The Idea Behind the Dolls...
The idea for Headless Historicals dolls started on a day in 1998 when Shiva Rodriguez had entirely too much free time on her hands. As a costume designer at the time, Shiva had heard many others in her field talk about getting their start by dressing up dolls in home-made outfits. Having missed this childhood pastime as a kid, she decided to give it a try by doing a doll of the historical queen of fashion, Marie Antoinette.
Shiva also did a lot of work in horror art and FX makeup, so when the doll was dressed she added a little extra touch by popping its head off and adding a little blood on the stump. After all, Marie Antoinette had been guillotined during the French Revolution.
The doll became quite a conversation piece in her home and visitors seemed to enjoy the macabre humor. Shiva also made a doll of Queen Katherine Howard (Henry VIII's fifth wife) which was soon sold on auction.
A few years later, Shiva was sitting around with Garith Pettibone, trying to brainstorm some ideas for raising money to finance some film projects. Their eyes kept wandering over to the Marie Antoinette doll, and then came the "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" moment that launched the idea.
Combining their experience in fashion and FX makeup with their love for history, they set about working on the first thirteen dolls to debut on the website. After much pondering as what in the world to call a site that featured such macabre dolls, Garith came up with the name "Headless Historicals".
The dolls have since shown up in some rather unexpected places. After the initial launch of the website in 2006, Headless Historicals dolls have been seen in magazines, talked about on radio shows, and featured on many websites for fans of horror and history alike.
About the Dolls...
Inspired by history, Headless Historicals™ dolls portray famous and not-so-famous men and women at both their very best and very worst. These dolls are for display purposes only and are certainly not intended to be playthings for children. We are not affiliated with any doll manufacturer.
Because these doll forms were originally obtained from second-hand sources, slight imperfections are normal and often add to the doll's character considering the nature of these reworkings.
Each doll is dressed in handmade outfits that resemble the attire that they might have worn in the height of their success in life while the body appears as it would have shortly after their death.
Using forensic photographs, written historical accounts, and techniques used for creating horror effects in film, special attention is given to the details of the injuries sustained during the final moments of each character's life.
All of the eyes are glazed over to produce the lack-luster stare of the dead. Torn flesh and deep gashes are shown in all their gory details and for decapitations the severed muscle tissue and bone is visible in the wound.
The artists are sticklers when it comes to the details. If they've found records that there was an unfortunate mishap on the scaffold, they'll add those special little touches to the doll whenever possible. It's not always easy with a small doll form!
But the full-sized mannequins are painstakingly sculpted and tediously detailed so that they appear as life-like as possible. The goal for these life-sized pieces is to produce museum quality effigies of the historical characters.
About the Artists...
These dolls were designed and created by a couple of artists who share a love for history and for horror, two things that often share the same stage in textbooks and films but are rarely seen together in commemorative dolls.
Garith Pettibone has worked as a makeup artist at many Florida attractions and has been known to dabble in fashion design. He has a special interest in military history, particularly during the Roman Empire. He did not have a little sister to torment and is now taking this opportunity to experience a normal boyhood activity of which he was deprived.
Shiva Rodriguez has been working with special FX makeup and creating stage costumes for over fifteen years. As a hobby she studies historical torture devices and other unpleasant ways to die. She finds it very amusing that she didn't start playing with dolls until she was in her thirties.
In 2008, Shiva's husband Duckie Rodriguez joined the team. A woodworking hobbyist, he builds all the fancy stands for the large mannequin pieces.