Ruby the Haunted Doll Proves All Haunted Objects Aren't Evil

Ruby The Haunted Doll: Meet the Sad Artifact That Proves Not All Haunted Objects Are Evil

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When most people think about the paranormal, there’s a very good chance that the first place their minds go is a dark and scary one. It’s an honest and uncontrollable initial reaction, but one that can, and should be overcome. Ruby the Haunted Doll is a great reminder of why the paranormal doesn’t have to be a dark and frightening subject.

Ruby has been a part of the Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and the Occult since the very beginning. Long before we’d ever decided to take our supernaturally-influenced objects on the road to haunted locations across the country, Ruby was a much-loved piece of our personal collection of strange artifacts.

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Ruby was given to me by my good friend Meghan, who, at the time of our conversation, had the doll hidden away in an old attic, stuffed into a cardboard box with some board games and books. As the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind. Meghan told me that the doll had been a strange point of contention among her family members for decades. This doll, she said, was haunted, but because of its complicated and uncomfortable history, dealing with the haunting wasn’t as simple as calling a priest or burying the object.

Ruby had been a family heirloom for a handful of generations, though as the years wore on, Meghan’s family had become less and less welcoming of having Ruby as a houseguest. One look at her and it’s easy to understand why they might not want her on display in their homes, but her appearance wasn’t the only reason that Ruby had spent the last several decades stored away in boxes, storage units, and musty basements.

According to the family, the well-worn heirloom came with all the usual features of a creepy haunted doll. It moved around the room seemingly of its own accord, produced strange sounds, and generally terrified and disgusted anyone with the slightest belief in the supernatural. Ruby, though, had another unique ability: she seemed to make anyone in her immediate vicinity feel ill. Meghan said that the antique doll had a knack for causing headaches, allergies, exhaustion, and most commonly, overwhelming nausea.

As it turns out, Ruby belonged to a very distant member of Meghan’s family, a very ill little girl who died when she was quite young. In fact, the family maintains that the girl died while holding Ruby in her arms. The uncomfortable and often unspoken feeling that Ruby gave the family was that their long-dead relative is likely still attached to her favorite doll.

What do you do when you believe that a family member, one with whom you have no tangible connections to other than blood, refuses to move on? It’s a complicated situation, for sure. No one wants to believe that they’re discarding the spirit of a relative, and yet, few want to deal with a haunting. Meghan admitted that her family, who were all church-going, born-again Christians, had at one point even gone against their beliefs about “dabbling in the occult” and hired a psychic medium to help the girl pass on. It didn’t work, and so they fell back on passing Ruby around from house to house, a trail of bumps in the night and chronic illness following her.

Knowing that I’d spent the better part of my life investigating paranormal activity, Meghan asked me if I would be interesting in giving Ruby a home where she, and her family, knew she would be safe, respected, and potentially even helped. Of course, I said yes. Ruby the Haunted Doll officially became a member of our strange family that day.

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At first, Ruby didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, and we credited her tales of apportation and sickness to a group of people having worked themselves up over an old family legend, a sad situation, and a creepy doll. It’s understandable, and it happens more than you might think.

Eventually, Greg and I founded the Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and the Occult, bringing a rotating collection of our most interesting haunted items to events in some of the world’s most haunted locations, and Ruby’s story was one we felt needed to be told. It seems like all Ruby needed was a crowd to get her to come out of her shell, because that’s when the really strange events started to occur.

Most who come into contact with Ruby walk away having felt no headaches, no nausea, no onset of a chronic illness. Many, though, have a different, more unusual response, one that was hard to ignore. What we began to notice was that close to half of all the people who took the time to actually hold Ruby reported being overwhelmed by familiar, maternal feelings. In fact, most people who held her began to rock her back and forth, treating Ruby as you would a living child, with a number of them actually breaking down into tears due to an overwhelming, sudden affection for her. 

Stranger still, is the fact that museum visitors will be performing these motherly actions without even realizing what they’re doing. I’ve had full conversations with people who have been bouncing Ruby, rocking her, even burping her the entire time. It’s not until I point it out their actions that they even remember they’re holding Ruby. As you can imagine, the shock tends to hit them fairly hard, especially if their initial reaction to Ruby was to recoil in horror from the “creepy doll”. It’s as if she’s sending a message: “I’m not scary.”

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For the most part, despite her stained clothing and cracked face, Ruby has never done anything particularly frightening, and that’s the lesson I love to teach to visitors to the Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and the Occult. Not everything that looks creepy is out to terrorize you, possess you, or drag your soul to the depths of hell itself. In fact, it’s very rare that any entities, human or otherwise, are trying to get you to do anything but understand them. All you need to do is overcome your ingrained fears and listen closely for the message these items are trying to send. Deciphering that message is another story entirely.

A few weeks ago, Ruby sent one of her strongest messages yet, and it’s one we’re still attempting to understand.

Ruby’s interactions with the general public have always been contained to emotional events. That is, until the 20th Anniversary Haunted America Conference. After the event, Lisa Taylor-Horton, author and Haunted America Conference organizer, contacted us with a strange report that accompanied a mysterious photograph on her phone, one she swore she didn’t take. That photo was of Ruby.

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Via Lisa Taylor-Horton / Facebook

Haunted America Conference founder and prolific history and hauntings author Troy Taylor summarized the strange event on his Facebook page:

Strange things happen at the Haunted America Conference, especially when the Planet Weird Traveling Museum of the Paranormal & Occult is involved. Even though she never touched, handled or photographed any of the objects from the museum, my partner in crime Lisa Taylor Horton ended up with an unwanted souvenir from the museum.

On Saturday night / Sunday morning, long after the conference had ended and the museum had been packed away, a very strange event occurred. Following the Ghosts of the River Road dinner tour (Lisa forgot her phone in her room for this one), the late evening seance and cocktails with friends, Lisa plugged her phone in and went to sleep. It was a little after 2:00 AM.

The next morning, Lisa checked out and started for home but we stopped along the way for lunch. That’s when she noticed that her phone was almost dead, even though it had been plugged in all night — and that’s when she looked at the photos on her phone.

The latest photo was the weird one. It was a photo of “Ruby,” a doll and one of the artifacts in the museum. A couple of problems, though… The time stamp on the photo was 2:46 AM, and stranger, Lisa didn’t take it! She was asleep at the time and Ruby had been packed away hours earlier!

What happened?? We don’t know. So far, there is no logical explanation for what occurred, or at least we haven’t come up with it yet. All that I can say is that if you’ve ever wondered about the authenticity of the objects in the museum — I think you can stop.

Perhaps it’s possible that Ruby has become aware of the kind of attention that some of the museum’s objects like The Crone, The Idol of Nightmares, and The Dark Mirror have been getting, and, in her very sweet fashion, Ruby picked the least terrifying way to make contact with someone whom she felt a connection with. If the young, sickly girl who died all those years ago is still attached to her favorite doll, maybe there was something about Lisa that drew her attention and made her want to reach out and make contact.

For now, we’ll continue to bring Ruby with us to events around the country, and we’ll continue to let people have their own special experiences with her, because I believe she’s a shining example of what real paranormal activity can look like. For many of us, we’ve become so accustomed to expecting haunted objects to be terrifying, aggressive, and “demonic”, likely due to what we see on television and in movies, but there’s nothing scary or creepy about Ruby.

If we’re to believe what Meghan’s family believes, there’s a sweet little girl still holding on to Ruby’s cracked hands, and maybe today, that little girl is finding comfort in the people who interact with her. In her own way, she’s just reminding us that she’s still here, wanting to be loved and respected, just like anyone else.


Let us know what you think about Ruby the Haunted Doll in the comments below. Tweet us @WeirdHQ, or drop us a line on Facebook


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Dana Matthews

Dana Matthews

Co-founder, Editor, Writer at Week in Weird / Planet Weird
Managing editor, occult museum curator, and paranormal TV junkie, Dana has been actively investigating the strange and the unexplained for two decades. When she’s not telling ghost stories or penning articles about real haunted places, she's chasing mysteries with Planet Weird. Learn more about Dana.
Dana Matthews

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weather she is just a doll, or a doll with a young female spirit attached, has anyone thought that maybe for little Lucy’s birthday(as I’m sure she has one) would like a pretty new dress made for her, my grandmother used to make one of my dolls pretty dresses for all occasions, Just because this dress is the one she came in, doesn’t necessarily mean she wouldn’t appreciate something a little cleaner and newer…???

Poor little dear. At least she is with people who care for her and respect her.

I had a very interesting experience with Ruby at the Stanley hotel this past April. Without knowing her story, my friend fell in love with her and wanted to hold her and rock her like a baby. I on the other hand, was instantly creeped out by her. When my friend asked me if I wanted to hold Ruby, I believe my exact words were “keep that creepy ass doll away from me”. I instantly felt nauseated, to the point that I thought I was going to throw up then and there. As Ruby was passed around, Greg Newkirk came… Read more »

I so wish I had a “Ruby” in my family to love. such a sad story, but seems like the child is expressing herself through her best buddy Ruby. I love this little doll already.

What’s scary is my sister keeps a doll like this one, she’s had her for 62 yrs. Lots of love

‘Most haunted objects aren’t possessed by demons.’ Well, that’s a comfort.

I like the story of Ruby.Its nice to know the paranormal don’t have to be scary.what a special doll.

Poor Ruby. Reading her story made me want to introduce her to my dog (a funny little pug). Wonder if she’d like pictures….

I got an overwhelming feeling of sadness and loneliness when I read about that photo. Poor “Ruby” and her companion must feel so alone and disconnected from the world around them. Everything is different in the world now, and the only way she could reach out, was to use this new invention she sees the living use.
That’s what I think she wanted everyone to know, anyway.
Dana, she must love you very much for bringing her out again.

Ya, any trapped energy is sad

I so wish I had a “Ruby” in my family to love. such a sad story, but seems like the child is expressing herself through her best buddy Ruby. I love this little doll already.

Dana Newkirk, I agree with you completely that the paranormal isn’t always evil and out to get you. The paranormal is something that should be embraced but at the same time, caution is always a good thing. Humans tend to fear and hate what they can’t understand or control. I have much respect for you and Greg for trying to understand the paranormal rather than give into fear. I’m also glad that you see nothing in black and white but in shades of grey which is how I see things as well.

Fascinating story, Dana. I was wondering if you had considered coming to Galveston Island, Texas. There are no shortages of haunted places there. We once owned an old Victorian house there It was built in 1897, and haunted us for 12 yrs. Back in the 1990’s if I had been aware of so many ghost hunters being out there, I would have contacted them right away. I believe it is haunted by children, because when we sat in the back yard, we could hear them laughing and bumping around. There were some mean spirits there as well. Our daughter, who… Read more »

I would love to hear from you.

The demonic sure do love to deceive.

Spare us, dude. No offense, but I’m an ordained minister that was raised by half a dozen generations of Baptist preachers. I’m good and familiar with the reasoning. And I still don’t buy it. The world is a grey area, and there are many paths to god.

You claim to be an ordained minister, and yet you spell the word “God” here the way atheists do, with a lower-case g. There is also the fact that your view that there are “many paths to God” is one that Christ himself never endorsed, there being only one way, and he states this quite clearly (ex. Gospel of John 14:6 – “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”)

Greg Newkirk

Yeah, and you completely missed the point of what I was saying because you went ahead and quoted the Bible like a dingus. Just because I’m ordained doesn’t mean I’m practicing, and just because I spelled god with a lower-case “G” doesn’t mean I’m an atheist. It’s nitpicking like this that has caused Christianity to wither from the tree of spirituality. There are many other branches on that tree which are doing just fine, and they all lead to the same roots.

Those who thump the Bible hardest do a good enough job of deceiving themselves.

Not being harsh, just honest. You can believe whatever you’d like, Denny, but the world is much bigger, more fascinating, and more mysterious place than a black and white view of angels vs. demons will allow.

PS: Read the article.

I was just stating something that most people do not seem to grasp. No need for the harsh words.

I have a true belief about what the Bible says yes. But it does not mean that I am deceived.

I could explain it to you if you would like.

OK. None taken. I just felt like sharing something that most in the world of Christianity don’t understand. It’s all good though.

I meant no disrespect.

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