There is no doubting that dolls are creepy. Those big bug-like eyes are enough to turn the stomach. But what about a doll possessed by a girl’s ghost? Introducing the Okiku doll, named after the doll’s first owner. The doll is quite big—40 centimeters (1’3″) in height—wears a kimono, and has hair that grows. Yes. Hair that grows.The Okiku doll can be found at the Mannenji temple in Iwamizawa, in Hokkaido prefecture. When the doll first appeared in the temple it had cropped hair, but over the years the hair has grown like a hippie’s—to a whopping 25 centimeters (10 in). According to some, the hair is annually trimmed.The legend goes that a teenage boy bought the doll for his two-year-old sister, Okiku. Okiku loved the doll; she played with it every day, dressed it up, spoke to it. Tragically, their friendship was short-lived: The girl died. Her family refused to get rid of the doll. After some time, they noticed its hair was growing, so they concluded that the spirit of their daughter resided within the doll. In 1938, they made the executive decision to hand the doll over to the temple, where it remains to this very day.
Photograph of serial killer Nannie Doss. Doss admitted to the murders of five of her husbands, having poisoned them by using arsenic. She also is thought to have murdered a number of her other relatives - two of her children, two of her sisters, two of her nephews and her mother had all been found to have died from arsenic poisoning after their bodies were exhumed. As a result she may have murdered between 8 and 11 people, she pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life imprisonment, although she only served a year as she succumbed to leukaemia.
Sarah and John Makin – Baby Killers
- Serial Killers
- Notorious baby farmers John Makin and Sarah Jane were among the worst baby killers of all time. John Makin was born in Dapto, New South Wales, Australia on 14th February 1845. Sarah Jane, daughter of convict Emanuel Sutcliffe, was born in Sydney, Australia, on 20th December 1845. Before Sarah and John married on the 27th August 1871, Sarah was married to mariner Charles Edwards and they had one daughter.
In his duties as a drayman at a local brewery, John suffered an injury preventing him from performing his normal work. This left the Makin’s without any income and in an impoverished state. This was when John responded to newspaper advertisements for carers, and would negotiate with unwed parents and single mothers for a meagre payment of 3-5 pounds to take the babies in.
A Mr J Hill (John Makin’s alias) responded to Miss Amber Murray’s advert for someone to kindly take charge of her (illegitimate) three month old son. Amber was told that her son, Horace, would aid Mrs Hill greatly, as she had recently lost her own son and was in a melancholy state. Amber paid Mr Hill 3pounds believing that she would be able to see her son at pre-arranged times, and he was being left with a caring, loving family. Amber Murray, in fear of shame but also good faith, left her son at Mr and Mrs Hills’ George St Sydney address. She never saw her beloved Horace again.
The only way to make it in the baby farming industry was to be as conniving as possible. The Makin’s had this down pat. To prospective mothers about to give up their babies they made promises that they could even visit their babies once they were placed in loving homes. To wealthy childless couples the Makin’s presented as doing the community a much needed service, and covering their costs along the way.
Inside the Makin household it was a whole different story, that of prospering on the misfortune of others. It was not unusual for there to be up to 6 babies in the house at any given time. Collecting around 10shillings per week for each baby would make a fair income for the Makin’s. Not to mention they continued to collect the weekly payments for the dead and buried. Sarah was found to have pawned the clothing of the deceased to add to their blood money income.
The Makin’s moved over 15 times in 20 years. This made it hard for the mothers to track them down. However, John would make the effort to keep his schedule and turn up like clock work to collect money from the mothers. When they enquired about arranging a visit with their babies, John would often make varied excuses. John told Amber Murray that he and Sarah were moving out west, and he would arrange a visit when they settled in six weeks. He still went to Amber’s house weekly to collect the money, but his story meant that she wouldn’t bug him to see her baby. The Makin’s did a midnight run from their Redfern address to Burren St, Macdonaldtown where their baby farming operations continued.
The Makin’s often did not pay their rent, so another midnight run saw them move to Chippendale. The owners took over the Macdonaldtown address, cut their rental losses and began renovations. On the 11th October 1892, James Hanoney was assisting the owners with drainwork, as there was a blockage. It wasn’t long until the cause was discovered. Wedged in tight were two separate bundles of clothing - babies clothing. The stench was wretched as James pulled the material out.
The smell was that of two decomposing babies.
He immediately called the police and the yard was thoroughly searched. They uncovered a further five babies in various states of decomposition. Tenancy records traced the Makin’s back to their Redfern address, and the investigation continued with the discovery of the remains of three more babies. The George St address was also excavated, and a further three tiny corpses were removed. A total of twelve bodies were recovered, although some have the count at thirteen.
The sensational trial gained many spectators. The newspapers covered the unfolding case closely, and had runners set outside the court to get the updates quickly to print. Sydney’s Supreme Court was packed to overflowing, with crowds spilling into the streets.
The Makin’s two daughters Daisy (11) and Clarise (16) both testified against their parents. Daisy recalled that when the family moved to Macdonaldtown, they had with them two baby girls, but no Horace Murray. Clarise testified that she recognised clothing belonging to one of the deceased infants as she had seen it in her mothers possession whilst that child was in her mothers care.
Another couple stated that they left their illegitimate child with the Makins’ handing over a considerable up-front payment, then agreeing to pay them 10 shillings a week. Within days the baby had died of supposed natural causes. The grieving parents gave the Makin’s two pounds towards the cost of the funeral.
Justice Stephen looked at the pair in the dock and in reference to baby Horace Murray, said –
"You took money from the mother of this child. You beguiled her with promises which you never meant to perform and which you never did perform having determined on the death of the child. You deceived her as to your address and you endeavoured to make it utterly fruitless that any search should be made and finally, in order to make detection impossible, as you thought, having bereft it of life, you buried this child in your yard as you would the carcase of a dog… No one who has heard the case but must believe that you were engaged in baby farming in its worst aspect. Three yards of houses in which you lived testify, with that ghastly evidence of these bodies, that you were carrying on this nefarious, this hellish business, of destroying the lives of these infants for the sake of gain."
Last letter written by John Makin, 14th August 1893. Published in The Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday 16th August 1893
"I, John Makin, sincerely and solemnly declare that the body of the infant found in the yard of the house at Redfern, for the murder of which I was tried and am being executed, is not the body of Horace Amber Murray, nor the child of Amber Murray. Nor was the clothing found on the body, the property of Amber Murray, and which Mrs. Patrick swore they themselves had prepared and put on, ever worn by Horace Amber Murray. The clothing was never in their possession, nor did they see it until it was produced in the Coroner’s Court for their identification. My wife, Sarah Makin, did not murder the child supposed to be Amber Murray’s , the body was buried in the yard four or five weeks before we got her child, and I also solemnly declare that the child that I and my daughter Blanche took to the door of the residence of Mrs. Patrick, with whom Amber Murray resided in the month of July, 1892, was the child of Amber Murray and no other, although Mrs. Patrick said it was not."
John and Sarah Makin were sentenced to the death penalty for the murder of Horace Murray. After two appeals and a plea for clemency were denied, John was hanged on the 15th August 1893 at Darlinghurst Gaol. Sarah had her death sentence commuted to life imprisonment at Long Bay gaol State Reformatory for Women. After a hard campaign by her daughters, Sarah was released in 1911, having served 19 years. She faded into obscurity and died on the 13th September 1918. She was buried at Rookwood Cemetery.
By Nic Hume from APPI - Australian Paranormal Phenomenon Investigators
Picpost by Ashley Hall 2013
Photo: Sarah Makin
Inset Upper: John Makin
Inset Lower: Newspaper headline
Dead Children’s Playground
- Ghosts and Hauntings
- In 2007 the city of Huntsville, Alabama, attempted to remove a playground in order to enlarge the neighbouring Maple Hill Cemetery. A public outcry at the removal of the park was heard and soon new play equipment was installed. Local children could continue to use the parks facilities… but many who know of the legends of the area will tell you that not all of those children are living.
Many locals know the playground, located in Maple Hill Park, as the ‘Dead Children’s Playground’ due to the reportedly high level of ghostly activity that has been experienced there. Children playing, children calling out to each other, mothers calling their children’s names, the playful footfalls of running children… all of these events have been experienced by many people who enter the playground after dark. It is believed that the most active time is between the hours of 10pm and 3am, as the children reclaim the park from the living, so they too can enjoy their play.
It is believed that the vast majority of these children come from the adjacent Maple Hill Cemetery – the largest and oldest in Huntsville, with well over 80,000 burials. The original land (much smaller than the size of the cemetery today) was sold to the city in 1822 by planter LeRoy Pope. Although this is the official date, it is known that the land was used for burials prior to this time, with the oldest intact grave marker being that of infant Mary Frances Atwood, who was buried there in 1820.
Later the cemetery was expanded to encompass the nearby private cemetery of the Pope family. Many of the new burials at this time were of Confederate and Union Soldiers who died during the Civil War. Over the years the cemetery grew and grew with new land purchases in order to keep up with the growing city.
It was not until 1901 that the cemetery was given its official name. Up until that time it was simply referred to as ‘the burying ground’.
The cemetery still needs new land and in 2007 it made the attempt at taking over the local park resulting in the public outcry.
The Dead Children’s Playground, aside from its reputation of a haunting ground for deceased children, also has another macabre tale attached to it, though this one probably falls more into the realm of urban legend.
Between 1945 and 1955 the area the playground now sits was the site of a limestone quarry. The high cliffs that surround the playground are not natural and were all formed as part of the quarrying process. When the quarry was closed and abandoned, plant life began to reclaim the land and wildlife along with it. Soon, within a matter of years, the area will have been a natural bushland, filled with weeds and trees of a more opportunistic nature.
Come the 1960’s a unknown person made use of the old quarries and the thick plant growth for their own dark opportunities.
A series of child disappearances began to be reported in Huntsville, and, with none of the children turning up, it was soon feared a child murderer was prowling the neighbourhoods. These fears were soon given substance when a small skull was found by someone walking through the abandoned quarries. On investigation several skeletons were recovered, along with the small corpses from fresher murders.
It was never determined who the murderer was but it was discovered that the children were not simply taken and killed, they rather they showed signs of a long detainment, with malnourishment and partly healed wounds found on the bodies of the more recent victims.
With the discovery of the bodies the disappearances stopped and the tragedies all but removed from the memories of those who lived in fear for their own children.
Many of the childrens remains, being local, were buried in the adjoining Maple Hills Cemetery. In 1985, twenty years after those terrible events, the quarries and surrounding land were turned into Maple Hill Park and the original play equipment was erected.
Today the equipment is quite modern and the park is well looked after. Even if you did not know of the stories and legends, visiting the park is said to be quite eerie. Although you are not too far removed from the suburbs, the natural rocky bowls, the well grown trees and other natural features leave you feeling like you are in the deep wilderness. It is eerily quiet and once night falls the area takes on a different feel.
Come 10pm you might be lucky enough to witness the vestiges of play, the swings move as if occupied and mothers calling out the names of their lost children.
Ashley Hall 2013
Main Picture: Dead Children’s Playground by Kyle Crider
Inset Left: The swings are said to move of their own accord.
Inset Right: Quarry walls surround the playground. By Kyle Crider.
Pamela Bass was Jeffrey Dahmer’s neighbor at the Oxford apartments in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Bass described Jeffrey as a very nice neighbor, always sharing things with others and overall friendly. He once gave Bass his old red couch. After Dahmer’s arrest, people went to Bass’s house and offered to pay her $50 to sit on the couch once owned by Dahmer.