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Posessed dolls are a common horror trope, they also make zero sense. Even if you say they have the strength of an average Joe, concentrated in a tiny body, it still leaves them with little to no mass to put the force into.

It's no wonder that haunted dolls in non-horror are always the butt of the joke, just watch Polnareff beat up Ebony Devil.

For this test we're gonna assume the following family:

  • Dad: Veteran, gun crazy, doesn't like his kids playing with creepy dolls
  • Mom: Paranoid, has set up a CCTV system in the house
  • Boi: Hyperviolent, Fortnite junkie, tears ugly dolls apart with utter viciousness
  • Girl: Paranoid, likes to play with dolls, sleeps with the night lights on, has a panic room and motion detectors around her bed

Immediate obstacles are bold

The doll starts out in the girl's room and has to kill at least one of the children and get away with it. The family is weirded out by the doll, but won't destroy it (yet).

The doll is humanoid, 60 centimeters tall, and has the same strength as an adult. Its body has the same tensile strength and characteristics as the original doll. It has an "ethereal skeleton" that corresponds to that of a human. The doll's parts are attached to the skeleton. Severing a limb also severs the skeleton. The limb can move around as long as it can perform lever action.

I don't want this to be too story based, so the doll is going in blind and needs strategies that can be adapted to a threat, regardless the environmental factors.

This test's purpose is to find a way for your typical haunted toy to be able to effectively dodge most modern security and asssasinate a kid.

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    $\begingroup$ Is this doll anthropomorphic? If it doesn't need oxygen then a carbon-monoxide attack is possible. If it's immune to poison, then it might harbour scorpions or nasty spiders or pathogens. Plastic rules. $\endgroup$ – glen_geek Nov 9 at 20:51
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    $\begingroup$ Are the CCTV cameras in every room of the house? Bedrooms included? $\endgroup$ – Schrodinger'sStat Nov 10 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean by "Even if you say they have the strength of an average Joe, concentrated in a tiny body, it still leaves them with little to no mass to put the force into."? $\endgroup$ – Richard Smith Nov 12 at 4:45

11 Answers 11

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Psychologically mess with them until they kill each other

As long as this family remains armed and paranoid, a doll is going to have a lot of problems killing anyone directly. Fortunately, the very qualities that make this family hard to kill makes them easy to mess with. We've got a lot of psychological problems to work with here - problems that a clever doll could exploit. In order to win, you're going to want to hit them where they are weakest - their minds.

Some ideas:

  1. Move objects around and make noise at night. Make it seem like a burglar is sneaking in while the family is asleep. Anything that makes the father more likely to shoot things in the dark is a plus.
  2. Hide under the boy's bed and whisper to him at night. Try to get him to kill someone or at least wander around at night in secret, creating more tension. You can also break his computer so he doesn't have an outlet for his violent urges. Maybe steal some of the father's guns and leave them around his room. If the son and the father are both sneaking around in the dark trying to shoot the "burglar" at the same time...
  3. Disrupt the cameras. Cameras are generally set up to catch human-sized invaders, not doll-sized ones. You can probably find a way to cut the power without being found out.
  4. Plant evidence that gets them to blame each other for the weird things going on. The more they suspect each other, the easier it is to kill someone and have them blame another family member instead of suspecting the doll.

As tension rises, the chance of accidents (or "accidents") will become more likely. If horror-movie serendipity is on your side, sooner or later someone is going to get killed or leave themselves open to doll-murder. If you're really lucky you might be able to pick off the whole family one at a time. Save the little girl for last, of course...

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Use the obstacles to your advantage.

Dealing with calm, level headed humans is an issue - they'll be more sure of themselves and less likely to make mistakes. That's why we begin with....

Step 1: I'm so tired!

The CCTV and motion sensor combo means anything larger than a small dog will likely trigger the alarm and then be found. The cctv will likely be pointed into the room meaning blind spots directly below the cameras and behind/under furniture. So position yourself behind some furniture, away from the direct line of sight of the cctv and set off the motion detectors. Alarm goes off, everyone wakes up. There's no intruder to be seen, so they check the cctv. Nothing. Dad says maybe it was a mouse, he'll put down some traps tomorrow, everyone goes back to bed. A few hours later and the alarm is going off again. Doing it too frequently to begin with isn't that helpful, starting with once or twice a night is ideal to disrupt the sleep without making so much of a problem that they dig for the cause. Do this over a week or more, slowly increasing the number of 'false alarms'. Eventually one of 2 things will happen. The family will die of sleep deprivation (unlikely) or, they will disconnect the faulty motion sensor system (likely). Assumming the latter, that makes the next step possible.

Step 2: Mummy, mummy, I'm scared.

Everyone is tired, and on edge but the motion sensor system is off so tonight they'll finally get some sleep. As soon as the girl is asleep you can get to work, take another toy, ideally a doll and tear it a apart. Put all but one of the pieces on the floor out of vision of the CCTV. Take the final piece and get it some degree out of the girls room, towards the boys room. If there's no CCTV in the hallway between the rooms, then place it in his room, if there is, slide it along the floor towards his door. Then back to the girls bedroom. Time to wake her up, any way will do, so long as it draws her attention to the destroyed doll (make a scratching noise over near it until she wakes, pick up and throw a piece into the pile from cover, whatever works). The girl wakes up to the destroyed roll, screams her head off and wakes the extremely tired family. It doesn't take long for mum and dad to point the finger to the boy who loves to kill dolls. One of two things happens depending on the temperament of the girl: she's either convinced to go back to sleep, in which case we repeat the process tomorrow night with another doll or, she refuses to sleep so someone (mum/dad/girl) suggests she spends the night in the panic room. If its the former, we continue destroying toys and waking the girl in the middle of the night until she makes the move to the panic room. Now it's as simple as....

Step 3: I think we're alone now

Assuming the girl likes us (the murder doll) she will presumably want to keep us safe from her brother and take us with her into the panic room. Now we have ~6 hours to kill a single young girl that's locked in a cage with us. I'm assumming no cctv inside the panic room (it's usually the other way around), so we can be as brazen as we like. Choking is the obvious get out of jail free card. Wait until she's asleep, tie her hands to the bed and shove another toy down her throat. Don't worry about the fact she's tied up, you can untie her before the morning once she's dead. This takes us to....

Step 4: the family is ruined

The death of a child is horrible, but it's worse than that. When the autopsy is performed they see the rope burns on her wrists. The poor girl was clearly being kept tied up, probably in that 'panic room', more like a cage when you think of her being tied up. There's no way to know which parent was responsible, if not both, but they sure both knew it was happening. The boy isn't talking about any abuse, but he has violent tendencies that suggest an unhealthy environment. Social services take him away. It'll be a few years before he calms down and acts more rationally but eventually he becomes more within social norms. The parents get convicted of murder, the prosecution can't prove they choked the girl, but leaving her tired up unable to help herself was enough to get them thrown in a dark hole for the rest of their lives, what jury wouldn't convict. Cut to 2 years later, a package arrives at the boys adoptive parents house, a gift from his parents... they hesitate to let the boy have it, but on inspection it's just a toy doll, with a note that says it was his sister's favourite toy.... cut to black

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    $\begingroup$ Solid effort. In the words of Sam Fisher "Isolate, Simplify, Complete" $\endgroup$ – Ruadhan Nov 11 at 9:20
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    $\begingroup$ Oooo I'd read/watch this $\endgroup$ – Bee Nov 11 at 16:41
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    $\begingroup$ @Bee I guess I should start working then :D $\endgroup$ – user6916458 Nov 12 at 2:52
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Little by little.

vampire bat

https://www.nationalgeographic.org/photo/vampirebat/ In Dracula, the vampire visits Lucy in her sleep, and slowly drains her. If there is a better description of a girl being slowly killed by a vampire I have not read it.

https://archive.org/stream/draculabr00stokuoft/draculabr00stokuoft_djvu.txt

17 August. No diary for two whole days. I have not had the heart to write. Some sort of shadowy pall seems to be coming over our happiness. No news from Jonathan, and Lucy seems to be growing weaker, whilst her mother's hours are numbering to a close. I do not understand Lucy's fading away as she is doing. She eats well and sleeps well, and enjoys the fresh air; but all the time the roses in her cheeks are fading, and she gets weaker and more languid day by day; at night I hear her gasping as if for air.

Your doll is no match for anything in a fair fight. Neither is a vampire bat. Any of its prey animals could easily smash it - if they detected it. The doll must be sly. No-one can know. When girl eventually goes to the hospital, the doll goes with her.

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    $\begingroup$ Whenever you can't win a fair fight, don't pick a fair fight. $\endgroup$ – Mast Nov 10 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ But the doll can't get to the girl in her sleep, unless she takes the doll to bed with her. Unless the method of feeding is not noticeable to the girl when she's conscious. $\endgroup$ – Schrodinger'sStat Nov 10 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ @schrodinger why would the little girl not take the doll to bed with her? $\endgroup$ – Bee Nov 11 at 16:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Bee She has other dolls? $\endgroup$ – Schrodinger'sStat Nov 11 at 16:52
  • $\begingroup$ I mean from the perspective of OP, it's their story so is there a reason (to you) why OP wouldn't make the doll the little girls favourite that she goes to bed with every night $\endgroup$ – Bee Nov 11 at 16:56
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The answer is of course staring at you in most children's toys.

Choking hazard warning

Kinda hard to actually inhale one of those small bits though, and they're often a poor shape for lodging in a trachea. When the toy is actively assisting the process though, and can time things right, then it becomes a serious threat. Can't call for help when you're choking, and faced with a surprise tiny animated monster you're unlikely to be able to put up a good enough fight in the short time before hypoxia renders you helpless.

Even in the aftermath it may not be obvious what happened, beyond the foolishness of play with hazardous old toys.

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Poison, a different take:

The doll has some slow acting but very deadly inhaled poison. It's stored somewhere on the doll where the doll can decide when to release it. It's a doll, it gets played with, at the right time (close to the nose as she's inhaling) it releases it's poison.

Since it's very deadly the quantity used can be small enough she doesn't notice it. Since it's slow acting there won't be a physical reaction to tip her off. This can be done in the direct view of CCTV and it won't spot anything.

Polonium-210 fits the bill (but will be hard to get), I'm sure there are others.

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Possible scenarios 1. If the doll is capable of mind control - getting the child to kill herself is just too obvious. Use girl to play on mom's paranoia, whilst playing on girl's. Mommy begins to complain to dad about girl's recent behaviour, girl does the same for mommy. Dad indifferent, plays off claims as usual paranoia. Then get mommy dearest to crush apple seeds and use resultant products to bake a confection (whatever you will, but most preferably muffins, only Girl's muffin with crushed apple seeds). Girl sees muffins, steals some for play Tea Party. Fortnite junkie brother refuses Tea Party invitation, but forced by mommy and daddy. Tea Party held in girl's room, doll of interest on shelf somewhere. Halfway into the Tea Party, girl starts to cough and gasp for air. Panicked family surround her, girl soon becomes unconscious. Panicked family race to the hospital, girl dies. Dad manipulated to view CCTV footage of the earlier events of the day. Sees mommy's poison preparation and violently confronts mommy. Gun goes off during scuffle, mommy killed. Police arrive and dad is arrested. Doll of interest still on shelf somewhere in girl's room.

  1. Fortnite junkie boy sees doll of interest and starts to rip it apart. Girl screams at him, mommy tired and tells everyone to quit making such a racket. Fibres of doll of interest lay embedded under fortnite junkie boy's fingernails. Turn into needles and begin to dig into flesh there. Boy awakens from sleep, screaming frantically. Panicked family rush to the scene and see nothing, but fortnite junkie boy insists he is in pain, and is bleeding. Panicked family think he is still reliving a nightmare, and tell him to calm down. This continues (even at school) until fortnite junkie boy is committed. One day, a new entree arrives with a doll that resembles doll of interest. Fortnite junkie boy freaks out and throws himself down the stairs and breaks his neck. Doll of interest remains atop a shelf, fixed, somewhere in girl's room.
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If the motion sensors are only around the girl's bed and the doll can get clear from them without triggering them (for example being "lost" the day before so it isn't taken to the girl's room at night), then it's in the clear so long as it can destroy the CCTV's recordings before the family wakes up, or kill the whole family (presuming they're the only ones who can access the recordings).

I'd go with multiple gas leaks. Turn on every stove, break a pipe or two if you can do it without waking everyone, and let it kill the family in their sleep. Then, maybe half an hour before they usually wake up, blow the house up just to be safe.

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The doll is made of asbestos. Whenever not in view of a family member or cameras, it vigorously rubs itself all over to produce as many tiny asbestos fibers as possible. The daughter inhales the fibers when she plays with the doll, contracts mesothelioma, and dies a few years later.

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  • $\begingroup$ Just rubbing won't flake asbestos. It used to always be the sawing that was dangerous. And even if it did, then the doll would be really lucky to induce cancer that fast. $\endgroup$ – Gloweye Nov 11 at 8:18
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Poison

A proper substance can be placed in a drink or food item when no one is looking. A powdered substance can be placed on the switch for the nightlight, a door handle, or anywhere which is frequently touched.

The best option, however, is probably a blow-dart full of poison. The possessed doll only needs a clear line of sight, while itself sitting outside the realm of the CCTV cameras. For example, ricin was used in the assassination of Georgi Markov. It took him hours after the exposure to go to the hospital and four days for him to die, but the end effect was achieved.

Such an event with a child could go unnoticed while sleeping, and even while awake could be mistaken as a bug bite. This would not be an immediate death. It would take hours to days to figure out what happened, and no one would know when exactly to look for the assassination attempt. Was it when she was outside on the way to school? While sleeping? Was her veteran father to blame? How about the hyperviolent brother?

Without clear evidence, no one would believe it's a possessed doll - not even the family themselves. This would lead to all the hidden fears of the mother coming out to question her husband and son. And the same for the son and husband question the mom and each other. Sure, they may look at the CCTV - but they'd be scanning through days of footage, not sure if the event was caught on camera at all.

Even if the family suspects the doll, the authorities would likely be involved as soon as the child was taken to the hospital. And, like you said, the idea of a doll committing an assassination sounds silly. The cops wouldn't buy it.

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    $\begingroup$ So, the doll is possessed by Walter White? $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Nov 9 at 22:16
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    $\begingroup$ Leaves the question how the doll gets a miniature gun complete with a small bullet containing the ricin and the body-dissolvable coating that keeps the ricin in until the bullet has reached its destination. $\endgroup$ – cmaster Nov 9 at 23:13
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    $\begingroup$ However, a needle + rat poison may be easy to get by for the doll... $\endgroup$ – cmaster Nov 9 at 23:13
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If the doll is able to get to a sleeping child and has something sharp, a slit in the carotid artery would require immediate attention to survive.

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Strength is not an issue. Traps take little strength to set up, and are quite effective. A wire snare trap around the neck, a tripwire in front of the stairs, an extension cord in a bathtub, a propane tank and a blowtorch, gunpowder from shotgun shells and a bunch of razor blades in a PVC pipe... the list goes on.

The motion detection isn't going to be much of a problem; as long as the doll stays out of sight from the cameras, it can move around the house unhindered, because it doesn't have heat (for PIR sensors), and it's not big enough to set off most sensors. And even if it is, the inhuman doll can just move very, very slowly. If the cameras can see it, no one will realize it until they review the tapes, and it will be too late long before then.

So, the doll creeps out the girl's door and out into the hall, then from there to the kitchen. It searches drawers until it finds a nice, sharp knife, then heads to Fortnite boi's room. He probably stays up late playing games, but once he's asleep, he's not going to wake up to anything. Ever again, in this case. An hour after he has fallen asleep, the doll unplugs his computer, cuts the cord to expose the wiring, tapes the neutral wire to the boy, then wraps the hot around the knife blade and stabs him in the temple, killing him instantly. ZOT.

Assuming the boy didn't make much noise, the doll can set up a few traps for the parents, then stab / strangle / shoot / blow up the girl. The parents, assuming they didn't die from the traps, will certainly die from the fire the doll sets, using gas from the family car.

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