BY LIZ REED
CO-FOUNDER OF PSOBFL
AUTHOR OF HAUNTED MANATEE COUNTY
OWNER OF DOWNTOWN BRADENTON GHOST WALK
An elderly couple were selling their house in St. Augustine and moving to a condominium in Bradenton to be closer to their son. Their son and daughter-in-law went to St. Augustine to pack everything for the movers to take. While packing
the contents of a closet in the guest room, they came across a doll we have come to call Ellen. The son recognized Ellen and was surprised they still had her. She was at least 100 years old and had been purchased a couple of decades earlier by his
sister. The sister had collected dolls and Ellen was a prized find. She had been taken to a specialist for restoration, and had even received a new head of actual human hair. The sister had passed away several years earlier, and while the rest of her
collection had been sold off, Ellen remained.
The son had always had an uneasy feeling about Ellen and would have preferred to get rid of her right then, but he assumed the doll was significant to his parents – probably a memento of their daughter. So, he packed up Ellen with everything
else, and off she went to Bradenton.
The elderly couple settled into their new surroundings. The son was surprised to find Ellen sitting on a chair in the second bedroom after finding her stored in a closet in the old house, but he assumed his parents placed her there as a decoration. Before long, odd things started happening in the condo. Lights would seemingly turn themselves on and off in the middle of the night, electronics would malfunction, and the door to the second bedroom would be found closed and sometimes locked. Many times, the son went to the condo to check on things when his parents called. He never found anything unusual and put it all down to his parents becoming forgetful.
The strange occurrences escalated. They heard footsteps in the night, and in the
morning, woke to find that Ellen had somehow moved to a different location.
She normally just moved in the bedroom, from the chair to the bed. A few times
she was found in the living room. In one disturbing occurrence, the elderly couple
woke to find Ellen on the dresser in their room, seemingly staring right at them.
They began hearing whispering voices: first the voice of one child, then seemingly
two children quietly talking to each other.
Still, the son put it all down to forgetfulness, possibly a little dementia. Then one day he visited, and his mother asked him to look in the second bedroom, the door of which was closed. He opened the door to see the room swarming with flies. After a quick trip to the store, he hung up fly tape and searched the room. Surely there was something in the room causing the flies to be there, maybe decaying forgotten food, or some creature that had somehow found its way in and died. He searched everywhere, went through every box in the closet, and found nothing that would attract the flies, and no way for them to have gotten in. All the time, Ellen sat there in her chair, and even when the bedroom door was left open, the flies never left
the room. After a few days they were gone, and no explanation could be found.
Time passed, and as inevitably happens, the elderly couple passed away. The wife went first, with her husband following just months later. Their son and daughter-in-law were left to clean out the condominium and prepare it for sale. Ellen was still sitting on her chair in the second bedroom, and, undecided about what to do with
her, they left her there while they cleared things out. As days went by, they started noticing strange things. Objects would be in different locations than where they were left the night before. Other items went missing, some that were destined to
be thrown out or donated, and others that were considered family heirlooms. Lights would be found on, though they had made sure to turn them all out before leaving. One day they arrived to find the air conditioning turned down to an extremely low temperature and a radio blaring music.
One Saturday, after a long exhausting day of work, they heard the whispering voices of two children. They looked around the condo, but wherever they went, the voices seemed to be coming from a different location. They decided to quit for the night and went home. The next morning, they arrived at the condo and were shocked to find that all the objects that had gone missing were piled up in the middle of the otherwise empty living room.
Taking a look around the condo, they found that Ellen was missing from her chair in the second bedroom. They went to the master bedroom and found the door closed, though it had been left open the night before. Uneasily, they opened the door and looked in. Ellen was in the middle of the room, somehow standing upright and seemingly looking right at them. The whispering voices started up again, becoming louder and louder. Wisely, they decided to leave immediately and call the Paranormal Society of Bradenton.
Over the course of an investigation, the group discovered that the doll was haunted by the spirit of a young girl, likely its original owner, who had been violently murdered by a family member and who held onto the anger of being deprived of her life so young. One of the team members asked Ellen if she would like to go home with him, as he had a special place for her. The spirit agreed. Ellen was then passed to another group member who collects and stores haunted items in a secure
Ellen is now stored in a case with salt around her. She is located right next to a doll, Katherine, collected at an earlier investigation. There has been no further activity from either doll. While it hasn’t been determined for certain, it’s suspected that Katherine was the second child heard whispering in the condominium. At least for now, they both seem to be at peace.
If you have a ghost story that you’d love to share with me, please feel free to contact me via Facebook or our website. I always love a good ghost story.