Pediophobia is the fear of dolls. Did you know that? I confess, I had to look up the word.
In my review of Doll Bones by Holly Black, I mentioned how I'd recently discovered that many of my friends find dolls creepy. I've had friends say the big Fancy Nancy doll reading in the photo above was creepy. I've heard it said about our American Girls. I don't know what people think of my pose dolls.
For fun, this week I read three vintage ghost stories involving ghosts, written for middle to young teen readers.
The Doll in the Garden [Clarion, 1989] is by Mary Downing Hahn, and it is probably her second most popular ghost story, after Wait Till Helen Comes. Of all the ghostly doll stories, this is probably the least scary. A little girl and her widowed mother move into the converted upstairs apartment of a very cranky old lady. The girl begins to explore an abandoned-looking garden. Along with the little neighbor girl, she finds an antique china doll buried in the garden. There's a white cat roaming the yard, too, one that does not cast a shadow. Soon, the girls find themselves in the middle of a sad story involving a sick child in 1912.
The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright [Scholastic, 1983] is about a girl with a mentally-challenged little sister, who asks to stay with her aunt for a few days, in order to take a break from being her sister's babysitter. The aunt is staying in the old country house that had belonged to the girl's great-grandparents. While exploring the house, she finds an amazing dollhouse in the attic, an almost-exact replica of the big house, gifted by the grandparents to the aunt for her birthday years before. Soon, however, the dollhouse takes on a sinister light, as it becomes clear that the dolls are moving by themselves. Sometimes an eerie light starts to glow. Is the dollhouse trying to communicate how the grandparents died?
While none of these books are highbrow literature, they are pulpy fun. I would have loved them when I was ten or eleven! For more creepy doll books, see my reviews of Doll Bones and although it's really about a marionette, Splendors and Glooms. (For the Splendors and Glooms review, scroll down a bit.) I highly recommend both of these.
By the way, if you want a creepy kid-friendly movie to watch that involves a doll, check out the old Disney television movie Child Of Glass. It is available as a print-on-demand DVD. My sister and I loved this movie as kids. The cast is great. (The sister? That's Violet Beauregarde!) It is based on the first of a well-regarded series of books by Richard Peck, but the doll plot was invented specifically for the movie.
For more adult creepy doll fun, check out this Tumblr or its related books. And someday, I really want to do this project for Halloween.
For the record, while I don't think dolls in general are creepy, I do like some dolls that are supposed to be creepy:
And yes, even I would be creeped out by this thing, should I find myself in the presence of one:
Little headway has been made on Little Sis's request to start decorating the house with old dolls' heads. I'm still maintaining a Pinterest board on the subject, just in case...
Now to leave you on a sweeter note, here is a photo of some happy Littlest Pet Shop Blythe dolls, enjoying a party in front of the Littlest Pet Shop Pet Hotel. This photo is for you, Jane-Cherie, with a great big thanks, especially from Big Sis!