How Do You Know If A Doll Is Haunted? Haunted Dolls For Dummies

Spooky looking haunted doll sat in front of a mirror

Picture this: You’ve picked up a beautiful antique doll at your local garage sale. You’re excited to bring it home and place it on your mantelpiece. Boasting to family and friends about your brand-new, vintage find.

But not long after, strange and eerie things start to happen. The demeanour within the house changes and light bulbs begin to flicker. And you’re almost convinced you heard childish giggles. But can it be that old child’s plaything? Surely not, you might think.

Well, we’re here to tell you that it can! Dolls can serve as a host for ghostly entities.

But before you start lining each doorway with salt, gather your sage smudges or contemplate making contact with the dead on an Ouija board; hang on a minute! In this article, we uncover everything there is to know about haunted dolls. From identifying these spirits to cleansing your doll (and house) from ghosts.

So stick around as we uncover these otherworldly beings, and if all else fails, call a demonologist!

How To Tell If A Doll’s Haunted

There are several signs to look out for to determine if a doll is haunted. Such as unexplained movements, eerie sounds such as whispering, and temperature fluctuations. Or intense feelings of emotions to electrical interference could all be signs that a spirit is lurking.

Here, we delve into the paranormal realms of the unexplained and try to make sense of the matter.

Are you ready?


Unexplained movements

One of the most common signs of haunted dolls is their tendency to move independently. Owners have reported finding their dolls in different positions. Or they see changes in the doll’s facial expressions, even when not touched.

Eerie sounds

Haunted dolls produce strange sounds that cannot be attributed to any logical source. The sounds of whispers, crying, laughing, or even conversations have been reported to come from these dolls. These unexplained auditory experiences have left many feeling anxious and unsettled.

Temperature changes

Another telltale sign of paranormal activity is temperature changes. The sudden occurrence of ‘cold spots’ or variations in temperature within the vicinity of these dolls. These temperature changes can be subtle or drastic, resulting in a chilling sensation.

People believe that spirits draw their energy from their surroundings. This causes local temperatures to drop as the energy’s sucked out.

Intense emotional state

Allegedly, haunted dolls evoke strong emotions in those who interact with them. People have reported feeling uneasy, anxious, or overwhelmed with sadness when in the presence of these dolls.

Some have even reported having the sensation of being watched or becoming fearful. All but good emotions are exuded from these plastic creatures.

Electrical interference

Flickering light bulbs or strange power-related occurrences are common when a haunted doll is nearby. Electrical disturbances, power outages, or faulty electronic devices are linked with paranormal activity. Spirits are believed to tamper with electrical currents to communicate or exert their presence.

Understanding Haunted Dolls

Understanding haunted dolls involves exploring the possible aspects that add to their creepy presence. Some dolls are believed to possess paranormal entities. Or spiritual attachments, which can manifest in several ways.

History of the doll

One aspect is the history and background of the doll. While collecting dolls may seem like an innocent exercise, it’s pivotal in learning where they come from.

Haunted dolls are said to have tragic or unsettling stories related to them. Including connections to past owners who may have experienced a tragic misfortune or death!

Reported phenomena

Do some digging before purchasing that ‘cute’ doll from your local garage sale. It may be worth asking if there has been any reported creepiness with it. This may include unexplained movements, eerie feelings, or strange unaccounted electrical disturbances.

Spiritual attachments.

Another aspect to consider is these dolls’ spiritual attachment to ghostly beings. Some people believe that ghosts attach themselves to inanimate objects. Such as dolls, which interact with the living world through these toys. The paranormal entity is believed to be drawn to these dolls. Due to personal connections or unresolved emotions.

Personal influence

On the other hand, paranormal activity can be related to haunted dolls. Due to the new owner’s sensitivity to the spirit world. People with heightened psychic abilities may be more attuned to the energy surrounding these dolls. Firm beliefs in the supernatural can shape one’s perception of the (haunted) dolls’ behaviour.

Approach the idea of haunted dolls with an open mind and a little scepticism. While some experiences may, in fact, be real paranormal. Others can be a conscience, natural factors, or even hoaxes.

Exploring the spirit world allows us to delve into the intriguing realm. Where the ordinary and supernatural interact.

Possible Causes Of Paranormal Activity

When it comes to freaky activity, some instances may not be so easy to laugh off. And there may be reasons why these humanoid figures become too human.

The exact nature of these strange objects remains a subject of debate. But here are some potential reasons for supernatural activity surrounding haunted dolls:

Residual energy

One theory proposes that haunted dolls may carry residual energy. Soaked in stains from past events or emotional imprints. These tragic experiences and intense emotions are believed to attach themselves to inanimate objects. And so, the dolls exude these paranormal temperaments.

Spirit attachment

As mentioned, dolls (or even that old teddy bear!) serve as a vessel for evil entities to inhabit. And may become influenced by these spirits to communicate unfinished business to the living realm.

In the past, as toy dolls crossed continents, their journey became intertwined with eerie and mysterious encounters. So don’t be surprised if that German doll starts playing tricks on you!

Psychic projections

It’s suggested that some people, consciously or not, can project their energy or thoughts onto ‘lifeless’ objects. These projections may cling to dolls, creating a paranormal and spooky presence.

It’s believed that people with strong psychic ‘powers’ might project their energy. They may project it onto the toy doll, causing odd phenomena.

Imagine: Distressed, sweet little Ruth is experiencing a traumatic event. She storms into her doll room, filled with anger, rage, and unnatural thoughts. Spooky if you ask us!

Poltergeist activity

Poltergeist activity is linked with haunted locations and can be to haunted dolls. These unnatural occurrences can include unexplained object movements. Often coupled with an evil and vengeful atmosphere. These activities manifest as doll movements, objects disappearing, or even items that levitate.

The presence of poltergeists can be linked to the unconscious psychokinetic abilities of a person. An adolescent is going through emotional distress, for example.

Environmental factors

The environment can add to the perception of a doll being haunted. Electromagnetic fields (EMF), natural earth energies, or geophysical abnormalities are believed to trigger and heighten ghostly sensations.

High EMF levels can cause feelings of unease and hallucinations. Paying tribute to a lurking supernatural entity nearby.

Paranormal Technology And Gadgets That May Help (And Provide Peace of Mind!)

There are many techniques and gadgets for those interested in documenting and recording their haunted doll. Ghost hunters have been using these items for decades. To stimulate paranormal conversations and unlock hidden messages.

EMF detectors

EMF devices can measure fluctuations in electromagnetic energy. Paranormal sleuths use these detectors to identify areas of increased activity. That may indicate the presence of a ghostly entity.

Haunted dolls have been known to emit abnormal EMF readings. Giving reason to believe these dolls are a ‘placeholder’ for evil beings.

EVP recorders

Electronic voice phenomena (EVP) recorders capture audio frequencies beyond the range of human hearing.

Paranormal detectives use these EVP recorders. To capture potential spirit voices or unexplained eerie sounds. These devices are later analysed to listen for spirit contact.

Thermal cameras

Thermal imagery is another popular tool used by ghost hunters. To identify any cold spots or heat defects that may indicate paranormal existence. These thermal cameras detect and see differences in temperatures. Providing visual evidence of ghostly entities not seen by the naked eye.

Full spectrum camera

They’re modified or special cameras that capture a broader range of light. Including ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) wavelengths. These cameras are used in paranormal research to capture and document images of ghostly beings. That is not visible under normal lighting conditions.

Geiger counters

Geiger counters, or radiation detectors, are devices that measure ionizing radiation. These are used to detect abnormal levels of radiation related to paranormal phenomena. It’s believed that spirits can emit radiation and affect surrounding force fields.

Motion or trigger detectors

Motion sensors and trigger objects detect movement (go figure!) or interactions with the surrounding environment. Motion detectors can be used to identify unexplained movements in a particular area. ‘Trigger objects’, on the other hand, are placed around to stimulate a response from spirits.

Spirit boxes

Spirit boxes, known as ghost boxes or Frank’s boxes, are electrical devices that scan through radio frequencies. Creating an endless stream of white noise. It’s believed that spirits can manipulate these radio waves to communicate with the living.

Investigators use spirit boxes to uncover any hidden messages. You can find them within the static white noise (or maybe even a homicidal doll theme tune).

Famous Haunted Doll Examples


Probably the most famous haunted doll of all time! Housed in Warren’s Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut, Annabelle. She gained notoriety through the “Conjuring” film franchise. But the original Annabelle has a different appearance and a far more unsettling story.

The story begins in the 1970s when a young nursing student named Donna receives the doll as a gift from her mother. Initially harmless, strange occurrences started to happen. She noticed Annabelle would be in different positions and often found sinister handwritten notes. As the activity escalated, Donna sought help from the Warrens, professional psychic researchers.

They uncovered that Annabelle wasn’t possessed by a spirit. But rather a demonic entity that evoked fear, chaos and malicious occurrences.

The Warrens took the doll and placed it in their museum but warned visitors to approach her cautiously. Due to her still retaining her dangerously animate tendencies. She’s been responsible for a series of unsettling events. Including physical attacks on people and even a reported car accident!


Housed in Warren’s Occult Museum in Connecticut, Harold has been reported to possess a hostile spirit. Reports have claimed that he killed one of his owners’ cats. Visitors to the museum have often said that Harold’s sinister energy affects their emotional state. Resulting in severe migraines and feelings of unease.

The Robert Doll

This is a well-known doll from Florida, USA, believed to be possessed by an evil spirit. Robert Eugene Otto had Robert the doll in the late 1900s. He was a Key West artist who received the doll as a gift from one of his servants.

Legend has it that the disgruntled servant practised black magic. And he cursed the doll before gifting it to young Robert Eugene Otto. Otto’s parents claimed that they heard conversations between Robert and the doll. Even though he denied speaking to it! Robert Eugene Otto claimed that the doll would often move unaided within the artist’s house in later life.

After Robert’s (the owner) death, Robert (the doll) remained in the family home’s attic. It was finally donated to the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida. Numerous visitors and staff members at the Fort East Martello Museum have reported strange, eerie occurrences when in the presence of this doll, including the sounds of distant giggling.

The Mandy Doll

The Mandy Doll is another infamous, haunted plaything that began in Canada. The doll gained stardom after its owner, who chose to remain anonymous. The owner claimed she would often hear the faint crying and distress of a baby coming from her basement. But no baby was present at home!

She later donated the doll to the Quesnel & District Museum in Canada. And claimed that no creepy occurrences ever happened again. The Mandy Doll has since been featured in several investigations. And she’s claimed to be the most haunted doll in Canada.


The Ruby Doll, part of the Travelling Museum of the Paranormal and Occult, is believed to have originated hundreds of years ago. But the exact origin is hard to pinpoint. A young child (we’re assuming named ‘Ruby’) owned this doll. And Ruby died tragically at a tender young age, presumably projecting her spirit onto her beloved toy.

The doll was later passed down through the generations. And each owner claimed a mysterious sensation surrounding the doll. Reports of it moving by itself have added to her eerie existence. Many who have touched this doll have reported profound feelings of sadness and, in some cases, even nausea. A solidifying reason to believe that she, in fact, is a haunted doll!


Okiku, the famous Japanese haunted doll, emerged in Hokkaido, Japan. Okiku is a traditional Ichimatsu doll, representing a young girl with black hair and a kimono. According to legend, it was gifted to a young girl (Okiku) by her older brother in 1918 and was lovingly cherished.

But Okiku tragically passed away at a young age from illness. The doll was placed on the family’s altar in memory of her. Soon after her death, the family noticed that the doll’s hair grew to a similar length to the deceased Okiku. Leading the family to believe that Okiku’s spirit was now inside the doll.

Yet, the family donated the doll to the Horyu-ji Temple, which has remained ever since. Visitors can see Okiku inside her glass box. Rumour has it that priests and temple staff still visit the doll to trim her hair.

Want to read more creepy stories that will scare the living daylights out of you? (We thought so!).

How To Cleanse A Haunted Doll From Evil Spirits

Cleansing a haunted doll to get rid of evil spirits is rooted in many spiritual and cultural beliefs. While the power of these methods varies, here are some ‘rituals’ to cleanse your surroundings from demonic entities or negative energy.


Smudging is a traditional practice that cleanses the air of negative energy. It’s linked with traditional healing and ethnic groups. It involves burning herbs like sage and letting the smoke rid the vicinity of unwanted energies. To smudge a haunted doll, hold it over the smoke or position it where you feel the most hostile energy.


Salt is believed to have purifying properties. And is used to form a protective barrier against negative energy. To cleanse a house (or dolls’ room!), sprinkle salt around the perimeter of each room and create a salt circle around the doll.

Leave the salt in place to absorb all the negative energy. And then dispose of the used salt by burying it or flushing it down the toilet.

Blessings and prayers

In many religions, blessings and prayers have been used for centuries to invoke positivity and divine protection from the higher realms. You can recite prayers of your choosing, focusing on the removal of bad energy from the house. This is often accompanied by visions of divine interception, reciting blessings ritualistically.

Holy water or sacred objects

In religious contexts, holy water or sacred objects can be used for spiritual purification. Sprinkling holy water over the doll is believed to cleanse it from its evil ways. Similarly, placing holy things, such as crucifixes, around the doll and throughout your home can create a protective barrier from harm.

Energy healing or Reiki

Some people swear by the intervention of energy healers. Such as Reiki practitioners to cleanse their surroundings of evil entities. Reiki healers use their hands to channel energy, intending to remove negative energy and restore peace and harmony.

Professional demonologists

In severe cases, where the paranormal activity causes harm or is persistent, seek help. Seeking help from professional investigators or demonologists might be necessary. These trained experts can assess the situation, provide guidance, and perform magic rituals. They can address the spiritual being, often using special equipment to lure the entity. (Yikes!).


Are all haunted dolls evil?

While you may be led to believe that all haunted dolls are evil, this is not always the case, as some supernatural beings inhabit inanimate objects without a revengeful and demonic nature. Usually, “spirits” are known to be harmless and friendly and don’t cause any harm to their owners. On the other hand, poltergeists are known to be evil and even demonic. And are entities that reside in such objects to cause physical injury or distress to their owners.

Does Pollock’s Toy Museum in London have haunted dolls?

Some museums boast about having paranormal dolls in their possession. But Pollock’s Toy Museum in London takes a different approach. Instead of explicitly claiming the supernatural, the museum houses eerie and intriguing toy dolls and artefacts. They are allowing viewers to delve into their own imaginations. While not having any reported “haunted” dolls in their possession, Pollock’s showcases a captivating doll room. It features some of the oldest dolls, dating to well over 100 years old! One can’t help but wonder about the history of these dolls. And speculate if they were possessed by an evil spirit as well.

Can any item be haunted?

Absolutely, any item can potentially become haunted, not just dolls. The concept of haunted items often revolves around the belief that objects can become vessels for spirits. Or they can retain residual energy from past events. For instance, the Tallman Bunk Beds serve as a prime example.


Sam Ashford
Sam Ashford - Author

Hey, I'm Sam Ashford! I'm a ghost-hunting expert, writer and founder of SpiritShack. My mission is to help people like yourself learn about spirituality and how to hunt ghosts!