I took a doll I bought off eBay to a psychic medium to communicate with its ghost.
Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed
Her name is Mary. She sits on my desk looking mostly innocent and occasionally terrifying my co-workers. Sometimes I think I see her move, but maybe it's just because I've bumped my desk.
Initially, the only « proof » I had that the doll was haunted came from the eBay seller, who'd described her as such, and a ghost-hunting app that picked up ghostly messages around her like « nightmare » and « bones. »
But I wanted to be sure. I wanted the testimony of a paranormal expert: someone who could potentially communicate with ghosts. In other words, I wanted to consult a psychic medium. In my search for such an expert, I wrote some of the weirdest emails of my life: « Hey, could you do a reading on my haunted doll? » A few psychics said no, refusing to work with « earthbound spirits. » I could not blame them. Haunted dolls have kind of a bad reputation.
But one psychic, Jane Doherty, was kind enough to agree to do a reading on my doll. She invited me and my doll to her home in New Jersey. I've had the doll for months and I've grown comfortable around her. I'm not really scared of her, per se, but still, there's no way I would take her into my home. I keep her strictly at the office, just in case… her ghost runs wild at night? I don't know.
When it was time to go, I felt a little weird shoving her into a backpack to take her on a train. I hoped it didn't upset her.
Mary enjoying New Jersey
Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed
A few hours later I walked up to Jane the psychic's house carrying my doll-filled backpack. But just as I was about to ring the doorbell, a woman — Jane's daughter, it turned out — opened the door, and carried her baby to a car parked outside. (Later I learned that Jane asked her daughter to remove the baby from the home because of my haunted doll. « Young babies still see the spirit world, » Jane explained.)
Jane greeted me, led me into her office, and immediately took out two crystal skulls, which she said have a protective energy: « I have to have them for something haunted. »
« May I take out my doll? » I asked. This felt like a weird thing to say as an adult in any scenario, but I felt it was important to ask permission before busting out a creepy doll. I set my doll on the desk. Jane then took my hand and said a prayer — standard procedure before dealing with a haunted object. She looked at the doll, without touching it, to get an initial read on its energy. I was ready for her to say that the doll wasn't haunted. I mean, how haunted can something labeled « haunted » on eBay really be?
« It doesn't feel haunted, » she said. « But it has a gentle energy. »