Spooky scary haunted collectibles send shivers down your spine.
Thanks to the power of internet memes, haunted collectibles are usually considered jokes nowadays.
I mean, have you seen the stuff people have tried to sell on eBay? For example, why spend $2.99 on ziplock bags at your local supermarket when you could spend $25.00 on this haunted sandwich baggy? Spooky! Or watch your friends recoil in horror at the sight of your haunted rubber ducky! You may laugh, but there are so many paranormal items on eBay that the vendor has literally forbidden users from selling souls on the site. Of course, we can’t really blame them either — any soul worth its salt would at least be sold on Etsy.
But alas, amidst all of these ridiculous items lie a number of surprisingly creepy collectibles that have spawned their own urban legends. Are any of them actually haunted? Well, we don’t intend to find out for ourselves! Here are 3 haunted collectibles that are worth a look for the stories behind them, if nothing else.
3: Robert the Doll
Though we’re not sure where the “evil doll” trope in horror movies came from, the story of Key West, Florida’s Robert the Doll may have definitely been an inspiration.
According to urban legends, Robert the Doll belonged to a child named Robert Eugene Otto (referred to as Gene) in the early 1900s. The doll was given to Gene by a servant of the family who was supposedly mistreated, and as luck would have it, the servant was also practiced in the art of voodoo. In the years that followed, the family experienced many unsettling events in the house, such as mysterious voices coming from Gene’s room, and even seeing the doll move on its own up and down the stairs. Gene would also blame many acts of mischief on Robert, a claim that would seem literally childish were it not for the other creepy occurrences surrounding the doll.
Interestingly, the haunting supposedly continued in Gene’s life when he moved back to his childhood home where the doll had resided. Even after Gene died, other residents who lived in the house reported paranormal and even traumatizing experiences associated with the doll. Since then, Robert the Doll has moved to the East Martello Museum in Key West, where he supposedly causes mischief for the museum workers to this day.
Can you buy it?: While the original Robert the Doll is under lock and key in Key West, replica dolls don’t seem to be that hard to find. Even the East Martello Museum themselves sell them! Paranormal experiences may vary.
2: The Basano Vase
There are collectibles that we would die to have, and then there are collectibles that you literally die for. The Basano vase is in the latter of these categories.
Legend has it that this silver vase was made as a wedding present for an Italian bride in the 15th century. The bride was murdered on the night of her wedding, and with the vase in hand, she swore vengeance for her death. From there, members of the bride’s family who took the vase were all quickly killed under mysterious circumstances, which leads to troubling implications regarding the identity of the bride’s murderer or what the bride considers vengeance. But regardless, the family eventually sealed the vase away, and that was the end of that run of murder… for at least a few centuries.
The vase got a “second wind” of murder when it was allegedly uncovered in 1988. Despite containing a note that said “beware, this vase brings death,” the vase was auctioned off to a pharmacist who apparently died three months later. From there, it was passed down from home to home, with similarly morbid and mysterious results befalling each owner. The vase was eventually confiscated by the police, and after they couldn’t find a museum who would take the item due to its cursed reputation, it was buried underground, never to be found again.
Can you buy it?: If the story is to be believed, you definitely can’t. Honestly, of all the stories listed here, this one is the sketchiest on how believable it is (even by haunted item standards). Aside from the picture, all information on it is more or less unsourced hearsay. But hey, if you happen to be digging in Italy and find a silver vase, now you know to maybe listen to the note inside of it.
1: The Hands Resist Him painting
And here we have it folks, the original haunted eBay item that possibly started the trend to begin with.
The Hands Resist Him is a painting created by Bill Stoneham in 1972. Unlike many other “haunted” items, this painting never had a curse put on it, nor did Stoneham try to invoke some evil spirit. It was sold at an art exhibit to actor John Marley, and the story of the painting could have ended there as far as Stoneham was concerned. It would be 28 years before The Hands Resist Him would come back to haunt him — in more ways than one.
The painting eventually found its way to an elderly couple in California, and in 2000, they put the painting up for auction on eBay. Except, in their description of the item, they explained that it carried some form of curse. Paranormal activities described in the listing include characters entering and leaving the painting, and even the girl in the painting threatening the boy with a gun. News of the auction went viral, and as its story spread, even some people who looked at pictures of the painting online reported sickness or unpleasant experiences. The painting was eventually sold for $1025 to the Perception Gallery in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Bill Stoneham’s reaction to his painting’s haunted success is mostly one of amusement. That said, he has commented that both the owner of the art gallery where it was first displayed and the art critic who reviewed it had died within the year. Stoneham has since created three “sequel” paintings to The Hands Resist Him, none of which seem to have widespread hauntings associated with them.
Can you buy it?: Yes! Well, kind of anyway. The original “haunted” painting is still located at the Perception Gallery, but Stoneham continues to sell various prints to this day. Honestly, even if you explain away the painting’s various “hauntings,” that doesn’t change the fact that this is a super creepy work of art that somehow gets scarier the more you look at it.
If you want to spook your houseguests this Halloween season, this will definitely fit the bill. Just don’t blame us if you start seeing ghosts.