Since 1976, a mysterious doll has been sitting in the attic of a home in Janesville, Minnesota. His blank stare hides behind his porcelain face as he overlooks the street below. His presence is felt by all who pass by, and an uneasiness sits in the air like a heavy fog. Why is the doll there, and what does he want?
The Janesville doll, known as the Janesville baby by others, has become a legend in the rural town. His unknown existence prompts the imaginations to run among the streets and homes like wild fire. His story has become a legend, and it changes from person-to-person as it passes on in a giant game of telephone through the community.
One rumor surrounding the doll involves a horrible tragedy that took the life of a small child. The owner’s daughter had accidentally died—or was murdered—so the doll was placed in memorial for the lost soul.
Another rumor surrounds a single-mother and her young child in a fight against evil. Reportedly, the woman’s daughter became possessed by a demon, and she lost her life during an exorcism. The mother placed the doll in the window to remember her daughter, and her daughter’s soul stayed with it, haunting the home.
An even more sinister story than exorcisms gone wrong is the theory that the doll is actually a demon in disguise. The demon resides in the doll and will possess anyone who looks at him.
Along with the demon story, many individuals claimed to have seen the doll walking around in the attic. Certain times of the day, he comes to life and runs back and forth in the dust-filled room, giggling like a gleeful small child.
People have caught him glaring at them, and even stated he came down from his post to chase them down the street. Others insist the doll changed positions in the window, too.
Of course, these are all myths created by people eager to place an explanation on something unknown. Possibly they do it to make themselves feel better or less scared about what the doll represents, or they like the excitement of being a part of something bigger.
In actuality, the doll belonged to a man named Ward Wendt. Wendt was a collector of antiques and collectibles, which filled his home. He was born in the house, and he lived there until the day that he died in 2012, at age 84. Wendt placed the doll in the window, but he never told anyone why.
Wendt claimed he wrote the answer to the doll’s existence in a note, which he placed in a town time-capsule. Unfortunately, the capsule won’t be opened until 2176, so the town will have to go a number of decades before the truth is finally revealed.
After Wendt’s death, the doll was removed from his famous spot in town. He has been relocated to the Janesville Public Library, where people arrive from parts unknown to get a glimpse at the mysterious, creepy doll.
He may be just a regular doll who never comes to life at night, and he may have been sitting in the attic for no reason at all, but it’s still fun to imagine an entire backstory that can be used to terrify trick-or-treaters for years to come. One thing is certain, the Janesville baby has given the people of Janesville, Minnesota something entertaining to ponder about all these years.