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Real Life

Real life: This haunted doll wreaked havoc on my family

I knew there was something strange about the doll I found at the charity shop. If only I'd listened to my instincts...

By As told to Take 5

Psychic medium Mark Smith shares his true life story;

'For you,' I smiled, passing the bulging bags to the lady behind the counter.
It was July 2016 and my partner, Kelly, had sent me down to the local charity shop to drop off some of our kids' old clothes and toys.
While I was in there, I couldn't resist taking a quick nose around.
As I browsed the shelves, there was a thud behind me.
Turning, I saw a male doll with red hair, a tartan cap and waistcoat lying face down on the floor.
"Oops," I cringed, thinking I must've brushed past it and knocked it over.
I popped it back on the shelf and carried on around the shop.
Thud!
The doll was back on the floor.
"How on Earth…"
I muttered, bending to pick it up.
As I did so, the name "Peter" popped into my head. Sure enough, when I turned over the name-tag around its neck, that was what was written on it. It wasn't a coincidence.
As a psychic medium, my senses were telling me there was something strange about the doll that I had
to investigate.
I'd been drawn to Peter the doll.
"How much for this?" I asked the lady.
"You can have him for 80c," she smiled. Bargain!
But when I got him home, Kelly pursed her lips.
"The idea was to clear the house of clutter, not acquire more," she tutted. "And anyway, he's creepy!"
And our kids – Chloe, Bradley, Joshua and Thomas – all agreed with her.
"Nah, he's cute!" I laughed, sticking him up on top of our wardrobe.
The following evening, we were all downstairs watching telly.
"Can you hear that? Sounds like running water," Kelly said.
I felt a splash of water on my face and leapt up.
Water was dripping down through the ceiling.
We raced upstairs into our bedroom, which was above.
Water was gushing out from behind the wardrobe.
"Fetch me a hammer," I cried.
I smashed a hole in the wall – and was flabbergasted.
Me and my partner Kelly.
A water pipe was in two pieces.
It hadn't burst – it was like someone had unscrewed one of the seams!
We switched off the water mains, but by then it was too late.
Our bedroom was ruined.
The carpet was sodden, along with our clothes, the plaster-work and floorboards.
In fact, everything except the doll, which was dry as a bone…
"I haven't a clue how this happened," said our plumber, when he arrived.
"Me neither," I said. Unless…
I caught sight of the doll.
"Nah," I shivered. I'd heard about dolls with supernatural powers before, but never had
I experienced it for real.
He couldn't be behind this, surely?
That night, we had no choice but to sleep in the soggy room as there was nowhere else to go.
"Goodnight Peter," I said, and just for the hell of it, switched on my spirit box – a device which can pick up spirit voices.
NIGHT! came the reply. I froze.
Maybe there was life in that doll, after all.
Spooked, I boxed Peter away, wrapping him in rosary beads and a crucifix for good measure.
The plumber didn't know how it happened.
And there he stayed until September 2016, when I decided to take him along to a couple of paranormal investigations I was conducting.
I hoped the other people there could help confirm if there was anything haunting the doll, or if it was all in my head.
Throughout the night, our spirit box kept shouting the name "Peter" and our K2 metre, which measures electromagnetic energy, kept lighting up.
I was in no doubt: something weird was going on with that doll.
Arriving home that night, I put him on the stairs in the hallway and took off my coat. Just then, clear as day, I saw a figure standing at the other end of the hall.
A ginger-haired boy, five or six years old, in the exact same outfit as the doll, right down to his little white socks and boots. Peter!
It looked just like him, except real. He stared at me silently, before he slowly dissolved.
Tuning in, I sensed the little boy was a good spirit and meant me no harm.
Yet the doll itself gave me such bad vibes and I couldn't figure out why.
I boxed up the doll with rosary beads for protection.
Intrigued, I began doing live videos on Facebook to see what other people could pick up.
Placing the doll in front of the cameras and microphones, the equipment went haywire, switching on and off.
But when I moved him away, the equipment went back to normal.
Next, I did a Ouija board asking for the spirit within the doll to come forward.
Within minutes, the glass had slid across the board, spelling out P-E-T-E-R.
Now I was in no doubt: the doll was haunted – and the spirit inside it was called Peter, too! Either he'd possessed the doll or was somehow trapped in there.
But whenever I tried tuning in to him – to ask him what he wanted or how he'd got into the doll – all
I got back was a stony silence…
I did more live videos, hoping he'd give up some of his secrets to my viewers.
"Here he is," I said, holding him up close to the camera. "Tell me what you experience."
Some people wrote that the doll was making them feel sick, or making their pets go loopy.
But that wasn't the worst of it…
Loads of people said they could see the doll's eyes moving.
"Moving?" I croaked. "That's impossible."
Peter's eyes were painted on.
Yet when I checked back through the footage…
"They're right," I shuddered, seeing them slowly moving from left to right.
A shiver ran through me.
Even my kids thought the doll was creepy.
"I want that thing out of the house," Kelly said, when I told her about it the next day.
"No way,'"I said.
Say the doll had been responsible for the water leak and all the other freaky goings-on.
If someone took it off my hands and something bad happened to them, I'd never forgive myself.
I was stuck with it now – so I decided to make the best of it.
I performed a cleansing on the doll, saying prayers while wafting
a sage stick over it, hoping that would help.
Soon after, I had the craziest vision as I slept.
In it, the boy I'd seen in the hall came to me and said his name was Peter – just like the doll.
He looked friendly and pleased to see me.
"I'm leaving you for a while to visit other places, but I'll be back," he said.
Upon waking, everything clicked into place.
Some kind of evil entity had been trapping the spirit of the poor mite inside the doll.
It had been going on so long it had even made him take on the same appearance of it.
The cleansing ritual had released him, leaving him free to visit places he had connections with – but, clearly, he must've liked living with us to want to return…
After that, we began hearing child's footsteps running about the house when the kids were asleep in bed and knew it was the boy's spirit returning to show me he was OK.
But what had become of the evil entity which had trapped him in the first place?
Had I set it loose in my house?
I made videos with the doll.
A few nights later, Kelly and I were watching the telly when I saw movement in the hallway.
Turning around, I saw a tall, shadowy figure in a hood floating silently towards us.
I knew straight away it was the evil spirit who'd trapped Peter inside the doll.
"Stay back!" I shouted, getting ready to make a run for it.
But before I could move, the figure vanished.
Angered I'd freed the child from his clutches, he was showing himself to scare me.
Well, he'd succeeded!
The spirit has reappeared several times since in our house and even at our neighbour's.
I'm still trying to figure out how to get rid of it – so far, cleansing hasn't worked.
As for the doll, I keep it locked away in my office.
He spooks me so much I don't even like looking at him and the vibe it gives off is worse than ever.
But at least the spirit of the boy is free.
I think he's crossed to the light because I haven't seen him since he came back to tell me he was OK.
My advice for anyone thinking of buying anything second-hand is this: if you get a bad vibe, trust your gut and stay away.

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