The unwarranted, irrational and unsettling fear of dolls is a common type of phobia and relates to individuals who are afraid of all human-like objects, ranging from mannequins, marionettes, ventriloquist's dummies, to wax figures, animatrix or even robots.
Oh yes, 'pediophobia' is a very real thing indeed and throughout the decades, film studios have repeatedly attempted to trigger the frightening condition lying dormant in some of us. Take the movie Child's Play as an example:
However, after all is said and done, we mustn't forget that all dolls really are, are child's playthings. And in fact, they aren't the sinister, nightmare-inducing creatures with creepy, glassy eyes that are plotting our demise when we aren't looking.
At a warehouse in Australia, called the Doll Hospital, some simply regard dolls for what they are - cherished toys. Entering the building, visitors may be shocked to encounter rooms rammed full of doll's head, severed limbs, clusters of hair and plastic eyeballs. Yet, this is not a sinister museum intended to induce terror.
Instead, this is a workshop run by Geoff Chapman that deals in the restoration of damaged childhood dolls to their former beauty. That's not to say that some of the images taken within this 'hospital' are downright terrifying. Take a look!
In the last 100 years, the Sydney-based workshop has fixed over three million dolls across Australia and New Zealand. Behind the toy shop on a high street in the city, people work hard transplanting fingers, toes and heads and repairing broken eye sockets in order to bring back the dolls back to their former glory.
The 'head doll surgeon,' Mr. Chapman, has continued the traditional family business, which began in 1913, and now employs twelve members of staff to help him. He says that in recent years, 80% of the dolls arrive from adults who hope to pass on their damaged, but treasured, playthings to their sons and daughters. Mr. Chapman says:
"We've had customers who've burst into tears when they saw their treasured doll or teddy as good as new."
Kerry Stuart (pictured above), has worked at the hospital for over 25 years and eagerly compares her work to that of a surgeon. She says:
"A lot of our tools are like surgeons, operating on human patients [...] The thing I like least is eyes. It's a very difficult balancing act to get them right, so it does take a while. Sometimes I have to do them three times before I'm happy with them."
I think the Doll Hospital is doing a wonderful job in breathing life into old, abandoned dolls. Yet, I still wouldn't want to spend a dark night in that warehouse on my own, that's for sure!