These ‘Reborn’ Monstrosities Are What Nightmares Are Made Of

Audrey Conklin | Reporter

A disturbing product called a “reborn doll” is taking the world (and internet) by storm.

Reborn dolls are incredibly lifelike-looking dolls with manufactured skin. These dolls normally cost hundreds of dollars due to the elaborate handcrafting process practiced by artists who go by the term “reborners.” You can purchase them everywhere, from eBay to websites that cater specifically to the reborn-doll market.

While realistic dolls have existed since the late 1930s and rose to popularity in the 1990s, the market for these mock-reborns has grown significantly in the past few months, especially for dolls who look less human and more fantastical.

Many reborn dolls resemble human babies with unsettling accuracy, but recently, some “reborner” artists have been crafting the dolls to look like alien, monster, and goblin babies. These “werepups,” for example, are reborn dolls that look like baby werewolves. Some are even crafted to look demonic.

People have been carrying them around in public and collecting them at home. In Smithsonian’s renowned photo contest, one 2017 finalist from “The American Experience” category depicts a 27-year-old woman surrounded by her collection of reborn dolls.

Most dolls don’t communicate or have any special functions besides having very lifelike appearances (though some have batteries that allow it to function like a toy), so why would adults want to spend so much money on dolls they can’t actively interact with?

Apparently, it’s a form of parental role-play and therapy for people who have experienced the loss of a child, miscarried or can’t get pregnant. According to one Twitter user: “I think [the reborn-doll trend] started as just super high-end dolls and then branched out into, like, therapy dolls for people who had lost children and now it has branched further into true nonsense…”

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