People love a good scary story and scary ventriloquist dummies make for the best creepy stories yet. Have you heard of Mary Shaw? Perhaps it’s a good thing. According to legend, Mary Shaw was a woman who was never able to have kids. So instead, she decided to collect dolls.
“Beware the stare of Mary Shaw.
She had no children, only dolls,
If you see her in your dreams,
Make sure you never scream . . .
For she’ll rip your tongue out at the seam.”
This poem refers to a ghost story that is still told in Ravens Fair. The poem also appeared in the movie, Dead Silence. Many believe that this is just a tale that’s told to scare little misbehaving children and keep them in line, but many believe that the old ghost story is real and has its origins in truth.
Creepy Legend of Ventriloquist Mary Shaw
So who was Mary Shaw? Mary Shaw was a ventriloquist who performed in carnivals and fairs in the early 1940’s. One day, as Mary was performing in the old theater named the Guignol, a little boy in the audience made fun of Mary. His name was Michael Ashen. Michael called Mary a phony and laughed that he could see her lips moving while she performed her ventriloquism act. The audience howled with laughter and mocked Mary. Mary Shaw was humiliated and embarrassed. But Mary was a strong woman and she vowed to herself that she would not let this unfortunate incident go, for nobody mocked Mary Shaw and got away with it.
Weeks passed and everyone forgot about the humiliating event, but not Mary. Weeks after Michael Ashen mocked Mary publicly, he went missing. Everyone in the town, including the Ashen family, were certain that Mary had something to do with Michael’s disappearance. They scoured the town, held search parties, vigils, but nothing. Michael did not turn up. By now, a mob mentality ruled the town since people began to suspect that Mary had something to do with the boy’s disappearance.
The Terrifying Tale of Mary Shaw
One night, a group of local town’s men went to confront Mary. They were certain that Mary killed the boy. They entered her small cottage and yelled at her to confess what she’d done with the boy. Mary shrieked in terror that she was innocent and that she’d had not part in the boy’s disappearance.
But the men did not believe her. They grabbed her, tortured her but Mary still would not confess. As the men’s fury and rage grew, one of them grabbed a knife and as Mary screamed for mercy, he cut off her tongue and they left her to bleed to death, writhing in agony.
Poor Mary died, but she was not alone. She was surrounded by her “children” who witnessed the horrible, bloody murder of their “mother”.
When news spread throughout the town that Mary had gotten her “just desserts” people were pleased. They never trusted a woman who performed at carnivals and who could make dolls speak. She was probably a witch anyway and they were glad to be rid of her.
When the local undertaker was called to take care of Mary’s body, he realized that Mary had an unusual request when it came to the disposition of her body: she wanted to be buried with her children. She was also to be made up to look like a ventriloquist dummy herself. The local mortician did as was in her will out of respect for the dead, for in those times local form and superstition went hand in hand.
Now for a few days, the town was quiet. There was an eerie pall in the air which no one could explain. The sky seemed darker and the birds did not sing. The flowers in the gardens began to wilt although no one could explain why.
And then it began…
The first to be murdered was Jedediah Giles, the man who had cut off Mary’s tongue that frightful night when the mob entered her home. But it was not Mary who cut off his tongue, it was one of her dolls. Every night following the first murder, for 30 consecutive days, a man who had been involved in the killing of Mary Shaw ended up dead. All with their tongues cut out. And a doll was responsible. For outside their homes, fresh tracks could be seen of tiny little doll feet walking from Mary’s grave to each person’s house.
But it didn’t end there. Mary’s ghost also rose up to haunt and plague the family of these men. She took revenge on the children and wives of the murderous fiends who’d killed her.
This time, family members or neighbors said they’d seen the shadow or faint outline of a woman, walking in shredded tatters of clothing, and garish makeup made to look like a ventriloquist dummy. Her gray hair flowing in the wind, and in her hand, a butcher’s knife.
All the victims were found the same way: with their mouths agape and their tongues cut out. Apparently they’d been in mid-scream when Mary cut out their tongues.
And that’s why to this day, the residents of Ravens Fair will not speak Mary Shaw’s name, and they tell their children not to speak her name. For they know that Mary will visit them in their sleep and cut off their tongue to avenge the ghastly deed that was done to her.
Is the curse that Mary Shaw placed real? If you want to know more about Mary Shaw, then watch the movie Dead Silence. You’ll get a scream out of it!
If you get a kick of scary puppet or doll stories then watch this freaky video!