LIVE CAM: Meet Ann, Our Haunted Doll
She was a tuberculosis patient at Waverly Hills Sanatorium in the 1920s. Now, she's living in our office.By The Lineup Staff April 26, 2016
Scroll down to read updates about Ann’s activity.
Many reportedly haunted objects exist in this world. Ghost hunters have published accounts of examining everything from haunted figurines to possessed paintings; TV shows have captured the process of finding, investigating, and storing such items.
Here at The Lineup, we’re a mixed group of believers and skeptics, but we all agreed a first-hand experience with one of these haunted objects could change our minds. So we partnered with the paranormal specialists at Destination America (home to John Zaffis’s possessed-object show Haunted Collector, airing Tuesday nights) and tracked down a doll rumored to be haunted by the restless spirit of a little girl from Waverly Hills Sanatorium.
According to paranormal investigators, Ann was a 13-year-old girl treated for tuberculosis at Waverly Hills Sanatorium in the early 1900s, during a time when the idea of a “rest-cure” was in actuality a certain death sentence. One of Ann’s caretakers was a former aide named Lois, who worked at the institution from 1919 to 1935. She was responsible for the children’s welfare, and unsurprisingly, became very attached to her young patients.
Likewise, the patients relied on Lois … so much so that when they succumbed to their illnesses, their spirits followed the woman home, hoping she could continue caring for them. A friend recommended that Lois obtain vessels to house these unfortunate souls.
Thus, Lois’s doll collection was born.
Although Lois has since passed away, she left detailed journals about her dolls, including Ann. Lois claims Ann was terrified of the dark, and that her spirit, who lives on this doll, cries out for help in the middle of the night with a shaky voice. Lois also reported to her daughter that the Ann doll once cried—a single tear ran down her cheek. Her right arm once moved up and down, as if she was waving.
Investigators have reported a severe drop in temperature while in Ann’s presence, and she emits a strange odor—a damp basement smell.
So Ann will be living in our office under constant surveillance for two weeks. In addition to live streaming her 24/7, we will conduct our own tests, bring in experts, and log our observations. At the end of the two weeks, we’ll send Ann along to a new home. (For a chance to own Ann, email us at email@example.com and tell us why Ann would like to live with you. See contest rules.)
Check in with our live stream daily, and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your own haunted doll stories. And if you see her move, let us know!
Happy ghost hunting.
We unboxed Ann, who was wrapped tightly in bubble wrap, without incident. (Watch the video.)
Over the next couple days, we worked around Ann, setting up the camera feed in a large storage closet, where she’s currently living. During that time, a few strange things happened.
• Two coworkers, whose desks are against the wall that separates the main office space from Ann’s room, heard a faint whining noise. One person even asked the whole room to be silent because she was positive she heard a child crying. No one else heard this noise.
• Two different coworkers set up an EMF sensor near Ann while they were working in her vicinity. The meter was silent the whole time. Then one of them asked her a direct question: “Hello, Ann. Welcome to our office. Do you like your new home?” Twenty seconds later, the detector’s light started flashing and wouldn’t stop. We haven’t seen it light up since.
• The day after the live feed was finally established, a coworker arrived at the office and noticed the feed had stopped at 8:27 p.m. the previous night. He went into Ann’s room and saw the magnetic power cord that attached to the laptop had been physically disconnected. No one was in the office at that time.
April 27, 2016 – 2:22 p.m. [All time stamps EST]
We just held our first official EMF meter session with Ann (this is the meter we used). We asked her two direct questions, but the meter did not go off. We left it near her in the camera frame. If you see it light up, email us or leave a comment below.
April 27, 2016 – 4:01 p.m.
“There are just so many weird things going on with this video.” That’s a quote from the coworker who uploaded our EMF session to YouTube. He pointed out that the video is in color but said the last two frames went gray with lines through the middle of the screen. When he tried to save the video, it froze and wouldn’t export. He rescrubbed the feed; the gray screen disappeared. The problems continued when he tried to add the video to our YouTube channel – the upload kept stalling and restarting. The video is finally on our channel: Watch it here.
April 27, 2016 – 6:52 p.m.
Viewer Tina Miller writes in to report that she saw the screen flash, depicting a momentary closeup of Ann’s face.
April 28, 2016 – 4:13 a.m.
Viewer Julie Smith writes in to report that she saw Ann move in a big way. According to Smith, the doll moved “right to the camera for a split second.”
April 28, 2016 – 7:03 p.m.
Viewer Jason Hrisanthacopoulos reported seeing flashes of Ann on the left then the right of the screen between 7:03–7:05 p.m. He rewound the footage but couldn’t find those frames again. (Our team tried as well and failed to see them.)
April 28, 2016 – 11:05 p.m.
Viewer Megan Brooks and a friend reported watching the feed between 11:05 p.m.–11:25 p.m., and both saw Ann close her eyes a few different times. They think she tilted her head to the left for a split second.
April 29, 2016 – 12:00 a.m.
We received the first of a series of emails from five different viewers about Ann moving and the EMF meter blinking between 12 a.m.–1:16 a.m. Here are the specifics:
• 12:00 a.m. – From “Silent Yehl”: Ann’s arm twitched and background lights appeared.
• 12:28 a.m. – From Maggie Leal: EMF reader moved at the same time the feed went blurry, then Ann’s head moved. This happened three times in 10 minutes.
• 12:49 a.m. – From Kimberly Bonnell: The EMF light might have turned on.
• 1:12 a.m. – From Edgar Rodriguez: Movements in the background on the right. Over the next two minutes, it looked like the feed went blurry, and a face appeared behind Ann.
• 1:16 a.m. – Anonymous reader: Spotted a “ghost blip.”
April 29, 2016 – 3:00 a.m.
We continue to receive reports about Ann’s face flashing across the screen. Viewer John Thatcher (who was watching in CST) reported seeing close ups of Ann’s face on screen between 3:30 a.m.–4:30 a.m. He saw it happen several times while rewinding through the footage, but he could never replicate the incident at the exact same time stamp. He wrote that it was “as if the tape itself was changing.”
Viewer Logan Peacock already reported seeing a close-up of Ann’s face at 6:28 a.m., but he, also, could not replicate the occurrence.
April 29, 2016 – 2:41 p.m.
We just held an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) session with Ann. This is the digital recorder we used. Before we started the session, we saw the entire screen flicker on the laptop that is streaming Ann. Other than that, the session was uneventful. We are currently listening to the recording and will post the filmed session to YouTube as soon as possible. UPDATE: Watch the video here.
April 29, 2016 – 4:52 p.m.
We finished analyzing the digital recording, and it didn’t reveal any answers from Ann. Our coworker who worked on the audio has suggested doing another reading with different equipment to cancel out ambient noise. We will try to communicate with Ann again next week.
April 29, 2016 – 6:03 p.m.
Viewer Riley has been watching the clock on our live stream, which he said matches up exactly with his computer clock. At 6:03 p.m., he saw the clock on the live feed read 6:06 p.m. He scrolled back through the feed to see if the clock had skipped ahead, but when he returned to the current time, the clock had readjusted itself to match with his computer clock once again.
April 30, 2016 – 1:10 a.m.
Viewer Timera Cyr spotted “a brief flash of her in the dark area to her right. Almost like a super impose image.”
April 30, 2016 – 1:32 a.m.
Over the course of the last several days, we’ve received many emails about the screen going blurry and refocusing for no apparent reason. We’ve discussed this and think the camera would naturally refocus when there’s a change of light or movement on camera. Viewer Maggie Leal was able to take a screen shot of this occurrence at 1:26 a.m. when no one was in the office. We still don’t know why this is happening.
We also saw in this photo that the battery in the EMF sensor died. When we left the office on Friday evening at 6 p.m., the green light above the orange button in the middle of the sensor was on. (See our screenshot above.) The sensor was powered by one, brand new Duracell 9-volt Duralock battery (like this) and ran for a maximum of 59 hours before dying.
April 30, 2016 – 11:16 a.m.
We received an email from viewer Tessa Ryal who thought she saw Ann move her arm.
April 30, 2016 – 9:08 p.m.
An anonymous viewer was watching Ann between 8:50–9:07 p.m. and thought Ann’s face moved. They thought it could be a trick of light, so they zoomed in on her face and saw her lips moving and her facial expression changed.
May 1, 2016 – 7:37 a.m.
Throughout the day (Sunday), we received many emails about the light in Ann’s room turning pink or red. She’s in the back of a storage room with only one light source on her. There is a carbon monoxide detector on the ceiling to her left with a small red light that is constantly on. There is a fire alarm strobe at the opposite end of the room; a white light flashes when activated. The battery in the EMF sensor at her feet died at some point on Friday night, so it would not have flashed.
Here are the reports we received:
• 7:37 a.m. – From Cassandra Laur: She watched for 20 minutes before emailing us that the light was continually changing. She said the screen would get darker then flash a few times before returning to normal. This happened several times.
• 8:31 a.m. – From Harley Bison: Between 7:49–7:50 a.m., the viewer saw the light grow darker then return to normal about 4 or 5 times. It happened again about 10 minutes later.
• 9:28 a.m. – From Leah Taylor: Between 9:28–11 a.m., the viewer saw lights flash and the screen turned blurry and refocused continuously. At 10:14 a.m., the entire screen flickered on and off.
• 9:49 a.m. – From Lacey: Starting at 9:37 a.m, she noticed “a light that’s facing Ann, flashing on and off in a very inconsistent pattern.” She thought it stopped around 9:43 p.m. and was about to close the live stream when it started again, although not as frequently as the first time.
• 9:56 a.m. – From Tori Spalding: She reported the screen turned blurry, then lit up a few times and went back to normal.
• 10:29 a.m. – From Logan Peacock: Starting at 10:21 a.m., the light changed back and forth from bright to dark. (See his screenshots below.)
• 12:04 p.m. – From Victoria McKenzie: She watched for 10 minutes and saw a red or pink light flashing on Ann. The flashes varied in length and frequency.
• 1:07 p.m. – From Noel Kepler: Between 12:51–12:55 p.m., the viewer saw an orange light flashing on Ann in a random pattern. At 1:02 p.m., the screen went blurry and the lights flashed again.
• 1:58 p.m. – From Angela Thompson: For several minutes, Angela noticed the light flash from pink to the normal, cooler tone.
• 4:18 p.m. – From Elli Kirby: Between 2:56–3:00 p.m., Elli saw a continuous flash of red and green lights. She looked away for a minute, and when she turned back to the screen, she thought Ann’s head was repositioned.
• 4:32 p.m. – From Anonymous Viewer “Pinky”: At 4:28 p.m. the color of the light switched from white to pink three times within two minutes. It continued to flash for several minutes, while Pinky took screenshots. Pinky also spotted a close up of Ann’s face for a split second between taking the video stills.
• 4:51 p.m. – From Katie Presley: Between 4:46–4:51 p.m., the viewer saw “lots of activity in the lighting. Almost looks like a television flashing.”
• 5:50 p.m. – From Abby Miller: The viewer reported a flashing light making the room brighter.
May 2, 2016 – 2:32 a.m.
We received the last email about the pink or red lights in Ann’s room. Viewer Elisa Rodriguez reported seeing a flash of pinkish light, then the screen blurred. She thought she saw the eyes slowly moving as well.
May 2, 2016 – 12:12 p.m.
We replaced the battery in the EMF sensor. In The Everything Ghost Hunting Book, author Melissa Martin Ellis references Grant Wilson, co-founder of The Atlantic Paranormal Society, stating that during paranormal investigations, spirits are known to drain batteries. Usually the batteries that lose power the quickest are nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries (our battery is an alkaline).
After significant research about The Ghost Meter (our EMF sensor), we have not been able to verify how long our battery should last. If anyone reading this log knows, please email us.
Now that we have a new battery in the EMF sensor, there should always be a green light in the middle of the device (see screenshot below). If this green light goes off, please let us know.
May 3, 2016 – 9:08 a.m.
Our live stream went down last night at 10:50 p.m. We’re working to determine why this happened and get it up again as soon as possible.
May 3, 2016 – 9:29 a.m.
The live stream is back up! Our clock now appears to be a minute a half ahead; we will fix it later today. Please still refer to the time stamp on the clock with your observations until that time.
May 3, 2016 – 10:32 a.m.
We changed the clock to sync up with our computer. It should now be correct, but if you see the time accelerate or slow down, please email us.
May 3, 2016 – 12:19 p.m.
At 9:33 a.m., two people commented below this article about a shadow and blue light that appeared on the live feed. See screenshot below from viewer Edson Otero.
At that exact time, our co-worker, who set up the live stream, was working on the laptop in Ann’s room. He told us he was extremely careful not to move the camera, and he did not put anything in front of the camera while in there. We took a picture of the computer set up in Ann’s room, so viewers can see where he would have been standing at that time.
The coworker – a technical professional and self-professed skeptic – cannot explain this anomaly with the light.
May 3, 2016 – 1:37 p.m.
Between 12–12:06 p.m., we received two emails from different viewers about the time on the clock appearing incorrectly. Viewer Pamela Ann Szczepanska wrote that she was watching the live stream on a phone, and her mother was watching on a separate phone. At 11:44 a.m., her mother’s screen showed the correct time, but the clock on Pamela’s screen read 9:42. It stayed like that for 5 minutes. She zoomed in on Ann’s face and saw that it was twitching.
Viewer Megan Mucllari wrote that at 11:56 p.m., the two blinking dots on the clock disappeared, then reappeared like this: 1:1156. A second later, the dots started blinking again normally, but the time stamp was a minute behind schedule.
May 3, 2016 – 2:08 p.m.
We received a video recording from viewer Logan Peacock at 9:38 p.m. last night before the live feed went down (at 10:50). It showed a blink-and-you-miss-it close-up of Ann in the middle of the normal video stream. This is something many viewers have emailed us about, and it’s something Logan has seen before.
Here’s what he wrote:
“I did an screen record on my phone, just to go back to the video and pause the video to show you what it looks like when she mess with the camera frame for an quick second. Since for some reason you cant replicate it on the live stream I did with an screen recorder.”
He sent us an mp4, and when we uploaded the raw file to YouTube, the recording slowed down enough that the close up, which takes about 0.25 seconds, becomes very obvious. Our coworker (“the skeptic”) analyzed the footage and pointed out two things:
1. On close up, the screen does not pixelate, like it would if the video was manually cut and enlarged. This would indicate the footage is authentic.
2. The two blinking dots on the clock freeze during the close up, then return to normal two beats later. That could indicate the footage was cut and reinserted.
Take a look at the video below and let us know what you think.
May 3, 2016 – 4:45 p.m.
We’ve continued looking into the video “close up” phenomenon, and another coworker in our tech team had a theory about what could cause the blip. Here’s what he said:
“While the video flicker/enlargement is quite an odd (and creepy) incident, there are a few thoughts that may explain it.
The stream requires our video output to be encoded before being delivered to Youtube. During this process, a hiccup with hardware acceleration may lead to non-uniform encoded data to be transmitted. This may result in resizing or flickering on the viewing end. Additionally, there may be a moment when the stream attempts to shift from 1080p to 720p, and vice versa, due to bitrate fluctuations. The fluctuations may occur over tenths of a second, which may cause the flash of resizing.”
May 4, 2016 – 2:30 p.m.
Early this morning at 1:38, viewer Morgan Sheckler saw what appeared to be a blue light or “orb” on Ann’s live stream. This is similar to the blue light a couple people reported seeing yesterday morning. (See photo above.) It should go without saying, but no one was in the office at that time.
Morgan was watching the live feed on her computer and then took a video of the screen with her phone. We’ve just uploaded the video, and you can watch it below.
May 5, 2016 – 10:50 a.m.
Viewer Michelle Merritt emailed this morning to suggest that reports of a blue light could be a dead pixel on the camera. We checked it out, and, in fact, there are three dead pixels that we can see at the very top of the screen. Two things to note:
1. The dead pixels are not in the same locations where people have reported seeing a blue light.
2. This is a brand new camera that should not even have dead pixels in it already.
May 5, 2016 – 11:59 a.m.
According to the investigation group that tested Ann before she came to us, the doll has been known to make “cold spots.” Yesterday, we used an infrared thermometer (this model) to test the theory. Watch the video here.
May 6, 2016 – 11:14 a.m.
We received an email yesterday at 5:11 p.m. that the EMF battery had died. We just replaced it.
The first battery died after 59 hours; this one lasted for 77. We’re unsure whether this discrepancy has to do with the exact battery used or the level of paranormal (or EMF) activity around the meter.
May 6, 2016 – 5:00 p.m.
On Wednesday, viewer Lau Mor sent us a video at 11:03 p.m. that showed the light in front of Ann pulsating. The LED lights we are using do not have this functionality, and this occurred at night after everyone had left the office. You can watch this phenomenon in the video below.
May 9, 2016 – 3:49 p.m.
Ann has been quiet today, but we had several emails over the weekend that sounded like she was showing some activity. Here is a list of viewer observations:
• May 7, 8:37 a.m. – From Tanya Zundel: Between 8:37–8:44 a.m., Tanya’s screen showed various anomalies. First it went fuzzy, then it shook, then it turned green and went fuzzy again for a full minute before resolving.
• May 8, 9:46 a.m. – From Amanda Morgan: “I had been watching her and the time on the clock was about 6 minutes slower than my time on my phone… I left the page and came back and it seemed to be only 30 seconds behind… I was watching the time and all the sudden pitch black and I can’t see the video anymore.”
• May 8, 3:06 p.m. – From Sommer Myers: The Myers family was watching Ann feed when suddenly the camera started losing focus in three-and-a-half minute bursts. After the fifth time this occurred, one member of the family is certain he saw her chin tilt slightly upward.
• May 8, 5:09 p.m. – From Melissa: At approximately 5:02 p.m., Melissa saw Ann’s screen go dark for at least seven minutes before emailing us. We did not get any other emails about the live feed going down.
• May 8, 6:50 p.m. – From Whitney Ware: This viewer said hello to Ann and the screen immediately flickered.
May 9, 2016 – 5:50 p.m.
We received this incredibly creepy email from viewer Nina Johnson:
I started watching the live feed of Ann today May 9 at 5:21 p.m. I had witnessed nothing unusual, even jokingly asked her if she wanted to visit my house. I then said aloud to the screen, “Well if you’re not going to do anything, I’m done watching at 5:36.” I figured 15 minutes was a good go at it!
At exactly 5:36, an alert popped up on my phone warning me my garage door was opening. I texted my daughters, and no one had opened the door. The door was closed. Our garage door app has never malfunctioned before!
So I revisited Ann’s live feed, and despite my phone showing [the live feed] completely uploaded, the time on your clock read 5:37 while mine at home and on my phone was now 5:40.
It could have been a fluke but it was rather rattling!
May 9, 2016 – 10:09 p.m.
We received an email from viewer Jeannette Ramos, who spotted Ann’s feed producing a mirror effect. Here’s her explanation: “It’s been blinking for several hours like this screen shot (it took me a lot of time because it was very fast.)”
These are the two screen captures she sent.
May 10, 2016 – 9:02 p.m.
We received emails from viewers last night around 6:22 p.m. stating the battery died on the EMF sensor. We will be replacing it later this morning.
May 10, 2016 – 11:10 p.m.
A few hours before Ann’s live feed ended, viewer Kimberly Waggoner spotted a white light flash above Ann’s clock. She was able to rewind the feed and take a screenshot.
May 11, 2016 – 10:51 a.m.
From Monday night to early Tuesday morning, we received several reports about Ann changing the time on her clock.
• May 9, 10:28 p.m. – From Kim Kaufmann: “The clock changed from 10:25 PM to 7:35 – gave me chills.”
• May 10, 12:04 a.m. – From Gina Hockett: She captured a video of Ann’s clock changing back and forth from one number to another. Watch the clip below.
• May 10, 12:23 a.m. – From Christina: This viewer emailed to say Ann’s clock was 16 minutes behind the time on her iPhone. Then she sent an update four minutes later that Ann’s screen went black for 5 seconds, and when the feed returned, the clock was 2 minutes behind.
• May 10, 1:56 a.m. – From Veronica: “It was more or less 01:45 a.m., and her clock start changing, the time was passing slower. At 01:48, the time in her clock started passing faster than in my cellphone!”
May 11, 2016 – 11:08 a.m.
Last night, Ann’s live feed ended at midnight (PST). (Watch our goodbye to Ann here.) We didn’t see anything out of the ordinary before Ann went offline, but she will be in our office until early next week, and we will update the log with any new activity and observations. For the rest of the week, we will be reading through the email submissions from viewers, who want to give Ann a new home. We will announce the winner on Monday.
May 16, 2016 – 4:44 p.m.
Ann has found a new home! She will be taking up residence with John and Tara, who live outside of Chicago. Our team was drawn to the sincerity of the couple’s wish to be Ann’s new guardians and their genuine interest in the paranormal. We will be saying good-bye to her tomorrow, and while our office is still comprised of both skeptics and believers, all of us have expressed the sentiment that her presence – both physically and spiritually – will be missed.