child would accept as a companion.

Dolls have long been a source of amusement for both children and adults. Dating from the ancient Egyptians to present day, dolls mirror or reflect our human history and past. They have been objects of comfort, adoration, and have brought joy to their owners. However, they can also bring terror as well as joy. For some reasons unknown, dolls seem to attract ghosts or spirits. It is hard to find any scholarly reading on the subject- but here is what I found.

Haunted dolls- are real life spirits that are attached to a certain host doll. Nobody really knows if the spirit picks that host doll, or if they are just drawn there, but we do know it happens. More troubling, dolls seem to become easily imbued with the spirit of the child to whom it most closely connected. And there is ample evidence by reading and listening to people tell their personal stories involving dolls to at least provoke suspicion that some dolls stay connected via this childhood link for years, even generations after their childhood playmate has grown to adulthood or succumbed to early death.

(Victorian) Deceased Child with her Cherished Dolls

You might even have a haunted doll in your home, and not even know it.

Have you seen the Ghost Hunters episode that featured a private home of a woman who declared that she had ghosts which among her big pile of stuff included a creepy pile of dolls on the bed? Throughout history, we have heard many stories in connection with a doll whose eyes will follow you across the room or has moved. Others claim they hear the doll talking. Is there any truth to all of this?

What is true is that Pediophobia, also known as the fear of dolls (or humanoid figure) is a relatively common kind of phobia. It is an anxiety disorder that can be associated with a range of dolls from old-fashioned china dolls and porcelain dolls to more modern plastic dolls that talk and move. This can be the result of a traumatic experience in someone’s past associated with dolls that has a lasting effect throughout their lives.

Dolls seem to provoke a visceral response with people. Either you love them or hate them. I personally think dolls have gotten a bad rap. There is no doubt that dolls were well loved and the emotional connection with their owner intense. It’s that psychological connection that has been vastly exploited in many ways by Hollywood and TV shows. They have had a big hand in perpetuating the theme of haunted dolls by creating some of the scariest TV shows and movies that portray dolls as sinister characters.

Growing up in the 1960’s one of my favorite shows was The Twilight Zone. There was one unnerving episode where a little girl and her pretty new Talky Tina doll are at odds with her mean step-father. Soon the step-father discovers the doll has a mind of its own, moves and talks, and seems to love and protect the little girl but drives the step-father crazy. He tries to destroy the doll in different ways but in the end he has an “accident” and falls to his death. As the mother picks up the doll, lying near her dead husband the doll opens its eyes and says, “My name is Talky Tina and you better be nice to me!” This was a chilling effect as the doll looked normal like any doll you can purchase at a toy store, yet it was evil to the extent it protected the little girl but threatened the girl’s parents. I had started to collect dolls at a young age and never gave it a thought that some of my dolls, that were similar to Talky Tina, were creepy or evil.

Another memorable and chilling Twilight Zone episode I remember featured a ventriloquist named Jerry  and his creepy looking dummy Willie. Jerry tells Frank, his agent, that Willie is alive and frequently talks to him. Jerry feels he is being controlled by Willie and tells the agent that he is at the mercy of the dummy. Frank does not believe Jerry and thinks he might need psychiatric help. Eventually Willy wins control of Jerry and later you see them onstage and you see the chilling outcome. They have switched roles! The dark mood lighting of the show added to the weird story. This time the dummy looked ugly and creepy but, was it only evil and possessed only in the mind of the unbalanced ventriloquist?

The Clown Doll in the horror film Poltergeist (1982) is remembered as being one of the more frightening entities in the film (in part due to many people fearing clowns). A poltergeist spirit most likely has inhabited the doll. There is the scary scene where Robbie sees his clown missing and as he is looking for it gets grabbed from behind and the clown starts to choke and drag him under the bed.  Every kid’s worse nightmare-something under the bed! The clown continues to choke Robbie until he fights back, ripping the clown doll's stuffing out and continues to attack it before finally stopping. You know that had to leave an indelible impression on many kids watching that movie that I’ll bet clowns were not on their Christmas Wish Lists for many years to come.

The Annabelle Doll from The Conjuring Movie is one of the most recent dolls to make the Hit list of Haunted Dolls from the movie The Conjuring based on a true story. In the movie, Director James Wan has redesigned the evil possessed doll Annabelle, giving her a much more disturbing appearance, but in real life Annabelle was just your run of the mill Raggedy Ann doll. This doll resides in and makes up the cornerstone of Ed and Lorraine Warren's (the demon hunters trying to save the haunted family) spooky museum of trophies. To read more on this real life story that happened 30 years ago, and about Annabelle, go to this link:

The doll collector is always on the hunt for that special doll that “speaks” to them (hopefully not literally. Any avid doll collector will tell you that it can be hard to pass up the opportunity to purchase or obtain a beautiful, desirable doll and rare doll. Some people go out of their way to buy a possessed or haunted doll such as on auction sites like Ebay and there are actual websites where you can adopt and buy such a doll.  I don’t know the reason people would knowingly invite something like that into their lives. Are they asking for trouble?  I can only say good luck to them!

As an artist who restores old photos, paintings, and antique dolls I never was aware of any dolls being brought to me for repair carried any type of residual or spirit energy or felt I was dealing with a possessed doll. These objects of a client’s past childhood had been well loved and carried unique and special histories for their owners and families. I was only too happy to be involved with restoring these precious heirlooms so they could be passed down to the next generation.

                      Author with some of her early china and bisque dolls that have been restored.

I've always loved dolls especially the wonderful little souvenir dolls my parents, uncles, aunts, cousins and friends have brought back from their world travels and gave to me as gifts, plus my beautiful antique china and bisque doll collection that represent a comprehensive range of early doll making by the Germans and French. I've had the privilege to restore and research these dolls and be a steward for them for a short time.

I've never feared my dolls, and consider myself fortunate after reading some of the harrowing stories people have reported. Although there was one incident of a small antique Welsh doll a client’s aunt left her and brought in for repair. She was dressed by the way in traditional costume along with her “witch style” high black hat. I had some paranormal activity while fixing her with a few items jumped off my shelf to the floor in my art studio. But was it because of the doll and a spirit attached to it?
Right now I have several old dolls sitting on a shelf in my studio waiting for repair as I write this blog. They seem and look innocent enough and I don’t think they will give me any trouble. Wait, did one just wink at me?

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Have you seen a shadow person? Read about one of the world's current phenomenons in my updated blog that is happening more and more frequently and being reported to the paranormal community.

What is a shadow person? By definition a shadow person, also known as a shadow figure, shadow being or black mass, is an alleged paranormal entity. Their movement is often described as being very quick and disjointed; they may first move slowly, and then rapidly "hop" to another part of a surrounding. Some witnesses describe this movement as though the shadow entities they have seen "danced" from one wall to the next. They often completely disappear into solid walls. 

A number of religions, legends, and belief systems describe shadowy spiritual beings or supernatural entities such as shades of the underworld, and various shadowy creatures have long been a staple of folklore and ghost stories. The phenomenon can take many forms: big, hairy, shadowy spiders, cats, clouds, black masses, or where a head is directly connected to a set of broad shoulders and, at times, you can see red glowing eyes.

Shadow people are described with striking similarities all over the world such as the Hat-Man which is described the same from small children to adults. The common traits are dark silhouettes with human shapes (usually a masculine shape) and profiles.  Some shadow people are wearing coats and hats and a few have claimed to see them with bright red glowing eyes. Others talk about the "Hat Man," a  solid creature as having "a Zorro-type hat" or "a Fedora type hat". He wears a three piece suit and a cape or a long trench coat, and possesses glowing red or solid black eyes. Even more terrifying is the entity covered in a Hooded Black Cloak with no feet!

Where Do They Come From?

There is scientific research that tells of several physiological and psychological conditions can account for reported experiences of shadow people. A possibility could be it's an illusion from sleep deprivation, which may lead to hallucinations. Another theory is that Shadow people are psychological in nature, and that they are somehow linked to a modern stressful lifestyle.

One scientific explanation is that shadow people are seen mainly in the corner of ones eye from a condition known as Pareidolia, that could be responsible. This is a condition where vision in the peripheral area of the eye incorrectly interprets random patterns of light/shadow or texture as being familiar patterns such as faces and human forms. 

Can shadow people be spirits of once living human beings that are stuck here on earth and maybe for one reason or another can't move on? A lot of people who have seen and experienced shadow people don't think that shadow people are residual haunting's. Most people who have seen shadow people think that they are intelligent and able to come and go when they want. Some people even say they think shadow people may be another life form entirely or may be the extra-dimensional inhabitants of another universe.

Online discussion forums devoted to paranormal and supernatural topics describe Shadow People as menacing, among other believers and paranormal authors, there is no consensus that shadow people are either evil, helpful, or neutral.
One of the more frightening forms witnesses recall is the black mass, an appalling dark form with a vaguely humanoid stance, which the witnesses unanimously feel represents pure evil can jump on your chest to choke you. The "Hat Man," is claimed to be a form of evil incarnate and speculated that the being is the Devil himself!

My Own Experiences With Shadow People

August 2009: our cousins visited the house of my deceased friend hoping to capture some paranormal activity on their cameras. The chapter describing what took place during that visit is in my published book, Estate of Horror.  
Our cousin *"Karen" sat on a chair during the time spent documenting the activity in the basement of the house that harrowing day and soon felt a presence behind her. Following photo shows what she captured on film. Her sister also recorded a darting dark figure behind a wardrobe closet.
*named changed

On June 2010: My son, Chris awoke suddenly in his bedroom and saw a dark figure near his chair. He instinctively snapped a picture with his cell phone camera and went back to sleep as it was very early. When he woke up several hours later he thought he had dreamed the event. That was until he looked at the image he captured on the camera. A dark hooded creature that seems to float off the floor. He showed it to me as he was getting dressed and I suggested he take another photo of the chair to compare before and after. That is why there is a slight change of the shirts moved in the other frame but the photos were taken the same morning.   

My family have seen small shadows darting along the baseboards and ceilings in our home and these have been connected with poltergeist activity at the same time. 

July 6, 2012: This figure showed up again last year when we filmed my book trailer. On our teaser, before you see the shadow man at the beginning of the video (the first 10 seconds) reflected on our white door and just before you see him there is a brief EVP of a dog barking.

Our producer and crew said no one heard any dog barking or noise (this was midnight and no one was around but us)when they were filming and our cinematographer and director and crew were not wearing hats.                               

            real still photos of shadow man as seen on video

Our brimmed hat shadow man came to my son later (who is very psychic) in a dream and told him was a former resident who murdered his wife in the early 1900's. My son described him as wearing farmer's overalls and a brimmed hat along with his companion-a large black dog with red eyes. We researched in county records (the property dates to the early 1800's) and indeed a former owner went to prison for murdering his wife in 1900's.
So, Should You Be Afraid?
It depends. Has it caused you to be frightened by its presence or has shown aggression towards you? That can be a problem. If you've never been harmed it may just be part of the home's original history (like with our experience) and is just an echo of a spirit or ghost that has existed for an extended period of time. It could be a being created through negative psychic energy or a lost soul who has been wronged, has unfinished business or has evil intent. Perhaps just an hallucination or optical illusion brought on by the psychological circumstances of stress, or mental illness. These are things you have to keep in mind to understand its reason for being there or just exactly why they are suddenly there at all. As the old 1940's radio detective show "The Shadow" used to say in its opening  line, "Only the Shadow Knows!"