Billy is one of many hand-crafted dolls by Mary Shaw, a fiction film from 2007 called “Dead Silence“. Mary had no children of her own so her dolls became her children.
Beware the stare of Mary Shaw. She had no children, only dolls. If you see her in your dreams, be sure you never, ever scream or she’ll rip your tongue out at the seam.
Billy was designed during the mid 1930’s and was favored by Mary Shaw at that time. During one of her last performances in Ravens Fair, a boy heckled her during her show. That boy was Michael Ashden, that she later kidnapped, and kept confined as punishment for causing her embarrassment in the rather prestigious theater.
When the boy turned up missing, Mary Shaw was immediately suspected. She was a loner that kept to herself and only seemed to be comfortable with the public with her dolls. The Ashden family and a few friends busted into her dressing room, assaulted her and ripped out her tongue. Having ended her life, Ravens Fair would be rid of that old Mary Shaw for good, or so they thought. Upon her death, she had very specific arrangements. She would have her likeness be altered to look like a doll and she was to be buried with all of her dolls. Her request was fulfilled and she and her dolls were buried in a corner of Ravens Fair Cemetery.
She had the ability to haunt and kill many people of Ravens Fair for decades. The nursery rhyme was a way to pass along the fear, her lore wouldn’t never die. At least, not before all of the families involved in her death were killed off.
Charlie McCarthy was also made in the late 30’s, modeled after Edger Bergen‘s doll used in his act. Much like the original tradition of the ventriloquist doll, the original replica was made of wood. Several carnations of the same doll were made over the decades, the final version was the Vinyl (the version I own) produced in the 70’s. Even if I have the box and all his accessories, he isn’t worth all that much as a collector’s item. If one happens upon the antique from 37′ that may be worth a bit. Charlie is less the ‘haunted doll’ than Billy is but Billy is based on the original Charlie McCarthy.
As for Mary Shaw seeking to be buried with her dolls, I believe it’s a version of the Madam Alexander story. One of my dolls (Victoria) just happens to be one of the original molds she chose to be buried with. The rights to the rest were sold off a number of times since her death. Some of her most precious doll molds were buried with her when she died. So, even an infant doll with a doll maker’s past can be creepy to some people. It then becomes iconic.
They’re just dolls right?
Charlie is often confused for Billy. Clearly different dolls but to the person with a phobia of dolls, they’re all just like Billy. Haunted dolls that could kill you. People often ask me why I keep such a doll around, as if I’m taking an unnecessary risk. I find that funny. The doll is merely a bit of nostalgia from my childhood. Practicing ventriloquism was a challenge and I like challenges.
The 70’s knock off doesn’t have the same functionality as the 30’s version, it then makes Charlie a prop. People are so often spooked by inanimate objects. I keep him around for the effect.