What is a haunted doll? Well, the name is actually pretty self-explanatory; a haunted doll is a doll which is believed to be either possessed or cursed in some way. When we think about word 'doll', we mostly picture a Barbie or a Raggedy Ann, but the earliest haunted doll actually originated in Ancient Egypt, where enemies of the pharaoh Ramesses III used dolls that looked like him to cause his death. Actually, most of Ancient Egyptian dolls, poppers or effigies are thought to be cursed because they were widely used as conductors to bring curses on people they represented. So, the earlier dolls were used for rituals or other religious ceremonies from Egypt, to the rest of Africa, Europe and Native American cultures. However, the concept of a 'haunted doll' as we know today started with Voodoo dolls, which slowly made its way to our popular culture, mostly notably, in the horror genre.
One of the most iconic haunted dolls in the movies is Chucky from 1988 hit Child's Play and all subsequent sequels and spin-offs. His inspiration was Robert, a haunted doll that is currently on exhibition in East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida. His original owner was an artist named Robert Eugene Otto, who got the dolls as a birthday present from his grandfather, after he purchased it in Germany. Robert the Doll is supposed to able to move, change facial expressions and make giggling sounds. The origin of the curse is not very clear, but the most famous explanation of it is that a girl of Bahamian descent gave the doll to the grandfather as a retaliation for a wrongdoing. Multiple car accidents, broken bones, job losses, divorces and other misfortunes are attributed to the haunted doll.
The second famous haunted doll is Annabelle, who served as an inspiration for the movies Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation and the Conjuring series. This is a Raggedy Doll that is supposed to be haunted, or so say the demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. The origins of Annabelle start in 1970, when a student nurse called Donna got the doll as a gift (bit of a recurring theme, no?). After the doll kept moving positions, Donna and her roommate called a medium who told them the doll was possessed by the spirit of a girl named Annabelle Higgins. At first, the two students tried to cohabitate with the haunted doll, but after Annabelle turned very malicious, the girls called the Warrens who relocated it to their Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut, where it still remains.
Robert and Annabelle are just two of many haunted dolls that are centers of the legends that keep popping up all over the Internet. Whether they are true or not, well, that is an article for another issue.