Haunted Dolls


Has anyone come across so-called “Haunted Dolls” for sale on online sales sites? What do you think about them?

Naomi and I have noticed this more and more often and I admit that it worries me. Not because I believe that all these dolls are cursed or haunted or that they are “spirit dolls” a term I’ve come across recently but because I feel that sellers may be using these descriptions to charge more than the doll is worth. We hate it when we see buyers being ripped off.

First of all I want to say that I am open minded about spirits. It may well be that there are restless souls who appear to some of us. Our mum told us such stories and Naomi has seen things that are hard to explain any other way. However, we are also aware that there is often a practical explanation for these things too. Like the haunted voice we heard at 2am that turned out to be her computer’s virus checker saying “Scan completed”. So while we concede that there may be the odd doll that has a spirit attached we do not believe there are huge numbers of them out there.

I am sure that in at least one previous post I have complained about the trend of calling old dolls “Creepy”. I get it that some people don’t like dolls, that’s fine but every old doll is not Chucky.

The doll after having her face washed and hair done.

Now I want to talk about the “spirit dolls” because whilst browsing Etsy the other day I came across a seller who had several of these dolls for sale. These were not ugly dolls and in fact the one I stopped to look at I found rather attractive so I read the description. It was really long and talked about the doll as if she were a real baby or at least the spirit of a baby. The seller talked about how many people have claimed to see the doll’s eyes move and that they said she was alive. She also talked about seeing auras etc. This seller gives a disclaimer that she can’t be responsible for any paranormal events and that she will only sell to people over 18. The doll looks to be a modern vinyl baby, a nice one but is she worth $688? Curious, I checked out the seller who is Australia based. There were 20 other “Haunted Vessels” in her inventory. All different types of dolls and some of them costing more than a thousand dollars. I’m not going to show the sellers ad. She may be selling these dolls in good faith and she certainly has a lot of happy customers going by the reviews. I don’t want to call her out if she genuinely believes in what she is doing. However, I don’t feel happy about it.

unmarked14″ vinyl doll

Another doll I found comes with the claim that she has powers to influence the decisions of the people around her. The seller says the doll is very old. It’s a vinyl doll from the 1960s by the look of it so not that old to me. She says that it’s eyes change to milky white as if it is some kind of power. I’m sure we’ve all seen old dolls with milky eyes. This seller too has a lot of “haunted dolls” again all kinds of dolls of varying types and ages. One is actually a 1990s Ken doll. They all seem to have detailed stories.

Etsy apparently has rules about how “haunted” items must be described which is why the sellers publish a disclaimer. Here is one I copied from one of the sellers.

DISCLAIMER, PLEASE READ, especially new collectors; You are buying a doll/bear. It will come shipped to you, well wrapped and insured.
Per Etsy rules, I must tell you that all items in the Haunted section are for entertainment purposes only, I am NOT responsible for any activities or non-activities.

I am NOT responsible for any activities or non-activities which may occur as a result of purchasing this item.

I am abiding by Etsy’s Tangible Item policy. I am in no way stating that this item will make an outstanding change in your life no way at all. This is merely a physical Doll and will be shipped accordingly.

chinese cloth doll
My oldest doll.

So I guess that they are not doing anything illegal and they are not all as expensive as the first group of dolls I mentioned although looking at them just as old dolls I feel the sellers are charging more than they are worth. If you go to Etsy or eBay or any of the other online sellers and do a search for haunted dolls or spirit dolls I’m sure that you will see many of the same type of thing that I’ve described. I suppose that if the people who buy them believe that they are what they are claimed to be they may feel that they are worth it. I guess I am too pragmatic a person and too skeptical to believe that it’s not about the money though. I’m also concerned at the idea of people messing with spirits when they shouldn’t be. I feel the same about Ouija boards.

image older Italian doll
Sophia has a cloth body.

I could take one of my old dolls and sell her as a creepy or haunted doll and if I wrote convincingly enough about it people might believe it. That is my point. In fact all the photos in this post, except for the featured image, are of dolls that belong to me. Some people might consider them creepy because they are a bit faded, have wonky eyes or look old.

I’d be very interested to hear what readers think. Are these dolls a rip off or are the sellers genuine believers? If you have had a strange experience with a doll tell us about it.

16 comments

  1. I don’t think old dolls are creepy, but I think sellers suggesting that a doll has some kind of paranormal power is creepy. That kind of claim would actually deter me from buying a doll. I’m open-minded about people saying that a spirit has communicated with them or has protected them from harm, but I don’t like the idea of people attributing special powers to an inanimate object.

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  2. I think they are rip off merchants. The way the descriptions are written are designed to get you in. They are going for the emotional thing which is very strong in a lot of people. They are going for empathy and sympathy by suggesting a little baby is haunting a doll. Very clever advertising like that will get in most people today because people today are so soft and gullible.I can see a lot of stupid lefties falling for it and the seller is probably a lefty too. Sorry to bring politics into it because I hate doing it but people are getting so sucked in and brainwashed these days that it would be easy for an unscrupulous seller to take full advantage of them and it does make me mad.

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  3. Right now the only “creepy doll ” I have is a beheaded vintage ,that’s metal eyes fell out and haven’t been replaced yet, if I put lights in the head for Halloween it’s scary.I remember voodoo looking rag dolls that were a fad once. I might be seeing some soon as I hear the swap-meet is opening up, and a thrift store near me. Keep my eyes open ..

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  4. If someone could come across one toy supposed to have some paranormal powers attached to it, (and I would be VERY skeptical), that would certainly seem rare. I would want to see some sort of proof, if any existed, such as it was written in a article for the news or a book, ect. While it may not be completely impossible for one such thing to exist, how is it that so many people manage to find five or six of them…or eight or ten? Come on now!
    And they’ve come to personally know their stories. Do people honestly believe this?
    Maybe these doll ranglers ought to utilize their talents for tales by writing a nice ghost story book.
    People love tall tales.

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    • That’s what I am skeptical about. That there are so many of these. I’d have a hard time imagining that a 1990s Ken doll could be a receptacle for a spirit. We have a boxful of them.

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      • Maybe after Ken’s little mistress left him outside after a day of play, the dog used him as a chew toy, a deluge of rain fell and he got soaked and mud splattered, and dad ran over in him the driveway with the car, Ken decided to haunt Barbie doll for kicking him out of the dream house.
        Maybe we better watch those doll houses too.

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  5. I have as much patience for haunted dolls as I have for covid-19 conspiracy theories or any of the patently ridiculous things that people want to believe. That is none whatsoever. I’ve become really interested in trying why people want so desperately to believe highly unlikely things. It’s the 21st century, not the 12th!

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  6. The voice box in a Kewpie doll I have used to trigger in storage for her to laugh, but not so much creepy. There are Halloween dolls for sale at Spirit, (Halloween novelties) that lean that way, but they don’t make claims to anything that weird. It does seem odd, surprised Etsy allows it.

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  7. I agree with you 100%! This is yet another way to lie and scam people into making their item stand out so people will buy their dolls. I’m betting they are just going around to Flea markets ,swap meets, thrift stores ,etc…and buying the worst looking dolls they can find for the most bare minimum amount of money and then selling them at extreme markups. It’s brilliant I suppose from a business perspective but quite dishonest. In 1 way its salvaging these last hope dolls to get a home. But in my opinion There is NO Such thing as haunted dolls. Do I believe in Ghost? YEs. But I think they haunt people or places not random items. Thats for Hollywood!

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  8. This is a very interesting topic. Personally I think ALL these sellers are fooling their buyers. They get their inspiration from movies like Chucky, Annabelle and many others. And they make money out of it, I think that is not right at all. While I do believe that ghosts could be a phenomenon of nature/time/energy that we don’t understand yet, I really don’t believe in haunted dolls. Never. It’s a thing that was invented by story tellers and movie makers, and now they use it to sell overpriced dolls. Well, that is my opinion at least. 🙂

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