Is the Coraline Doll a Voodoo Doll? Uncovering the Truth Behind Its Origins

In the 2009 animated film “Coraline,” a peculiar doll resembling the main character sparks curiosity and questions about its true nature. This doll may evoke thoughts of voodoo dolls due to its uncanny similarities to Coraline herself.

However, it is essential to examine the purpose and symbolism of the doll within the context of the story to understand better if it is indeed a voodoo doll.

The Coraline doll is unique to the film adaptation and does not appear in the original book by Neil Gaiman. In the movie, this doll could signify the Beldam’s controlling and manipulative nature, viewing people as objects to be used and discarded when they are no longer useful.

The film’s early scenes show the doll being reconstructed to resemble Coraline, pointing towards the Beldam’s sinister intentions and their impact on Coraline’s journey.

While some may interpret the Coraline doll as a voodoo doll due to its appearance and connections to the Beldam’s manipulative nature, it is important to consider the broader themes of the story and the doll’s symbolic significance.

In doing so, audiences can gain a more nuanced understanding of the doll’s true purpose and the film’s interpretation of the original book.

The Coraline Doll: Origin and Purpose

The Coraline doll is a character from the stop-motion movie adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s book, Coraline. This detailed replica of the doll is designed with yarn hair, button eyes, and a removable yellow raincoat, just as seen in the film Target.

Despite its appearance, the Coraline doll is not a typical toy or voodoo doll. Instead, it was created by the main antagonist, The Beldam, to spy on her victims. The doll’s appearance is altered to resemble the image of the next intended victim Coraline Wiki.

Throughout the story, the doll plays a significant role in conveying the eerie atmosphere and sinister intentions of the other world. It serves as a tool for The Beldam to keep an eye on Coraline and lure her into the manipulative realm of the other mother.

Voodoo Dolls: History and Use

Voodoo dolls, commonly known as effigies with pins inserted, have a long and complex history. While they are often associated with the practice of Vodou in Haiti and Louisiana, the concept of using a doll to represent a person and manipulate their well-being can be traced back to ancient civilizations like the Middle East.

In Vodou, dolls are not intended for causing harm, but rather serve as a way to heal and communicate with deceased loved ones. These dolls are often created to represent a specific person and are used to channel their energy for various purposes such as protection and guidance.

To use a voodoo doll effectively, a person might place it on a personal altar and light candles, making requests to the voodoo spirits, known as Loas, or their ancestors for assistance.

Some common uses of voodoo dolls include:

  • Healing ailments or providing comfort to those in pain
  • Establishing or strengthening a connection with a loved one
  • Seeking protection or guidance from the spirits

It is important to note that, despite their often negative portrayal in popular culture, voodoo dolls are not inherently evil. They are simply tools used in spiritual practices to enhance the connection between the practitioner and the spiritual world.

Coraline Doll Vs. Voodoo Doll: Key Differences

Materials and Construction

The Coraline doll, from the movie adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel, is primarily made of yarn with button eyes and often comes with a removable yellow raincoat. The doll has a hidden wire armature for increased flexibility and poseability.

This construction is not the same as traditional voodoo dolls, which are typically made of cloth or twigs, and can feature various materials like beads, feathers, and hair to represent the individual they are meant to influence.

Purpose and Function

In the movie, the Coraline doll serves as a way for the antagonist, the Beldam, to spy on Coraline and lure her into the Other World. The doll does not possess the same supernatural properties as a voodoo doll, which is believed to have the power to influence the person it represents when certain rituals are performed.

Unlike the Coraline doll, a voodoo doll is often associated with causing harm or bringing good fortune to the person it represents, depending on the intent of the practitioner.

Representation and Symbolism

The Coraline doll’s appearance closely mirrors the protagonist, with the main difference being its button eyes. This similarity is meant to make it appear like a voodoo doll and add to the eerie, unsettling atmosphere of the movie.

However, the symbolism behind the Coraline doll differs from that of a voodoo doll. The black key used to access the Other World signifies secrecy and represents the hidden, dark side of the story. In contrast, voodoo dolls are often designed to represent a specific individual and serve as a physical link between the practitioner and the target.

Cultural and Artistic Interpretation

While the Coraline doll might at first glance resemble a voodoo doll, it is important to consider its function in the story and any symbolism it may hold.

Both the Coraline doll and the voodoo doll share the characteristic of being humanoid figurines, but their purposes and cultural contexts are quite different.

Voodoo dolls are traditionally linked to the practice of Voodoo, as their name suggests. They are used as effigies with inserted pins as a means of casting spells and causing harm to others.

Voodoo dolls are often made by Voodoo practitioners, such as Voodoo Queens or Doctors, which indicate their strong connection to this specific cultural practice.

In contrast, the Coraline doll in the movie adaptation of the story is not explicitly tied to the practice of Voodoo or any other traditional belief system. The doll is instead a tool used by the Beldam, the antagonist of the story.

The doll could be seen as a symbol of the Beldam’s manipulative and controlling nature, as well as her view of people as objects to be used and discarded.

Furthermore, the movie “Coraline” is known to include esoteric and occult symbolism throughout the story with dark twists intended for deeper meanings.

As such, the Coraline doll can be viewed as one of many possible symbols within the narrative’s rich tapestry of artistic meaning.

The Coraline Doll in Pop Culture

The Coraline doll is a significant element in pop culture, mainly due to its presence in the movie adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline book.

This stop-motion film showcased a unique and spooky world, with Coraline’s doll playing an essential role in the storyline, featuring yarn hair and button eyes, which have become iconic symbols of the movie.

Many fans of the Coraline film have sought to purchase or create their own versions of the famous doll. Custom and handmade Coraline dolls can be found on websites like Etsy, where artists and crafters offer their interpretations of the character.

Some of these dolls are designed as voodoo dolls, resembling the style and elements of traditional voodoo dolls, with pins and buttons incorporated into their design.

Aside from the handmade market, major retailers like Target and Amazon also sell officially licensed Coraline dolls. These dolls are detailed replicas of the doll from the movie, featuring removable yellow raincoats and hidden wire armatures for posing.

In addition to physical dolls, the Coraline character has also been popularized through Funko Pop collectible figures, which depict Coraline and other characters in the movie’s recognizable toy-like format with oversized heads and simplified features.


In examining the nature of the Coraline doll, it is important to understand its role within the story of Coraline. The doll serves as a tool for the Other Mother to spy on children and learn about their lives, specifically their unhappiness.

This information is then used to lure them into the alternate world.

While the term “voodoo doll” may come to mind, the Coraline doll does not share the characteristic pin usage or elements of Haitian Vodou and Louisiana Voodoo found in traditional voodoo dolls. These practices are culturally specific, and it would be inaccurate to label the Coraline doll as such.

Nonetheless, the Coraline doll exhibits a different kind of dark magic, as it is manipulated by the Other Mother to gather information and deceive her victims.

Ultimately, the doll is a powerful symbol of the sinister forces at work in the story, and is a captivating, albeit misleading, representation of control and manipulation.