ByManny MassGrave Serrano, writer at
I am an independent horror filmmaker in NYC. Co-owner of Mass Grave Pictures, and director of the slasher film, Blood Slaughter Massacre. I
Manny MassGrave Serrano

Dolls. Love them or hate them, from Goosebumps, to The Twilight Zone to James Wan and Charles Band, horror filmmakers have been scaring the hell out of audiences for decades with their lifeless eyes and blank stares that seemingly peer directly into your soul and beyond.

And that's why I like them. I enjoy being scared at the movies, and there's definitely something eerie about dolls. Sometimes they are pretty and a little too lifelike for comfort, and other times they aren't so pretty, making you feel uneasy looking at their seemingly unnatural imperfections. Many people have a genuine fear of dolls (pediophobia) and refuse to be in the same room as one.

Robert The Doll is known to take vengeance on anyone who takes his photo without permission.
Robert The Doll is known to take vengeance on anyone who takes his photo without permission.

While it may look perfectly human, once our brain picks it apart — looking for imperfections and observing how unnaturally it moves — we become repulsed by it, triggering fear in many cases. This is demonstrated (albeit, crudely) in movies via CGI. Bad CG is frowned upon and picked out very easily, generally distracting you from the rest of the film and impeding your enjoyment.

We'll see about that.

Psychologically, it stems from a very young time in life. Freud claimed that children regularly dream of dolls coming to life, while Roboticist Masahiro Mori's theory is called "The Uncanny Valley." The theory states that the closer to human an object looks, the more familiar it becomes to us. But, the gap between looking human and being human is where the Uncanny Valley lives.

Personally, what bothers me are those Christmas dolls people put in their windows. You know — the ones that move their arms up and down, and heads back and forth? They used to mess with me a lot when I was young, and I was definitely not a fan of them. I felt like every time I walked past one, the head was following me; almost like they were using the mechanical motion as subterfuge, distracting from the fact that they are actually watching us all.

Stop looking at me!
Stop looking at me!

On April 26th, received one such doll: Ann.

The History

Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, KY is popular for being one of the most haunted locations on earth. Opening in 1910, the hospital could house up to 50 Tuberculosis patients at a time. Waverly Hills closed in 1961 with the rise of antibiotics that helped treat TB effectively. It reopened as an old-age home, but what closed again in 1982 after complaints of patient neglect and abuse. Over the years, it has been the subject of many paranormal investigations, being featured on Ghost Hunters, Most Haunted, Ghost Adventures, Supernatural and even WWE.

Photo from Waverly Hills, users believe Ann to be the girl behind the slide.
Photo from Waverly Hills, users believe Ann to be the girl behind the slide.

In 1919, a nurse by the name of Lois came to work for the sanatorium, and was tasked with the children's ward. She claimed that after the children passed, their spirits would accompany her home, so Lois began collecting dolls — dozens of them (one for each child who passed), so their souls would have somewhere to reside.

Ann was afraid of the dark, and after she passed, Lois claimed the doll could move on its own, and she would hear it crying in the night, even shedding a tear once.

The Experiment

Talky Tina's got nothin' on those eyes.
Talky Tina's got nothin' on those eyes.

After receiving the doll, The Line Up decided they would video every moment the doll was in their possession (pun intended) and, in conjunction with Destination America, would live-stream Ann on webcam for two weeks via YouTube.

They began with an internet staple: The Unboxing Video! The box was initially cold, but was theorized to be from the AC in the office. Otherwise, the first video went off without a hitch.

After the unboxing, the staff set up a live camera feed in a storage closet, so the doll would be undisturbed. They would start the live feed on April 27th and shut down on May 11th. She was sat down on a black cloth, with black backdrop, with a light on her (because she's afraid of the dark). There was a clock left next to her, and an EMF reader was put in after a few hours.

The webcam setup.
The webcam setup.

During those two days, a few things were reported by the website's employees. Two people said they heard a whining sound, even after quieting everyone in the office, swearing they heard the sound of a child crying. While setting up the EMF meter, the detectors light started flashing after asking Ann if she liked her new home, and one day into the live feed, the power cord of the laptop was pulled out at 8:27pm, even though no one was in the office.

This feed went on for the next two weeks, recording a lot of nothing, but a bunch of possibly something! Here are the highlights from the feed!

April 27th — 4:01pm

After the first EMF session at 2:22pm, a worker stated:

“There are just so many weird things going on with this video.” He pointed out that the video is in color but said the last two frames went gray with lines through the middle of the screen. When he tried to save the video, it froze and wouldn’t export. He rescrubbed the feed; the gray screen disappeared. The problems continued when he tried to add the video to our YouTube channel — the upload kept stalling and restarting.

April 29th — 12:00am

We received the first of a series of emails from five different viewers about Ann moving and the EMF meter blinking between 12am–1:16am. Here are the specifics:

• 12:00am — From "Silent Yehl": Ann’s arm twitched and background lights appeared.

• 12:28am — From Maggie Leal: EMF reader moved at the same time the feed went blurry, then Ann’s head moved. This happened three times in 10 minutes.

• 12:49am — From Kimberly Bonnell: The EMF light might have turned on.

• 1:12am — From Edgar Rodriguez: Movements in the background on the right. Over the next two minutes, it looked like the feed went blurry, and a face appeared behind Ann.

• 1:16am — Anonymous reader: Spotted a “ghost blip.”

April 29th — 2:41pm

An EVP Session is held. Before starting the session, the screen on the laptop flickered. Unfortunately, no EVP's were recorded during the session.

May 1st — 7:37am

They received many emails about the light in Ann’s room turning red or pink, which is odd considering there is only one light source on her. Other external contaminates were ruled out. Multiple users reported seeing the screen flicker on and off, with the screen flashing black.

Brightness of the light changed multiple times.
Brightness of the light changed multiple times.

User Pinky took a few screenshots and reported seeing a close up of Ann’s face for a second between taking the video stills.

From Katie Presley: Between 4:46–4:51pm, “lots of activity in the lighting. Almost looks like a television flashing.”

Many other viewers reported colored lights flashing, or the light changing, as well as a lot of flickering and movement. One user says at 3pm, she turned away for a moment, and when she looked back she thought they had re-positioned Ann's head.

May 2nd — 10:50pm

The live stream went out, and the staff has no explanation for it. They restored the feed on May 3rd at 9:29am. The clock was 1 1/2 minutes ahead, and they sync'd it back up at 10:32am.

May 3rd — 12:19pm

User Edson Otero sent in a screenshot of a shadow and a blue light which appeared on his live feed. A worker was using the laptop at that time, and claims he didn't put anything in front of the camera, nor move anything.

May 3rd — 2:08pm

Many users over the past few days had reported seeing split second closeups of Ann appearing on the screen, and one user recorded it, emailing the video in.

The same person who was working the laptop earlier analyzed the video. They slowed it down so it is easier to see, but he says the frame isn't pixelated upon closeup (like it should be had it been faked), but the blinking dots on the clock freeze for a moment, indicating it may have been faked. After a few days of analysis, they said:

The stream requires our video output to be encoded before being delivered to Youtube. This may result in resizing or flickering on the viewing end. Additionally, there may be a moment when the stream attempts to shift from 1080p to 720p, and vice versa. The fluctuations may occur over tenths of a second, which may cause the flash of resizing.

So, it seems like even if it did really happen, it's totally possible that it was a natural digital video error.

Other users reported seeing the light pulsing, flashing and even what appeared to be a small Blue LED light appear in the tops of the frame.

May 10 — 11:10pm

Just before the feed was shut down, Kimberly Waggoner saw a white flash above Ann, and took a screenshot. In a lot of the previous times people saw things, they were unable to rewind and see it, almost as if it happened in their view alone, not the actual feed. Pointing to either supernatural happenings, or simply digital glitches.

On the final day, users reported the clocks numbers changing multiple times, and the clock falling out of sync with their clocks. One user caught it with their iPhone!

On May 10th, the feed was shut down at midnight, and nothing strange was reported at the time. The Line Up was also holding a contest to find Ann a new home, with users emailing them, pleading their cases to be the new owners of the doll. So, Ann was kept in their office for another week or so, while they combed through the submissions, and on May 16th it was decided the doll would find its new digs in Chicago at the home of John and Tara.

Let's hope if they experience anything from or around Ann, they will update us all!

To read the fully detailed and time stamped log, check it out here: Ann The Haunted Doll at The LineUp


Do you think Ann truly is haunted?

Check out some of my other articles, here on Moviepilot!

Things You Didn't Know About 'Creepshow'

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About 'The Gate'

8 Incredible Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About 'The Shining'

10 Things You (Most Likely) Didn't Know About 'Real Genius'


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