Episode #179 — Unsettling Toys

It’s a foregone conclusion that eventually Heidi and Luke will live permanently on a residential cruise ship, traveling the world in their oceanic abode. Whether this is by choice or as some sort of punishment for past deeds, we’re not sure. But it’s going to happen, so we’re trying our best to get used to the idea now. And lucky for us, Storylines has affordable options. (Yes, the ship line is called “Storylines” and yes, we can think of a thousand punchlines for that name.) Since our show is on a limited budget, we’ll probably just have to get one three-bedroom condo instead of two different condos. Luke had better start paring down his massive trilby hat collection, because Heidi’s going to need the closets in every bedroom.

As for where the show’s producers will stay on the ship while Heidi and Luke are cosplaying “The Love Boat” with pursuers, bartenders, and cruise directors, the producer who contributes to this blog suggests they rethink making her brush her teeth in their third bedroom petting zoo and sleep in a closet. There’s no room to sleep there — one entire closet is full of Heidi’s black yoga pants. Maybe their pet baby goat can write the next blog installment… (This unnamed producer’s demands are simple: a view of the ocean, her own sink, a souvenir t-shirt from at least five ports of call a year, and dinner once a week with Captain. Not with the ship’s captain … with the real deal Captain.)

The first stop on this literal cruise of their lifetimes? Key West and East Martello Museum to see Robert the Doll and evaluate whether this famous haunted toy is even half as interesting as what our guests from this week’s episode deal with daily. We’re guessing Brian and Sara of Unsettling Toy Removal and Rehoming have more toy stories than any volunteer guide at that museum in the Keys.

Everyone has encountered that one toy in their home. It gives you the chills. Its eyes follow you around the room. It always seems to pop up in a different space than where you left it. How did you get it? Maybe great grandma Ermengarde made it many years ago. Maybe it was a gift from someone who you thought was a family friend — at least until they gave you that toy. Maybe it just showed up in your bedroom one day without any explanation. No matter how that unsettling toy came to be yours, Brian and Sara are here to help you out. And on the flip side, if you want to bring an unsettling toy into your own home, these intrepid friends will facilitate the adoption and rehoming of clowns, glassy-eyed dolls, homemade monstrosities, or store-bought toys that just give off weird vibes.

If ever there was a week to peruse our guest’s website and social media links before listening to the episode, this is it. So please check out their website or visit them on Facebook and Instagram. While we believe our conversation does Brian and Sara’s work justice, you really need some visuals to give you the entire picture. For instance, the story of Mr. Creeperton is great on its own, but it’s even better if you have the image of his toothy, gaping maw while hearing about how he left a friend’s house with Sara.

We got the rundown on how unsettling toys are identified, sent to Brian and Sara, and then rehomed elsewhere. We also learned why Brian’s a sucker for an eerie toy with a sad face and what qualifications are needed for a toy to end up in their permanent collection. Our discussion also covered whether these toys have unsettling backstories to go with their looks, and how some psychics feel about taking on toys with lots of baggage. Let’s just say some toys must stick around with Brian and Sara for a bit, just to make sure they aren’t sending something bad into someone else’s home.

Just how do friends get into the business of acquiring and rehoming creepy toys? We got the origin story, along with how their friends feel about it. And tune in if you want to know why there are a few toys hanging out in a bar, what to do if you have a toy you want to remove, and how to get your hands on one of those clown dolls that moves on its own.

Of course, what gives one person full-body shivers might delight someone else. Brian and Sara shared with us how these toys, and their owners, connect with the ideas of acceptance and inclusivity. They explain it beautifully, so don’t miss out. After all, no matter what topic we’re covering for Why, acceptance and inclusivity is at the heart of it. Unless it’s about letting our producers have a bedroom in our residential cruise ship. They’re on their own.


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