Dolls can be creepy enough on their own, but attach a spirit to one, and you’ve got a haunting fit for a horror movie. To celebrate National Doll Day on Aug. 1, SYFY is airing a Child’s Play marathon (you can find the full schedule here) and, inspired by Chucky’s antics, we spoke with Kat Blowers of FugitiveKatCreations, an Etsy store that deals in antique and allegedly haunted dolls and objects, to learn about her experiences.
“About nine years ago now, we got all these boxes [from a probate auction] and they were just full of dolls. So I was like, ‘Great I’ll put them on eBay,’” Blowers explains when asked how she got into the haunted doll business. “And about after a month of maybe putting 20 dolls up on eBay, we were getting reports back like, ‘Something’s wrong with these dolls. This doll is doing something crazy.’”
Confused and still burdened with an additional “1,100 dolls,” Blowers’ husband, Michael Quam, suggested the dolls might be haunted.
Her initial reaction to the suggestion was to laugh — “‘Like, yeah, right.’” — but then they started to look into the possibility. The other boxes they’d picked up from the same auction were filled with “witchcraft books and other weird stuff,” so maybe, they figured, the dolls really were haunted.
Nine years and “over 5,000” haunted dolls and objects later, Blowers says she and Quam have little time for anything beyond running their shop. Luckily, they don’t have to take the time to go hunting for more dolls to sell, since a large percentage of the dolls are now donated from around the world, from Thailand to Germany.
“We get dolls from all over the place, and we learned how to figure them out,” Blowers explains. “We had to buy all these tools: an EMF reader, and then we got a spirit box. We got a Ouija board, which we didn’t want to get into, but found it was a really cool way to figure some stuff out. And now we’re here.”
A friend of theirs who Blowers says is spiritually “gifted” guided them through the process of the Ouija, although, like many believers before her, Blowers insists it’s not a tool one should use lightly. Even though she estimates that about 75 to 80 percent of the spirits they’ve interacted with over the years are perfectly harmless, the other 20 to 25 percent have proven troublesome, and a Ouija board will only magnify the problem.
One object in particular, a “creepy” 500-pound statue carved from a single piece of wood, has been nothing short of chaotic since it arrived from a bar in New Mexico. The statue — which Blowers says she suspects is home to the spirit of a Native American man, given the small amount she’s been able to discern — currently lives in the back of the couple’s house, facing away from the home and exuding what Blowers describes as “terrible energy that makes people sick” and “smells like he’s dying, like he’s decaying flesh, but it’s just wood.” No one’s gotten many details from the spirit, even when using the same techniques and processes so many other spirits have responded to, she says.
It goes like this: Blowers, Quam, and several friends spend an average of three months getting to know the spirit that has supposedly attached itself to a doll or object. As Blowers explains, “We use EMF meters, dowsing rods, the pendulum, and then [it goes] into a soundproof box for EVP recordings.” Then, they spend some time trying to communicate directly with the potential spirit through meditation telepathy, lucid dreaming techniques, and the like. After the tests and rituals, they all get together, and if enough people came to the same conclusions, then they’ll feel confident in putting the object up for “adoption.” A listing goes up on the Etsy store with a picture and description of the spirit’s energy, traits, and a name, which Blowers says they’ll often learn while communicating with the spirits.
Luckily, most of the spirits aren’t like the statue Blowers can’t seem to get rid of. Most frequently, she gets messages from mothers who bought their child a doll or toy from a thrift store that turned out to be more than they bargained for. “All of a sudden the kid is a completely different person or things are happening in the house,” Blowers says, though cabinet doors banging about in the middle of the night and lights flickering on and off doesn’t automatically mean the spirit is dangerous.
“A lot of times that’s a child spirit or a woman spirit, and she’s upset because she’s in a home where she’s not understood and taken from her other house,” she explains. “They’re not happy because they were at the thrift store, they were disposed of by the person they were trying to be with, and so [they act out]. They’ll send me the doll, and half the time, that doll is not a malevolent spirit — it’s mad or confused at the moment.”
Those are the easy cases: People who don’t understand the supposed haunted nature of the object and get spooked by it. Then there are the people who are looking to spook — or even hurt — others. While the majority of the haunted dolls Blowers keeps for sale, ringed with salt in her garage, are perfectly harmless, people will still pop into Blowers’ inbox asking for a malevolent spirit. While there are some people who Blowers says collect more malevolent spirits, she’s also seen a few folks she describes as outright scary. “I get a lot of people specifically asking me, ‘Do you have something like Chucky? Do you have something that will hurt my mom or kill my ex?’ And I’m like, ‘No, I don’t. And even if I did, I wouldn’t give it to you.’”
Best to keep the murder-inclined dolls to the screen, a goal SYFY is more than willing to help everyone with. This Sunday, on National Doll Day, we’ll be airing movies from the Child’s Play franchise starting at 8 a.m. ET/PT and running ‘til 6 a.m. on Monday morning. And on Oct. 12, Chucky will be making his television debut when SYFY and USA’s new series, Chucky, premieres just in time for Halloween.
You can find SYFY’s full National Doll Day Marathon schedule here.