Glassy-eyed porcelain dolls have long played important roles in the creepiest of American horror stories. Which is why at least eight families in San Clemente, Calif., got exceedingly freaked out when someone started leaving such dolls on their front steps—dolls that resemble actual girls about the age of 10 who live inside the homes, reports LAist. But it turns out that the nothing malicious was intended, say police: They've determined that a well-meaning neighborhood woman left the dolls as gifts, reports KTLA.
“Investigators have concluded that her motivation was out of goodwill and that she intended it as a kind gesture,” says a police statement. When news of the mystery dolls first surfaced this week, the story quickly gained national attention. Even the Sheriff's Department labeled the dolls "creepy or very unusual." The mother of a 5-year-old girl in the same neighborhood also came forward with a series of wooden dolls left at her family's door two weeks ago, though it's not clear yet if the cases are related. All proof that truth can be stranger, and spookier, than fiction. (Check out how rare it is for a doll to actually resemble a girl.)