Charley the Haunted Doll – Beverly, Massachusetts - Atlas Obscura
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Beverly, Massachusetts

Charley the Haunted Doll

Rumored to have tormented a family in the late 1960s, this toy now resides in a quiet little oddities shop. 

In 1968, a peculiar doll was discovered in the attic of an old Victorian home in upstate New York. Found in the bottom of a tattered trunk full of newspaper, the only other item with it was a yellowed piece of paper containing the Lord’s Prayer. The old newspaper used to pack the trunk had dates on it going back to the early 1930s, but the actual age of the doll could not be determined.

The doll was added to a collection of other antique dolls the family owned and given the name Charley. At first, the homeowner’s family (consisting of himself, his wife, and their five daughters) paid little mind to the toy, as it blended into their preexisting doll collection quite nicely. It wasn’t until Charley seemed to move from place to place on the bench full of dolls that anyone took notice.

The parents were quick to blame their five mischievous children, but the children all maintained that they knew nothing about how the doll moved. Then the youngest daughter, who was four-years-old, made a startling statement: Charley had spoken to her when she got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Naturally, the parents blamed the child’s wild imagination.

While the parents never witnessed Charley doing anything, the children soon became fixated on the doll and were terrified of it. All five of them refused to get up during the night to use the bathroom, and none of them would venture within five feet of the bench the doll resided on. The final straw was when the youngest was covered with scratches and insisted that they weren’t from their cat but from Charley.

The truth was never fully discovered. The parents, eager to end the chaos, took the doll back to the attic and locked him in the trunk he was found in. Things soon returned to normal, and the doll was forgotten.

Years later, once the children were grown, the house was sold and the trunk was removed from the attic to be sold at a garage sale. The doll remained one of the last things to go. Finally, a woman bought the doll to add to her antique doll collection and the homeowner recounted his own story to her regarding Charley. Since then, the doll has changed hands a few more times and its story has followed it. He has been rumored to still move from time to time, but his ghostly power seems to mainly be unlocked by children.

Charley the haunted doll now resides at a shop called Local Artisan. There, he sits among taxidermy animals, unusual art, and other oddities where he can be viewed by the public.

Know Before You Go

Cassandra, the owner of Local Artisan, is very friendly and willing to tell you everything she knows about Charley and his past. The store is located minutes from Salem, MA.