Kevin Cain collects dolls. But not just ordinary dolls — haunted dolls.
Cain will be appearing, along with some of his dolls, at this weekend's Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention as the guest of Historical Haunts Memphis.
Before Cain was into dolls, he was into the paranormal. He came by it naturally. The house he grew up in in Alabama was built on an Indian burial ground, and his childhood was punctuated by otherworldly footsteps and voices. He later joined SCARe (Spirit Communications and Research) of Alabama, and then, a few years ago, a friend told him about a doll she had recently bought that was creeping her out.
The doll, circa-1980s, posed in a crawling position and wearing a bonnet, was onced owned by a little girl named Patty, whose mother was a prostitute. The story goes that Patty died after mistaking a bag of drugs for candy. Patty's doll was now singing and talking to the woman's granddaughter. Cain took the doll and conducted an ESP session. Listening to a recording of the session later, Cain heard the doll say, in totally '80s style, "Righteous."
So Cain collects dolls, as well as other haunted items — paintings, toys, tools, mirrors ... Some are good spirits, some negative, he says. He has now about 170 dolls, some newer, some antique, mostly larger, like Raggedy Ann, but not one Barbie.
Cain says he does have favorite dolls, Patty among them. But he makes sure to bring different dolls to different events. Otherwise, he says, "It might tick them off."