The Quick Seven: Seven Haunted Objects

As promised, we're back to our Halloween-related posts here on the Q10. Haunted objects have long been the subject of many a horror tale "“ haunted vehicles (Christine, of course), haunted dolls (the dreaded Chucky, among others) and haunted clowns (that creepy toy in Poltergeist, ugh). But haunted objects exist in real life, too "“ at least, they do if you believe these seven stories. Here are a few inanimate objects that might just be a little more animated than we think.

robert1. Robert the Doll. I personally find all dolls to be more than a little bit creepy, but Robert is certainly spookier than most. Robert has been around since at least 1896 and belonged to a little boy (who grew up to be famous artist Robert Eugene Otto) in Key West. The two of them were as thick as thieves and the little boy often chatted with his doll "“ but, servants and family members said, Robert the Doll often talked back. Neighbors claimed they saw Robert move to different windows of the house when they knew no one was inside; entire rooms were trashed and the little boy, seemingly terrified, would claim that Robert had done it. The boy eventually inherited his parents' house, and in 1972, he died and another family bought it. The family had a little girl who discovered Robert in the attic and was terrified of it, claiming even 30 years later that the doll was alive and wanted to kill her. These days Robert resides at the Martello Gallery-Key West Art and Historical Museum. If you want a picture of him, you have to ask "“ a slight tilt of his head means yes. If you don't get the tilt and take a picture anyway, beware "“ Robert will curse you. I haven't been there to verify this, but supposedly there are letters in the Museum from people apologizing for taking pictures of Robert or for not believing in his powers. Has anyone seen Robert in person?

2. The Haunted Mirror at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

Even though Marilyn Monroe has been dead for nearly 50 years, you can still see her at the Hollywood Roosevelt"¦ at least, if you believe the stories. Marilyn lived at the Roosevelt a couple of different times during her life, and especially loved Suite 1200. At some point the mirror from Suite 1200 moved to the manager's office, and when a housekeeper was cleaning it one day, she got quite a fright "“ a beautiful blonde woman was staring right back at her. Not one to shy away from publicity, the Roosevelt moved the mirror to a public area so guests could experience Miss Monroe as well. And supposedly they have "“ lots of people have reported seeing her image. But that makes sense "“ the Roosevelt has cleverly decided to hang a portrait right next to it.

3. The Haunted Mirror at the Myrtles Plantation. Our own Miss Cellania wrote about the Myrtles earlier this week. If you're looking for a spooky read, you should definitely click on over.

anna4. Annabelle the Haunted Doll. I've always thought Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls looked particularly evil, and here's my proof. Raggedy Ann was given to a little girl named Donna in the "˜70s, and she and her family immediately began to notice strange things. The doll would seemingly repose itself when no one was looking, and once it was even found in a kneeling position. When Donna tried to replicate the pose with the doll, she couldn't "“ it was too soft to stay in that position and would just fall over. Childish writing began to appear on the walls and the family got scared. They found a medium and held a séance, where they found out that a little girl named Annabelle had once lived there, long before the apartment building was there, and wanted to play with them. Even worse things began to happen afterward "“ Donna's father received inexplicable burn marks on his chest and everyone in the house began having nightmares. You can read a really detailed account of the whole thing here, but suffice it to say, Donna and her family got rid of Annabelle the Doll. It's now in an occult museum; she apparently makes new "friends" every day.

5. Haunted Wedding Dress. At the historic Baker Mansion in Altoona, Pa., there lives a wedding dress that sits in a display case and moves all by itself. The story goes something like this: In the mid-1800s, Anna Baker got engaged to one of her father's employees. She bought her wedding dress and was secretly making preparations when her father caught on, fired the man and had him sent away. She never married and the dress went unused. When the Blair County Historical Society bought the mansion, they found the dress displayed it under glass. Apparently Anna thought she would finally get some use out of the dress, because ever since then, it's been moving and swaying of its own accord from behind the glass. The Historical Society pooh-poohed it, saying that some of the floorboards under the display case were loose, so when people came near the case would be slightly disturbed, making the gown appear to move. But at least one story says that the Society caught it moving on its security cameras when no one else was in the room, and that's why it's no longer on display at the Baker Mansion.

belcourt6. Haunted Chairs. Not just one, but two haunted chairs furnish the Gothic Ballroom of Belcourt Castle in Newport, R.I. The Castle is open to tours, and people who have come to view this gorgeous mansion have reported feeling chills and a strange energy when they get near two chairs in particular. The word is that if you're daring enough to actually try sitting in one of the chairs, you'll get a definite feeling of resistance and may even end up on your butt on the floor. There's supposedly a documented case of just that happening, but I sure can't find it. If you live nearby, you should check out the current ghost tour at Belcourt and let us know if the hype is true. (That's the Ballroom in the picture.)

hands7. Haunted Painting. I've purposely avoided mentioning "haunted" items on eBay, because anyone can throw something out there and claim it's haunted. But this one seems to have garnered a lot of press, so I'm going to include it. Artist Bill Stoneham painted "Hands Resist Him" in 1972 and then lost track of it after a gallery show (it had been purchased by actor John Marley, who played the dude that found the horse's head in his bed in The Godfather). Fast forward many years, where a family found the painting abandoned at a dumpster behind a brewery and wondered why anyone would throw out such cool art. They took it home, and shortly thereafter, the four-year-old daughter of the family announced to her mom and dad that the children in the painting were fighting. They then recorded the painting over a period of several nights and thought the figures were, in fact, moving, and decided that they didn't really need the painting in their house anymore. They sold it on eBay, accompanied by their story, for $1025.00. Bill Stoneham later surfaced and said that he remembered that the owner of the gallery that originally showed the painting died shortly after the show, as did a Los Angeles Times critic who reviewed it.

There are plenty of other "haunted" items out there, but when it comes to things like, "Haunted Barney Doll" or "Haunted Grilled Cheese" I have to draw the line. But do you know of any other famously haunted objects that I missed?

10 Sweet Facts About Candy Canes

The sweet and striped shepherd’s hooks can be found just about everywhere during the holiday season. It's time you learned a thing or two (or 10) about them.


While the origins of the candy cane are a bit murky, legend has it that they first appeared in hooked form around 1670. Candy sticks themselves were pretty common, but they really took shape when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany got the bright idea of twisting them to look like shepherd’s hooks. He then handed them out to kids during church services to keep them quiet.


It’s no surprise, then, that it was a German immigrant who introduced the custom to America. The first reference we can find to the tradition stateside is 1847, when August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decked his home out with the sugary fare.


Candy canes without the red don’t seem nearly as cheery, do they? But that’s how they were once made: all white. We’re not really sure who or exactly when the scarlet stripe was added, but we do know that images on cards before the 1900s show snow white canes.


Most candy canes are around five inches long, containing only about 50 calories and no fat or cholesterol.


The world’s largest candy cane was built by Geneva, Illinois chef Alain Roby in 2012.  It was 51 feet long, required about 900 pounds of sugar, and was eventually smashed up with a hammer so people could take home a piece.


Fifty-four percent of kids suck on candy canes, compared to the 24 percent who just go right for the big crunch. As you may have been able to guess, of those surveyed, boys were nearly twice as likely to be crunchers.


According to the National Confectioners Association, about 1.2 billion candy canes are made annually, and 90 percent of those are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Which honestly begs the question: Who’s buying the 10 percent in the off season?


Bobs (that’s right; no apostrophe) Candies was the first company to really hang its hat on the sweet, striped hook. Lt. Bob McCormack began making candy canes for his kids in the 1920s, and they were such a hit he decided to start mass-producing them. With the help of his brother-in-law, a Catholic priest named Gregory Harding Keller (and his invention, the Keller Machine), McCormack was eventually able to churn out millions of candy canes a day.


December 26 is National Candy Cane Day. Go figure.


Here’s how they make candy canes at Disneyland—it’s a painstaking (and beautiful) technique.

10 Actors Who Hated Their Own Films

1. Sylvester Stallone, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Sly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his film career. Despite co-starring with the delightful Estelle Getty as the titular violence-prone mother, Stallone knows just how bad the film was:

"I made some truly awful movies. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was the worst. If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after 15 minutes."

2. Alec Guinness, Star Wars.

By the time he played Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, Guinness had already appeared in cinematic classics like The Bridge on the River Kwai, Great Expectations and Lawrence of Arabia. During production, Guinness is reported to have said the following:

"Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film. I like them well enough, but it's not an acting job, the dialogue - which is lamentable - keeps being changed and only slightly improved, and I find myself old and out of touch with the young."

The insane amount of fame he won for the role as the wise old Jedi master took him somewhat by surprise and, ultimately, annoyed him. In his autobiography A Positively Final Appearance: A Journal, Guinness recalls a time he encountered an autograph-seeking fan who boasted to him about having watched Star Wars more than 100 times. In response, Guinness agreed to provide the boy an autograph under the condition that he promise never to watch the film again.

3. Bob Hoskins, Super Mario Brothers. He was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. As far as I’m concerned, Bob Hoskins is forgiven for Super Mario Bros. Hoskins, though, doesn’t seem to be able to forgive himself. Last year the Guardian spoke with the veteran actor about his career and he summed up his feelings rather succinctly:

What is the worst job you've done?
Super Mario Brothers.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Super Mario Brothers.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I wouldn't do Super Mario Brothers.

4. George Clooney, Batman & Robin. Sure, Batman & Robin made money. But by every other imaginable measure, the film was a complete failure, and a nightmare to the vast majority of the Caped Crusader’s most fervent fanatics. Star George Clooney recognized what a stinker he helped create and once plainly stated, “I think we might have killed the franchise.”

5. David Cross, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. When actors have a movie out, it's customary that they publicize the film by saying nice things about it. Earlier this year David Cross took a different approach. When it came to describing his new film Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the veteran comedian — better known for Mr. Show and Arrested Development — went on Conan and called the film a “big commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines” and told people not to go see it.

6. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up. Judd Apatow’s unplanned pregnancy comedy was a huge hit and helped cement her status as a bankable film actress. After the film’s release, however, Heigl didn’t have all good things to say. In fact, what she specifically said about it was that the film was:

"…A little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.”

7. Charlize Theron, Reindeer Games. The 2000 action film Reindeer Games starred Ben Affleck, Gary Sinese and Charlize Theron and was directed by John Frankenheimer. But it all somehow failed to come together. In the end the film lost a lot of money and compiled a wealth of negative reviews – including one from its star actress who simply said, “Reindeer Games was not a good movie.”

8. Mark Wahlberg, The Happening. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t exactly seem like a guy who lives his life afraid of trees. But that is the odd position M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening put him in. Wahlberg, as it turns out, doesn’t look back too fondly on the film. He went on record during a press conference for The Fighter when he described a conversation with a fellow actor:

"We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie and it was a bad movie that I did. She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to … I don’t want to tell you what movie … alright “The Happening.” F*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook."

9. John Cusack, Better Off Dead. John Cusack reportedly hated his cult 80s comedy so much that he walked out of the screening and later told the film’s director Steve Holland that Better Off Dead was "the worst thing I have ever seen" and he would "never trust you as a director again."

10 Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music. The Sound of Music is considered a classic and has delighted many generations of fans. But the film's own lead actor, Christopher Plummer, didn't always sing its praises. Mr. Von Trapp himself declined to participate in a 2005 film reunion and, according to one acquaintance, has referred to the film as The Sound of Mucus.


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