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.
According to one story, all hell broke loose after a woman in Galveston, TX decided to purchase a voodoo doll from New Orleans on eBay. Once she removed the little doll from its silver casing, she released the evil into her home. She began hearing strange tapping noises and having vivid nightmares, and would find the doll in strange places. But then the activity became physical - the woman woke up with mysterious scratches and gashes all over her body.
She decided to send the doll back to the person she had bought it from, but the package was returned to her. The box read "resident deceased."
One otherwise ordinary day in Singapore, a creepy doll appeared on the side of the road. Right away, everyone who spotted it could feel there was something terribly wrong with it. From her shabby lace dress to her blindfolded face, the doll just felt off.
The fabric that obscures her eyes features Arabic writing that translates to "bismillah," or "in the name of Allah." Some people believe that the doll is cursed, and that the only thing keeping the evil contained is the blindfold. Anyone who unties that cloth will unleash the curse and be followed home by the doll.
As of 2015 she went missing, but it's believed she'll return to her tree once she is finished with her current subject.
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.
For generations, Joliet has been passed down to the girls of the same family and so has the curse that's attached to her. The doll is said to have the souls of boys from their family trapped inside of her. Each woman in the family line has had a son and a daughter, though the boys have always mysteriously died at just three days old. The doll is then gifted to the surviving daughter, who may hear the laughter and crying of the deceased infants at night.
According to Joliet's current owner, Anna, the curse on the doll came from a bitter former friend of her great grandmother’s. It’s been claiming the male heirs of the family ever since.