Pediophobia, the Fear of Dolls

A phobia is an extreme dread or fear of something. When a person encounters the object of his or her fear, he could experience anxiety, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, an irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea, dry mouth, etc. While this person’s phobia may seem outrageous or unreasonable to you, I assure you it is not unreasonable to the person experiencing it.

Isabel Rose, photo by Lisa Binion

Isabel Rose, photo by Lisa Binion

Pediophobia is the fear of dolls. The type of dolls that people with this phobia fear can vary greatly. Some have a fear of only antique dolls, old collectible dolls, or dolls with glass eyes. Some have a fear of Kewpie dolls.

A lot seem to fear clown dolls. Coulrophobia is the fear of clowns. Could those who fear only clown dolls also have coulrophobia? Then there are those who fear any type of doll.

To the right is a picture of Isabel Rose, the beautiful doll my daughter brought home to me one day. Someone was actually going to throw Isabel Rose in the trash. Maybe they were going to get rid of her because she is no longer in perfect shape. Some of her lipstick is missing, and part of her dress is a bit dirty. I thought this made her even more lovable. Some with pediophobia would want to cover her from view or get away from her as soon as possible.

Instead of just telling you how I believe this fear began for people or how it affects their lives, I’m going to share with you what some who experience this fear have shared with me.

bisque with glass eyes, wikipedia

bisque doll with glass eyes, wikipedia

Where does this fear of dolls come from? For Marianne Spitzer, the beginnings of her fear of dolls with glass eyes can be traced back to her childhood. When she was only six years old, she visited a carnival and went through the fun house. At the entrance to this fun house she entered with her dad, there was a large doll that was maybe ten feet tall. This doll was rocking back and forth while laughing. Marianne remembers the laugh as being evil. This doll’s glassy eyes seemed to follow her as she moved. They got lost in the mazes inside the fun house, and the doll’s creepy laughter could be heard the entire time. Nearly hysterical when she finally got out, young Marianne noticed the doll was still looking at her and laughing.

cabbage patch kids, flickr

cabbage patch kids, flickr

For Mysti Parker, it all started when she was a kid, probably all of seven years old. Her friend’s mom loved tabloids. In one Enquirer was a story about a possessed Cabbage Patch doll. There was a picture of a priest standing over it with a crucifix, and it looked like the doll was levitating. She was scared of Cabbage Patch dolls after that and seeing any movie like Chucky made the fear worse. Even benign dolls scare her at times.

 

Kewpie doll, wikimedia commons

Kewpie doll, wikimedia commons

Courtney Paul is afraid of Kewpie dolls. Her fear of them stems from things that happened when she was a child. When she was only four years old, her mom had one that was three feet tall. To Courtney, this doll appeared to have evil eyes and a crooked smile. Sometimes this Kewpie doll would fall over all by itself. Courtney was convinced it was trying to come after her.

According to Glenn Jeffries, clown dolls are evil. He says that clown dolls are gifts from Satan to suck the souls of unsuspecting people. His mom has a case of collectible dolls, and one of them is a clown. Whenever he visits her, he makes sure to hide this terrifying doll under the skirt of another doll so he will no longer be able to see it. Glenn is still able to watch movies with clown dolls in them, although he says they are the worst. He isn’t very fond of real clowns either.

Jamie Alluisi came down with her fear of clown dolls after watching Poltergeist when she was a little girl. Since watching this movie, she feels that all clown dolls are out to kill her. I had to go back and watch the clown scene, and I can understand how it would give someone, especially a child, a fear of clown dolls. It was kind of creepy. And any doll that could move on its own, whether it was a clown doll or not, would be terrifying.

girl writing, etc.usf.edu

girl writing, etc.usf.edu

Writing Prompts
Use any of the above situations these people have had and make a story from them. Using your imagination, put your character in similar situations. How would your character react if he encountered a room full of dolls that he was terrified of? What if he went through a fun house and was locked in overnight? What if a bunch of dolls came in after him?

Marianne, Courtney, and Jamie just tend to stay away from where the dolls that terrify them would be. Glenn just covers the dolls up to remove them from his sight.

How would your character deal with this phobia? Your character might intend to stay away from places these dolls would be, but unfortunately for her, they still seem to always appear where she is. At times she even finds them in her house, and she doesn’t own any of them. Could someone be trying to drive her insane? Or could these dolls be alive, have a will of its own, and be determined to haunt her or maybe even kill her?

doll hanging from tree on Island of the Dolls, wikipedia

doll hanging from tree on Island of the Dolls, wikipedia

Island of the Dolls
What about baby dolls?  You know, those cute little plastic dolls that just about every little girl wants to play with.  How would you like to visit a place where creepy, mutilated dolls greet you just about everywhere you look?  And, of course, they are hanging from the trees like Christmas ornaments.  That could even give a person who didn’t have pediophobia nightmares.

How did the island end up this way?  Did the discarded dolls that little girls no longer wanted to play with jump in the ocean and swim there only to hang themselves from trees?  That would be a story in itself.  But, no, that isn’t how they ended up on this amazing island.  A hermit lived there, and he claimed to be haunted by a young girl who had drowned in the canal years before.  To try and appease her spirit, he began buying her dolls and hanging them in trees around the island.  Did it work?  Who knows, but this man supposedly died the same way that this young girl had, by drowning in the canal.

What do you think happened?  Each one of these dolls would probably have a story that would make your hair stand on end.  What do you think they would say?  Did the ghost of the little girl who drowned play with them?  Do the ghosts of the girl and the hermit now keep them company?

dolls on Island of the Dolls, wikipedia

dolls on Island of the Dolls, wikipedia

Write a story about what you think happened.  Write about what occurred once the hermit began buying these dolls and hanging them around the island.  Write about why the island is said to be haunted.  If you use your imagination, there are a wealth of stories that can be written about this one little island and its dolls.

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