By best-selling paranormal author Joni Mayhan
“Please pray for me. I’m being attacked,” was the message I received from my new friend Anthony late Monday evening. I immediately sprung into action, setting off a chain of events that would leave me pondering the sanity of my life.
I met Anthony Quinata at Terrapin Traders, a small new-age shop in downtown Gardner, Massachusetts, where I teach a weekly Paranormal 101 class. When he came into the store before my class was due to start this past Sunday, I recognized him immediately, having seen his photo on Facebook recently. I couldn’t initially remember his name, but I knew who he was.
“You’re the owner of Harold the Haunted Doll,” I said as he started to introduce himself.
“I like to think of myself as Harold’s caretaker,” he told me with a bemused smile, letting me know there was far more to his story than what met the eye. Within 24 hours of that fateful meeting, I would learn a great deal more about Anthony and Harold, maybe more than I bargained for.
As I soon learned, Anthony wasn’t the kind of person who easily bought into the concept of haunted items. He initially purchased the haunted doll in 2004, at the same time he purchased a handful of other supposedly haunted items, hoping to write a book about his experiences. The doll wasn’t even remarkable. It was a 1930’s knock-off, made from parts of other more collectable models, and was in poor condition.
The woman who sold it to him worried about his safety after he won the EBay bid, telling him the doll wasn’t merely haunted, that it was cursed. She even offered to give him his money back, but he told her to keep the money because “a deal is a deal.” Something about the doll intrigued him.
As soon as the doll arrived on his doorstep, Anthony put an EMF detector near it, hoping to see a signature spike on the ghost hunting meter that might suggest a haunting, but was disappointed when the needle didn’t budge. He even tried to record an EVP by setting a digital recorder near the doll, but the recording was blank when he listened back. No EMF spikes and no EVPs. He shrugged, thinking it would still make a good chapter in his book. The lack of results didn’t stop him from taking precautions though. He put a crucifix and a container of holy water in the box with the doll before sealing it back up. “Better safe than sorry,” he said.
Several days later, he brought the doll to his friend April who is a psychometrist. Antony had the foresight to record the session on his digital recorder and was shocked to hear what was recorded. Ghost voices, or EVPs, aren’t typically heard at the time they are recorded. Upon playback, the voice is heard. “Shut up, bitch!” it said, followed by an angry roar, and then said, “I’m going to kill you, bitch!”
Anthony wasn’t sure what to make of it. He wanted more information on the doll from psychic mediums but everyone he approached was already familiar with the doll’s story. He was also concerned about the activity surrounding the doll. He decided to tuck it away for a while to let the memories die out before he would bring it back out again for a fresh reading. He put the doll in storage for eight years and moved on with his life.
In 2013, he pulled the doll out of storage and posted a picture of Harold online and was immediately met with stories. People became dizzy and got sudden headaches after simply looking at the photos. One person woke up in the middle of the night feeling as though Harold was staring at her from the shadows. After telling his story on Darkness Radio, he was put in touch with the production company for the Travel Channel’s show Ghost Adventures. They wanted to bring Harold to the Island of the Dolls, a remote island outside Mexico City in Mexico.
Anthony warned them to be careful with the doll because its left arm was nearly detached from the body. While filming, Zak Bagans, the lead investigator and host of the show, picked up the doll and later found three small bruises on his own left arm. They looked surprisingly like the fingerprints of a child. The hosts of the show brought the doll to a psychic medium near the island, who confirmed that the doll was most definitely haunted. She felt there were multiple souls attached to the doll, one of whom was a dangerous woman with mental instability who would hurt anyone who got near the doll. The Ghost Adventures episode can be viewed HERE.
After the show aired, Anthony was besieged by a plethora of messages regarding the doll. People who watched the episode were inflicted with headaches and felt the presence of Harold looming nearby, as though he came through the television screen to pay them a visit. Others hoped to provide Anthony with more information. One of these people was a woman from Australia. This was when Anthony was introduced to Vincent, her six-year-old autistic son.
Vincent drew a picture of the doll and told his mother that the children wanted to get outside to the sunshine but the black blob wouldn’t let them. Over the course of the next year, Vincent provided Anthony with far more information.
Other people around the world continued to message Anthony about the doll, as well. While some of the information was vastly different, others provided information that was more relevant and easier to validate though. When he asked them how he could verify what they told him, they said, “You just have to take my word for it.” Like the medium from Ghost Adventures, they felt that the doll was possessed by multiple souls. One was a man who called himself Harold. After following leads provided by Vincent, Anthony learned that two others were possibly “Harold’s” nieces. Another was a boy who hasn’t been identified. The fifth was a demon.
“The demon doesn’t haunt the doll,” Anthony told me. “He owns it.” He went on to list the atrocities the doll has inflicted upon the living. “One woman said bad things about it and she started coughing up blood.” Others have been pinched, scratched and suffered immediate headaches. Two men made fun of the doll after watching the Ghost Adventures segment. One of them suffered a ruptured larynx, while the other man had a sudden bout of diverticulitis. Still others have reported having horrific nightmares after even looking at a photo of the doll. The list of people who have experienced negative side-effects after either meeting Harold or looking at his photo is quite impressive. According to the previous owner, two people she knew died because of Harold. This is definitely not a doll anyone should mess with, something I wish I’d know before I invited Anthony to attend my Paranormal 101 class with Harold in tow.
Anthony’s cross-country journey with Harold started in Denver, Colorado, where he lives. Needing a new place to stay, a friend from New Jersey offered to let Anthony use their house for several weeks. Not long after he made his arrangements, Vincent’s mother sent him another drawing that Vincent had made for him. It had the letters EWR on it. The airport code for the nearest airport in New Jersey was EWR, which stands for Newark Liberty International Airport, making Vincent’s drawing more relevant. Vincent had no way of knowing that. The drawing also included a picture of two dogs that looked nearly identical to Anthony’s two dogs, with the notation of “stomach”.
Soon after he arrived in New Jersey, Anthony came home to discover that one of his dogs was ill. After taking it to the vet, he learned that the dog’s abdominal organs were crowding his heart and lungs due to a diaphragmatic hernia that neither doctor could explain. Despite medical intervention, the dog died shortly after. When Anthony came back home after the second vet appointment, the room was filled with fat houseflies. Anthony was devastated to lose his beloved pet. Had Harold caused this?
Shortly before his three weeks was up in New Jersey, Vincent sent him another photo. This one included a mysterious name and a picture. Through some deciphering, Anthony learned that the name was the former name of a town in New Hampshire. He wasn’t sure what to make of it. Was this another clue?
In June, Vincent had told him he needed to go to Connecticut, so when his time was up in New Jersey, he got in his car and began driving, somehow ending up in Massachusetts instead. A friend who lived in Gardner offered to let him stay with him for a few weeks, so he continued on, knowing he was on the right track. Instinctively, he knew that something needed to happen in Massachusetts before he could find his way to Connecticut.
When Anthony showed Vincent’s picture to a medium friend, she told him that he would meet a man in a coffee shop who was writing on paper who would give him more answers. She also said he would meet an older woman who would help him get to Connecticut. She wasn’t sure how either of those people would play into his journey, but she felt it was important to pass the information along.
On Sunday afternoon, Anthony found his way to the nearest coffee shop. He ordered coffee and looked around for a man who was writing on paper, but he didn’t see anyone who fit the bill. After an hour, he got up and started back down the sidewalk. As he passed the store next door, something caught his eye. It was a flyer advertising a Paranormal 101 class. On a hunch, he came inside. That’s where he met me.
He knew about my classes from an earlier visit to the store and was aware of me due to the book I wrote about Gardner’s famous haunted house, the S.K. Pierce Haunted Victorian Mansion. When I told him that I was teaching a class the following evening on Demonology, something clicked in his mind. Maybe this was the woman.
We met for coffee before the Monday night class and got to know each other a little better. He shared some of his story about Harold with me as we sipped coffee. I couldn’t help notice the canvas bag that was sitting on the table in front of him. It vibrated with energy. The energy was so strong, it was almost like sitting next to a chunk of plutonium.
“Is that Harold?” I asked and he laughed.
“I’m so used to toting him around, I forget about him sometimes,” he said offhandedly.
I needed to leave for my class, so we headed next door. I introduced him to my class, who was eager to hear his story. He sat the canvas bag on a folding chair and unzipped it, giving us our first look at Harold. I knelt down in front of the chair and studied the doll.
(Above) Anthony Quintana with the author and Harold the Haunted Doll
It was old and worn, showing the passage of years in its cracked features. As I stared, I had the distinct feeling that I wasn’t just staring at a child’s toy. I could feel those eyes staring back at me, studying me as I studied it. I stood up quickly, feeling immediately uneasy on my feet.
Since the class seemed curious about the doll, I let Anthony take control of the class for the first hour. My students were intrigued, especially one of my more gifted students, Ken Murray. As Anthony talked, Ken began writing, like he often does when he starts getting psychic impressions.
(Above) Joni’s Paranormal 101 Class – L-R (Anthony Quinata, Crystal Pena, Barbara Niles, Phyllis Fisher, Raymond Richard, Gina Bengtson, Ken Murray)
Anthony later realized that Ken was the man his medium friend was referring to. The revelation was astounding. What did this mean though? What would we help him with? Ken’s impressions were hardly comforting either.
“He’s telling me that not only is he a high level demon, but he’s danced with the devil himself,” he said.
Anthony seemed concerned. “If anyone has anything happen to them tonight, please call me. I can stop it immediately,” he said and then gave us all his personal cell phone number. It made me realize just how potentially dangerous this situation was. The doll had been known for reaching out to countless others. What would stop it from hurting one of us?
(Above L-R Anthony Quinata, Erica Fullum, Crystal Pena, Barbara Niles, Phyllis Fisher, Raymond Richard, Gina Bengtson, Ken Murray and Pam Howell)
As time passed, I grew more and more concerned. I could feel that same fierce energy that I sensed in the diner getting stronger. The more Anthony talked, the more powerful it grew. I could almost see it, snaking tendrils out to each of us in the class, tasting our energy. This is when I did something that would bring chaos to my life for the next few days. I called in reinforcements.
Anyone who knows me, knows I have a secret weapon to keep me protected from paranormal attachments. His name is Michael Robishaw, the subject of my recent book Ruin of Souls. Michael is a Shaman and healer who frequently battles dark energy alongside his spirit guides and a legion of archangels. For me, calling him in was a no-brainer.
Michael must have been surprised when he got the call because I never just outright call him. I usually message him first to find out if he’s free before I call. This time, I didn’t feel as though I had time to waste. If there was a chance that this demon could impact us, I wanted it gone.
When Michael answered, I breathlessly told him about the situation. “Can you keep my class protected?” I added.
“Yeah,” he said. “Give me a minute and I’ll send my guides in.”
Michael’s process is a mystery to me, but I trust that it works. I’ve experienced the effects of his work many times as he removed negative entities from my home. He works on the Astral Plane, sending a part of his consciousness to the location to battle alongside his spirit guides. If the case is dire, he calls in archangels to assist him. I trust him more than anyone else on the planet.
“Can you remove the demon too?” I asked, knowing I was probably asking for more than I should have. Something about Anthony made me sad. Through his stories, it was apparent that he felt that keeping the doll was his burden. He’d been offered upwards of $50,000 for the doll, but refused, not wanting it to fall into the wrong hands. Releasing him of the burden seemed like the kindest thing anyone could do for him.
Michael paused. “Yes, but it won’t be right away. I’ll need to prepare my guides first. Tell him that I’ll send them in in 48 hours,” he said.
When I came back into the class, the energy was stronger than ever. It was clear to me that Harold knew what was happening. I asked Anthony if he could close the canvas bag. I would have asked him to put it in his car, but he had walked to the class, so there was no car to put it in besides my car, which most definitely wasn’t happening.
I told Anthony about my phone call to Michael and he seemed relieved. Ken looked up with a startled expression.
“It just told me ‘Finally! Someone worthy!” he said. I felt myself go cold inside. In all my encounters with Michael, entities usually run away from him and his guides. Hearing that a dark entity was looking forward to the encounter was less than comforting.
By the time the class ended, four of my students had pounding headaches, but we all rallied around Anthony regardless. We gave him hugs and promised to be there for him until he saw this through. The experience left an indelible mark on all of us. It felt like destiny that he found us.
Soon after I got home, I got a message from Michael.
“It’s no match for my guides and the legion of archangels. Darkness will never consume the light, not while the archangels protect us. My guides have been resting and getting ready for the battle. We are going after it Wednesday night. No worries. I am also contacting Jose,” he said.
Jose is a friend of Michael’s, someone who is also capable of battling darkness on the Astral Plane. Jose is also my mentor. He’s been helping me learn how to keep myself better protected, so I trust him as much as I trust Michael. I felt good about what we were doing, right up to the point where I got a message from Anthony. He warned me that the demon said it was going to kill Michael.
A part of me truly panicked. If this thing was powerful enough to hurt people and cause death, then Michael might be in danger. I warned Michael that he might be dealing with a high level demon, perhaps even one of the Seven Princes of Hell, something that Anthony felt strongly about.
Michael’s response was reassuring. “I have viewed this doll and the entity attached to it is a low level demon. It’s a demon pretending to do the bidding for its leader. It does not have a chance to survive this battle.”
I felt a little better, but was still nervous about everything that was unfolding. I thought back to three weeks beforehand when I decided to tackle the subject of demonology for my Paranormal 101 class. Was I led towards this moment? Had it all really started three weeks earlier when I made the decision to talk about demons, something I normally steer clear of?
I tried to relax and pray for everyone. I prayed for Anthony, asking that he find some relief. I prayed for Michael, asking for strength to see this through, and I prayed for all of my class, hoping I didn’t lead them into a pit of seething danger. Shortly afterwards, I received the message from Anthony that he was under attack. My heart sank.
Anthony’s attack was brutal. After blacking out in the bathroom, he found himself on the floor with his head resting on the tub. Excruciating pain radiated from his chest. It was so strong, he feared he was having a heart attack. He reached for the phone, wondering if he should call 911, but realized the call would be for nothing. This was a demonic attack. What could emergency personnel do about it? He messaged me instead, asking for prayers.
I messaged Michael again, but he assured me that he wasn’t doing anything. “It’s bluffing, trying to scare me, hoping I will back down. No chance that is going to happen,” he said. He also suggested that Anthony move the doll outside, away from him. “It’s using whatever it can. It’s scared and has good reason to be I have called in the whole Legion of Archangels, my spirit guides and Jose’s spirit guides. That, I hardly ever do.”
I called Anthony, worried about his welfare, but he couldn’t talk. I hung up and spent the next few minutes worrying.
Moments later, the phone rang. It was Anthony returning my call. He was in so much pain, my heart went out to him. What had I done? I felt horrible for doing something that brought him so much pain. I tried to reassure him with Michael’s words. “It’s not a high level demon. It’s bluffing, trying to gain more power,” I told him, but Anthony wasn’t convinced.
“It’s trying to fool Michael. It pushed Harold out in front, making him pretend to be the demon. He hasn’t even seen the real demon yet,” he told me.
I relayed this information to Michael, who was quick to dismiss the information. “My guides say that it’s not. It’s more like the opposite. He gives it power by believing it. Until he can separate himself from it, our help will be futile.”
At that point, Michael backed off. He called off his guides and archangels and asked Jose to do the same. “We can’t help him if he does not have 100% confidence in us or our strengths. With his mind being under control, it can put us all in danger,” he told me.
I spent a sleepless night, tossing and turning in my bed. When I did fall asleep, I was assaulted with horrifically bloody dreams where I was being chased by demons. I met Anthony the next day for lunch and found him to be in even worse shape. He could barely walk, the pain was so intense.
Over lunch, I interviewed him for this story, wanting to get more information about his experiences with Harold, but also to tell him about Michael’s words. I knew I had to handle it carefully. I didn’t want to do more damage than I’d already done. The first thing I did was apologize.
“I’m sorry for jumping in and trying to help without asking you first,” I told him. “I don’t think you’re ready for this to end. I think you still have answers you’re looking for.”
He winced as he leaned back in his chair. “I’m ready for this to end, but I can’t end it until those three lost souls are released,” he told me. I knew my argument was pointless, but I tried anyway.
“Michael can do that. He’s that good,” I said and then saw my words miss their mark. It became clear to me that everything Anthony had been through had left a mark on him. Many others claimed to be able to help him and hadn’t. He didn’t know who to trust and who to believe in. Why should he believe someone he just met? I brought him back home with a heavy heart, feeling I could have helped him through Michael, but also knowing the timing wasn’t right.
The following night was filled with more restless demon dreams and the next day found me with an excruciating migraine, something Harold frequently does to people he doesn’t like. Other members of my class had headaches and terrifying nightmares as well. Several others experienced a series of back luck that seemed to come out of nowhere. I tried to talk to Jose on the phone, but had the call cut out five times while we spoke. Later that evening, my four cats and my dog came barreling out of the kitchen, leaving their full bowls of food behind as they stared over their shoulders in fear.
Michael is coming in tonight to do another cleansing, hopefully cutting our links with the dark energy. As for Anthony? He’s making plans to travel to Connecticut later in the month, following Vincent’s trail of clues.
I hope he finds answers. I hope he finds peace.
Above all else, I hope he stays safe.
For more information about Harold the Doll, please check out Anthony’s book Harold the Haunted Doll – The Terrifying, True Story of the World’s Most Sinister Doll, available on Amazon.com.
Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator and the author of 13 paranormal books. To learn more about her, check out her website Jonimayhan.com. To learn more about her experiences with Michael Robishaw, check out her latest paranormal thriller Ruin of Souls.