Robert the Possessed Doll

Is this doll really haunted?


The story of Robert the Doll began when the affluent family of artist Robert Eugene Otto moved into Key West, Florida, in the early 1900s. They had brought along a number of servants from the Bahamas with them. One servant was a Jamaican woman who served as a nurse for young Robert (or Gene, as he was called). It is also said that she practiced voodoo. According to legend, eventually the nurse and Mrs. Otto had a falling out, and the nurse was dismissed. In what many believe was an act of revenge, before she left she gave little Robert a hand-sewn doll that was made disturbingly to his likeness.

Gene took an immediate liking to the doll and gave him his first name, Robert. While at first the relationship between Gene and his doll was innocent, soon troubling events began to occur. The other toys in his room started to turn up mutilated, and the sound of eerie giggling could be heard at night. In addition, Gene's youthful voice could also be heard as he played in his room, then suddenly the voice would take on a completely different tone. One time, his mother entered his room and found him cowering in a corner, terrified, while the doll was rested on a chair, his creepy black eyes appearing as if they were glaring down at the child. Gene would even have nightmares and scream out in the middle of the night. When his parents would rush into the room, they would find furniture overturned and their son in a horrified state. All he could say was, "Robert did it" (which is what he would continue to say whenever something negative would happen in his life or when something went wrong).

Finally his parents had had enough, and they moved Robert to the attic, where he remained for many years. Then when Gene inherited the house after his parents' death and moved in with his wife, the doll was rediscovered. Even as an adult, Robert seemed to have just as strong of a hold on him as ever. His wife had a bad feeling about the doll and tried to place him back in the attic, but Gene resisted her attempts and placed Robert in the turret room against a window. School children and others who would walk past the house would swear that they could see the doll moving around in the window. Visitors also claimed that the doll's facial expression would change.

When Gene died in 1972, his wife, who despised the doll, moved Robert into a cedar chest in the attic. The doll wasn't found again until after the house was sold to a new family, whose young daughter discovered it in the chest. Just as with Gene, the girl claimed that Robert would torment her and would also blame him when things went wrong. Even decades later, she still holds onto the belief that the doll "wanted to kill her".

Robert was later donated to and still resides at the Key West Martello Museum. Employees and visitors to the museum claim that that the doll is still causing trouble and that they notice his facial expression change. Some have even reported unfortunate events that have happened to them after visiting Robert. People are also noticing that the doll's features are beginning to age and that his hair is graying. The explanation that a psychic offered is that Robert's soul is slowly beginning to die.

It is said that if one takes a photograph of Robert without first politely asking him for permission (the doll will give permission by tilting his head to one side), or if he doesn't give permission and the person takes a photo anyway, the individual and his or her family will be cursed.

Does Robert look more evil or cute?

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Comments 21 comments

crazyhorsesghost profile image

crazyhorsesghost 4 years ago from East Coast , United States

The doll is something else indeed. I know there are rumors the doll is aging but I have been visiting the doll for the last forty years and I don't see it.

Twice I have been allowed to spend the night with the doll and we did have some unusual things happen. Both times the doll moved on it's own and I know no living human moved it. Several times we got recordings of a child laughing in the vicinity of the doll.

I think the doll is possessed possibly by a demon. I'm not sure of why its in the doll but I do believe its there. I have been able to hold it and so has a friend of mine and we both felt something evil. I would like to be able to be allowed to do some experiments with the doll but so far no luck. Maybe some day.

But you have a great Hub here. Voted it up and shared it.

jennzie profile image

jennzie 4 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA Author

Thanks! That is really cool that you have visited the doll numerous times and even got to spend the night with him. I don't know if I would have the guts to do that LOL.

Gypsy Flower profile image

Gypsy Flower 4 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A

Jamaican magick can be powerful--I would NEVER want to upset a vodooienne. Of course too often the magick is used for revenge or out of spite, and as with any type of energy the evil done will reflect back on the user and not in the long run be worth the cost. Still, being on the bad side of someone who has yet to learn that would be bad.

I wonder, did the nurse somehow blame Robert for her argument with his mother? Or was it just easier for her to strike out at him than to direct her anger where it belonged?

cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 4 years ago from Los Angeles

A creepy, yet fascinating story! I've no doubt it's true.

Larry Okeke profile image

Larry Okeke 4 years ago from Enugu, Nigeria

It'll take a while 4 me to sink that in but gee! This story is awesome. I feel like producing a movie on it already! Voted up and interesting

mericks28 profile image

mericks28 4 years ago from Duluth, MN

very interesting! I will check Robert out in my travels!!!

jennzie profile image

jennzie 4 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA Author

Good question. I'm actually not sure of that myself. From what I read she seemed to really like Robert so I don't know why she would take her anger out on the little boy instead of the mother.

jennzie profile image

jennzie 4 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA Author

I agree! Thanks for reading. :)

jennzie profile image

jennzie 4 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA Author

Thanks! I agree- this story would make a great movie. :)

jennzie profile image

jennzie 4 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA Author

Cool! I would like to visit him one day as well.

maryhoneybee profile image

maryhoneybee 4 years ago from Richmond, Virginia

I just couldn't bring myself to watch the video, haha. So creepy! I remember seeing a program on TV several years ago about Robert the doll, but couldn't recall specifics. Good hub!

jennzie profile image

jennzie 4 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA Author

Thanks, Mary! I agree- the doll is very creepy. I get an eerie feeling just looking at him!

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Chris Hugh 4 years ago

Creepy. I want to write a short story where someone comes along and is so clueless and unimaginative that Robert can't scare him. It could be funny.

jennzie profile image

jennzie 4 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA Author

LOL that sounds like a great story idea. You should definitely go for it!

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Chris Hugh 4 years ago

Thanks. I've posted a couple stories on my Hub. I'll post it there for sure if end up doing it. Aaaaah, that Robert doll is so creepy!

jennzie profile image

jennzie 4 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA Author

I'll definitely be on the lookout for it. :)

manofmystery24 profile image

manofmystery24 4 years ago

Wow, verrrrrrrry creepy! I hate dolls, but this is still very interesting. Voted up!

jennzie profile image

jennzie 4 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA Author

Thanks, manofmystery. Dolls kinda creepy me out as well. :)

ishwaryaa22 profile image

ishwaryaa22 4 years ago from Chennai, India

Another creepily engaging hub from you! This doll looks so creepy. If I visit Florida in the near future, I will avoid this museum for the fear of this creepy doll. I also avoided the video posted by you-sorry I am afraid. Way to go!

Thanks for SHARING. Awesome & Interesting. Voted up

adam smith99 profile image

adam smith99 3 years ago

wow its very interesting doll is so crazy

slim shady 3 years ago


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