Surf around eBay and Etsy and you'll find a niche market that's right out of Poltergeist: haunted dolls. This online subculture got some media attention after a reporter stumbled on it in eBay's "Everything Else" section, NPR reports. "There was an advert for something which was a sadistic, perverted, haunted doll," says the reporter, Jak Hutchcraft, who covered it on Vice.com. "It was this little, menacing-looking sort of troll." It also sold for over $1,400. So he talked to a couple of women who sell items on the pricey possessed-toys market, and found them surprisingly down to earth. They said people buy the dolls for help with white or black magic, or to adopt orphan spirits supposedly living in the dolls.
Some buyers "are interested because they don't have children of their own," says one of the women, Jayne Harris. "They ask if I've come across any spirited children that are in limbo." The other, Nancy Oyola, says her buyers are satisfied and usually confirm that the dolls are haunted. According to Hutchcraft, the market blossomed after a wine cabinet supposedly haunted by a "dybbuk" (from Jewish mythology) sold on eBay in 2004. Now there's a witchcraft section on Etsy, Vice.com reports, and eBay has a guide to buying haunted items. But a man billed as a parapsychic medium isn't convinced: "I can't see how this mass production of haunted dolls is feasible," he says. "We don't get to choose where a spirit will reside or what it's attached to." (eBay also sold Rob Ford's "crack tie" ... for more than $16,000.)