Halloween is coming...my favorite time of year, and so I wanted to share with you my newest one of a kind art doll and her story:
There is a legend of a little girl named Annabelle, who lived 150 years ago in a dusty pueblo, sparsely populated with adobe shacks and false front wooden buildings. There were few trees, the town situated in a chapparal by the sea. Looking to the east, there was nothing but barren brown hills. Looking to the west, the ocean.
At the far end of the little pueblo, past the plaza where the townspeople gathered for bullfights, cockfights, dogfights, hangings, and fiestas stood a lonely brick mansion. The occupants, a large family with many children, were accustomed to the children of the town playing in their spacious yard, cooled by the shade of the pepper trees planted by the lady of the house.
One of the frequent playmates of the resident children was a little girl named Annabelle. Poor little Annabelle suffered a tragic fate...one day, whilst playing in the large yard of the mansion, she was running down the hill...probably engaged in a game of tag, or perhaps chasing the family dog Dolly. Not watching where she was heading, Annabelle ran into a low-slung clothesline, sagging perhaps from the weight of children hanging and swinging upon it during playtime.
Annabelle's trachea was crushed. The man of the house happened to be home at the time, shodding his horses in the adjacent corral, and saw the incident. He raced to Annabelle, brought her into the kitchen, laid her upon the table crying for his wife to attend her while he sought a doctor. Little Annabelle Washburn died upon that kitchen table. She is thought to have been about 12 years old.
It is said that over the course of the next 150 years, that the spirit of little Annabelle Washburn has never left the happy home of her dear playmates. She has been seen in a white dress, scampering about the yard, and skipping through the deserted halls of the old brick mansion.
'Tis said, that the warm, cozy kitchen where she passed from this world...and beyond the veil to the other...that strange, in-between place where time stands still...is her favorite room in the house. Her most witnessed activity is that of moving the utensils hanging on the kitchen wall.
And her little footsteps scampering down the hallway. She seems to be happy there, and has no intention of leaving her ghostly playground.
But history must prevail, and while Annabelle Washburn did exist, and is buried in the same cemetery as the members of the family which built the legendary brick mansion...there's a few holes in her story.
The cemetery where she is buried did not exist at the time of her reported death. There were no families by the name of Washburn in the pueblo at the time the mansion's owner had small children. There is no record of her accident in the newspapers of the time, and a child's death in the house of a prominent citizen would have been big news.
Her gravestone indicates she was one month old when she died, hardly old enough to be running into anything. And her death took place nearly 50 years after the timeline of her story. So, here we must turn our back on the ghost of Annabelle, and send her away. For she is not real. She is truly a 'legend'. A make-believe story. A ghost story.
But do not leave this tale disappointed...for the brick mansion does indeed exist, and possesses unearthly spirits permanently contained within it's walls. There IS the wraith of a small girl child scampering about, chasing after a little dog...her identity finally solved.
She's a three year old girl, the great-granddaughter of the builder of the house. She found ant poison in the cupboard and ingested it. She died a horrifyingly painful and tragic death, and her mother, still living at the time her ancestral home was designated a historical museum, asked the curator not to discuss the family tragedies with the paying public.
Word got out that there was a little ghost inhabiting the museum, and to keep her word to the family, the curator simply made up a new identity for the child...and is presumed to have found this identity while walking about the graves of the home's owners...the grave of little Annabelle Washburn. What a pretty name to assign a child in the spiritual witness protection program! And who, pray tell... who would ever find this little lost grave in an old cemetery in the worst part of town, and question the story that could not be proven?
Little did the curator know, I was yet to be born. And find the grave I did, (accidentally) while... ironically, searching for the graves of the family who built the house the little girl supposedly haunts. She is their neighbor, and she is up the hill a bit....but that's where the truth about Annabelle ends.
Halloween is coming...and Annabelle is trapped in the netherworld of my cluttered workspace. She's pretty ticked off, and has a habit of hiding my scissors. Please do consider giving little Annabelle a real home of her own to haunt....quite frankly I have had it with her antics so I am listing her on ebay tomorrow! (username: robinseggbleu)
Annabelle is made of paperclay with a cloth body, in the style inspired by Izannah Walker's dolls, who, incidentally, Annabelle might actually have played with had she lived longer than one month. She's about 16 and a half inches tall. (Her clothes are made of vintage linens, and no historically significant textile was destroyed in order to dress her.)
I will provide more information about the brick mansion in a future post!