Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dismembered dolls

One of the Christmas gifts from my sister and family this year was a handcrafted conjoined twins doll similar to this one from Devout Dolls! And within the past couple of days, I learned of one of Europe's oldest doll repair shops, the Lisbon, Portugal, Doll Hospital (est. 1830). "I love what I do....You have to have patience and a certain sensibility, including knowing where to stop. The restoration is very delicate and we cannot spoil the historic look....the patina of time has to remain," says restorer Lurdes Cardoso. She's got a cabinet of extra heads and limbs (1st photo) at her disposal. This would give those with a fear of dismembered dolls the creeps, but not nearly as bad as a visit to Mexico's "La Isla de la Munecas” [The Island of the Dolls]. This strange and supposedly world-renowned tourist destination (2nd photo) features mutilated dolls hanging from every tree, compliments of a 50-year compulsion by hermit Don Julian Santana. Santana is said to have drowned in 2001 in the same canal that took the life of the small girl whose spirit he tried to appease with this strange display. Even for people without a distinct phobia, dismembered dolls can be rather disturbing. This December, a U.K. prison psychologist has been intimidated by the placement of doll parts on and around her car. And this past June, a U.S. teacher was fired for assigning his students a project that involved the use of dismembered doll parts. Lastly, there is a doll company that specializes in dismembered dolls - Headless Historicals (3rd photo) - but adds the disclaimer, "These dolls are for display purposes only and are not intended as playthings for children."

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