My week with Rebecca, one of the “haunted” dolls sold online

It arrived in a big box with the first snowflakes of winter. Like a strange gift from Christmas. A pale face under blond bangs, melancholy green eyes, a long ruffled dress, a parasol, some jewelry. Rebecca is not a simple porcelain doll. She is “haunted”. At least that’s how it was presented on the announcement of the Le Bon Coin site: “An old soul in a beautiful vessel. Rebecca told us she lived in 1907. She doesn’t remember her exact age. When we asked her questions about her life, she told us that she had to change houses several times”. It would have been bought from an antique dealer around 1920, around Paris, then transmitted over three generations. It took 30 euros to get it back.

Her former owners warn: “We are very sensitive to the energies in my family and we all feel a certain power around Rebecca. We were able to observe orbs around her in several photos, as well as some small changes in the positions of her head”. They add: “I advise you to leave it quietly in a room for 24 hours so that it can acclimatize a little. You can put incense and coarse salt next to her. Ideally, white sage would be more appreciated, but I know that it is sometimes difficult to obtain it”.

Rebecca in her box – TLG/20Minutes

The phenomenon of “haunted” dolls on the Internet

Rebecca is not unique. Other “haunted” dolls, more or less sinister, are on sale on Le Bon Coin or Vinted [voir encadré en fin d’article]. In the USA, it’s a real business. Offers abound on Ebay or Etsy. Prices vary from a few tens of euros to several hundred. In each ad, the seller tells in detail the story of his object and the paranormal phenomena associated with it.

“Kristel is definitely possessed by the spirit of a child. During the sessions to try to communicate, she speaks like a very young child. She exudes great energy.”

“This is Natalia-Rose, a porcelain doll I bought at a flea market in 2011, I’m trying to get rid of her but I don’t want to leave her in the wrong hands, she shows real signs of paranormal activity”

“Bonny was 6 when she died, her soul is in this collectible porcelain doll, [dont] the head can spin. This doll is for those who believe in the paranormal, it is not a children’s toy”

Examples of “haunted” dolls on leboncoin.
Examples of “haunted” dolls on leboncoin. – leboncoin screenshot
Example of dolls presented as
Example of dolls presented as “haunted” on the Ebay site. – Ebay screenshot

Charlie* has just “got rid” of a “haunted” doll on a resale site. “My father was a second-hand dealer and when he sold his house, I collected old toys. Very quickly, with this doll, I had bad vibes. When I had it in hand, the first name of Emilie came to me immediately, like a thought that did not belong to me, ”he breathes. “I was super uncomfortable, so I put her in a wooden chest. But at night, I always woke up at the same time and I had the impression of hearing scratching in the trunk, I reassured myself by telling myself that maybe it was my cats, but it was weird, I wanted her to go…”

Bought for 15 euros, Emilie finds a new home. “Normally I give everything to associations, but there, I was afraid of abandoning someone. I know, it’s weird because it’s a doll. But maybe when you die, you leave an imprint on something you love. In any case, it’s a huge relief to no longer have it.

We present to you Emilie.
We present to you Emilie. – SP for 20 Minutes

Annabelle and Chucky, cult horror films

This type of belief is not new, recalls Nicole Edelman, associate professor of history and lecturer at Paris X-Nanterre. “The belief in the existence of ghosts is very old and has probably existed since the beginnings of Humanity. But in the 19th century, some see or communicate with these spirits. It’s the rise of mediums, turntables with the Fox sisters in the United States and the spiritualism ofAllan Kardek in France “, assures the specialist, author ofHistory of clairvoyance and the paranormal. From the 18th century to today. “In the field of spiritualism, we do not find dolls haunted by spirits,” she adds. It is perhaps a perversion of beliefs, a need for spirituality, the fact that human beings like to be afraid”.

This trend, which mixes spiritualism, witchcraft, voodoo and exorcism, has mainly been fueled in recent years by literature and cinema. Horror film series Chucky and Annabelle (where demonic dolls take malicious pleasure in murdering their owners) have become cult films.

Scene from the film Annabelle by John R. Leonetti (2014).
Scene from the film Annabelle by John R. Leonetti (2014). – LILO/SIPA/

John R. Leonetti, director of Annabelle, explains in 2014 to the Huffpost why these porcelain objects fascinate us. “Most dolls imitate the human figure. But they lack one important thing, and that is emotion. So these are envelopes. Psychological vessels that demons can invest in a natural and obvious way. If you look a doll in the eye, she is staring at you. It’s scary. They are empty inside. This space must be filled. By an evil spirit or simply our imagination?

“Burn it quickly, put it on the fire quickly”

We tried to unravel the mystery of Rebecca, by contacting Hérate, the dean of the witches. ” It makes no sense ! Do you really think there are haunted dolls on Le Bon Coin? Do you really bother to call the oldest witch in France for that? “, annoys his assistant by telephone. We then try with the very official exorcism service of the Catholic Church in Paris: “No, we don’t treat dolls. But if you have something like that, put it in the trash, or rather burn it, put it on the fire quickly, very quickly! »

Our last hope is Sandy Lakdar, “paranormal investigator”, who has appeared on several television shows. “I’ve never had problems with haunted dolls. I’ve dealt with cases of paintings, houses, and even a haunted kimono (!?). But I won’t try to buy a doll like you did. She may not be possessed by a spirit, but charged with bad energy. We could have calculated its vibratory rate with a pendulum, but I am not in Paris this week…”

Rebecca in her new surroundings
Rebecca in her new environment – TLG/20minutes

After several days (and nights) spent with Rebecca, no paranormal phenomenon has occurred. There were indeed these disturbing noises, one evening, but it must have been the rain on the roof. At his side, the Bluetooth speaker also cut off for several minutes without explanation, but hadn’t the problem already happened once in the past? “Working with her is sometimes difficult,” warned her former owners. Rebecca, however, seems to have acclimatized well to her new environment. Placed on a chest of drawers next to the desk, she stared at me with cold eyes throughout the preparation of this article. The writing was also much smoother than usual. As if, at times, the words were whispered to me.

*The first name has been changed on request.

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My week with Rebecca, one of the “haunted” dolls sold online

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