I also suspect that many of the sellers are saner than they appear. So if you hear about those sellers who give interviews and swear they believe in the dolls, I'd say they no more believe in the dolls than I do. I can't prove it, and they wouldn't admit it (certainly not in any article with their name and face, where the whole point is to attract publicity to their stores), but I'm convinced that no one who believes in these dolls would sell them. They might keep and treasure them. They might give them to a museum or a research institute. But no one who genuinely thinks they own hundreds of souls of the dead will shove them off for $100 apiece on eBay.
The Dolls Are Exactly As Haunted As You Want Them To Be
So, how am I okay with deceiving people in this way?
Well...yes, but there's more to it.
At first, I felt pretty bad about it. When that teddy bear sold for $20, I couldn't help but think that the damn thing was really only worth half a dollar. I felt like I was scamming people. But I was also pretty hungry that day, so I only sobbed slightly into my hamburger. And over time, I started to relax. My feedback was positive, which meant I was giving my customers whatever the heck it was that they wanted. The hundreds of comments couldn't all be wrong. It didn't feel evil when I had accolades and money pouring in from customers.
Then, I had an experience. I bought my first actual porcelain doll, a girl as big as my torso. She was incredibly pale, almost white, and her brown eyes were weirdly piercing. I laughed as I showed the doll off to my college roommates, and my one roommate was particularly creeped out by it -- so, of course, I named it after her, dubbing it "Ashley."
Which, in retrospect, kinda sounds like a threat.
I stored Ashley in my room and just sort of kept her in the bag I'd carried her out of the shop in. But then one time, I woke up in the middle of the night and swore I heard something shuffling in one corner, the end of the room with Ashley in her nylon prison. I dropped out of bed, stepped up to her, and moved the doll out into the hallway so I could stop panicking and sleep. After that, I got rid of the bag and vowed to treat the doll nicely by laying it in a blanket-lined box. Sure, I was being completely stupid -- the doll wasn't actually haunted. But because I'd shown it off to my roommates and she'd been creeped out by it, I was now creeped out by it. And I couldn't sleep if the damn thing was staring at me like that.
"Haunted" is what you make of it, and peers can really influence your perspective. I've shown these dolls as creepy, paranormal objects, and people's brains made it true. Who am I to argue? It's like those reality TV shows where haunted houses are explored by camera crews who are obviously making that shit up. There's a market, all those people out there who want to believe. So, should I really feel bad for selling a little slice of the potentially paranormal to your average Joe? What is the proper definition of "haunted", anyway? Maybe the dolls I'm selling are actually haunted? Who can say?
Well, since I'm the expert here, I guess I can say: They're absolutely haunted. Totally.
Ryan Menezes is an editor and interviewer here at Cracked. Follow him on Twitter for stuff cut from this article and other things no one should see.
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