Tale of mysterious doll reaches new audience

AN EERIE tale of a missing Dutch doll that terrified generations of children has been brought back to life by a Northamptonshire author.

Writer Philip Snow has used the spooky story of the Finedon doll, which cast its sinister spell over villagers for centuries, as a base for his first novel.

The Finedon-born author said his childhood memories of the infamous effigy came flooding back when he discovered old newspaper clippings about its disappearance and decided to write a novel based around the strange story.

He said: “I thought it would be a good story to put into novel form. The doll had a spiritual presence attached to it and it frightened a whole generation of schoolchildren. Even the adults in the village believed it could walk and chopped its feet off to stop it moving around at night.

“My story is not a scary slasher novel, it is more Enid Blyton meets Bram Stoker.”

The 18th century doll once hung over the doorway of the charity school, which later became Finedon Girls’ School, but was removed in the early 1800s after tales of supernatural disturbances spread through the village.

The effigy, carved to represent a schoolgirl, was banished to the cellar, where it was used to keep naughty girls in line with the threat that bad behaviour would be punished by being locked up alone with the doll.

When the school closed in 1961, the doll found a new home at Finedon’s St Mary’s Church but disappeared in 1981 and has not been seen since.

Mr Snow will be signing copies of The Dutch Doll at the Fishmarket, Northampton, next Saturday from 3pm. For details about visit www.myspace. com/thedutchdoll