Childrens' toys are supposed to entertain them but quite what past toymakers had in mind when they made these monstrosities is anybody's guess. Freaky, disturbing and mentally scarring, it seems killer dolls and model execution apparatuses were more welcomed than feared
Here are nine disturbing children's toys from the past that were once surprisingly in vogue.
1. Baby's First Butcher Shop
These replica models of butcher shops were all the rage during the Victorian era of Britain even though the 'butcher shop' looked like a front for more sinister practices.
Still, these playsets proved very popular and offered an alternative to your average dollhouse. They were also quite informative and would teach children the importance of food and money. In fact, the butcher shops depicted in the models were how most were set-up during the period. The butchers and his assistants would usually adorn stripped aprons; floors would be covered in blood, and iron hooks would provide support for the hanging carcases.
2. Hugo, Man Of A Thousand Faces
As the toy's name suggests, Hugo could be pretty much anyone you wanted him to be. But the 1970s toy looked so creepy- no matter what disguise you gave him.
One minuted he'd look like a bald and evil mastermind and then he'd be a deranged scientist. Or a serial killer. Or child catcher. In other words: Hugo had trouble looking good.
3. Replica Guillotine
Mini-gluttonies became incredibly popular in France during the French Revolution. Disturbingly, the toy (not to be confused with the real thing) was used by children to decapitate the heads of birds and mice and even dolls.
Yes, this was a toy that would probably turn most children into deranged psychopaths, which makes it puzzling as to why American toymakers released it onto the market in the 1970s.
4. Little Miss No-Name
If you've ever seen a horror movie involving dolls, then they may have been inspired by this toy.
Little Miss No Name was designed by the Hasbro Toy Company in 1965 and was characterised by its tattered clothes, glaring eyes, and taut mouth.It even had a plastic tear on its cheek.
Anyone who owned one of these animatronic gremlins will know how awesome they were until they started to wake you up in the middle of the night and, in an eerie monotone, declare that "Furby need food."
But that didn't stop the toymaker shifting over 40m units of the fluffballs in little over three years, and it wasn't long before the Furby became the must-have toy of the late 90s.
However, fearful children eventually experienced a lot of underlying problems with their seemingly innocent toys. Many Furbys took the creep factor to another level and would reportedly wake them in the middle of the night and ask if they "Want to play"- even after they had had their batteries removed.
6. Baby Secret
Manufactured in 1966 by the Mattel toy company, this creepy doll screamed serial-killer. Named 'Baby Secret', the doll appeared fairly innocuous and sported a ginger bob-cut, a red dress, white bib and a moving mouth. However, it was the doll’s whisper feature that made it terrifying.
You only have to view the commercial to see that. Whispering sinister phrases such as “I want to tell you something” and “I like to sleep with you," Baby Secret was a toy that seemed to live up to its name for all the wrong reasons.
7. Crandall's Acrobats
When toymaker Charles M. Crandall designed these stacking acrobats, he probably did so with the best intentions.
But instead of looking welcoming and fun, they appeared deranged and had a look about them that suggested their acrobatic skills were merely a ploy to lure young children into the circus and then take them away forever.
8. Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab
This Atomic Energy Lab was practically telling kids to go ahead and become evil-masterminds. Retailing at $50 (around $350 in today's market) and including “very low-level” radioactive sources, the lab contained, among other things, a radiation counter, four samples of Uranium-bearing ores, and an electroscope (to measure radioactivity).
After widespread criticism of the lab's safety, Alfred Carlton Gilbert, the 'toys' inventor, claimed the set was safe, perhaps not knowing at the time that exposure to the U-238 isotope is linked to cancer and other life-threatening conditions.
Unsurprisingly, the learning apparatus was taken out of circulation in 1952- only a year after its release.
9. The Bones Family
These LEGO-like models were popular toys at one time, and the manufacturer encouraged customers to buy the whole family which consisted of Skinny's sister, Ginny Bones; their dog, Ham Bones; and Trom Bones, the weird-looking horse.
Quite what kids were supposed to do with these unnerving and skeletal toys is up for debate, but we guess they were good company if an invite to little Jane's birthday celebrations never came.