Totally creepy ‘newborn dolls’ with human hair selling to ‘mums’ for £80

Parents grieving the loss of a child, miscarriage or stillbirth is an all too common yet devastating part of life.

It’s a pain that is incredibly difficult to stem but there are ways that the community built on suffering a loss finds things to help them through the darker days.

Reborn dolls are dolls that are completely transformed by an artist to resemble a human infant, incorporating as much realism as possible.

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Naturally, people like to put their own twist on the dolls, and this has led to some interesting – and downright creepy – twists.

Darkling Manor Dolls is one such take. Whilst not expressly to take the place of a child that has passed away or was miscarried, the dolls are popular with UK mums.

Nadia Marcella, from Hawick in the Scottish Borders, has been designing the sinister looking creations for around two years and now has thousands of follwers online.

Her horror themed collectables, which sometimes have human hair, sell for up to £80 and after setting up her unusual business only last year, Nadia has already designed hundreds of chilling one off pieces.

The 46-year-old full time artist said: "People do buy them for amateur films, theatre props and themed nights, but many just want them to display in their homes.

"I also love creating subtle dolls too. It isn't always about making them look gory, sometimes the more innocent looking baby dolls are the most terrifying."

Nadia names her dolls and likes to use a mix of regal and demonic names and is thrilled her unique work has become popular online.

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She created her first pieces through boredom during lockdown.

The artist knows her macabre dolls are not to everyone's taste and she has been the subject of fierce criticism in the past.

Nadia added: "I have had a lot of negative comments. People have called me awful names and questioned my mental health, but I am glad that my art provokes such a strong reaction, good or bad.

"I had a lot of abuse when I was starting out as I would post my dolls for sale through online selling pages but now I have regular returning customers and a big following on social media."

Other reborn doll makers have vampire, demon and zombie versions.

Silvia Heszterenyiova is one such doll maker and collector, based in Australia. The real life mum counts her 54 dolls as her babies, and has taken to making them herself.

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In 2014, Silvia’s biological daughters Veronika, 24, and Sofia, 20, treated her to a doll, who she named Isabella, for her 40th birthday, sparking her interest.

She said: "They are a treat. Other people spend money on things they like, so I spend money on my reborns."

Silvia said she has made reborn dolls that are exact replicas of human babies who have died.

"I made a custom order for a lady whose premature baby had died," she said. "He was born weighing just 1lb 6oz and was 32cm in length. He was so adorable."

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She added: "It might seem strange for a grown woman to develop an instant attachment to a doll, but I felt like a new mum all over again when I received Isabella."

Silvia takes her "babies" shopping, on camping holidays and trips to the seaside. She pampers them with expensive prams, clothes and toys.

Monica Walsh, a 41-year-old mum of a two-year-old, explains: "I don’t really worry too much about what people think about me. I just try to make myself happy, and it makes me happy to collect dolls.

"I feel like a little girl who just never stopped loving dolls. It’s no different to grown men who like to play with trains."

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