We can all agree that dolls are creepy even in the best of circumstances, right? There’s something unnerving about an object that appears almost, but not quite, alive. Their fixed expressions and shiny glass eyes, gleaming in the shadows, are enough to give anyone the shivers.
But some people like the shivers.
Perhaps that’s why there’s a small but thriving community of people who buy and collected haunted dolls. The dolls are often sold on e-commerce platforms like Etsy or eBay. The sellers offer elaborate backstories for the haunted or cursed objects, describing in detail the kind of supernatural phenomena the buyer can hope to experience.
According to insiders, the market really took off after 2013’s “The Conjuring,” which featured a terrifying haunted doll named Annabelle. Far from being scared of the possessed toy, people began searching for an Annabelle doll for sale.
The market for haunted dolls is split between two types of creepy. There are conventional dolls, often vintage from the 80s or 90s, that have been preserved with their original costumes and features. Then there are altered scary dolls that have been painted, burned, or stitched together.
At the time of this writing, eBay seller “mysticmagicks” just listed a haunted doll named Elise. The seller describes this blonde-haired, green-eyed bridal doll as a “wish-granting spirit” that makes a “great companion.”
“Elise is a very active and energetic spirit,” the seller writes. “If you are a beginner or have little experience with collecting spirit vessels or are afraid of the paranormal, please consider Elise. She is a fantastic companion. She is a very old spirit with many abilities and skills.”
After about fifteen paragraphs describing Elise, her powers, and the seller’s personal experience with the occult, there is a disclaimer:
“Per eBay’s policy I must state that I am not to be held responsible for any paranormal occurrences that may or may not happen. Each person experiences things differently and in a different manner. You must be 18 years old in order to bid on any of my auctions. Item sold as-is. You are bidding on an actual item. These items should never be used in replace of any type of medical needs. You are bidding a on a tangible item.”
This disclaimer is what allows sellers to offer haunted dolls, witchcraft supplies, and other occult items on eBay and Etsy. Oh, and if you’re desperate to own Elise, you can buy her now for $129.99.
Over on Etsy–a craft marketplace–there are currently almost 4,500 active listings for haunted dolls. The prices range from $25 to well over $100.
A doll offered by seller “VioletKisses4TheLost” claims to be inhabited by the spirit of a murdered nine-year-old boy. The sellers spins a yarn about little David and his sister, who were both kidnapped and murdered by a serial killer. The description reads as though Stephen King was tasked with writing a Hallmark movie.
Despite what skeptics might think, this seller has almost one hundred glowing five-star reviews. Her customers are delighted by their spooky new family members.
This hobby might not be for everyone. But for those who are passionate about collecting haunted dolls, it seems to bring comfort, joy, or excitement to their lives.