The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Photo Essay: the dolls of downtown Fredericksburg

3 min read

Bunny found in the front of a store during a search for dolls | INGRID RENEE DIZON


Staff Photographer

Though antique stores can give some the heebie-jeebies, I happen to be one of those who get a sense of ease and excitement when walking around the store and finding little trinkets such as flat signs, vinyl records and used postcards. Luckily, Fredericksburg is known to be a very historic town, so it just makes sense that downtown is packed with antique stores. To put a twist on things, I wanted this photo essay to be a cursed items series in order to give the audience an eerie atmosphere. However, most antique stores downtown sell from different vendors and keeping track of the various items tend to be tedious to the owners. As a substitute, I decided to focus on dolls (and mannequins) that rather give off the look and energy that they could be or have been cursed.  

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Starting off light, we have this bunny that immediately got my attention, since it was placed right by the entrance of the store.
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Next up is this mannequin that just stares off the distance and could potentially contain multiple cursed items on him. 
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Then, we have this Raggedy Ann doll with a rather mischievous looking smile that is actually on sale for $50.00! 
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This housewife mannequin might be the most pleasant looking photo. However, the longer I look at it, the more peculiar it gets. The contrast between the inviting tea towels and the missing hands gives a very strange aura.
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I found these two dolls in this exact position and I love the dynamic between them. It’s almost as if they are telling their marriage story. 
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This bear caught me by surprise and I’m so glad I didn’t miss it. So many things about this bear raises questions, like, why was it placed in the box in that position? And, why is it necessary for it to be in a muzzle? This bear tells its unique story to every customer. 
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Another set that raised a lot of questions when I saw it for the first time are these two red heads. Similar to the bear, the placement of the doll on the left has left me curious. Why there is a restraint on its neck and a plastic cover on its mouth, I will never truly know.  
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Most people would save the best for last, but I’m not sure that applies to my case. This clown and doll combo might be one of the creepiest things I have ever seen in an antique store. I have never been more nervous to take a picture of an object before. A part of me really thought that its head would turn, and the smaller doll at the bottom with blank, staring eyes, just adds to the impact. 

Most of the items are from The Shoppes at Caroline Square LLC, which is just one of the many antique stores downtown. They sell from different vendors that locals and even tourists enjoy like Two Primitive Sisters, The Grove, Ed’s Collectibles and more. They consider themselves as the “Best Kept Secret in Fredericksburg” and after many visits, I can agree. The other items pictured are from Oldies but Goodies, which is another favorite of mine alongside Blue Shark Antiques and Collectibles. 

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