Moonbeam

My spouse and I, poor as church-mice, were walking in a Mall. It was Christmas, and the "malls were decked," so to speak. We saw a display with several angelic dolls, and one of them stole our hearts. Alas, $200. For it was too much, so we went on — but my spouse never forgets.

Later that week he was goofing about in the local Good-Will, looking for useful junk and furniture that might be turned at a profit. As he tells it then, the story goes like this:
In a corner with all the toys, there lay, amid the stuffed creatures and debris of Christmas's past, a dirty, naked, balding, 36" tall doll with one of those angelic faces. He took her surreptitiously into the Men's Room, (god knows what the clerks thought) and tested to see if the dirt would come off. It did. Satisfied, he came back out and carried it over to the children's clothing department, where he found her "real" shoes, and all sorts of clothing. He cleaned her, dressed her, and left her with the cashier to seek a few other items. When he got back, a classic scene was in progress. The cashier was crying and arguing as a large fat woman in a fur coat of uncertain description was pulling at the doll and crying "I must have it!" Steve got the doll and left quickly.

He went to a kid's toy store, where he found a wig that fit the little thing. He said he had a hard time deciding whether she should stay blond, or become a brunette. She stayed blond. All the while he walked with this doll, heads turned and women of my generation or earlier would mutter to themselves loudly enough for him to overhear — "I had one of those once —" and no less than five folks tried hard to buy it from him.

So, you see — this doll came to us with a "secret past" and a beguiling charm that was evident from the outset.

At home, we talked and teased each other — intentions to dress it like an angel never quite got off the ground — and some of our friends teased us good-naturedly about our intentions. I gave her a little locket, a ball that would fit in her hand, and I combed her hair and placed her wig, and braided it to commemorate the "flower children" of yesteryear. We placed her in the living room, and she fit there well enough, with all the other "interesting things" we keep about.

Then, one night — I noticed she was staring at me. I noticed there was "something there" that I hadn't seen before. I laughed and tried to ignore it. I told myself it was a cleverness of her creation, that like famous paintings, she seemed to "follow" me around the room. I sat watching TV, and she dropped the ball. I told myself it was a natural consequence of being compressed between her plastic fingers. I rationalized. I dismissed. The next day when I came into the room she was in a different position. Not much, but noticeable and her fingers were not only empty again, and seemingly arranged so that the ball would not fit. Her face had lost that sweetness, and her features had grown "indistinct" to me.

I asked Steve if he had moved her — he said not.

Well, as time went by, she moved more and more. That in itself isn't a big problem for me. I have a statue of a dragon that likes to 'rearrange' his coils from time to time, but he's always been a jolly fellow. I know I wasn't the "only" one to see it — now and then a couple we used to know used to drop over, and without prompting they would say "it moved!" but that never gave me the willies quite the same way this doll did. I finally had to speak to the house, and I bade everything to quit moving. Everybody except the doll complied. She retained a strange habit, of "being blurry" if you tried to look at her for long. It was as if her entire being was in constant minute vibration. The face took on a quality of "wistfulness" that replaced the "sweet" in an indefinable way, and I found I couldn't gaze at her without feeling very sorry for her.

Determined to start testing things, I gave her to a friend whom I knew to be sensitive. I told her only that Steve had found her in the Good-Will and that for the moment she needed to live elsewhere, since we were in the middle of a move.

Off she went to Texas. Gwen started calling me to tell me that the doll was in her dreams. Gwen had put her into the child-sized rocker that was her own as a kid. Then in the dreams, the doll was walking around the house, following Gwen or just coming into the room where Gwen was. She said I could have the doll back when ever I wanted, but interestingly, after a year Gwen was sorry to see her go.

Back at home, she started her old tricks.

Primarily, she "stayed blurry" and now and then she shifted what angle she "faced" or changed her hands so that they would or would not "hold" small items worked into them. By this time I had moved the doll into Steve's study; I didn't want to mess with it for a while. Finally I started talking about the doll to a pair of local witches. I was just beginning my explorations of Wicca, and I wondered what they might say. I told them it was an unusual doll. I can't remember whether I mentioned that it moved.

I pretty much wanted to hear whether or not I had created the phenomena, or whether they might be "implicit" in the doll, due to events/conditions that happened long before I had her.

One day I had the couple over for reasons entirely unrelated to the doll, and they "found" her in the study. Immediately, they both started talking about, And to the doll. I mentioned that this was the doll that might sometimes seem to move. The woman answered loudly, "Oh no, this doll moves all the time!" They became increasingly agitated, and I wanted to tell myself they were only inspiring each other. The interesting part of this whole 40 minute exchange was that the man walked right up to it and said something like "It's ok, you're safe now." When he said the word "safe" I could feel the "meter" in my head (that monitors for activity of a supernatural mien) jump, peg, and then return to zero immediately. I marveled. It hadn't occurred to me to wonder such a thing.

The woman immediately started planning about all the folks to whom she'd show this doll. She came back a week later with a friend, to whom, unfortunately, she had related a very great deal — so I felt that "control" such as there was, had been lost. The second woman came in — knowing too much — and started flip out, clutching unconsciously at her heart, breathing, and talking a blue-streak about the "power" around the doll. I was starting to be very sorry I had ever mentioned this. I was uneasy with the overly dramatic behavior they engaged in. The two of them turned to each other and immediately agreed that a third woman (Donna) needed to see this.

I perked up immediately. Now that interested me because I knew that Donna was a completely untrained, natural wild-card talent who had just entered this coven, and was looking for guidance. I knew that she was "the canary in the coal mine". I had met her once and recognized that she was the most potent, and least acknowledged "witch" in the room that day. They were convinced that she "needed training." I said nothing. I made the two of them swear to tell her nothing, to warn her not at all, and that if she came over and never found the doll, or never spontaneously spoke of it, we'd drop the issue. I was feeling uneasy about springing this on a "kid" who might or might not take it well if she found something that provoked her gifts. I asked the second woman — "So, OK just what will Donna do if she is 'picking up' something psychic?" I was told in reply, "She will hold her left hand. She will act like her hand is warm." I set the time for the meeting and bid them a relieved good-night.

Shee! If I had thought I had a "busy" manifestation before I spilled the beans, that was nothing compared to the chaos of telling a brace of witches and watching the news filter through the coven. I still had gained no useful information from the witches, but I was prepared to wait and see what came next.

Well, the three women came in the door, and I offered tea, and that we should get down to cases on the task for which we pretended to be convened — something about writing a holiday ritual, I think. Donna came in the door and bumbled about, looking for a place to put her things, then turned to face the doll, around the corner and in the study. She stopped, took a small double take, and then clasped her hands together. She looked a little harder and then said, out of the blue, "Gee, it kinda moves, doesn't it?" I glared at the other two, who later insisted that this was a genuine statement, that they had kept their oaths.

Well, what follows after that is, to my mind, the weirdest bit — and I've enough experience with suggestion and confabulation to know to distrust it, but you wanted to hear the story, and so I tell it.

There followed a spontaneous "ritual" that scandalized me for many of the "safeties" that it failed to employ. These three just moved in on the doll, sank to the floor with it, and began. No circles, no planning, no permissions asked or protections sought.

Well, I dunno about you, but I generally refrain from messing with stuff unless I have a reason to do so and an understanding of what I intend. I was "out" of it, being only a newbie to this coven myself. I had never told these folks what I knew, only what I didn't know.

They took the doll and "psychometrized" a story from it. Each adding some until they had a notion that this doll belonged once to a child in an abusive home — that possibly the child had not lived, the gender was in determinant as though the kid had been the "wrong" sex to suit the whims of the parents — and had pushed off all his/her many grieves into this doll. They elected then, to banish the spirit(s) in this doll to the "summerland" and after much weeping and disturbing behavior, they did an excellent visualization which summoned the Crone aspect to the great gateway, and there bid this uneasy spirit to "go home with grama."

I had stayed out of it, shocked, uncertain, and not a little bit sad and angry that they hadn't asked me permission to mess with "my" doll. I would not have done this without more preparation. OTOH, I could argue that I was being rather dense, not to do it myself, sooner. It never occurred to me that it needed doing. I spontaneously "blackmanned" their "circle" since they hadn't — wondering to myself who else might come along, and just how "big" this entity they were provoking might actually be. They had done nothing to determine "what" was going on. No tea-leaves, no Ouija boards, no pendulums, (or what ever tool they might favor for gaining more information) — no thought to ask what was right. Luckily, I heard no voices, saw no eerie tricks of the weather, nothing that would make me dive for cover and come up holding a flaming sword.

After their catharsis they opined that it was "just a doll" and I was a little surprised it had been that easy.

Well, I moved it into the back bedroom and stood it on the dresser. I don't go back there much. When I do I don't much care for the room, but I confess I haven't seen the doll move lately. (No, you are right. I haven't looked.)

As to whether or not it has been fully, truly, "exorcised" in any way — I reserve my opinion. I know that it still makes me uneasy. I know that the jury is still out, whether I "made" all that occur or stumbled into a charged object. I no longer hang with the witches. They were entirely too weird for me. I still study Wicca in an off-hand way, but there seems to be little within that study that addresses this sort of stuff.

I had a conversation I was starting up with Gwydion, and I may pursue it now, on the nature of "haunting" and such.

That's the story — it moved — it scared people — they "exorcised it" and I haven't messed with it since.

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