Awhile back, I faced my fear and wrote a history of haunted dolls. Spirits, as we know, do not only attach themselves to dolls, but all sorts of objects. Which, if you think about it, is some scary stuff. Writing my dissertation is scary, but what if I was writing it with a haunted pencil? Much scarier.
Today, I am sharing with you 10 tales of haunted objects. These are objects that may cause paranormal activity or are sometimes cursed, leaving a trail of death. While these stories could be hyperbolic (or untrue), I’d bet you’d hesitate to touch an object said to be haunted or cursed.
While this arcade cabinet may not be haunted by a spirit, it has an unique urban legend attached to it. In 1980 in Portland, Oregon, an arcade game mysteriously appeared that caused psychological damages to those who played it. Players became addicted to it, and stopped playing all other games. They suffered from night terrors, insomnia, wiped memory, and suicidal thoughts (leading sometimes to suicide). A year after, just as it mysteriously appeared, it mysteriously disappeared.
Where did such a game come from?
The myth of Polybius would have you believe that the game was actually operated by the CIA, or the CIA working with Atari, or a company called Sinneslöschen, which may have been German or may have been the US government. Apparently “men in black” would collect data from the machines from time to time, gathered not just from player’s performance but from the subliminal messages that would flash on the screen (and were supposedly the cause of many of the deadly side effects). (Kotaku)
2. “The Hands Resist Him”
Also known as the “Haunted eBay Painting,” the painting was found on the site of an old brewery. People claimed the characters moved around, sometimes even leaving the painting itself. It sold for $1,025 on eBay (even with a disclaimer). The Daily Dot (photo source) provides a very detailed article about its history.
3. The Dybbuk Box
Another haunted object sold on eBay, this piece inspired the 2012 film The Possession. Kevin Mannis sold the object and penned the accompanying legend of this spooky wine cabinet. Read the long (but fascinating story) here.
Owners of the box claimed they had nightmares of an “old hag,” hair loss, and severe health problems. Mannis also said his mom suffered from a stroke the day he gave it to her as a birthday present. The last owner had the box sealed by rabbis to end its evil power and hid it in a secret location.
4. Thomas Busby’s Stoop Chair
Thomas killed his father-in-law, as legend has it, over this chair. He beat his father-in-law to death with a hammer after he sat in his favorite chair, and hid his body in the woods. Thomas was found out and sentenced to death. He was hanged, tarred, and put in the gallows. He would scream from the gallows: “May sudden death come to anyone who dare sit in my chair.”
The chair was put in the Thirsk Museum in North Yorkshire, England. People who have sat in the cursed chair suffered from brain tumors, car crashes, etc. The museum eventually hung the chair from the ceiling so no one could sit in it again.
5. Anna Baker’s Wedding Dress
Anna Baker, the daughter of the rich Elias Baker, fell in love with a local steelworker. Her father forbade her to marry him, because he was of lower class. She died an old maid. Much later, The Baker mansion (in Altoona, PA) was made into a museum and a wedding dress was put on display in a glass case in Anna’s bedroom. When there is a full moon, the dress violently shakes, sometimes to the point of almost breaking the glass. Myth says she is so mad she never got to wear a wedding dress, and therefore shakes it in anger. Some people often report seeing it dance by itself (with the shoes tapping along).
6. “The Crying Boy”
This picture has been mass-produced since the 1950s (artist: Bruce Amadio), but the stories did not begin to circulate until 1985. At numerous sites of burned down houses, firefighters were finding versions of the painting unharmed in the remains. Was this print causing fires? Could it never be stopped? Paranormal theories were later debunked when it was discovered that the varnish coating on the prints were fire repellent.
7. The Woman from Lemb Statue
In 1878, a statue made of pure limestone was found in Lemb, Cyprus. Dating back to 3500 BC, the object is said to represent a goddess. The statue left a trail of death.
The statue was first owned by Lord Elphont, and within six years of having the statue in his possession, all seven of the Elphont family members had died from mysterious causes.
Both of the next two owners, Ivor Manucci and Lord Thompson-Noel, also died along with their entire families just a few short years after taking the statue into their homes.
The fourth owner, Sir Alan Biverbrook, died as well, along with his wife and two of their daughters. Two of Biverbrook’s sons remained, and though they weren’t big believers in the occult, they were scared enough by the sudden and strange deaths of four of their family members that they decided to donate the statue to the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh, where it remains today. (Oddee)
8. The Basano Vase
This vase was found in 1988 with a note that read “Beware. This vase brings death.” As Kristy Puchko from mental_floss writes:
Legend has it that this silver vase made in the 15th century was given to a bride on the eve of her wedding near Napoli, Italy. Sadly, she’d never make it to the altar as she was murdered that very night with the vase in her hands. From there, it was passed down her family line, but anyone who took possession of it is said to have perished soon thereafter. After untold deaths, the family boxed the vase away. It resurfaced in 1988 […]
It was sold in an auction for $2,250 with the note excluded. The man who bought it died 3 months later. 3 deaths followed, until it was eventually buried somewhere by police.
9. The Myrtles Plantation Mirror
The Myrtles Plantation itself is notably haunted: 10 murders supposedly occurred there and 12 ghosts haunt the site. Mirrors, as folklore reminds us, must be covered after a death so to not trap the spirits on earth. This was overlooked when Sara Woodruff and her 3 children died from poisoning. Wikipedia describes this chilling incident.
Possibly the most well known of the Myrtles’ supposed ghosts, Chloe (or Cloe) was reportedly a slave owned by Clark and Sara Woodruff. According to one story, Clark Woodruff had pressured or forced Chloe into being his mistress. Other versions of the legend have Chloe listening in at keyholes to learn news of Clark Woodruff’s business dealings or for other purposes. After being caught, either by Clark or Sara Woodruff, one of her ears was cut off, and she wore a green turban to hide it.
Chloe supposedly baked a birthday cake containing extract of boiled and reduced oleander leaves, which are extremely poisonous. The various legends diverge as to why she did this, a house maid who was getting the favor of the mistress was a suspect with some saying she was getting revenge on the Woodruffs and some saying she was attempting to redeem her position by curing the family of the poisoning. According to the legends, her plan backfired. Only Sara and her two daughters ate the cake, and all died from the poison. Chloe was then supposedly hanged by the other slaves, and thrown into the Mississippi River, either as punishment or to escape punishment by Clark Woodruff for harboring her.
The historical record does not support this legend. There is no record of the Woodruffs owning a slave named Chloe or Cleo, or any slaves. The legends usually claim that Sara and her two daughters were poisoned, but Mary Octavia survived well into adulthood. Finally, Sara, James, and Cornelia Woodruff were not killed by poisoning, but instead succumbed to yellow fever. Regardless of the factual accuracy of the Chloe story, some believe a woman wearing a green turban haunts the plantation.
Visitors have reported seeing the hand prints of Sara and her children on the mirror, weird drip marks, and the image of people in old-fashioned clothes.
10. James Dean’s Car
For the last haunted object, I thought we’d return to the archives. Read more about James Dean’s cursed car here!