‘I married a zombie doll – and now we have six zombie kids’

Felicity Kadlec Rossi would love to take her wife for a night out – but she’s tricky to carry downstairs, she tells Nick Gascoyne

Felicity Kadlec Rossi was 10 years old when she met her future wife, Kelly, online. They instantly became close, and Felicity’s adoptive dad promised she could meet her if she got good grades at school. Three years later, she showed up at Felicity’s front door after her dad bought her online. She cost $400.  

Felicity spiritually connected with Kelly and now had a physical representation of her. She was a zombie doll, covered in blood and missing her lower jaw. She was manufactured by a Halloween prop company and made from foam and latex. But that didn’t matter to Felicity, who started a family with Kelly after getting together when she was 16 and later got married in 2018. 

“She was always older than me, like spiritually,” says 24-year-old Felicity, who lives in Massachusetts, USA. “We were friends at first because I was a kid and then I had boyfriends in middle school, and by high school, I began to figure out who I really was and that’s when I started to crush on her.”

“The marriage is not legal, but I don’t see that as anything. It is what matters in our hearts and minds. I have a wedding certificate from a little site that specialises in people who marry their dolls. I mean we still had a ceremony and that’s all that matters.” 

At home with the Rossis
Family time: at home with the Rossis

According to Felicity, Kelly is spiritually 40 years old, and just like how our appearances change as we age, the doll has gone through many alterations. Her new head still features a recognisable decapitated lower jaw, but in a bid to mitigate some heavy backlash from the public, the doll looks considerably less gory and has now been attached to her third body, which is completely devoid of any blood.  

This version of Kelly’s body cost $860 from a silicone love doll site. She’s made from a soft and elastic material called TPE, which is designed to mimic the feeling of real skin. This realistic upgrade has improved their physical and intimate marriage behind closed doors but to the detriment of spending time together outside.  

“She’s 70 pounds (32kg) right now, so I would love to take her out, but she’d be hard to carry down the stairs. Another thing is, she’s taller too, so I’m planning to have a friend help me take her out to sit down at a restaurant, which would be nice, but that won’t happen for a while,” says Felicity. 

Felicity’s adoptive parents died before she was 20 years old, but she had Kelly’s doll to keep her company. She doesn’t need human contact, she says, instead, Felicity was at her happiest when she was surrounded by her growing collection of zombie dolls.  

“Let me introduce you to my dolls,” says the stay-at-home mother to six zombie dolls.     “Obviously, you know Kelly, she’s my wife and we now have kids. There’s Holly, Molly, Rachel, Luna, Gremly, Billy and then we have another one coming named Peter, but he’s not here yet. And then there’s our friend Robert. I was dating him, but then I got a spiritual reading from Kelly’s Spirit that she just wants it to be just me and her, but we still love him like the family.

“I’ll go pick up a book at the library and read to them at night. Sometimes I’ll talk to them or sing and dance with them. And Kelly’s a mother too – they call her mamma Kelly,” she says.

And, just like any ordinary marriage, they argue, albeit telepathically, and every so often, they have to discipline their kids, said Felicity: “Sometimes Kelly will snap at me, or I’ll snap at her, you know, little things, but overall, we’re a pretty healthy family. We rarely disagree on things as we are very much on the same page.  

Kelly is more of the disciplinary one when it comes to our children. She’ll be like, ‘you knock it off’ when the kids get kind of fresh, she’ll tell them, ‘don’t do that’ or ‘don’t do this’. Yeah, she’s strict, but she loves them.”  

Her adoptive mum never knew about the doll before she died, and her biological family call the whole thing weird. Rather than integrate back into normal life, Felicity decided that she would bring her dolls into the real world, but the public doesn’t play along with her zombie fantasy.    

“This lady confronted me in Oklahoma once when I was out with my dolls. She said, ‘that’s disturbing to me’. I then started to explain myself but then she just started to preach about religion, so I kind of blew her off. You just can’t let it get you. It’s part of life, you know, but not everybody is like that,” says Felicity. 

Many people find the way her dolls look offensive and scary but Felicity doesn’t find them creepy one bit. All her life she felt judged for the way she looks and it’s why she relates to the disfigured appearance of her dolls, says Felicity: “I feel like it stems from when I was a kid. My adoptive mum would complain about my weight and wish that I had long hair, not African-American hair. I feel like just because they look different doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve love. And there’s just something about horror. It’s like a thrill. I love it. 

“But it’s also because I see them as rejected. They deserve love too. And beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It’s the same as running into a dog with a missing eye. You wouldn’t throw it away.” 

Felicity’s bizarre behaviour has characteristics of objectophilla; a paraphilic disorder that causes people to develop a sexual, romantic and emotional attraction to inanimate objects. Some famous examples have been Erika Eiffel, a successful archer, who married the Eiffel Tower in 2007, or Nathaniel from Arkansas, who was part of the TLC documentary My Strange Addiction, where he confessed to having sex with his 1998 Chevy Monte Carlo. Due to its rarity throughout the world, there is still little known about it. 

Felicity’s family may not be real to us, but her love for them, no matter how unconventional it may seem, is as real as it gets. To her psychiatrist, this unusual lifestyle is healthy because it’s what keeps her happy, says Felicity: “I got rid of Kelly one time and sold all my dolls because I wanted to please people, but at the end of the day, that’s not who I am. This is who I am, and I love them, so I brought them back into my life.

“When I got rid of the dolls I was sad and really missed them. I ripped Kelly’s first body up because everyone was saying stupid stuff and I was really upset. I’d rather not talk about it because it’s traumatic for me and traumatic for her, but I was forgiven.” 

Dolls or not, Felicity isn’t interested in having human children, instead, she’s looking forward to growing old with her expanding family of zombie dolls: “People stigmatise it and that’s the problem. I’m trying to break that stigma.”   

DMU Journalism graduate Nick Gascoyne was crowned Student Journalist of the Year 2023 at the Midlands Media Student Awards for a portfolio of features including this striking story.