Real Life

Real life: I live with 800 haunted dolls

There’s more life in them than you’d think.

By Laura Masia

Karina Eames, 41, Golden Grove, SA.

Rays of light pierced the dusty air as I stared down at the old boxes on the floor at my parents' home.
Carefully, I took off the masking tape and peered in to find the dolls I'd played with as a child. It brought back so many happy memories.
I used to spend hours having tea parties with them, but once I got older, they went into storage.
Now that I'd rediscovered them, I couldn't bear to put them back!
The dolls came home with me, and I soon found myself exploring old antique shops looking for more and more.
Me with my dolls. (Image exclusive to Take 5)
Eventually, 800 dolls filled our spare room and I had a strong sense that about 100 of them had real spirits attached to them, like their own little personalities.
"They'll take over the house soon," said my partner, James.
Thankfully, despite his jokes, he didn't mind.
But over time, I noticed creepy things happening around our home, like shadows moving or the occasional chill.
One day, James bought me an 1800s grave-mourning doll that grieving parents would traditionally put against the headstone on their deceased child's grave.
It had cherubic lips and big brown eyes.
Some of my dolls have a real presence. (Image exclusive to Take 5)
"It's beautiful," I said, before placing her in the room with the others.
Despite her grim origin, she was gorgeous.
Minutes later, James and I heard music blaring from my computer on the other side of the house.
"To our shock, YouTube was open and playing a Tchaikovsky song called The Doll's Funeral.
We brushed it off, but an hour later, an apparition of a woman's face whooshed past and the song started playing again.
"Creepy," James shivered.
I'd always been interested in the paranormal, but now I was beyond fascinated!
I think that over 100 of my dolls have spirits attached. (Image exclusive to Take 5)
Eventually, I'd collected too many dolls for the spare room, so I started showing them off to the public, booking out a space at the Old Highercombe Hotel Museum.
We called the exhibit "The Hotel of Haunted Dolls," and people came from all over Adelaide to look at my creepy collection.Soon, we'll be doing haunted doll sleepovers for anyone brave enough to spend the night with them.
They're not everyone's cup of tea, but they'll always be special to me.
For more info, check out Karina's business [When the Lights Go Out Paranormal.](

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