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People have always been fascinated with horror stories and haunted objects. Spending a night at a haunted house, buying a haunted object, performing seances are only a few examples that show people’s obsession with the paranormal. And haunted dolls have always been a centre of attraction for people worldwide. The presence of haunted objects and their demand is not new and has been there from the early civilizations to the present society. These objects have been surrounded by history and have been associated with folktales, occult practices, satanic powers and maybe an underlying business strategy.
The primitive form of haunted dolls were puppets, effigies and voodoo objects which were created by primitive tribal people for either religious or ceremonial purposes. These traditional objects were later acquired by various civilizations for mystical purposes or occult. In Rome, dolls were used quite often in magical rituals to represent a connection with a god or goddess. Egyptian priests and magicians often used puppets for ceremonial purposes, to free the body of evil or to place curses on those who went against the will of the Gods. Some of the earliest effigies were used by African, Native American and European cultures. The European puppet has its roots in early Germanic and Scandinavian tribes who used them for ceremonial purposes.
Psychologists have always been keen to study what makes people so attracted to something which may cause distress to them. Research shows that it is one of the creepiest hobbies a person can have. In a 2015 article (Smithsonian.com), writer Linda Rodriguez McRobbie stated, "Dolls inhabit this area of uncertainty largely because they look human but we know they are not”. Psychologists explain the state of horror associated with dolls – dolls look like humans but don’t have a logical mind and since they lack the ability to imitate, human beings tend to have suspicion about their presence.
A rise of sharp market and income is linked with haunted dolls. Haunted dolls have an immense impact on pop culture. It is associated with steady income and movies, daily soaps, books, all have made this subject even more demanding to people. Movies like Annabelle and Chucky have made people more interested. Podcasts, soaps, You Tubers can be seen using haunted dolls in their contents to attract listeners and viewers. People may buy haunted dolls or objects as a dare, out of disbelief, or simply out of curiosity and collecting.
The Original Anabelle
The demand for haunted dolls is at spark. Online shopping platforms like eBay and Etsy claim to sell (sold by private users) real haunted dolls associated with a backstory. If you think that these can be found at a reasonable price let us burst your bubble by saying that most of these dolls are really high priced! The impact of haunted dolls is so much that there is a whole island of haunted dolls known as La Isla de las Muñecas (near Mexico City) and it is a huge tourist attraction. Actual haunted dolls like Annabelle, Pupa, Robert, Okiku, and Letta are all associated with specific folklores and history. Each of them remains in strict observation and security. The officers in charge are so strict that common people are not allowed to come close to them. Haunted dolls still remain a mystery. Is it just a story? Or is it a business strategy? Or is it something which is beyond science and logic? It is better to leave it to a person’s own perception and belief.
Written by: Diya Lahiri, Raka Bhattacharyya, Debadrita Das (InOtherPerspectives)
Image source: Google