Monday, May 27, 2019

49. Annabelle, Evil Dolls and Voodoo

In 1968 a young nursing student handed over a Raggedy Anne doll to Ed and Lorraine Warren, the most famous husband and wife paranormal investigators at the time. The student believed the doll was possessed by an evil being. Those of you that follow occult phenomenon may already know this story of the Raggedy Anne doll named Annabelle. It has inspired many film and TV productions and, in fact, the third film in the “Annabelle” series is a summer 2019 release; it is also the sixth installment in “The Conjuring Universe,” based on real-life cases investigated by The Warrens.

The student, Donna, and her roommate Angie observed that the doll could move around their apartment apparently all by itself. Not to mention lots of other terrifying activities throughout the house. Worried and scared, the young women sought a consult with a psychic who told them that a spirit was residing inside the doll -- a dead girl named Annabelle. A few unsuccessful exorcisms later, along with escalating frightening behavior, Donna was advised to donate the evil doll to the Warrens.

Now Annabelle is on display at The Warren’s Occult Museum located in Monroe, Connecticut. At the beginning, Annabelle was placed near the entrance where she could watch visitors coming and going. Then the eerie behavior began: Annabelle would be found in different corners when the staff arrived in the morning; ripped up paper would be found strewn about the floor where Annabelle was laying. At a certain point it was decided -- best to keep Annabelle in a glass showcase. Still, every once in a while, torn up pieces of paper show up on the floor near the case.

The belief is that objects that duplicate the human figure – such as dolls, statues or sculptures – can be conduits to those in the other world. The spirits experience the living world through the human-like object and this allows for a form of communication from one world to the other.

For witches it’s purported that the most effective way to cast magical energies upon the body of a living person is through a doll.  Think voodoo dolls. They exist in both western cultures as well as throughout Asia.

In China and South Asia, witches allegedly still use voodoo dolls to influence a person’s experience – for good as well as evil. These dolls are made from a variety of different materials such as grasses, stuffed cotton or wood. The process involves acquiring the name, birth day and time from their subject. Evoking a secret spell, the voodoo doll becomes a device through which energy can be transmitted. It is said that suffering can be inflicted with pins – one stuck into the right hand of the doll and the living subject of the spell will feel pain in their right arm. If all the pins are placed in the area of the heart, the subject’s life could be snuffed out.

Not all likenesses of human figures are used for evil purposes. In Thailand, local Feng Shui masters might recommend making your own rag doll. Treat it as a friend and it could actually help protect you. Russian shamans suggest making your own rag doll and placing your most dear wishes inside. They might actually come true. The suggestion is to never paint a face on the head. That, it seems, might be the key to turning the doll towards evil and make it attractive to demonic energy.

Are you a collector of dolls? Do these stories scare you? Maybe caution is necessary when choosing a doll -- avoid the creepy looking ones and go for those that exude happiness and fun. Maybe a happy clown?

Yet again, be sure to check out my next blog. You may have to rethink doll collecting. Yes, there’s more to tell ...

Monday, May 20, 2019

48. Caution: Dolls!!

My friends have always been the types to share interesting stories with me. But now that I am posting weekly to Connective Energies, I find they love to tell me about strange or eerie things happening to them or people that they know.

A number of years ago, a coworker of a friend went to Spain for vacation. Like most tourists, he went out exploring the streets stopping into local antique stores and visiting the flea market. His hope was to find a treasure that would remind him of the unique local culture once he returned home. He came across a doll that was so captivating he just had to have it. Without knowing its background, or a giving it a second thought, he took it back home with him.

About three feet tall, the doll was the height of a young child. Because of this, he treated the doll like a little person and propped it up on one of his favorite chairs. At times he would even talk to it – almost as if it were a family member. After a while he began to have unsettling dreams, kind of nightmares that made him sense something wasn’t right in the house. He, himself, was feeling odd as if he were filled with bad energy.

Our mutual friend suggested he get some counseling and he ended up consulting a Feng Shui master who came out to investigate what might be going on inside his house. Afterwards they had a conversation, but the master insisted it take place outside because he suspected negative energies were coming from the doll. He felt a spirit was active inside the doll.

The master wasn’t sure if the spirit was in the doll when it was purchased in Spain. His analysis, though, was that a doll three feet or taller and treated like a living person might attract a spirit -- particularly a spirit in need of caring, holding or being talked to. The spirit could attach to the doll to receive the affection it might be missing. This energy – typically of an evil nature – would eventually occupy the person who was interacting with the doll.

He was told to go back into the home, act as if everything were the same and then take the doll out for a walk. At some point on the walk he was instructed to dump the doll into the trash or leave it at a junkyard. After this the master would place something in his house which would block the spirit’s return.

My friend told me her coworker did exactly as instructed and everything returned to normal.  Except he did not bring another doll into the house from then on.

I'm sure many of you have heard similar stories from friends or perhaps in movies or novels. This experience and my previous post about the Geisha doll being struck by lightning are two real life examples that happened to people I know. At the very least, it has made me cautious about dolls and I rarely consider buying one for my own home.

In the U.S., a well-known case of a doll possessed by an evil spirit is that of Annabelle. This antique Raggedy Anne doll is currently on display inside a glass showcase at Warren's Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut.

For the chilling story of Annabelle, be sure to visit

Monday, May 13, 2019

47. A Doll, Possessed!

When out and about on vacation, besides sightseeing, many people love to shop for interesting objects and local products. Some bring back handicrafts, artwork and often pottery.

In Japan, there's one souvenir that many tourists seek out almost with obsession – a lovely Geisha doll. She is typically dressed in a kimono of luxurious fabric from head to toe with shiny jewelry adorning a silky wig. She might be holding an open fan or could be shielding herself with an umbrella. These are crafted with exquisite detail, usually stand about two feet tall and are encased in a glass showcase. The craftsmanship is really an art and it displays the fine techniques that are such a part of Japanese culture. How can one not bring one of these beauties home?

One of the most incredible Geisha dolls that I ever saw was in the apartment of a friend’s grandma. This was in the 1960s and they lived in Hong Kong on the third floor of a five-story building. The doll was positioned on the top of a high cupboard next to the window. Since they were facing a main street with cars and buses running by constantly, they always kept the windows on that side of the apartment closed and the blinds drawn. Every time I went for a visit, I would take a long moment to take in her charm and marvel at how real she looked.

Then one day she was gone. I was so curious. Where did they hide her? The grandma eventually explained that there had been a strange event and she told me the story.

The afternoon was cloudy and all of a sudden thunder rumbled the sky, but there was no rain yet. All at once a blinding light pierced through the window and hit the doll in the glass case and it was followed by loud thunder clap. Everyone was surprised and gathered to take a close look at the Geisha doll. She was still perched in her case, but there was a tiny hole in the glass that they were sure came from the flash through the window. And, there was also a hole the size of a penny in the window next to the doll. Somehow the doll didn’t suffer any serious damage except the decorative jewelry on her shiny wig had turned dull and dark.

This odd occurrence brought up a lot of questions for the family. Their third-floor apartment was surrounded by many high rises and very little open space. How did the lightning strike through their closed window in that congested neighborhood? How had it precisely hit the doll? And shouldn’t the doll have caught fire? Somehow, for the most part, she was unharmed.

They finally settled on the explanation that a powerful but invisible energy from outside expelled something evil that existed within the Geisha doll. The reason? The belief is that when a doll or a statue is constructed to look too human it can attract strange energies that will attach themselves. They could be good energies, but often they are mostly bad or evil. The exception would be figures that are displayed in temples.

I never saw the doll again at my friend’s grandma’s apartment.  She was gone from sight. Maybe they even threw her away.

After so many years, she lives deep in my memory. I’ve never consider buying a Geisha doll when traveling in Japan and I’ve not really not paid much attention to them in stores. Until about two decades later when I heard about another incident from a friend that involved, yes, a doll.

Monday, May 6, 2019

46. Strange Umbrellas

My friend Patrick is a freelance designer/illustrator for magazines and newspapers. During the day he’s running around the city from one client to the next. At night he works hard turning ideas into images in his little cabin in the country.

One day, while he was at a project briefing session, the sky suddenly turned cloudy and dark. He hadn't brought any rain wear with him since the sky had been blue when he arrived. He hung around the office hoping for a break in the pounding rain, but after an hour there was no letup. He started to worry about the tons of work waiting for him at home. Someone told him to check the storage room for an umbrella that he could take. It had been left behind over a year ago and no one ever claimed it.

By the time he made it home it was dark outside and the rain had stopped. His place was a small one room house with a separate kitchen and bathroom; the bed was placed next to a huge work desk. He placed the umbrella by a closet close to the main entrance. In a time crunch to work out his designs after the meeting, he had a little supper and then worked until 2 in the morning. Exhausted, he jumped into bed. A few minutes later he heard a strange sound in the room. Mice maybe? Then some thunder rustled outside and it was starting to rain again.

He opened his eyes a bit. A bright flash of lightning lit up the room. It was as if the lightning came into the room with a force that knocked the curtain off the wall. It tumbled onto his umbrella stand and pushed it across the room to the opposite corner. Strange indeed. Then a wind swept through the room which was even stranger since the windows and doors to the outside were all closed.

He didn’t sleep very well that night, just dozing until dawn. Again, he was awakened by another bright light. This time it was sunlight coming through the window where the curtain had fallen. The rain storm had passed and it seemed just like a dream. The umbrella was still in the opposite corner. It gave him an uncomfortable feeling -- especially when he recalled how family members from the older generation would talk about the mysteries of umbrellas. Later that day he made a point of returning the umbrella back to the storeroom of his client’s office without saying anything about it.

Was it only a dream or was it a coincidence that the thunder and lightning made the curtain fall? No matter. I will be sure to follow the traditions of my wise elders -- no strange umbrellas picked up here or there. And, be sure not to open it up inside on a nice dry day without any reason.

That's all about the gifts we avoid for friends. Now, what about a gift for you?