Dolls

by JEANETTE WALLACE

The concepts of souls needing somewhere to go have been around for many decades. The most thought idea of where some souls could go were into the hollow casings of a doll. The first dolls to be used for this method were called poppets and they were used in ceremonies. Egyptians used poppets to rid the bodies of evil so their souls could be sent to God. But most poppets were used to place curses on people like voodoo dolls, which these dolls would latch onto the souls of the person it was supposed to be cursing. Humans create such ideas of soul latching because they have a fear of the unknown, fear of dying and what that would mean for the person or people they love. Dolls have been the easiest to use for the idea of soul latching because they can be created in the likeness of a person which made people believe it could gain their owner’s essence even before they die which is what gave them this life like ability.

Doll myths stem from all over the world. Some of these doll myths contain evil and some of them are just things retold to be a reminder for people of how their loved ones were able to move “through the world”.
Pupa, which means doll in Italian, was created in 1920’s in the height of the ‘military strike activity by industrial workers’ which many Italians called this time “the red years”. This little Italian girl was given this doll that was created in her likeness. When the owner received the doll she was very young and even at a young age she told her family that the doll had a mind of its own, she also stated that her and the doll would talk often in private. But the family did not notice the dolls strange activity until Pupa’s owner died in 2005. When the late owners family received the doll they put Pupa in a glass case that she clearly did not want to be in, Pupa would change her ‘expression’, she would change how she was positioned if her arms were crossed she would unfold them, and if the case she was put in was clean they would come back and the case would be dirty. But the whereabout of Pupa is unknown to the outside world because the family has fears of what she can do (Pupa the Haunted Doll). Having fears of what they can not expect they hide her off.
Letta me Out, which is just called Letta. Letta was found in the floorboards of an abandoned house that Kerry Walton happen to walk into, in the 1970’s which was during the time were there was high protest in Australia against the ongoing war in Vietnam. When he first found the doll he was terrified because it was something strange that he felt compelled to not only find but to take with him. When someone found out about the doll they offered to buy it off of him, Kerry agreed but, when the time actually came to sell the doll off for some reason Kerry said he could not physically let go of the doll like some force was making him keep the doll. Wanting to find out more about why he could not seem to let go of this doll that brought him fear. Kerry went to a psychic who was able to give him more information about the doll Kerry was informed, that a doll maker had made this doll in the likeness of his son who had drowned when he was 6. The doll maker made it a doll because it was known that dolls were able to harbor the souls of the dead. Kerry was informed more that even though the doll unlike many other soul possessed dolls was harmless and wanted to do him no actual harm, the psychic did tell Kerry that under no circumstance was he able to part with the doll or it could bring harm (Letta Me Out!). With that knowledge he kept the doll or the story goes the doll kept him because of the common fear of not knowing what the doll was capable of doing.
Annabelle, an antique Raggedy Ann doll. That Donna received for her birthday in 1970 which just like Letta was during the height of the vietnam war protest. It was a cute little gift that she got from her mother, but Donna and her roommate, Angie, quickly realized that the doll was not just a cute little innocent toy. First, it was just changing position if they left it with its legs crossed and arms hanging they would come home and the arms were crossed and legs dangling. They both thought they were playing games on each other. Next, they started noticing it would change rooms all together. Annabelle would be left in the living room but then upon arrival the doll would be in one of their rooms. Lastly, what was the nail in the coffin was the doll started leaving messages around the house that said, “Help Us,” so Donna and Angie decided to find a medium to help them figure what was going on. The medium then started to tell them about a little girl named Annabelle Higgins who died in the field that the apartments were built on when she was 7 and how she wanted to live with Donna and Angie because she wanted to feel loved. They gave “her” permission but Donna began to have feelings that the spirit they let in was not Annabelle, Donna seeked a priest that told her that she was correct and then the Warrens got involved, they informed her that the spirit they let into the house was only using the Doll as a means to get into the house and would try to actually possess one of the people living in the house. The priest did an exorcism and the Warrens’ took the dolls with them where it resides in their museum with a do not touch sign on the case because they have a fear that the inhuman spirit is still attached to the doll (Annabelle).
Robert the Doll, a young boy named Robert Gene Otto was born in to a wealthy family. Who had many servants which they were not good to. One of the servants who was hired to take care of Robert happened to be Haitian woman who was caught in the family’s backyard practicing black magic by Mrs. Otto and was fired. But before she left she gave Robert a 3ft tall doll that was supposed to be made in Robert’s image which was not uncommon for this time period. Robert loved the doll so much that he gave the doll his first name and started going by Gene. That is when some of the strange things started happening. When anything bad happened, Gene’s mom would get onto him, he would always blame it on Robert. Being the open minded mother she was, she stilled punished Gene because Robert was his. Gene and Robert would be playing in the room and the servant and the Mrs. Otto would hear Gene scream with a follow of loud crashes and when they would burst into the room they would find Gene curled into a corner and Robert sitting on the bed looking menacingly at Gene. Some of the servants even said they would walk by and hear Gene talking to Robert but they could never make out what he was saying to the doll. As time went on so grew the bond that Gene and Robert shared, Gene went on to owning his childhood home and created a space in the attic just for Robert. But things took a turn when Gene ended up dying and that is when Robert started showing off is mischievous side. Robert started attacking people and locking them in the attic if they walked by. People in the community said they could hear a child’s laughter coming from the house. And if anyone spoke negatively about his owner Robert’s facial expression would change. When the new family bought the house the new owner claims to have seen Robert at the foot of his bed with a knife and started giggling. That was enough to send the new family packing and Robert to the East Martello Museum in Key West where you have to ask permission to take a picture with him and he continues to play his boyish pranks, like when the guard cleans his case they will come back the next day with handprints big enough to be a small children (Robert the Doll).

All though all these stories have different time periods and seem to be unrelated they all share a common thread. The fear of unknown which in these cases is death, we create stories that deal with soul latching and the act of using these hollow objects such as dolls represents our childlike innocence so we do not have to deal with death or what death may mean to us. In all the stories there are children who are present in the story if not in the owner but the person who souls has been contained to this inanimate object.
In the story of Letta and Annabelle they are both dolls possessed by the soul of these dead children. Yes, Letta was made because the father believed that the soul of his child would latch onto this doll that he hand crafted. And the soul of Annabelle may have not been the child that Donna and Angie thought it was but it was still a soul that was attached to a doll even though they are unaware of where it came from. The people who dealt with these dolls gave them the power because they felt the scarceness of what they could not explain or did not want to expect. Letta’s father did not want to come to terms that he lost his child before his life could even begin and Donna and Angie at first could not come to terms that such a young girl could be dead and they wanted to give her that feeling of love that she wanted. And both of these dolls if bothered can create such harm onto the people around them.
In the story of Robert and Pupa the owners received the dolls at young ages and they spent all their time and energy into the doll, some believe that the energy they gave these dolls are what made them feel so real. And when the original owners died. All the families had were these doll that there loved ones had. They start to believe what they were saying about the dolls all that time because why come to terms with death when they can have the closest thing to that loved one which is the doll. As these dolls are kept by the family’s and all the childish acts that loved one claims the dolls were doing where finally seen by the families because that is what they wanted to see to feel close. In Pupa’s case she was hidden off and only the family knows where it is because it is to keep the doll close and not out causing harm and Robert’s case he is on display because they want to be able to showcase what Gene may have been saying is true and not just some wild boys imaginations.

Some people would rather not deal with death. Some people use medium to call their loved ones from beyond the grave so they can talk to them and other people pray believing their loved one are in heaven and can hear what they are saying. We use any means to not have to come to terms with death and what that leaves us with, the fear of not knowing what is next for our lives. So we give power to something as innocent as a doll because that is how we want to see our loved ones, as innocent as a baby and in the purest form. But just like the stories show doing that may backfire because even the most innocent object may have a darker past.

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