Mystery Object 353: Soul Swallowers

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Hello Deary. Hungry? Why yes, I’m ravenous…

Size: 12″ Doll

Recorded: December 2015

Found: New Hampshire USA

Circa: Mid-20th Century

Made: USA (Probably)

Material: Clothing, human hair and redacted

Status: Known

Thanks to Kitty Mervine for this object!

These high quality dolls have a secret. Come a little closer and they’ll whisper it to you…

Yes, they’re dolls, but they’re a special kind of doll representative of North American folk art. It takes a bit of skill to make these, and these two examples, who we’ll call Captain Cryptkeeper and Psychopomp are fine examples. But… something seems to have gone wrong. They probably aren’t supposed to look quite so much like something you’d find in the basement of a cabin in the woods, though that’s actually not an unusual place to find things like this.

No two of these dolls are ever alike, and here’s an odd thing: you don’t know what they’ll look like before they’re finished.

Your challenge if you choose to accept it (and we understand if you don’t), is to determine what kind of dolls these are, and why they look like they do.

Hint 1: 

Spoiler

There were popular commercial kits sold in the 1970s, usually around Halloween.

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Hint 2: 

Spoiler

Has a connection to Vincent Price (not surprising).

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Answer: 

Spoiler

It’s an apple head doll. It’s an old craft, where an apple is carved and allowed to dry to a rubbery state for two weeks. It develops its own wrinkles, so you don’t know exactly what it will look like. They don’t usually look like this though. Unless they were colored to appear to be African American (which the white hands are inconsistent with in this case), they should be a tan color. It’s possible that the original creator didn’t soak the apples in lemon juice long enough to prevent them from turning black, or it’s possible that mold has set in. Here’s a video about the craft with the Vincent Price connection!

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Do you have a mystery object you’d like to share? Whether you know what it is or not, we’d like to hear from you! Drop us a line at jeff@collegeofcuriosity.com.

 

  Click for larger images

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Look into my eyes… oh sorry, no eyes!

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3 Comments

  1. Knowing these were found by Kitty and the fact they are made of a fiber, all I can think of is WHEN FELTING GOES BAD! Sorry Kitty!

  2. I actually DID MAKE SOME OF THESE when a child with my Girl Scout group. I have no clue what happened to the doll, but GOOD LORD THIS IS HORRIFIC!! (they are still for sale and I am NOT tempted to get them!)

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