What creates a haunted object? What saturates something that has no soul so that it carries with it the pain of a broken heart or the violence of a death? Call it cursed, call it blessed, these items frequently bump into our lives creating phenomena that can’t be explained by the cat. Haunted cribs, chairs that doom people to horrible deaths or dolls that you thought only existed in bad movies, the mundane creates its own horror through the memories forced on it by former owners and passed on to new ones. You may think twice before hitting the next garage sale.
I have a friend that collects haunted things; it’s become an obsession for him. He travels to New Orleans and brings back authentic voodoo dolls for my children. One of these dolls he also gave to a lady who put it away in a cupboard so as to not tempt the cats as a plaything. That same night, she developed a headache and went to lie down on the couch. Upon awaking a few hours later, the doll was sitting on the table next to her head. Returning it to the cupboard, she now periodically hears scratching coming from the cabinet. She was also given babysitting duties to my friend’s haunted doll bought at an auction. The doll, while innocuous looking enough, gives everyone the creeps and was relegated to the same cupboard. Again, the scratching. I’d be setting very large mousetraps…
A painting has come into his possession, bought at an estate auction of a man who killed himself after the murder of his daughter by his wife and her subsequent suicide. An abstract of blue and red, it hangs in Al’s apartment in the living room. Since the painting arrived, he has been experiencing a multitude of incidents. Each night, between 1-2 am, he feels a weight sitting on the edge of his bed. The television switches channels by itself, objects disappear and return later into plain view. He bought a ghost along with his artwork. One of the items that has developed a wandering streak is a clown doll bought at auction, it has gone missing for weeks only to turn up again on a bookshelf. Small, cheerful and harmless, we wonder if it has anything to do with the television as well since when it’s sitting atop it, it changes channels, but it’s getting hard to tell who’s doing what in that house. Since the clown has entered the picture, Al has been subjected to phantom knockings at the door…ones that are only a few feet off the ground.
Can objects be haunted and passed down to another? Just ask anyone living in a haunted house.
Update: My new book, Haunted Stuff: Demonic Dolls, Screaming Skulls, and Other Creepy Collectibles, will be available Spring 2014 from Llewellyn Publishing. It's go time, ghosties.