The Idol of Nightmares [Billy]

This African idol, discovered bound in a burlap sack under a home in Dayton, Ohio, was believed cursed, having caused terrible nightmares, anomalous activity, and feelings of dread in the clients who stumbled upon it. Shortly after it was donated to the Newkirk collection, the curators themselves began to experience activity that ranged from technological malfunctions to phenomena consistent when poltergeist hauntings.. In fact, dozens of museum visitors would later report having strange, vivid dreams after coming into contact with the idol, with many more finding that their own photographs, videos, and audio recordings of the piece were mysteriously corrupt, if they hadn’t simply disappeared altogether.

Initial EVP sessions with the Idol of Nightmares at first yielded nothing but guttural screams, but as the Newkirks continued to work with the item, full sentences eventually came forth. The entity called people by name, referenced past events, and even appeared to tell jokes. But something even more strange began to happen: museum visitors began to spontaneously present offerings to The Idol, finding their lives dramatically affected in positive ways shortly after. Some claimed they saved from car accidents, others found themselves in sudden strokes of good luck.

It wasn’t long before the intelligence began appearing in Greg’s dreams, delivering messages, and even presenting plans for mysterious devices and methods presumably used to contact the dead.

Further study showed the piece to be a powerful and ancient artifact from the central Congo region, a piece which had most likely belonged to a tribal healer. This holy man, would communicate with the spirit of the attached entity through dreams, where the intelligence would teach him to heal the sick, punish criminals, and divine the future. The idol would often act as a bridge between the living and the dead, and offerings would be given to the spirit in return for favors.

The Idol of Nightmares, now affectionately known as Billy, remains the most active and communicative item in the Newkirk collection, and has become the defacto mascot of the museum.

Donor wishes to remain anonymous



Year / Age

Late 1700s - Early 1800s


Central Congo


Wood, ivory, burlap [removed]




Haunted, Historical