WHEN growing up in Stourbridge, Jayne Harris was more likely to be playing with action hero figures or cars - but now she earns her living writing about her experiences delving into the eerie world of dolls and other inanimate objects suspected of being possessed by restless spirits.

Among the subjects of her experiments into the paranormal is Peggy, said to be the UK's most haunted doll - credited with causing people to have crippling headaches, sickness and breathing difficulties just by looking at photos and videos of her.

Jayne rescued the 1960s blonde doll - clad in a white dress and pull-on red shoes - from a garden shed in Sheffield, where the toy had been consigned after its owner had been terrorised into a life of sleeplessness and spooky goings-on in her home.

"The woman bought the doll from a sale and had it for a few months but couldn't sleep, was seeing shadows, doors were opening and closing on their own and she eventually wrapped it in blankets and put it in the outhouse," said Jayne, aged 32, a mother-of-two, who originally trained as a human psychologist and used to work in mental health in Sandwell.

A psychic medium who spent time with the doll said the spirit that had high-jacked the toy was named Peggy, had a connection with Hyde Park in London, died in 1946 from a tightness in her chest and had a fear of institutions.

Jayne has found death records for a Peggy Hines, who lived in that area, had been born in an institution in 1922 and died in 1946, and is now trying to get hold of a death certificate to find out more.

"We don't know if Peggy is stuck here and may need help to cross over," said Jayne.

"The doll doesn't scare me or affect me but the strange thing with Peggy is the number of people who have said they had piercing headaches just from looking at her picture."

One woman in Scotland reported suffering a minor heart attack during an hour-long experiment in which people were asked to feed back if they had any feelings while looking at the doll.

Peggy is just one of a string of dolls and other objects, including jewellery, paintings and photographs, that Jayne has investigated as being the target of 'spirit attachment' - the title she gives to the field of paranormal investigation in which she specialises.

She believes objects can retain an "imprint" of someone's energy, particularly if they meant a lot to that person, that can manifest in paranormal activity.

Many of the weird goings-on surrounding items that she is called in to investigate at people's home ultimately have a worldly explanation, such as the house needs rewiring or new plumbing.

But others need further explanation, which is when she and Simon carry out further experiments.

Jayne recently hit national headlines when she released a film apparently showing the operating mechanism of a creepy "old man" puppet moving on its own in the dead of night in a sealed cabinet in the basement of her home in Stourbridge's Old Quarter.

The footage, filmed by a night vision camera, attracted more than a million hits on YouTube and Jayne says it is the most exciting event she and Simon have captured in 17 years of paranormal investigation.

Jayne and Simon, a 40-year-old graphic designer, run HD Paranormal Research - originally called Haunted Dolls - and use part of their basement to carry out experiments, including filming their subjects through the night, even trying to set up vibrations to check that was not the cause of their puppet's strange nocturnal movement.

Now they have been contacted by a paranormal research society that wants to set up more controlled experiments on their haunted puppet, which allegedly tried to choke its previous owner to death.

Jayne first became interested in the unusual topic as a teenager, when she visited spiritualist churches and became intrigued by a doll, owned by a woman in Stratford-upon-Avon, that apparently turned the TV on and set off a ghostly rattling of knives and forks in the kitchen drawer.

A book by Jayne and co-writer Dan Weaver, from Stoke-on-Trent about the study of spirit attachment - What Dwells Within - is due out at Halloween.

And, on October 23, HD Paranormal is linking up with paranormal historian Richard Felix and psychic medium Ian Griffiths to run Eerie Encounters at the old Derby jail, a spooky event to raise money for children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent.

Uri Geller has even donated one of his bent spoons - signed by him - for a raffle linked to the event, where visitors will get chance to meet Peggy the haunted doll.