Pet Rock. - [Folktoy???]
History: In 1975, Gary Dahl (1935-2015) marketed pet rocks as though they were living pets, they came with a cardboard carrying case with custom cut, breathing holes, a straw bed, as well as a certificate of authentication and care manual. - [you can read the full care manual over on the internet archive: here.] - (say what you like, i think its pretty charming.) - Although it was a short-lived fad, Dahl sold over 1 Million Pet Rocks for $4 each, he became a millionaire. The pet rock was also cemented in history as a cornerstone of 'infamous toys.'
[Gary Dahl and his pet rock.]
• Pop Culture: Today, the pet rock 'lives' on in infamy in Pop Culture & in the media, the fad is brought up seemingly anytime someone draws a face or adds google eyes/other human features to a pebble, or in cartoons when a rock "acts as though it where alive." or if a character pretends it is (& thats a rock fact.)
Although notably, the original pet rocks didn't even come with a face included, many people would add google eyes to help the stones feel more relatable or toy-like.
[ Although there's nothing particularly paranormal about pet rocks, nor is it what I'd classify as 'folkloric' or even 'cryptid-esc.' - The concept as a whole certainly does match the vibe of certain 'tongue in cheek 'fearsome critters.' (Particularly it jives closely with the commercial origins of 'Paul Bunyan.' and hey, if paul counts, then eh, why not the pet rock??? ]
See also: Tulpamancy.
Art Sticker by samkalensky (thats me!) part of my folk toys series of stickers, available in 4 sizes!