For as long as I can remember, I’ve been drawn to stories about dolls that come to life, either on their own or because someone’s soul was trapped inside. I don’t know how it started. I don’t even understand why it started. I’m not one for spooky stories or anything, and I was never drawn to fairy tales about princes trapped in animal form.
Nevertheless, I am fascinated by the phenomenon.
In more recent years, I’ve discovered an aspect of doll lore that just seems to stand out- the lore of the golem.
I’m sure most people would look at the golem and not see it as a piece of doll lore, but after finishing out the current season of a favorite anime I’m really convinced that they are one and the same. The human-esque representation animated by the spirit of either the creator or a victim.
For those of you unfamiliar with golem lore, the golem figures strongly in Polish mythology. It is believed, and has often been depicted, that a golem is created from clay or dirt, and then the creator reads some ancient verse to transfer their own soul into the golem to give it life. The golem is never long-lived, but lives with a purpose (and a temper).
To me, this suggests a kinship with the idea of the possessed or animated doll. The golem is generally portrayed as a means of extending someone’s life. The doll is often a prison.
I think this bears some serious research, because it really does make for interesting writing material.