The ancient Egyptian's believed heavily in the after-life and some sorcerers used a magical power to give life to inanimate figurines using the souls of their deceased friends. They achieved this by creating a magic potion and putting the potion into a corpse with a special ring and mixing it with the potion with the person's blood and then injecting it into the figurine, bringing it to life with the essence of the person. The soul itself is not transferred giving the person a new body, but makes them reborn as the figurine with all their best qualities and hates and desires, but not all of their memories remain. When Sutekh made a plan to use this magic for evil and turn on mankind in a thousand years, Afzel an Egyptian sorcerer decided it was best to steal the power out of his clutches and pass it onto someone who is wise who can take care of it so that one day it can be used a weapon to prevent Sutekh's plan from taking effect. Afzel passed the secret onto Andre Toulon, a young French puppeteer, during 1902. Toulon transferred the soul of a Beggar, who froze to death on a cold winter night into his Retro-Pinhead puppet. He then transferred his fellow puppeteers who were killed by Sutekh's Mummy Servants (Vigo, Duval, Valentin and Latour) into his other puppets, Drill Sargent, Dr. Death, Retro-Blade and Cyclops. When Afzel committed suicide to prevent the mummies from stealing the magic, Toulon transferred his soul into Retro-6-Shooter.
Toulon moved to Berlin, Germany during the second World War and four of his friends were killed by the Nazis, first was an American whose identity and cause of death was never revealed that Toulon used to bring Six-Shooter to life. Then there was Herman Strauss a truck driver with a good heart who tried to smuggle food to a Jewish ghetto, but was executed in the gas chambers, his soul was used for Pinhead. After that there was Hans Seiderman, a jolly book keeper who was shot in the head by Nazis, his soul was used for Jester and lastly Joseph Sebastian a German soldier who disagreed with Adolf Hitler's movement and was forced to work in a salt mine, but refused and was murdered as a result, his soul became Tunneler. When Major Kraus killed Toulon's wife Elsa, he used her soul for Leech Woman. Dr. Hess, a doctor working for the Nazis betrayed them and tried to escape Berlin with Toulon, but was stabbed by a Nazi and Toulon used his soul as Blade. Toulon escaped to America at the Bodega Bay Inn and created an Oriental Puppet, based on a Chinese opera show, and bought it to life with an unknown soul. After Toulon committed suicide and Danny Coogan found the puppets and bought them home. After fighting with the Nazis that caused Toulon to kill himself, the Nazis killed Danny's brother Don, and Danny used his soul to bring to life a Ninja puppet. When the Nazis were able to steal the magic from Danny, they used it to bring to life four Nazi puppets (Bombshell, Blitzkreig, Kamikaze and Weremacht). It is unknown who Blitzkreig and Weremacht were but it is assumed that they are Nazis that had died. Uschi a female Nazi was used to bring Bombshell to life and Kamikaze's soul was that of an innocent Chinatown pedestrian.
Many years later, Dr. Magrew bought Toulon's puppets at an auction and read his diary and became obsessed with following in his footsteps and creating a new race of puppet beings. Magrew came up with a whole new method by transferring not just the soul, but the entire person into the puppet. He first practiced this on Matt Deary, his former employee, but his experiment failed and he had created a mutant puppet that was in constant agony. He then did the same with his next employee Robert Winsley and succeeded bringing a Tank puppet to life, which then turned on him and killed him because Robert was a sensitive, shy young man but his soul had contained a deep, repressed murderous anger that has been caused by all the torment from local bullies, stress from his old boss and being an orphan abandoned by his parents. After the puppet's ordeal with Magrew, they started to grow weak and went back to the Bodega Bay Inn to resurrect their original master Andre Toulon. When Toulon was revived he was not the same man anymore, he was a corrupt, evil, selfish zombie who ordered the puppets around and planned to steal their life force from them to use for himself. It is unknown why Toulon was evil during this time, but some theories are that the elixir is cursed by Sutekh or Osiris to prevent people from using it on themselves and play God and it should only be used on figurines, and if it's used on a human they would come back to life evil, this would explain why Theresa was insane after Neil Gallagher has resurrected her and why Toulon bought his wife back as a puppet rather than just bringing her back from the dead. It would not explain Neil's behavior though since he was already evil to begin with, but it may have magnified it. Another theory is that Toulon's soul was not inside his body at this time and it was just a soulless former shell of what once was Toulon with insane lingering memories still floating around in it's rotted brain. During this time Toulon also created a new puppet Torch and used an unknown soul to bring it to life. He then had came up with a new experiment of transferring his and an innocent parapsychologist's entire soul into new bodies so that they could live forever, this was a very different experiment from the puppets as this would literally be giving themselves new bodies and be able to speak and remember everything from their former life. Toulon first practiced this on himself transferring himself into the new body, but the puppets had had enough with his craziness and killed him. They then used a soul of an old eccentric woman that they had murdered, to bring to life a mannequin and become their new master.
It is unknown what happened to their new master but they puppets ended back at the hotel. Andre Toulon's ghost had returned from wherever it had been (perhaps Heaven) and gained the puppet's trust again and helped them and Rick Myers, a young scientist caretaker at the hotel to fight Sutekh and his evil Totems. The puppets put Toulon's soul into Decapitron, a robot puppet with guns on it's head. Sutekh's Watchers bought the Totem creatures to life using their souls and battled with the puppets. After defeating the Totems, Sutekh was forced to use his soul to bring to life his ultimate king Totem and fight Decapitation himself. Decapitron used all of his power to defeat Sutekh's Totem and blew himself up along with most of the hotel. Rick took the puppets home and became their new master. Then Maclain a rogue assassin was sent by creatures Toulon had abandoned (possibly the Retro puppets from 1902) who wants to learn how to set their souls free from their wooden bodies and release them into Heaven. She murdered Rick and then tracks down Peter Hertz, a man who was once a child Toulon had saved from the Nazis during the second World War. Peter had now inherited Toulon's puppets and fought Maclain to gain control of them.
It is also worth noting that Andre Toulon's father once sold his soul to Baal, the demon of wealth and profit in exchange of the secrets of alchemy but his soul became trapped inside an ancient oak tree in a dark forest so that Bael could never claim it. Andre Toulon carved his original Retro puppets using that same tree. Also during 1912 in Cairo, Egypt, Andre Toulon put on a puppet show based on Faust, a story about a man who sells his soul to a demon.
- Puppet Master (Mentioned in Andre Toulon's diary)
- Puppet Master II (Torch is bought to life, Toulon promises to let his puppets become their human selves again and he also experiments with transferring his soul into a new body)
- Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge (Toulon reveals the souls of two of his puppets and he brings two more puppets to life using souls of his recently deceased friends)
- Puppet Master IV (Toulon's ghost communicates with the puppets and is then transferred into the Decapitron)
- Puppet Master V: The Final Chapter (Same as IV)
- Curse of the Puppet Master (Dr. Magrew talks about Robert Winsley's soul and transfers it into the Tank puppet)
- Retro Puppet Master (Toulon learns about the magic and soul transference from Afzel and tests it on six of his friends)
- Puppet Master: The Legacy (Maclain is searching for a method of releasing the trapped souls from their wooden puppet bodies)
- Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys (Jean Paul Toulon and Erica Sharpe's father sell their soul to the demon Bael)
- Puppet Master: Axis of Evil (Danny Coogan transfers his brother's soul into a Ninja puppet)
- Puppet Master: Axis Rising (Professor Freuhoffer gives life to four puppets using the souls of three fallen Nazis and one innocent Chinese hostage)
- The Full Moon Features Trading Cards claim that Peter Hertz is the soul of Torch but this is impossible because there is no way Andre Toulon could have had Peter's soul and he returned and discussed Torch with Maclain in Puppet Master 8: The Legacy. The most likely person to be Torch's soul is Neil Gallagher or a demon that Toulon had conjured.
- Beggar - Retro-Pinhead
- Afzel - Retro-6-Shooter
- Valentin - Retro-Blade
- Latour - Cyclops
- Duval - Dr. Death
- Vigo-Drill Sargent
- Unknown - Six-Shooter
- Herman Strauss - Pinhead
- Hans Seiderman - Jester
- Joseph Sebastian - Tunneler
- Elsa Toulon - Leech Woman
- Dr. Hess - Blade
- Ken Shii - Oriental Puppet
- Don Coogan - Ninja
- Uschi - Bombshell
- Chinese Man - Kamikaze
- SS Nazi - Weremacht
- SS Nazi - Blitzkreig
- Matt Deary - Freak
- Robert Winsley - Tank
- Unknown - Torch
- Erique Chaneé - Toulon Mannequin (then to Decapitron)
- Camille Kenney - Miss. Camille
- Watchers - Three Totems
- Sutekh - King Totem