John Oliver came into work during his summer hiatus for one of his iconic rants. And we can’t say we blame him. Dolls and doll parts washing up on South Texas beaches are indeed horrifying and must be stopped. Some have barnacles growing out of their eyes. At least one is actually a sex doll with a mouth full of nightmares. No more creepy beach dolls, please!
Halfway through the segment, Oliver literally begs viewers to stop watching before he shows us more dolls. But like their unblinking eyes, we just cannot look away. The local news report playing creepy piano music during the segment adds to the ambiance.
The story, which Smithsonian Magazine also covered, has a happy ending. Oliver offers a $10,000 donation to buy up all the remaining beach dolls and promises they will be destroyed before their curse can be carried out. Apparently, the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve auctioned the dolls off in order to fund their sea turtle rehabilitation project. Now the nice turtles can get the care they need and we can all avoid whatever terrible fate the dolls had in mind for us.
The reserve’s Facebook page includes lots of beachcombing photos, from shells and other natural finds to an unfortunate amount of trash. The doll beach is so much more creepy than the one where LEGO pieces wash up on shore. At least those come from a known source, a container ship that lost its LEGO payload back in 1997. Though the Gulf of Mexico’s current accounts for why so much trash ends up on Texas beaches, it doesn’t explain how these ocean-dwelling dolls specifically end up on Texas beaches.
Creepy dolls like those in Chucky or Squid Game never seem to die. Mattel is putting an environmental spin on that and started recycling old toys into new ones. Hopefully, that means fewer Barbies haunting our beaches at least. We hope to not see these dolls next time we go to the beach. If we do, we will absolutely run in the direction.
Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth.