I mentioned in yesterday’s post that the appearance of a doll in a music video prompted me to dig deeper into the subject. I’ve often found dolls creepy. I’m not talking about Barbies, “normal” dolls, or GI Joe. I’m talking about those old-school, porcelain dolls I’ve seen in movies, or like the one in the music video that got me started down this road. (The doll appears around 1:40 in the video, and sporadically throughout.)

Just searching for images of creepy dolls led me to some very interesting places. By interesting, of course, I mean nightmare-inducing. I shared one charming image yesterday. Here’s another image of a doll I actually find more disturbing.

Creepy doll

Then I started coming upon the work of an artist named Jessica Harrison, who does the most wonderfully twisted things with porcelain figures.

Porcelain doll with slashed throat

Porcelain figure plucked eyeballs

My search for doll images also revealed that I am not alone in finding dolls unsettling. In fact, one Q & A site had a question as to why dolls are so creepy. One of the replies was fascinating, referring to something called the Uncanny Valley, which is “a hypothesis in the field of robotics and 3D computer animation which holds that when human replicas look and act almost, but not perfectly, like actual human beings, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers.”

It also seems to me that dolls’ faces might be disconcerting for similar reasons that I find masks disconcerting. Isn’t a doll really an eternally masked thing? Who knows what lies behind a doll’s mask?

"The Hands Resist Him" paintingOne last bonus to this research is I came across a story about a supposedly haunted painting that was for sale on eBay back in 2000. The painting, titled “The Hands Resist Him” by Bill Stoneham, includes a doll holding what appears to be a battery or some kind of electric device. The linked article includes more photos of the painting. Apparently after an initial bid of $199, the painting sold for $1,025. I’m guessing the rumors of the painting being haunted may have had something to do with that.

So, where do you land on the whole doll thing? Creepy? Charming?


Photo credits:

Creepy doll head from the blog, Talking Behind the Psychic’s Back

Twisted porcelain figures from Buzzfeed

For more about “The Hands Resist Him,” check out Wikipedia.

Haunted paintings, creepy dolls, and the uncanny valley
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