Attack of the Christmas Zombie Dolls

Growing up, one of the most frightening stories of a “possessed possession” that I can recall dealt with psychic disturbances emanating from a strange, sullen little doll named Robert, who now resides in a museum in Key West. Little did I know he has a sister out there too… but I digress. First I’ll present a “refresher” dissertation on the homely little doll to our left, who appears here courtesy of the fine folks at the East Martello Museum in Key West.

As the story goes, owner Robert Eugene Otto had shared an unsettling affinity with the stuffed toy, given to him by a maid who lived with the family. It became part of the legend that the maid had actually been a practitioner of voodoo, thus leading to the negative energies which seemed to accompany the doll. Though Robert (the boy) was known to be very fond of the toy, keeping it with him as he honed his craft as a painter, he would often blame mishaps that occurred on the property on Robert (the toy). Upon his owner’s leaving to attend college, the doll was eventually banished to the attic of the Otto home to live alone in solitude (and extreme summertime stuffiness).

This wouldn’t end the “devil doll’s” strange activity, however. Many school children claimed to have witnessed the strange apparition of a small, featureless “man” dodging from window to window in the upstairs of the Otto family home, peering at them menacingly as they walked to school. Eventually, Robert’s hi-jinks became so legendary that he was donated to the East Martello Museum, where he still resides. Even night watchmen there claim that he will occasionally change positions in his glass display while no one is looking.

Below is a video segment that probes the mystery a bit further, with some uber-creepy video closeups of the puppet from hell:

This story was brought to mind by Gralien Report correspondent Chris McCullom, who today sent along yet another strange story pertaining to a haunted doll. In an article appearing at the CNN website (originally from Oprah.com), the strange story of “Jessica Lynn Cohen” is recounted, better known by her familial moniker “the Christmas Zombie Doll.” The author tells the story of how his daughter received the doll as a gift on Christmas day. Removing the wrapping, he says she “immediately and inexplicably christen(ed) the doll Jessica Lynn Cohen. Why that oddly specific appellation, with its country-western triple cadence, we’ll never know. It was Christmas, and it was her doll, and it stuck.” Was this a peculiar instance of telemetry, where the young girl somehow “read” information off the doll, or perhaps even a lingering spirit which lay at hand, hovering in the astral?

The actual source for the title is less enigmatic, as this was also the name of an actress who appeared in George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker” film starring actor Macaulay Culkin. The film was first released in 1993, and the author in the CNN piece mentions that the three-foot-tall Beelzebub Barbie was purchased about a decade ago (around 1999). Though this still presents a reasonable gap, it seems likely that the film would have been present and popular enough for his young daughter to have made the obvious Christmas-time association with the actress. Though unconventional, “Jessica Lynn Cohen” is actually a very fitting name for the demonic death doll.

But all name games aside, it’s what occurred after the toy’s titling that made it infamous; as time went on, the author’s daughter gets older, and the “cooling off” period occurs. “I’d go downstairs to attend to a blown fuse and there’d be Jessica Lynn Cohen in the boiler room,” he says. “We’d find her in the pantry with her arms outstretched in a sort of pious Joan of Arc gesture of supplication or in the bathroom with one leg raised high over her head like a Folies Berg

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