Technically, the winner of the Creepy Doll Contest was the circa 1850 handmade doll missing her right arm. However, the History Center of Olmsted County (Minnesota) announced that all 9 contestants will be on display from October 29-December 1. Joining them will be 15 additional dolls from their collection. For more information, visit https://www.olmstedhistory.com/?fbclid=IwAR3C7joW_JaVfJY_YlsKD70zbwz6oS1dPdIaJqbXTit2_wxgk74_-eq_-ak or https://www.facebook.com/OlmstedHistoryCenter/?__tn__=%2Cd%2CP-R&eid=ARAUEc0oDD__OCdpZPi7dZDIp0IjzgSzzzvAVClq1NxB5TtGKS6fWf4RzMMQvtqm0n1ikY5ZYZaSRNoY. Seems the contest was a huge success!
The History Center of Olmsted County (Rochester, Minnesota) is holding a Facebook contest: What is the creepiest doll in their collection? Nine dolls were featured, one a day, for Facebook users to vote for. The top three dolls will be on display during the Halloween Week. Personally, I think all of them should be on display.
Each doll is unique. The dolls were donated to the museum and run the gamut in terms of material and age. Curator Dan Nowakowski posted pictures and videos of the dolls, which are still posted for viewing.
My favorite is a handmade doll circa 1850. The head was made of cloth and then painted flesh tone. Over time, the paint has chipped off making the doll appear faceless. She’s also missing her right arm. How creepy is that! (Actually, she’s very sad looking, in need of the Cleaner in Toy Story 2.)
Generally, dolls were not made to creep kids out. They have been made from all types of materials. The only criterion is that they resemble human form. In 2017, news broke that a soapstone doll’s head was found in a child’s grave in the Republic of Khakassia, in southern Siberia. This doll dates back 4,500 years to the Bronze Age, thus making it the oldest doll ever discovered. Another doll that was dated 4,000 years old was found on the Italian island Pantelleria in 2004. Before then, archeologists had discovered dolls all the way back to Ancient Egypt (2000 BC). Dolls are considered the first type of toys made.
Most people are not afraid of dolls (pediophobia). Instead, dolls make people uneasy. More females (66%) fear dolls compared to males (34%). Children and teenagers, under the age of 18 fear dolls at 45%. That number drops 1 percent to 44% for people ages 18-34. The older someone gets, the least likely he fears dolls. Which is interesting since dolls were essentially made for children.
Dolls are an easy target for horror movies. But have no fear; most are harmless.
Peruse the gallery images here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/OlmstedHistoryCenter/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10156992913154263&ref=page_internal
Curious about the Ayda doll? Read my latest blog at https://www.hauntjaunts.net/the-ayda-doll/.
Annabelle: Creation Released Last Week
The next movie in the Conjuring family was released last week. Annabelle: Creation, the second in the Annabelle storyline, has grossed $72 million since debuting on August 11th. The popularity of the movie may be attributed to the highly successful Conjuring family of films beginning in 2013 by James Wan. Wan’s films are produced on low budgets (hard to believe that $15 million is a low budget film!); however, they are incredibly profitable. For instance, consider these statistics: The Conjuring (2013) cost $20 million dollars and grossed $318 million worldwide; Annabelle I (2014) cost $6.5 million dollars while grossing $252 million dollars worldwide. Next up are The Nun and The Crooked Man. And this isn’t Wan’s only film franchise. He’s got the Saw films and Insidious. Even though Annabelle doesn’t rake in the most money, it makes enough to secure a third installment. Audiences are drawn to these horror films for various reasons. One is pediophobia, the fear of dolls.
Museum collections have dolls of all types. The oldest doll is made of stone and dates back 4,000 years. The toy doll industry grew 10% from 2015 to 2016 and comprises $2.88 billion dollars of the $26 billion dollar toy industry. Dolls are popular. They serve various purposes, such as teaching how to tend to babies. They also console children. But somewhere in their evolution, they became creepy.
The horror genre has lots of creepy dolls. Think Child’s Play, Puppet Master, and Poltergeist. In 1970, Masahiro Mori theorized that people didn’t like dolls because their minds could not reconcile the fake doll face with reality. The more realistic looking the doll, the more unsettling people felt about the doll. He called this the “uncanny valley.” See the chart for a better understanding. Basically, the more strange, or creepy, the face, the more uneasy people felt around them. This may explain while Wan changed the original “Annabelle” Raggedy Ann doll and decided to use a porcelain doll. The porcelain doll is creepier on the “uncanny valley” scale.
Film audiences love creepy dolls. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, give Annabelle: Creation a try. In the meantime, read this excellent scholarly article about dolls: “The History of Creepy Dolls,” http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/history-creepy-dolls-180955916/.