When it comes to stories of cursed toys or any cursed items in general, it’s wise to take what you hear with a grain of salt. There are very few cases that seem to recount real curses or cursed objects out there, and unfortunately those are usually the ones that have a verifiable trail of destruction behind them.
Cursed dolls might make for the most chilling tales of all. Their very appearance is enough to send you hurtling into the uncanny valley: the blank stares, the waxy smiles, the fixed expressions. Add in some vintage clothing, and nightmares can't be far behind.
Many would agree that dolls are naturally creepy all on their own. Add a curse or animation, courtesy of an angry spirit, and these would-be-innocent playthings become infinitely more sinister.
Annabelle Hides A Vicious Demon
Annabelle might be the most famous cursed doll of all time. She was first brought to public attention by demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, and Hollywood latched onto her terrifying tale in The Conjuring.
The real Annabelle is an old Raggedy Ann doll, but looks can be deceiving. This doll is supposedly possessed by a demon who tricked two college girls named Donna and Angie into believing it was the harmless ghost of a little girl. They felt bad for the spirit and invited it to stay with them. That’s when its true nature was revealed.
Not only could Annabelle move around on her own, but she could apparently write as well. Angie and Donna would find strange scraps of paper with “Help Lou” and “Help us” scribbled on them. The girls did have a friend named Lou - the doll attempted to strangle him.
Once the Warrens were brought in to investigate, they determined that the doll was in fact under the sway of a demon. The Warrens ended up locking Annabelle up behind glass in their occult museum.
The Old Man Puppet Moves On Its Own
Paranormal investigator Jayne Harris was given an old man puppet after its owner became too fearful for his life to keep it in his home anymore. The man said the puppet came to life and tried to strangle him to death in his sleep.
Harris took the puppet, locked it in a glass box, and kept it under video surveillance for three months to see what kind of paranormal evidence she could capture. The resulting footage apparently shows the puppet slowly moving of its own accord.
Robert Will Give You Bad Luck
As the story goes, Robert the doll was gifted to a boy named Robert Eugene Otto by his grandfather. The boy - known as Gene - loved the doll, and the two became inseparable. Gene carried Robert around with him everywhere he went and spoke to him as if he were real. But then things began to go missing, and strange sounds were heard in the night - and all Gene would say was, “Robert did it!”
House guests claimed to hear the pitter patter of little doll feet upstairs when no one else was up there. Neighborhood children said they saw Robert moving around in the attic window from the street below, and witnesses supposedly heard two voices coming from Gene's room. Robert and Gene’s unnatural friendship lasted into his adulthood; even Gene’s wife was creeped out by Robert.
Since 1994, Robert has lived in the Fort East Martello Museum. But his malevolent power seems to linger: visitors who have mocked the doll or taken pictures without asking him first have ended up with a string of bad luck until they apologize.
Harold Isn't Cursed... Or Is He?
Greg Mishka put Harold up for auction on eBay in 2003, and offered full disclosure in his post about his experiences with the doll. Mishka claimed he was cursed the moment he purchased Harold from a Florida flea market. He said that nothing but bad luck came his way - he mysteriously developed chronic migraines, his cat suddenly died, and his girlfriend left him.
Despite all this, someone bought Harold for $300. But the doll went back on the market within 12 months, supposedly because he cursed the woman who bought him.
Harold has made his rounds on the paranormal television show circuit and has been blamed for a slew of horrors over the years. He’s been accused of being responsible for a man’s tumble to his death down a flight of stairs after interacting with him. Another man suddenly died of a brain tumor about a month after first coming into contact with the cursed doll.
The real kicker is that Mishka, the original owner, later admitted his claims were a hoax to make money. The deaths and tragedies surrounding Harold, however, tell a different story.