Dolls on The Dead Files

The Travel Channel airs a show entitled The Dead Files. Each episode showcases a family who believes their house is haunted. A team of two, one a private detective and the other a psychic, enter the location and attempt to help the family figure out what is going on in their home.

I bring the show up because of an episode that originally aired October 2011. Entitled ‘Death and Dolls’, it featured a client named Lisa who lived in a relatively small house with her husband, daughter, and hundreds of dolls. Lisa herself welcomed private detective Steve and told  him right off the bat, “This is my house of dolls”.  Lisa was experiencing strange occurrences in her home and feared for her daughter, Salam, who was actually seeing ghosts.

You might be asking yourself what in the world does this have to do with a doll blog?  If you haven’t gathered yet, this episode had a lot to do with dolls.  Lisa, a self described collector who considers “90% of her life” centered around dolls, had a lot of dolls lying around her home.  Her home was literally a ‘who’s who’ of dolls.

I snapped a few screen shots to show you what I mean.

My mom and I saw this opening shot and paused the DVR immediately.  People say we have a lot of dolls in our living room.  Obviously, they haven’t seen this episode of  ‘The Dead Files’!

It’s Patty Playpal!  And Patty Playpal!  And, er, Patty Playpal!

The wide shot of Lisa’s living room.

Not only were there hard plastic dolls, but composition and porcelain dolls, as well.

This shot…  Oh my gosh.  Look at all those Patty’s in one place!  While I’d love a set up like this, I’m still working on getting one really pretty vintage Playpal!  (And the nurse doll!  She’s so cute!)

And now we have to add Blythe’s, Pullips (the detective?), and possibly a few BJD‘s to the list of dolls found in this one house.

I instantly spotted a doll from my childhood in the center of this shot.  See the ‘My Child’?  I do!

Here’s another shot of the Patty’s.  I have to say, I love it when collectors display them on risers.  It always looks good, even in a house cluttered with dolls like Lisa’s.

And in daughter Salams’ bedroom, more vintage dolls (and a reproduction jointed Patty Playpal).  I definitely see a few Little Miss Echo‘s in the bunch.

All I can say is ‘wow’.  Lisa has a mighty big and eclectic collection of dolls.  There are a ton of different doll types in her collection, playline to collector.  The psychic, ironically, seemed more freaked out by the large number of dolls than the chance of there being some negative entity in the house.

In the end, the psychic gave Lisa a choice between clearing out some of her dolls (as they can be vessels for spirits and Lisa’s house was on some land with a lot of spirits and energy attached to it) or moving.  The ending blurb mentioned that Lisa had decided to go through her collection and that the weird happenings had subsided a bit.

Click below to watch the entire episode and see some of the dolls I didn’t take screen shots of.

It’s weird that the producers probably specifically chose this episode to air early on because they thought the dolls would freak people out. The camera guys tried their best to make some of the shots look pretty menacing, but their tactics failed on me.  I found it fascinating seeing the shots of the dolls to see if I could ID any of them.

As a fellow doll collector, I totally understand Lisa’s attachment to her collection.  However, seeing her house made me realize how important it is to streamline your collection.  Choose a type of doll and stick to it.  Don’t just pick up everything you see.  And most importantly display your dolls in a way that’s a little organized.  People won’t think of your collection as a collection if it looks like clutter.

In Lisa’s case, I noticed a lot of dolls that were in ‘previously loved’ condition that she could pass along to others.  If I were her, I’d totally keep the Patty Playpal type dolls and get rid of some of the others.  Course, Lisa, if you read this, I would gladly take a Patty Playpal off your hands.  Just make sure it doesn’t have any ghosts attached to it and if it does, well, tell me and I’ll get a priest to look into blessing it before I bring it into my house!

Did you watch this episode? Do you think they played on ‘doll fear’ too much? Would you rather sell your dolls or move to another home if you were in the same situation?  Share your thoughts!


July 10, 2012. Uncategorized.


  1. Dollgirl4 replied:

    Personally, as a collecter who just started, I would probably move. My dollhouse is my passion. If I had to get rid of it…. I don’t know what I’d do……

    • kewpie83 replied:

      I totally understand what you mean. In the long run, I’d probably move, too! Her house will never be free of spirits because of the land, anyways. Safest bet is to keep the hobby and get a new home! Thanks for commenting!

  2. barbielea replied:

    Very interesting post, Kewpie! I just watched it. I thought it amounted to a game of “let’s demonise the doll collecting lady to entertain people”, and I think that little girl might fare better with care from a therapist … poor both of them and shame on the program makers.

    I didn’t buy that confused explanation about why the collection was haunted anyway, so if I imagine something similar happening with my son, I think I would try to reason him out of it because I wouldn’t want him to be scared of, or by, his own imagination. And I would look at other ways to channel his creativity and his energy, and try to find out if anything else was worrying him. However, if i really believed it would help I would sell my collection in a heartbeat, because he always comes first.

  3. butcherbaby replied:

    My mom had one of those composition Shirley Temple dolls as a child, and i realized that i have one in my collection too, but mine is tattered, cracked, and blind looking…just the way i like my composition dolls X-D
    i didn’t watch the episode, because those kind of shows usually end up sucking me in even though i find them kind of stupid. but it reminds of watching the 80s horror movie “Dolls” with my BF at the time. if you are not familiar with it, it’s the common “a bunch of people end up in a creepy old house with a crazy owner and get killed” type plot, but everyone gets killecd by the crazy owners huge collection of dolls that fill his house. the BF told me, ‘that’s what’s going to happen to you, all your dolls are going to come alive and kill you.” to which i replied “no, i am the owner that they love, they are all going to kill YOU.” i don’t think he liked my comeback. X-D

  4. FoxxOfDolls replied:

    My late aunt had a whole room of dolls, beautiful old ones that were, for the most part, taller than I was as a child. Since her death, and her parents’ move/hospitalization/death (in one case), the doll collection has since been disbanded but I still have memories of walking into that doll room. I have a love of dolls (as well as an admitted small fear) but as of right now only own one that my late aunt gifted me, in small part due to the fact that I have very little money to spend towards expanding my collection.

    To say the least, I find it no surprise about what the psychic says about dolls. I knew about such beliefs in dolls being vessels according to history due to my anthropology major (I wrote a whole research paper on the subject too). I understand her feeling of being disturbed by them though I also understand the mother’s reluctance to let go of her dolls. Honestly, due to the fact that some of those dolls resemble the ones I remember my aunt having, I would love to get my hands on at least one of those, though I probably could never afford it.

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