The Creepy Moving Mannequins of One Mysterious New Hamburg House Will Probably Freak You Out

The John Lawson House, located in the vicinity of the New Hamburg train station in New York, is a mystery in its own right. You couldn’t really say it’s haunted, but it has its own share of secrets that no one has managed to reveal. Yet.

Every day, the porch at the John Lawson House is occupied by life-sized female mannequins dressed in clothes from the last century. Their number, position and theme varies from day to day. But no one knows how they get there. No living person has ever been spotted at the house, which is one of six properties at Main Street Historic District.

Some believe that the dolls have a message to convey. They think the dolls are trying to gesture and point towards an unsolved riddle. Others say that the dolls’ mystery lies in the history of the house. In 1871, during a two-week cold wave, a train crashed just 200 feet from the house, instantly killing 22 people. It is believed that the dolls are always pointing towards that crash site.


John Lawson House has seen its own share of bad times. Constructed in 1845, it was one the few buildings to have survived a massive fire that destroyed almost the entire block. Sometimes, the dolls appear to be pointing towards the only other historical house left on the street, which has been abandoned for several years now.


The dolls are always clutching the most bizarre objects – books, towels, brushes, birdcages and overflowing cups of potpourri. These items are sometimes tucked into their plastic hands or placed in their laps. A vegetable garden is kept in the back yard and on rainy days, the dolls disappear from the porch.


Neighbors have reported a faint light in the kitchen at night, filtering through the thick drapes that keep the interior hidden from prying eyes. But they have no idea who lives there or who the current owners are. Does someone actually live in the house? Or is there a supernatural force behind the dolls’ eerie movements? For now, the answers to these questions remain a mystery.


via Atlas Obscura, Roadtrippers

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Feedback (4 Comments)

  • RoboCop Posted on February 21, 2014

    The owner is probably using the mannequins to deter vandals and vagrants from trashing the place. Making the place creepy is cheaper than using an alarm service.

  • Ken Posted on March 22, 2014

    Or, it could be people dressed up as mannequins, that would be genious to creep people out.

  • Merrin Posted on March 30, 2014

    This must be a joke – everyone knows my mom and her “ladies”. Not much of mystery…

  • Brooke Posted on April 6, 2014

    I looked on another sites comments after google earthing the house and finding no mannequins on the front porch. People have commented going to the house at the end if 2013 and up until the 4th of this month and no one saw the mannequins. Evidently the owners stopped putting them out. Someone said the owners were in the process of moving. IDK, but it was a cool story I just wish they had kept it up.