Have you heard of Blythe dolls? You know, Blythe dolls:

  • Zoe Favole

Think they're creepy? Did you know they have a string on the back of their heads that you can pull to change their eye color?

The Blythe community is coming to Portland, which is the site of BlytheCon 2011, a worldwide convention of Blythe doll hobbyists. On Monday June 20, "Blythers" will descend on the Pearl District for five hours (yes, this international event takes place over the course of five business hours on a Monday) of "vintage nautical" themed Blythe happenings—primarily, I think, the buying and selling of miniature Blythe doll outfits. Should you question the demand for such a happening, know that pre-event registration is already closed (I am so there), but the desperate can show up at noon when the doors open to take advantage of the few tickets available at the door. Hit the jump for a brief history of Blythe dolls and a few more of the creepier photos.

Blythe dolls were originally created by a toy company in 1972, but a year later they were gone due to a lack of consumer interest. Then, a woman named Gina Garan received a vintage Blythe doll in 1997 and started using it as a means of honing her photography, toting it around and posing it across various locales in New York City. This eventually culminated in a photo book, This is Blythe, published in 2000, which re-launched the Blythe doll into its second round at the pop-culture game. And this time she won. She is now a cult celebrity, with doll production having been relaunched a year after Garan's (first) book. They now find plenty of buyers, though they're mostly adults who delight in crafting up miniature couture outfits for the Blythes and sharing the results online... and at BlytheCon 2011. Get ready.