In this time of year, there’s always a lot of talk about ghosts, superstition and the supernatural. There are plenty of things out there that are supposedly haunted: houses, places and even objects. I recently came across an article that discusses some of the more infamous haunted objects out there. Of course, I feel that a lot of the stories and phenomenae in this story can very easily be explained by coincidence, selective memory or rotten luck, but these objects still do make for some great spooky stories to tell by the fireside.
Robert the doll: In the early 1900s, a four year-old Gene Otto of Key West, Florida, was given a doll by his family’s Bahamian servant, who was allegedly skilled with black magic. He named the doll “Robert”. After Gene received the gift, strange things started to happen around the house. Furniture would get overturned in rooms where Robert sat, Gene began to have horrible nightmares, objects would disappear and reappear mutilated. When the family was out of the house, neighbours would report seeing a small figure dart between windows. Robert the Doll is currently kept under lock and key at a museum in Key West.
“The Hands Resist Him” painting: This painting was sold on eBay back in 2000 by a couple who claimed that they found the mysterious painting in an old brewery, and that the characters in it would sometimes move all on their own. Nonetheless, there haven’t been any reports of anything happening with the painting since it’s been sold, and they have since found the artist of the creepy painting.
The Dybbuk box: This item first appeared on the Internet in 2003. Its owner claimed he had picked up the box, which belonged to an old Jewish woman, at an estate sale. The woman’s grandmother said the box housed a dybbuk (an evil spirit from Jewish folklore), and should never be opened under any circumstances. Of course, the new owner opened it, and horrible things started to happen shortly thereafter. He gave it to his mother, who immediately suffered a stroke; he asked his siblings to hold onto it, but they gave it back after just a couple days; every time he tried to sell it, it came right back to him. The owner’s story has a few holes in it, but it’s still wildly entertaining.
Annabelle the doll: Back in the 1970s, two nursing students in Connecticut purchased this Raggedy Ann doll for their apartment. Soon, strange things started happening to the students, from parchment notes appearing randomly in the girls’ apartment to their friend’s chest getting mysteriously slashed open. They called in the paranormal experts Lorraine and Ed Warren, who claimed that the doll was inhabited by a demon intent on stealing one of the girls’ souls. The Warrens exorcised the doll and brought it back to their home, where they built a glass case for it (it was apparently running around the house). The doll is currently on display at the Warren’s Occult Museum in Connecticut.
Thomas Busby chair: In 1702, the foul-tempered Englishman Thomas Busby murdered his father in-law for sitting in his chair. He was caught, tried and hanged. Before he was sent to die, Busby requested a drink of ale from his favourite pub. As he finished the drink, he cursed anybody who dared to sit in the chair. Terrible fates have befallen countless people who since sat in the chair, which currently resides in the Thirsk Museum in Yorkshire. For over 40 years, the chair has been hanging from the ceiling of the museum to discourage anybody from ever sitting in it again.
Anna Baker’s wedding dress: According to legend, in 19th century Pennsylvania, a girl named Anna Baker tried to elope with a local steelworker, but her father found out about the plan and put a stop to it. Anna never married, and the wedding dress she had planned to wear for the secret wedding was never worn. The dress, which is on display at a museum, was said to appear to dance by itself.
“The Crying Boy” painting: Painted by Italian artist Bragolin, this painting features a tearful child staring out at the viewer. The painting, which was mass-produced and widely distributed, became a common decoration in homes. Stories began to circulate about prints of ‘The Crying Boy” being found in the ruins of burnt houses, completely unscathed. Firemen apparently never allowed the painting into their homes, believing it to be something evil. However, this story was explained after somebody discovered that the fireproof varnish coating on the prints, not some sort of supernatural curse, was stopping the painting from getting burnt.
The woman from Lemb statue: This 5,000+ year-old statue, believed to be a depiction of a fertility goddess, was said to have been discovered in Cyprus in 1878. Since then, it’s had at least four different owners, all of whom died within six years of receiving it. That’s at least how the story goes. In reality, it was discovered in 1970 (not the original 1878 date attached to the legend), and has been part of the general collection at the Cyprus Museum since it was first found.
The Basano vase: Like many of the objects on this list, it seems like this antique vase is a harbinger of death. Nobody knows exactly where this vase came from, but it was probably made in Italy in the 15th century. It was found again in 1988, with a note inside it that read “Beware, this vase brings death”. When it was auctioned off, its new owner died three months later. The next owner died after just two months, and a pattern of dying owners continued until the Italian police decided to confiscate the vase and bury it in an undisclosed location.
The Myrtles Plantation mirror: Myrtles Plantation, rumoured to be built upon ancient Indian burial grounds, has a reputation as one of the most haunted places in the American South. According to legend, the spirits of Sara Bradford Woodruff and her two children, who died in 1824 of oleander poisoning, are trapped inside an antique mirror still on display in the house. Strange marks often appear on the surface of the mirror, including hand prints, which no amount of cleaning can remove. If you want to check out the mirror yourself, you can stay the night at the Myrtles Plantation, which is a Bed and Breakfast.