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Doll Babies/Soul Dolls


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#1 RavenFlyer

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 03:49 AM

Before I get into a description of what a Doll Baby is I want to tell a short story from my youth.

My Mamaw (grandmother, for those that don't know that word) and her sister Fern were the big sewers, and quilters of the family. Growing up my Mamaw always made dolls that she called her Doll Babies. fern and her would make these for people who asked her to, and sometimes she would make them as gifts. The dolls would look extremely similar to the the person they were being made for. The hair would be the exact color, the length, the eye color, etc. Right down to one instance she attached a fake plastic leg on one doll for a man who lost his leg in Vietnam. She would make them, but leave them a little undone. She would leave a seam out, or give the "customer" buttons to sew on later.
When I asked her why she didn't finish it for the person she said they had to finish it, and then told me to stop asking questions. She always got on to me for going through her drawers, closets, and cabinets.

I asked my mom once why my Mamaw didn't have a doll baby of her own. My mother's answer was that Mamaw had started working on one for herself, but stopped because of what the doll was doing. As she was making the doll she would stop and put the doll down to do something else and swore up and down that the doll would move its head to look at her. Or if she was talking to it while she was sewing it the doll baby would move its arms or legs just a little, like a small twitch. So she stopped and destroyed the doll, but other people still wanted her and Fern to make them.

Now both her and Fern were very baptist. But we are from the Appalachian mountains, and these sorts of practices are what I grew up around. Where the older people did things, and I was told not to question or bother them about it. So the things I learned were from mimicking them, and trial and error from there.

A few years ago I was reading a book called Jambalaya by Luisha Teish (Which I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMEND everyone read!) and in the book she has a section about Soul Dolls: (Pages 191-195)
A short summation: two types of spirit dolls 1) spirit dolls, made for ancestors and affinity spirits, and 2) the petit-bon-ange or "little spirit doll."
What I am discussing focuses on number 2
The little soul doll you make to look exactly (or as close as possible to) you. However, if you are wanting to loose 10 pounds make the waist look a little smaller than you normally would.

However, once the doll is made it literally becomes you. It needs to be treated like a child. Don't abandon it for a long period of time, nor leave it where people you don't trust could harm it. The clothes need to be kept clean, and the environment as well.
Even in extreme cases if your house catches on fire you need to get your human child, and your doll baby out.

these dolls are made with parts of yourself. Braid strands of your hair into its hair. sew your fingernails into its fingers, etc...
Luisha Teish gives some specifics for stuffing the doll:

Boneset tea is the traditional stuffing for the dolls

Head: a piece of brain coral, favorite head scarf, or a bundle of your own hair
spine: cardboard reinforced with wire, fish vertebrae, several small thread spools on a stick, wipe it with some of your own sweat
heart: a little red heart bag made of dirt from your home, turbindo sugar, and blood pricked from your finger: an Adam and eve Root, a piece of rose quartz
lungs: two pieces of sponge with your breath on them; two balloons with sesame seeds in them
Intestines: white yarn soaked in vegetable juice
Kidneys: two pieces of clay mixed with your urine
Breasts and Uterus: a ball of cotton with seeds soaked in milk, a ball of cotton with pear seeds soaked in menstrual blood; pubic hair
Penis: raccoon penis bone rubbed with semen, short stick from home rubbed with semen
Arms and Legs: chicken bones and body hair
hands and feet: nail clippings, matchsticks and toothpicks for fingers and toes

Give it a secret name and keep it covered for 9 days. Then have a party. Invite close friends, or ancestor (spirits) and introduce the doll to them.

Now working with the doll:
put it on your altar and feed her. Give it water and a candle. Have conversations. If you talk to your doll about your problems you can be sure of two things 1) nobody will lie to you, and 2) your business won't be dragged through the streets/
Beyond that give your Doll what you are asking for: If you want 100 dollars give her 100 pennies and ask your doll to multiply it.

now here is where it gets back to the story i started at the beginning

Don't be surprised if your doll starts talking back to you. You're not crazy it just means that you are getting in touch with yourself and the soul doll

and

Don't be surprised if the doll moves. Not as in walking around the house, but cocking its head, or twitching its arms and legs. or if it seems to smile, frown or go to bed when you do.


And another word of caution, if you should make a soul doll/ doll baby and you pass away you have to decide what to do with it. Will it be buried with you, left to a trusted person, or disassembled by you at a future date, or a trusted friend after your physical departure.
and heaven forbid if the doll is stolen or "dies" by acts outside of your control. you will need to shave your head and body. cut your nails, rinse your mouth our with alcohol (rum or absinthe, or anisette), take a bath in the river or ocean, change your brand or perfume,and adopt a nickname for a while. Do whatever your brain tells you to do to disassociate from the doll and to reclaim your little soul.









Now i have to wonder if these aren't the dolls my Mamaw and great aunt fern were making. And the reason they gave them to the "customers" unfinished was because they need to be finished by the person they were being made for. And especially after the story my mother told me about my mamaw's doll.


I haven't made one yet. And I am not sure I ever will but its a really neat idea I think. and I find it interesting how in a book about African faiths i found a link to something i grew up with in the Appalachian mountains.

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#2 Oceana

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 12:36 PM

Interesting stuff, thank you for sharing! I've always found dolls a little creepy (let alone the kind that moves on its own!) so I doubt I will be making a mini-me any time soon :lol_witch:
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#3 RavenFlyer

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 04:59 PM

lol my partner says the samething about dolls.

I also think these dolls act as sort of a shield. If someone were to cast a curse or hex on you the doll would absorb it since it is a mini you.

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#4 o_O

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 06:00 PM

lol my partner says the samething about dolls.

I also think these dolls act as sort of a shield. If someone were to cast a curse or hex on you the doll would absorb it since it is a mini you.


I think it would also be good for transferring things like sickness and what not. I could see trying to do a little bit of a Dorian Gray experiment with this too, but that could be bad.

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 01:45 AM

I think it would also be good for transferring things like sickness and what not. I could see trying to do a little bit of a Dorian Gray experiment with this too, but that could be bad.



Hey Ravenflyer,

Loved this post, as I adore learning about hoodoo/rootworking magical systems. This feels like it takes a poppet a bit further. I've used poppets, with hair and nail clippings etc....but I've not experienced anything like you mentioned above!!! Yikes...I belong to the "dolls creep me out" club...as well as clowns and puppets!! I can see o_O point in using these soul dolls for transfer, but only for the non-skittish!

Alayna

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#6 RavenFlyer

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 04:39 AM

Hey Ravenflyer,

Loved this post, as I adore learning about hoodoo/rootworking magical systems. This feels like it takes a poppet a bit further. I've used poppets, with hair and nail clippings etc....but I've not experienced anything like you mentioned above!!! Yikes...I belong to the "dolls creep me out" club...as well as clowns and puppets!! I can see o_O point in using these soul dolls for transfer, but only for the non-skittish!

Alayna



Dolls don't scare me, well unless they are porcelain. I blame shows(not movie) Friday the 13th for that fear...lol. But for the most part dolls don't bother me. Puppets on the other hand give me the wiggins.


I have seriously thought about creating a Doll Baby. But I am wary of loosing it, or something happening to it. I don't like the idea of giving something that much power of myself. And it would have such a direct psychic link that I think it could be SUPER beneficial, but at the same time if something devastating happened to it that it could be really detrimental to someone's mentally and physically.

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#7 Jevne

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 06:12 AM

I vaguely remember my Great Grandmother talking about making doll babies for someone. I know that that she was originally from Kentucky or thereabouts, but I was only about 10 years old when she passed on, so I'll have to ask my Grandma about it. I wasn't let in on some of the family knowledge until I was older.

Normally, dolls do not bother me. As a child, I collected china dolls. I still have many of them packed away in the basement. This thread made me think of a life-size doll that is for sale at the local flea market. It is the creepiest thing I have ever seen. It's been there for like 5 years, and I know that no one wants to buy it. It has glassy eyes and this half-ass grin. Ewwwwww!

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#8 RavenFlyer

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 06:42 AM

I vaguely remember my Great Grandmother talking about making doll babies for someone. I know that that she was originally from Kentucky or thereabouts, but I was only about 10 years old when she passed on, so I'll have to ask my Grandma about it. I wasn't let in on some of the family knowledge until I was older.

Normally, dolls do not bother me. As a child, I collected china dolls. I still have many of them packed away in the basement. This thread made me think of a life-size doll that is for sale at the local flea market. It is the creepiest thing I have ever seen. It's been there for like 5 years, and I know that no one wants to buy it. It has glassy eyes and this half-ass grin. Ewwwwww!

Jevne



That's really interesting. I have never really heard anyone else know what I am talking about in reference to doll babies. But it makes sense with her being from Kentucky, and using that term. My family is from the southwest corner of Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains. My hometown borders Kentucky. Part of my grandfather's family is from Kentucky, and North Carolina. I wish my grandmother and Aunt Fern were still alive.

Luckily about 5 months before Aunt Fern died I interviewed her for a English 102 project about Oral History. I focused on ghost stories and folklore of the area. I have her on tape doing the interview. It is one of my treasured items.

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#9 Jevne

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 02:53 PM

That's really interesting. I have never really heard anyone else know what I am talking about in reference to doll babies. But it makes sense with her being from Kentucky, and using that term. My family is from the southwest corner of Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains. My hometown borders Kentucky. Part of my grandfather's family is from Kentucky, and North Carolina. I wish my grandmother and Aunt Fern were still alive.

Luckily about 5 months before Aunt Fern died I interviewed her for a English 102 project about Oral History. I focused on ghost stories and folklore of the area. I have her on tape doing the interview. It is one of my treasured items.


The term doll babies may be a separate reference, but I'll ask anyway, cause now I'm curious. Grandma is at her winter house and not answering the phone at the moment.

What a wonderful blessing, having your Aunt Fern on tape. Not many people have or take the time to capture those moments.

Jevne

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#10 Jevne

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 02:56 PM

BTW: Not sure if there is anything to it, but I call my Grandmother . . . . Mamaw, too. In all of my family's shared "recipe" books she is referred to as Mamaw Mae. Just thought it was a tidbit worth noting.

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#11 RavenFlyer

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 02:28 AM

I would love to have a recipe book from my family. The only one that I have ever heard of was my great great grandmother, Margaret Nash Collins, who was a midwife amongst other things. People would come to her for healing, and obviously birth, but they came to her for other more muindane problems. She also did a bit of divination for them apparently as the stories goes.
She had a great big leather journal that she kept all her recipes and formulas in. Someone in the family has it but won't let anyone else see it. Now the person who has it is dying from cancer, and I doubt he even remembers where he put it. :( but she was always referred to as Ma Collins

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 02:55 AM

I vaguely remember my Great Grandmother talking about making doll babies for someone. I know that that she was originally from Kentucky or thereabouts, but I was only about 10 years old when she passed on, so I'll have to ask my Grandma about it. I wasn't let in on some of the family knowledge until I was older.

Normally, dolls do not bother me. As a child, I collected china dolls. I still have many of them packed away in the basement. This thread made me think of a life-size doll that is for sale at the local flea market. It is the creepiest thing I have ever seen. It's been there for like 5 years, and I know that no one wants to buy it. It has glassy eyes and this half-ass grin. Ewwwwww!

Jevne



LOL!! See Jevne...."creepy"!!!! But Ravenflyer is right on about puppets...I watched a movie called The Puppet Master years ago....that's was not one of my smarter decisions....

Alayna

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#13 Jevne

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 02:58 AM

I would love to have a recipe book from my family. The only one that I have ever heard of was my great great grandmother, Margaret Nash Collins, who was a midwife amongst other things. People would come to her for healing, and obviously birth, but they came to her for other more muindane problems. She also did a bit of divination for them apparently as the stories goes.
She had a great big leather journal that she kept all her recipes and formulas in. Someone in the family has it but won't let anyone else see it. Now the person who has it is dying from cancer, and I doubt he even remembers where he put it. :( but she was always referred to as Ma Collins


My 3rd Great Grandfather was called Doc for having similar inclinations as your 2nd Great Grandmother. Folks always came to him for a bit of this or that. I copied most of my family's recipes to my Grimoire as a child; though, it took years for me to master some. Others, I'm still working on. Some things will forever require the special touch of a Mamaw or Papaw.

Jevne

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#14 o_O

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 04:24 AM

I would love to have a recipe book from my family. The only one that I have ever heard of was my great great grandmother, Margaret Nash Collins, who was a midwife amongst other things. People would come to her for healing, and obviously birth, but they came to her for other more muindane problems. She also did a bit of divination for them apparently as the stories goes.
She had a great big leather journal that she kept all her recipes and formulas in. Someone in the family has it but won't let anyone else see it. Now the person who has it is dying from cancer, and I doubt he even remembers where he put it. :( but she was always referred to as Ma Collins


My great grandmother had something like this that was written all in Cherokee. I remember her trying to teach me how to read it when I was little. When she died, it disappeared even though it was to be mine and I wish I could find it:(

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#15 CelticGypsy

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 12:05 AM

Wow this is an incredible post, with facinating threads too boot! I've made poppets for reasons I'm not ready to share, but they were for others. I'm a bit creeped out by dolls, never really played with them as a young child either. I do have a doll, my Grandma made, which I love. But, I share that hesitant feeling like Oceana, and Jevne's flea market doll. Creeepy. But how enlightening to see that if one made one in their likeness to be for the greater good. That's amazing. What a shame that those precious family documents have been mislaid, the journals, the recipe books, etc. A facinating subject for sure.
Regards,
Gypsy

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#16 RavenFlyer

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 05:59 PM

Jevne-- did you ever get a hold of your mamaw? I am interested to know if her doll babies were the same idea as the ones my mamaw and aunt made.

I have also been thinking about this topic recently again because growing up my sister and I were called doll boy and doll girl by my mamaw. I know my mom had a really hard time carrying full term and had a few miscarriages before my sister was born. I wonder if my mamaw may have done something witchy (though she would never call it that lol) in order to help my mom conceive and carry full term. And that is why she called us doll boy and girl and occasionally boy doll and girl doll.
Perhaps I am reading more into it than there is and it was just a term of endearment lol.
Sadly, she died in 1994 so I can't ask her.

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 06:11 PM

Jevne-- did you ever get a hold of your mamaw? I am interested to know if her doll babies were the same idea as the ones my mamaw and aunt made.

I have also been thinking about this topic recently again because growing up my sister and I were called doll boy and doll girl by my mamaw. I know my mom had a really hard time carrying full term and had a few miscarriages before my sister was born. I wonder if my mamaw may have done something witchy (though she would never call it that lol) in order to help my mom conceive and carry full term. And that is why she called us doll boy and girl and occasionally boy doll and girl doll.
Perhaps I am reading more into it than there is and it was just a term of endearment lol.
Sadly, she died in 1994 so I can't ask her.



ok how fucked up is this thread? no shit the last week ive been looking on ebay at all these "possessed dolls" and thinking how good it would be to have something like that which would just look out for you... then i found this thread!! ohh why do people insist on giving loki brain waves lol

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#18 Oceana

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 06:16 PM

ok how fucked up is this thread? no shit the last week ive been looking on ebay at all these "possessed dolls" and thinking how good it would be to have something like that which would just look out for you... then i found this thread!! ohh why do people insist on giving loki brain waves lol


You're not the only one—there's a funny kind of synchronicity with this forum and people's thoughts/actions outside it, unaware of what's taking place on the forum. It's not just once or twice something's been catching my attention for a while and lo and behold, that very thing is a brand new topic added on the forum the next time I log in!

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 06:20 PM

You're not the only one—there's a funny kind of synchronicity with this forum and people's thoughts/actions outside it, unaware of what's taking place on the forum. It's not just once or twice something's been catching my attention for a while and lo and behold, that very thing is a brand new topic added on the forum the next time I log in!



lol freaks me out, only thing now is a post on my current problem and ill be laughing :)

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 07:43 PM

It's seems a lot of responsibility is needed in having a "Doll baby/Soul doll", to care for oneself can be stressful, to care for oneself twice over is too much, dangerous ground Imo, something I would never mess with, it could backfire bigtime The memory is not always reliable.

Anita.

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