A ‘haunted’ doll flogged on eBay after it left its owners terrified and covered in scratches has struck again.
Debbie Merrick’s creepy figure appeared on ITV’s This Morning after she revealed its spooky antics, which included setting off fire alarms and removing its own necklace.
Lee Steer, from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, bagged the coveted creepy item for £866 after a tense international bidding war between paranormal enthusiasts.
But just two days after the doll arrived at the 30-year-old paranormal investigator’s home, where he lives with his parents Paul and Amy Steer, it struck again.
Lee’s father Paul, 54, discovered scratches on his arm – mimicking those supposedly inflicted on Debbie’s partner that were thought to be the same size as a doll’s hand.
Lee said: ‘My dad was downstairs in the morning, at this point the doll was still packed away, and he heard like a tapping noise on wood. He said it was a bit unusual.
‘Later that day he was watching the repeat of one of our live streams with the doll. I was doing a live stream upstairs in my room.
‘Then he said to my mum, “My arm’s hurting.” He lifted up his sleeve and he had six scratches on his arm.
‘My mum shouted to me, “Lee, you best get downstairs – your dad’s getting affected. He’s got scratches on him.”
‘It seems pretty similar to the scratches on Debbie’s husband from what I can tell. We have no idea where they came from.
‘My dad’s a believer. He’s said he’s not happy with it being in the house.’
And this isn’t the only odd experience Lee claims to have had since bringing the doll into his home, with more strange noises, flickering lights, and broken artefacts all noted.
Lee said: ‘We were putting stuff away that weekend before it arrived and started talking about it, and all of a sudden a picture I have in my wall called The Crying Boy started swinging on its own.
‘We’ve gone months without anything unusual happening and as soon as this doll is mentioned things start happening.
‘I have another picture propped up on the floor. In the dark I could hear this sound, and when I put the light on and looked, the picture frame had completely dismantled itself.
‘We did a live stream opening of the doll that 35,000 people watched, and a light I use was flickering, it was like a strobe. It was the first time that had ever happened. And people contacted me saying they could see the doll’s eyes moving.
‘I’ve used a random words app that some people believe spirits can manipulate, and when I’ve asked it it’s name it’s said “Samantha.”
‘When I said I really wanted to p*ss it off, it said, ‘Strike Lee’. If it’s random words then it shouldn’t be making sense.’
But sceptical Lee says he is embracing it all, with the doll even residing next to his bed alongside other objects in his ‘Haunted Objects Museum’.
After clubbing together with his fellow Ghosts of Britain paranormal investigators to invest in what he claims is ‘the most expensive haunted item ever bought on eBay,’ Lee says he is ready for the doll to put his nerves to the test.
Lee said: ‘People say I’ve got a death wish. I need to see something to believe it. I don’t believe in ghosts as such but I do believe in paranormal activity. I want to experience the ultimate.
‘I’ve been losing my faith recently, nothing’s happened for months, but then this doll came along. This is the first time I’ve seen this kind of activity in 15 years.
‘It was the background of the woman selling it that interested me. If you go onto eBay and search for ‘haunted doll’ then you will see hundreds.
‘But there was nothing on the listing about the doll being haunted.
‘That was out of character for these things. It’s more believable.
‘When we first saw it the bidding was at £800. We took a stab in the dark and thought we would try and bid for it to get it.
‘We thought it would beat the highest price a haunted item had been sold for on eBay too, which went for $1,025, and I wanted to be a part of history. This doll has beaten it.
‘When we were successful, it was like, wow. We’ve bought one of the internet’s most famous haunted items.’
Lee even believes he could have found a connection to suggest the doll has an innate hatred of married men – an explanation for the attacks on his dad and former owner Debbie’s husband Cameron.
Lee said: ‘We’ve done some research and found out it’s from America, and that kind of doll was given to newly married couples.
‘It’s difficult to prove, but we have heard from one woman who claims she had sold the doll on, and that it had come from a house of a woman who had owned a thousand of these dolls.
‘We can’t find any record of that yet, and we don’t know if it is one of the dolls, but it could explain why it doesn’t like married men.
‘We’re planning to test it out on married couples – we’ve already had volunteers.’
And the doll’s former owner Debbie, 50, from King’s Lynn, Norfolk, says she isn’t surprised that the doll continues to wreak havoc.
Debbie said: ‘I was so glad when the doll went, to be honest.
‘I have been keeping myself updated with all that’s been happening. It was a real shocker when Lee messaged me to say his dad had been scratched too.
‘I wasn’t surprised when he opened it live and was getting flickering lights. We had that in the hotel the night before we went on This Morning above our table while we were eating downstairs, and then in our room later as it was weird – they were flickering like crazy, only in the bit of the room the doll was in.
‘I know people are mocking the whole thing but I think the fact Lee’s dad was scratched too just goes to there is something going on with that doll.’