Annabelle, Robert, and Joliet, cursed Dolls that you want play nice with.
In 1970 a nursing student named Donna was given an antique Raggedy Ann doll from her mother as a birthday present. I remember those dolls, they always seemed a little creepy to me, but some people love them. Donna took the doll back to her apartment she shared with a roommate, Angie, and placed the doll on her bed. At first, there were no problems, but both roommates said that the doll just started to “creep them out”. They didn’t know where the eerie feeling was coming from, but something just didn’t seem right about the doll. They began to notice that the doll seemed to not only change positions by itself, but move to different rooms in the house when it was left alone.
Donna and Angie would find the doll sitting cross legged on the couch with it’s arms folded. Sometimes it would be discovered upright, standing on its feet and leaning against a chair in the dining room. Sometimes Donna would leave the doll on the couch before leaving for work, just to come home to it sitting on her bed.
So yes, not only creepy, but perpetuates the fear of dolls that many people hold, but what started happening next took it to a whole new level. The doll started to write notes to Donna and Angie. They began to find penciled messages on parchment paper which read “Help Us” in childlike handwriting. That’s Scary.
This was too much for the roommates, so the roommates contacted a medium who conducted a séance. Through the medium, the doll claimed to be the Spirit of a young girl named Annabelle who lived near where the apartment complex now stood.
The spirit of Annabelle claimed that she felt comfortable and safe with them and she wanted to stay with them and be loved. Donna and Angie, however, had compassion on Annabelle and gave permission for Annabelle to continue to possess the doll and stay with them. This however proved to be a dangerous decision.
Donna and Angie had a friend, Lou, who came to visit. He didn’t really like the doll and warned Donna to get rid of it. One night, Lou woke from a deep sleep to find that he was paralyzed. Looking down at his feet he saw Annabelle slowly gliding up his leg, moving over to his chest and then began strangling him. Being paralyzed, Lou couldn’t move and was asphyxiated until he blacked out. When he woke the next morning he knew it wasn’t a dream.
Annabelle’s hijinks continued. Angie and Lou were alone in the apartment one day preparing for an upcoming road trip. They heard some rustling noises stirring in Donna’s room. Lou stealthily made his way to the bedroom door. He waited for the unusual noises to stop before quickly entering the room and turning on the light. There was no one in the room except for the doll that looked like it had been hastily thrown into the corner. Lou searched the room, looking for anything that might be out of place, but as he got to Annabelle, he felt something menacing behind him. He spun around to find no one there. Immediately the surprise turned to terror and he began grabbing his chest as he doubled over bleeding. His chest held seven distinct claw marks. Three scratch marks were vertical and four horizontal. All of them burned hot.
This was the last straw for Angie and Donna. They realized that this was not the spirit of a young girl, but something more dangerous. Donna contacted a priest named Father Cooke, who contacted Ed and Lorrain Warren. Ed and Loraine Warren were well known for their paranormal investigations. They were the investigators who researched the Amityville Horror case and are the investigators who are featured in The Conjuring film franchise. The Warrens believed that the doll itself wasn’t possessed, but was being manipulated by an inhuman presence. This presence made the doll appear to be alive and cause harm to others. The demon or inhuman presence didn’t want to stay with the doll, but was using the doll to trap a human host.
When it began moving the doll around their small apartment it was using teleportation to make Angie and Donna curious. The doll wanted recognition. When the medium came, the doll made up a story that would prey on the girl’s emotional vulnerabilities, by pretending to be a child, a lost girl. Because of the Seance, Donna gave the demon permission to inhabit the doll, their home and possibly the women themselves.
From then, the doll progressed to partial demonic possession with the scratching and choking episodes. According to the Warrens, if the doll was allowed to stay for another 2 or 3 more weeks, the spirit could have completely possessed and possibly killed any or all of those in the house.
The Warrens encouraged an exorcism blessing to cleanse the apartment. AS a precaution, Donna had the Warrens take the Raggedy Ann doll. They had a special case built for Annabelle and kept her in their museum. The locked case has kept the doll from moving around, but the entity may still be attached.
There were rumors in August 2020 that Annabelle had escaped her confinement in the Warrens basement. Luckily, this was only a rumor. Annabelle is safely tucked away and now staying with the Warren son Tony Spera. The last thing 2020 needed was a possessed doll running around.
Robert The Doll
Eugene Robert Otto was only a boy when he was given a one-of-a-kind handmade doll to play with. The doll was made by a servant that lived in the Otto home. It was the early 1900’s and Eugene, or Gene, named his new doll Robert. The boy and the doll were fast friends. There doesn’t seem to be anything unusual about this story yet, just a child and his favorite toy. If only things could have stayed that way.
The first strange thing to happen took place when Gene was ten years old. He awoke to find Robert the Doll sitting at the end of his bed, just staring at him. Of course he screamed and woke his mother who came quickly as she heard sounds of furniture being overturned in Gene’s room. Gene begged his mother to rescue him but she could not seem to open the door. She was finally able to open the locked door finding Gene crying and curled up in fear on his bed. His room had been completely destroyed and Robert just sat there at the foot of his bed. Gene proclaimed, “Robert did it”. These were the only words he was able to utter. These same words were a pattern that repeated throughout his childhood whenever something strange, mysterious or destructive took place.
Gene, never admitted to making any of this up and his terror spoke to the truth of his words. To Gene, Robert the doll could interact and do things that other toys couldn’t. In fact, his parents frequently heard not only Gene talking to Robert as he played alone in his room, but they heard Robert reply in a different voice. The expression on the doll’s face even changed. The weird experiences didn’t stop. Gene’s parents said that they heard giggling and what looked like Robert staring out the upstairs window and even running up the steps.
When Gene’s parents passed, he came to live in his old childhood home with his wife Anne. Gene gave Robert a room of his own. He was given an upstairs room that had a window overlooking the street. Anne was understandably uneasy with Robert in the house, but she couldn’t exactly explain why. She wanted Robert locked up in the attic where she felt he couldn’t harm anyone. Gene agreed and Robert was placed in the attic. Robert was not happy with this arrangement. Visitors to the home often heard footsteps as if someone was pacing back and forth up stairs and creepy giggling sounds. Neighborhood children said they saw Robert peering at them through the upstairs window, mocking them as they walked to school.
Once Gene learned about what the neighbors were experiencing he went upstairs to investigate. There was no way Robert could have moved from the attic to watch the neighborhood children through a lower window. He was in complete shock when he opened the door to an upstairs bedroom and saw Robert sitting in a rocking chair by the window, looking out the window. Gene locked Robert in the attic several times, only to find him back in the bedroom, sitting by the window, watching the children walk to and from school.
Gene Otto died in 1974, but just because he moved on, doesn’t mean that Robert did. A new family moved into Gene’s old house with a ten-year-old daughter who was excited to find Robert the doll in the attic. This excitement ended abruptly when she told her parents that Robert was alive and wanted to hurt her. She would often awake in the middle of the night screaming and frightened. She claimed that Robert would move about the room. Subsequently, Robert the Doll was given away. Eventually he made his way to the East Martello Fort where visitors come from all over the world to see him.
There are theories as to how and why Robert was able to do the things he did. One theory is that the servant who made the doll and gave him to Gene had been mistreated by Gene’s parents and to punish them, she cursed the doll with Voodoo and Black Magic. Another theory is that the doll may be demonically possessed similar to Annabelle.
Robert continues to haunt and scare those who come to see him at the museum. He doesn’t like his picture being taken without his permission. Many have reported that their camera’s stop working when they try to take pictures of him. The camera’s work just fine after they leave the museum, but not while they try to capture Robert’s picture. There have been some people who have been able to take Robert’s picture without permission, but bad things seem to happen to them. Dozens of people have written letters to Robert asking forgiveness, begging for their bad luck to stop.
Robert currently sits inside a glass case in the museum, but still is able to scare museum staff and visitors. Staff members report hearing what sounds like demonic giggling and have and have seen Robert put his hand up to the glass. Sometimes he just smirks or just watches.
Joliet is also another famously haunted doll. The Haunted and Cursed Doll is a doll that is supposedly possessed. It is said to be highly dangerous.
She is known to curse the family who owns her. The family that owns her has passed it down from mother to daughter for over 4 generations. Anna, a member of this family, claims this doll curses the women in her family. Each woman would have two children, a boy and a girl. The boy always dies three days after birth due to unknown circumstances.
While the family would love to get rid of this doll they keep it because they believe that the doll traps the spirits of their dead children. The family therefore continues to care for the doll believing they are protecting the spirits of their dead children.
What are the origins of this story? Apparently, the doll was given to Anna’s great great grandmother by a jealous friend when the grandmother was expecting her second child. The child, a boy, died when it was three days old.
She has been known to giggle and change her expression. Family pets hide and stay away from her. At night you can hear crying, coming from the doll, that sounds like the crying of many infants.
Could an entity be using this doll be prey on this family’s emotional sympathies in order to keep a place in their homes?
“The Hands Resist Him”
One painting that is said to be haunted is “The Hands Resist Him” This painting was done by artist Bill Stoneham in 1972. The painting is of a young boy standing next to a life size doll. The creepy doll has a frown and hollowed out eyes and is holding a large cell battery with wires coming out of it. Both of them are standing next to a glass door with disembodied hands pressing against it.
According to the author, the boy represents him when he was a child and the doll is an escort of sorts who has been with him throughout his life. The hands represent the many paths that he could have taken in life, paths that he can not see, the doorway represents the doorway between the real world and the world of fantasy and possibility. The painting was inspired by a poem written by his wife, poet Rhoann Ponseti, and the theories of Carl Jung.
I personally don’t see the fascination with this painting but others seem to love it, buying it and bringing it into their lives and homes. The curse is believed to have started when the art critic who reviewed the piece died. The first owner, Actor John Marley from the “Godfather” owned the painting for years but it went missing soon after his death. Sometime later the painting was found by a couple from California abandoned behind an old brewery. They took the painting home and put it in their four year old daughter’s room. The painting had only occupied their house for a few days when their daughter started complaining that the children in the painting left the painting at night and would fight. She said the girl in the painting would threaten the boy with the object in her hands.
In an effort to convince the daughter that there was nothing wrong, they set up some motion activated cameras in her room. They claimed that the camera captured many photos of the painting seeming to take on a life of its own. The colors would change and the battery in the dolls hands would start to resemble a gun.
Not knowing what to do, the family anonymously placed the painting up for sale in February of 2000. They posted the back story and claimed it was haunted and that the figures would sometimes leave the painting. The eBay sale included a waiver absolving them of all liability following the sale. They even included pictures of the painting with the sinister changes it took on at night.
The painting had at least 30,000 views on eBay. The painting even seemed to affect people who had just simply viewed it online with several reporting having strange events happen to them or their children. Several people reported their children had vivid nightmares and woke up screaming, claiming to have seen the children from the painting. Another person reported hearing a demonic voice as well as feeling a hot blast of air. Others claimed to have gotten ill after viewing the painting.
The painting was sold to Kim Smith, owner of the “Perception Gallery” in Grand Rapids, Michigan for $1025. Kim contacted Stoneham who was surprised by the events surrounding his painting. In 2004, he was commissioned to paint a sequel which he named “Resistance at the Threshold” which depicts the same characters having aged 40 years. In this painting the boy is a man and the doll is broken down with her face coming off. The disembodied hands are now reaching through the door panes where the window had been long shattered. In 2012, Stoneham continued the saga when he was commissioned to continue the series. Painting “Threshold of Revelation”. Five years later, he painted “The Hands Invent Him” where he is again painted as a boy looking through the window at the silhouette of himself and the doll.
Is the painting haunted? Stoneham didn’t intend it to be, but it seems to have taken on a life of its own.
“The Anguished Man”
“The Anguished Man” is another famously haunted painting. This piece of art was created by an unknown artist. Rumors say that the artist mixed his own blood in the paint and committed suicide shortly after finishing the work. The painting is truly haunting and features a mostly red image of a figureless humanoid man who appears to be screaming in anguish.
The painting is currently owned by Sean Robinson from Cumbria England. Robinson inherited the piece from his grandmother who was adamant that the painting was cursed. She kept the painting in the attic, and refused to hang it on the walls of her home because she believed it to be evil. She told Sean she used to see a dark figure of a man around her house at night and hear strange noises like crying when the painting was not in the attic.
When Sean took the picture home, his wife instantly disliked the painting, so Sean kept it in the basement of his home. In 2010, there was some flooding in their basement so Sean brought the painting upstairs. That’s when things started to get strange and interesting. The family began seeing a shadowy figure of a man and hearing the sounds of whispering and even crying. Just like his grandmother had said.
A few weeks later, the haunting escalated. One night Sean woke up to see a dark faceless figure standing in his bedroom. On another night his wife woke up traumatized when she saw a stranger lying in the bed next to her. If this wasn’t bad enough, the couple’s son, Kenan, felt a presence push him down the stairs.
In 2011 Sean uploaded a video on YouTube, called: “Ghost activity caught on tape-Haunted Painting-The Anguished Man”. The video gained over a million views. The video showed eight hours of recordings, condensed into three minutes of truly strange happenings in the room with the painting. Strange noises including a loud bang and scraping, and a door closed on it’s own. There have been other videos Sean has posted with other paranormal activity that even show a mysterious ghostly figure run past the camera.
Many sceptics think that the footage and the story is a hoax and is completely made up. Sean is a sceptic himself, but hasn’t been able to find an explanation for the spooky things that have happened around the painting.
Currently, Sean has decided to keep the painting even though some have called for him to destroy it. The artwork however, no longer hangs in his home, but has yet again been retired to the basement in an effort to keep his family safe.
The Chair of Death or Busby’s Stoop Chair
There are also many stories of supposedly haunted furniture and when it comes to haunted furniture, you can’t not mention “The Chair of Death” also known as Busby’s Stoop Chair. The story of the Death Chair starts in the English Village of Kirby Wiske. In this small Yorkshire town full of lore is a museum where on display, high above the ground is Busby’s Stoop Chair.
Thomas Busby was a coin counterfeiter, along with his partner Daniel Auty. Busby and Auty were not always on good terms and fought frequently. They ran their illegal operation out of Auty’s home, a farmhouse which was named Donatty Hall . The farmhouse had a secret chamber built that in connected to a celler where they made their counterfeit coins.
Busby eventually married Auty’s daughter, Elizabeth. Along with the farm Auty also owned an Inn. Busby ran the Inn as a cover for their criminal activities. This partnership wasn’t to last, as in 1702, Busby killed Auty. The details are fuzzy, but one story says that Auty confronted Busby about his drunken abuse of his daughter. This took place in the bar room of Auty’s Inn. However the fight came about, there was an awful row resulting in Busby drawing a knife and ending Auty’s life.
One story says the fight was over Busby’s favorite chair, ending in Busby smashing Auty’s head in with a hammer. Whatever the case, Auty was murdered by Busby and Busby was sentenced to death by hanging. The execution site was directly across from the pub where Auty was killed. He was to be dipped in tar and then hung from a post.
Busby was offered one last request before his death and he chose to sit in his favorite chair at the pub and drink one last pint to calm his nerves. The villagers watched as he finished his ale and wiped his mouth, just to proclaim a curse on anyone who should ever sit in his chair.
Over the years 60 deaths have been attributed to sitting in Busby’s chair. The chair was considered so dangerous that today, it is displayed in a local museum, hanging from the ceiling so that thrill seekers can’t tempt fate.
By: Eric Carrier Host of The Prairieland Paranormal Podcast https://www.prairielandparanormalpodcast.com/ Instagram