Do dolls give you a bit of the creeps? Do their piecing eyes sort of delve deep into your soul? Does the expressionless face haunt you when you least want it to?

If the answer was yes to any of the above, avoid Thailand for a while.

According to media reports, the anxiety of economic despair and ruination after a coup in the country has caused an influx of enthusiasm for lifelike dolls. Reuters reports that the doll craze is sweeping the nation..

Thailand is predominantly Buddhist and has been modernizing rapidly over the past two or three decades but many people are highly superstitious, their beliefs co-existing with notions of animism, astrology and “black magic.”

“I can see it in other people’s eyes,” said Natsuda Janbtim, 45, who has been raising her doll Nong Ruay Jung, or Pretty Rich in Thai, for 8 months. “I know some of them must be wondering why I am carrying a doll but I just don’t care.”

The plastic dolls, about the size of a real baby or an American Girl doll, are called “look thep”, or “child angel” and cost between $40 and $800 USD.

But this part perhaps is the most chilling..

Devotees of the dolls lavish attention on them, often treating them like real babies, even taking them to be blessed by monks in the hope that benevolent spirits will possess them and bring good luck.

“My life has changed a lot, for the better,” said Jantabtim, who lives with her daughter and owns a beauty salon. “When I hug her, I know it’s love. I tell her I love her all the time.”

A mental health expert quoted by the news agency blames the economic conditions of the country..

Image: Ratchada Mahanavanont with "child angel" doll

Mental health issues indeed..
The struggle in the country has brought out previous strange addictions to trinkets and charms. People attempt to find luck where ever they can get it, especially when times are rough. But tough times are bringing forth strange crazes..

Get this snippet from Reuters:

Some businesses are cashing in on the trend.

Thai Smile, a subsidiary of national flag carrier Thai Airways, said it would charge passengers who bring dolls on board and would serve them snacks.

But the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand said it would stop airlines selling tickets for dolls over concern they could be used to smuggle drugs.

There are a number of superstitions that have long existed in Thailand.. things such as not cutting your hair on Wednesdays, eating the final piece of food on a plate is lucky, seeing a lizard before leaving home is a sign you’ll in peril..  One particular strange belief by some is that if you bend down and look between your legs you’ll see a ghost.

The people of Thailand may harbor some of the most in depth set of superstitions on the nation.  The doll trend only amplifies that tidbit of paranormal..

A doll trend that is deeply creepy.