Freaky Childhood Toys We Could Have Sworn Were Haunted

Freaky Childhood Toys We Could Have Sworn Were Haunted

In Blumhouse’s Imaginary, coming out this week, a tattered old teddy bear hiding a spooky secret befriends a little girl. Things soon escalate from innocent to terrifying because let’s be real: a possessed toy is a scary as hell concept. This childhood nightmare is fueled by movies like Chucky from Child’s Play (a fear this reporter recently conquered) and real-life inspirations including Ed and Lorraine Warren’s Annabelle doll, which went on to become a horror icon thanks to The Conjuring universe.

io9 is taking a look at retro toys and collectibles that have become internet urban legends—while also supplying the lore behind some of our favorite horror movies.

Raggedy Ann

Photo: MediaNewsGroup (Getty Images)

This deceptively folksy lass is perhaps the most infamous of them all. A Raggedy Ann toy was the conduit for the “inhuman spirit” that haunts the doll we now know as Annabelle, which was displayed along with other occult objects at a now-shuttered museum run by paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. Back in the ‘70s the duo took it from a group of girls it was haunting and attacking as it looked for a human host. It has since been kept protected with holy water under lock and key behind a glass box; according to the legend, it’s so dangerous that no one is allowed to touch it—because the last time someone did, they were kicked out of the museum and died on the road back home. The future movie star was redesigned for her debut in The Conjuring, but her backstory is terrifying no matter what she looks like.

Cabbage Patch Kids Snacktime Kids Edition

Photo: Wallocha/ullstein bild (Getty Images)

Cabbage Patch Kids have always been prime for possession. Back in 1997, the Washington Post reported that Cabbage Patch Snacktime Kids dolls, which had a mechanism inside their mouths to make it seem like they were eating, were recalled for chomping on children’s hair. Was Satan involved? Let’s just say we have some suspicions.

My Buddy

Image: Etsy

Yes, there’s a definite likeness between My Buddy and Don Mancini’s Good Guy Chucky here. Around the time the filmmaker was working on Child’s Play, he took inspiration from stories of haunted dolls and mass produced toys like the Cabbage Patch Kids and My Buddy for the now infamous pint-sized slasher. Unfortunately, Chucky killed sales for the My Buddy dolls for obvious reasons.

Elmo Knows My Name Doll

Photo: Joe Raedle (Getty Images)

There’s a series of online stories that some families who bought Elmo Knows My Name dolls were being haunted. The toys were designed to learn children’s names and other information like their favorite colors. However, the fun and games ended when things took a creepy turn. One example from 2008 comes from the Tampa Bay Times, detailing how a mother named Melissa Bowman allegedly found her son James playing with his Elmo and telling it, “Kill me! Kill me!” She was horrified to discover that the Elmo, which recently had its batteries replaced, recharged with a change and a new message. “Kill James!” it would say in a sing-song voice over and over. We’re left to speculate: was it a ghost talking through the tech, or a n’er-do-well messing with the voice recorder?


Photo: Getty (Getty Images)

Anyone who has ever owned a Furby knows how hard these are to kill; rip their skin off and they’re still evilly starring back at you. Toss them in the attic and you’ll spend nightmare-fueled nights hearing their gibberish alerting you of their consciousness for years. Like Elmo, they’ve sparked the imaginations of storytellers, who’ve written tons of urban legends and Creepypastas exploring their inclination to supernatural possession.

Chuck E. Cheese Animatronics

Photo: Mel Melcon (Getty Images)

While not technically toys, these theater animatronics were a staple for any kid who grew up going to pizza parties at Chuck E. Cheese. As locations closed down—there’s only one one location left with the full ensemble of characters performing—the furry characters have reached peak urban legend status thanks to game turned film franchise Five Nights at Freddy’s, which used them as inspiration for their universe of haunted mascot robots.

Retro Chatter Phone

Image: Amazon

Just watch Skinamarink and order the vintage style toy which is still sold today.

Musical Jolly Chimp

Image: Ebay

This cymbal-clapping monkey has been featured in a number of pop culture properties—including, again, The Conjuring Universe, as well as the Toy Story franchise—just for looking really, unsettling scary. Even before that, legendary horror master Stephen King based his short story The Monkey on this toy. James Wan’s Atomic Monster is currently producing a feature-length adaptation of that story starring Theo James that’ll tie into its Conjuring presence, so get ready for more percussion-fueled night terrors to come.

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