I never had a Raggedy Ann doll.. I never wanted to to be honest. When I was younger, it was the one toy that honestly freaked me out. Something was just un-quaint about it.. it was anti-calming, like a piece of folklore got disheveled with paranormal hauntings, made into a doll for you to own.
For that reason, I was most interested in an article appearing on my newsfeed this morning hypothesizing that the origin of Raggedy Ann came from a tragic vaccine injury that led to a girl’s death..
Not long after the creation of the much beloved Raggedy Ann, Gruelle’s only child and 13 year old daughter Marcella died a painful death after receiving a routine small pox vaccination at school, which was given without parental consent.
Reports indicate that after the initial inoculation Marcella had, “… lost her appetite, and became feverish and fatigued.” Amazingly, more inoculations were given despite her negative reaction from the first jab. Predictably Marcella’s health continued to decline to the point where she lost all muscle control, “becoming listless and lifeless like a rag doll.”
While all this was going on at school, her parents knew nothing about it and had never ever given their consent for any vaccinations.
Sadly, Marcella died a slow and agonizing death. The Gruelle’s were convinced beyond any doubt that the vaccination was the culprit behind the death of their only child, even though school authorities and vaccination proponents insisted Marcella had died from a preexisting heart defect.
Ultimately, “Seven leading physicians are called upon to opine about the cause of her death. Six consented it is the result of vaccine induced poisoning and call it malpractice. The seventh, being the head of the school board and a supporter of vaccination, declines to comment.”
If this story is to believed, the doll was created to entertain a child who was slowly dying after being given vaccines that injured her..
There are more legends about Raggedy Ann and Andy than there is space to recount them. Like any popular phenomenon – especially those for which well-documented information may not be plentiful– legends become a way to explain the unexplainable, fill in the gaps, and make sense of conflicting or confusing data. In interpreting the Raggedys’ 75-plus year history, the facts are extremely important. But, not at the exclusion of the legends. These fanciful accountings not only round out the story of the Raggedys (and shed light on the whimsical heart of their creator, Johnny Gruelle) – they also reveal our own unerring desire for Raggedy Ann and Andy to stay in perpetual possession of the whimsical, magical, make-believe dossiers Johnny Gruelle created for them.”
I want to delve deeper into this–and not only Raggedy Ann, but the origins of some other ‘well meaninged’ toys and symbols of innocence..
Clowns.. bright red noses. Death.
Raggedy Ann.. a little doll providing comfort to a sick child before death..
So many things that we have somehow come to accept as symbols of life actually tend to be reminders of peril.