When it comes to stories of cursed toys or 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.
Each of her attempts to destroy the doll or get rid of it only led to it finding its way back to her. 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, the doll 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. It was brought into the home or two young women after one of them, a nurse, received it as a birthday gift -- her mother had gotten it for her from a thrift store. Soon after the doll was in their home, strange things started happening. The doll would appear in weird locations and change little things, like crossing and uncrossing its cloth legs. Not only could Annabelle move around on her own, but she could apparently write as well. The roommates would find scraps of paper with "help me" scribbled on them. Finally, they saw the doll move its arms and called a psychic for advice, who told them the doll was connected to the harmless ghost of a little girl whose named was Annabelle. The women felt bad for the spirit and invited it to stay with them. That’s when its true nature was revealed and it began to act violently.
One night, the doll attacked the fiance of one of the women, who had been sleeping on the couch, leaving scratch marks on his chest. Once the Warrens were brought in to investigate, they determined that the doll was in fact under the sway of a demon and had a priest perform an exorcism. The Warrens ended up locking Annabelle up behind glass in their occult museum.
As the story goes, Robert the doll was gifted to a boy named Robert Eugene Otto by his grandfather in the early 1900s. 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 strange mishaps began happening - and all Gene would say was “Robert did it!”
In adulthood, Gene kept Robert with him - talking to him constantly and giving him a seat at the dining room table. After Gene got married, he kept Robert in the turret room of his house. Neighborhood children said they saw Robert moving around in the window from the street below.
Since 1994, long after Gene and his wife passed away, 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. People even send letters and bribes (candy and money) to try to get the doll back on their side.