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Haunted America: Robert The Haunted Doll

Updated on March 8, 2018
Robert The Haunted Doll
Robert The Haunted Doll | Source

Robert The Haunted Doll

There are certain paranormal things that are just down right creepy. Haunted Dolls just might be one of them. Whether paranormally active or not I have never held a found place in my heart or worse, my home for beady, black eyed, creepy little dolls! And Robert The Haunted Doll is no exception!

So what exactly causes an inanimate object to become haunted or possessed? Or rather imbued with the power to create havoc or harm? No one can really say for sure. It has only been speculated that black Voodoo, as in the case of Robert The Doll, is one of many explanations for haunted dolls. Child's play? Technically, voodoo dolls (or similar forms there of) once acted as messengers to the spirit world in Haitian cultures. Voodoo Dolls were said to be the link between lost souls and the after life. Many of which, mainly in black voodoo, were used to harm or bring bad luck to their unfortunate victim. Therefore a black voodoo hex placed on a simple benign doll is not so far fetched after all.

That still leaves the question: How does a spirit or any other paranormal entity attache itself to this type of inanimate object? In some voodoo practices a small crystal or "soulstone" is used to imbue an object, such as a voodoo doll, with the power of attracting souls. Robert, whom is speculated to have one, is capable of taking a soul of its own.

I'll let you decide.

"Robert did it!"

The dark story of Robert The Haunted Doll begins at the turn of the century when the eccentric artist, Robert Eugene Otto, took up residence in the famous Artis't House in Key West Florida. Settled down and married, his wife, son, little Eugene, and servants settled into a slow and unhurried lifestyle in the heart of the city.

The legend states that the Otto's were known as stern people who held their son to rigid expectations and expected strict obedience from their staff. Traveling the world left no time for parenting young Gene, as they called him, and it is said they hired a Bohemian servant as a caregiver for their son. Gene and his nurse became quite close as she was his primary care giver for quite some time. But alas all things must come to an end . After getting on the bad side of Ms. Otto (it is said Ms. Otto caught the women chanting and practicing a form of mystical voodoo late one night in the servants quarters) the nurse was promptly dismissed from the house. But before leaving she endowed young Eugene, her favorite charge, with a gift. A doll, a hand sewn homemade doll. The doll was made in the likeliness of 5 year old Gene and was said to be 3 foot tall, made with the human hair of Gene himself and was likened to that of a voodoo doll. A slightly imperfect replica who Gene took to immediately.

Gene decided to name his doll Robert. Gene and Robert were inseparable and could often times be seen strolling in town together. They ate together, they bathed together, and they dreamt together. Whatever Gene did Robert was sure to follow. It seemed as though the little boy had found his perfect companion. And it would have been had the story not taken a troubling turn.

Young Gene was frequently heard talking to Robert . Most of the time, his parents chalked it up to simple imaginary fun, a conversation with an imaginary playmate if you will. Until a voice was over heard answering young Gene. However, the voice was not Genes. Sinister and much more deep in nature than young Genes' the Otto's found it disturbing. This however, was the preclude to even more strange occurrences in the Otto household.

As time went on neighbors claimed witness to the doll moving. It was said that Robert could be seen moving about from window to window from outside when the family wasn't home. People began to whisper about the frightening occurrence happening at the Otto house. Many were afraid to walk past the turret room, where Robert was kept, for fear that they would catch a glimpse of the doll moving. He was even said to stop in front of the window, glare down and mock people as they passed. The Otto's themselves claimed to hear the doll giggle and noisily move around at night in the turret while they slept, constantly finding him the next morning in a new position or space that he was not previously in. Sometime they were heard saying they caught glimpses, out of the corner of their eye, of Robert running about the house.

Eventually, small mishaps became a frequent occurrence in the Otto household. Gene had frequent nightmares. He could be heard screaming at night from his room. Upon his parents entering , they would find over turned furniture, their child half scared to death, and Robert sitting menacingly at the foot of the bed , his beady , black eyes glaring at them. Usually, Gene was blamed and upon accusation would exclaim "Robert Did It"! Eventually, exhausted and out of options the Otto's placed Robert in the attic, locked the door, and there is where he sat for over 20 years.

Gene eventually grew up and married. With the passing of his parents the Otto property was passed down to young Gene and his new wife. Rummaging through the attic , Robert The Doll was rediscovered. Once again reunited with his long time companion Gene welcomed Robert back into the lower rooms of the home..... but it wasn't long before the frightening occurrences began again. Robert would often times be found in the turret room, rocking back and forth in a chair in front of the window. No matter how many times he was moved he somehow always ended up back in the same room, rocking away slowly with each creek. The doll became unsettling and once again was locked in the attic.

This time however, not even the confines of the attic could silence Robert's actions. They became increasingly more frightening and menacing. Guests no longer wanted to visit the house as the pacing footsteps, menacing giggles, and voices coming from the attic were too much to bear.

Eventually things calmed down for Gene and his wife and in 1972 Gene peacefully passed away leaving behind the doll he so once cherished.

The Otto house was later sold to a new family. Robert the doll, waited patiently in the attic to be discovered, once again.

Eventually new owners arrived, and Robert was quick to be found by their 10 year old daughter. It was not long before Robert unleashed his displeasure on the child... The little girl claimed the doll tortured her, and made her life a living hell. Even now, more than thirty years later, she steadfastly claims that "the doll was alive and wanted to kill her." Least to say it didn't take this family long to find Robert a new home and it wasn't in the attic!

East Martello Museum, Key West, Florida
East Martello Museum, Key West, Florida | Source

Roberts Final Resting Place

Should you ever have the pleasure of visiting Key West, Florida you might want to make a pit stop at the Fort East Martello Musuem. There you will find one of their most cherished historical artifacts, Robert. Still dressed in his white sailor's suit and clutching his stuffed lion, he lives quite comfortably, though well guarded, at the museum. . He currently resides here and has been keeping people paranormally entertained for quite some time!

Although kept in a glass case, Robert, from what visitors and staff have said, are still up to his old tricks! Ghostly giggles can often times be heard out of nowhere. Staff have on several occasions noticed changes in position of Robert within the glass case as if he moves on his own. He said to move his toy lion from one knee to the other and has been heard many times tapping on the glass case display in which he stays.

Rights to photo owned by author.
Rights to photo owned by author.

Have You Had The Pleasure Of Meeting "Robert The Doll" ?

Have you had an encounter with Robert The Doll? If so, would you consider sharing your story? I would love to add your personal encounter with Robert to this hub... If you would like to submit your encounter with Robert - please jot it down and send it to me via HubPages or post it to the comment section below!


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Because its often recommendable to kip d genie in d bottle rather then destroying the vessel

    • profile image

      Kathy Sou 

      6 years ago

      Loved your article.Well done!

      Scary story, but i can`t understand why people who have that kind of encounters with evil objects, still keep them in the house!

      I would freak out, and burn it probably :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago!!!

    • The Lost Dutchman profile image

      Patrick Bernauw 

      7 years ago from Flanders (Belgium)

      Wow, you really are one of my favorite Hubwriters, writing about the creepy topics I like, and doing it in style! Pinned & tweeted this one! And thumbed it up of course!

    • artofadulthood profile image


      7 years ago

      Crazy story! I've heard of another haunted doll that's supposedly possessed by a demon or something.

    • efeyas profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      LoveLoveme, it is actually peppermints!

    • profile image

      natalie peavy 

      7 years ago

      i saw this doll he movied his head and looked at me!

    • Lovelovemeloveme profile image


      7 years ago from Cindee's Land

      Nice hub. I've read about robert the haunted doll before. It's said that he loves chocolate or something like chocolate so legend is that before you take a picture of him, you must ask for his permission and give him treats or he's not going to smile in the picture and will curse you. Supposedly his facial expressions change from time to time.

    • efeyas profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      Thank you for the lovely comment, shiningirisheyes!

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      7 years ago from Upstate, New York

      I am very familiar with Robert as I have read many articles. Yours was fantastic and held my attention from beginning to end.

      Kudos to a great article.

    • jennzie profile image


      7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Nice hub- I also did a hub about Robert. I find the doll very creepy yet intriguing. Maybe I'll be able to visit him one day. :)

      Voted up/interesting.

    • robie2 profile image

      Roberta Kyle 

      7 years ago from Central New Jersey

      This is enough to make me want to visit Key West just to see Robert-- have to admit to a certain fascination with haunted houses and creepy stuff-- great hub. Really enjoyed it.

    • profile image

      Ashley Benton 

      7 years ago

      Wow, what a creepy story. I was born, and am being raised in Louisville, Kentucky. Our creepy spot is Waverly Hills Sanatorium. I would love to meet Robert!

    • Travis J Stover profile image

      Travis J Stover 

      7 years ago from Enfield Center, New Hampshire

      very scary but nice story of the vodoo doll let me know if you come acrossed a part 2 ok

    • Jose Prado profile image

      Jose Prado 

      7 years ago from Miami, Florida

      I take issue with the idea that this was Vodoun. As a Pagan priest and witch who studies all paths I have come across other religions (such as European Pagan practioners) who use Dolls that are either possessed, latches onto something, or charged with magic to carry out a specific purpose. In Wicca we use it all of the the time for our spirit guides and familiars to inhabit, or we simply charge that doll or toy with power and ask them to protect us (all things are alive and have their own spirit, simply not everyone can move). If this person really was Bohemian then chances are this was Bohemian witchery and not the good kind either.

    • efeyas profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      Klarawieck lol! I have to say I visted Sloppy Joe's frequently during my stay but couldn't pass up the chance to see this amazing doll in person! Love key West and can't wait to go back!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hahaha... Liz, I was going to write a hub about Robert... oh! My dear ol' Robert! But you've done a better job than I could ever do, so I'm glad it was you. I go to Key West every year and, of course, must pay a visit to Robert. It's the most famous thing in KW, right after Sloppy Joe's and Hemingway's house. LOL Well done!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hmm... I don't know if this is real... I don't believe in ghosts. But I will stay with God and not delve into things of this manner.

    • efeyas profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      THAT'S SO WTF IDK SCARY!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image


      7 years ago


    • profile image


      7 years ago


    • efeyas profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      Hello Raevyn14 thanks for commenting and reading. Robert and Annabelle are probably 2 of the most well known haunted dolls. Both have creepy stories! I actually had the pleasure of meeting Robert last October 2011 at the East Martello Museum in Key West. It was a little creepy to say the least!!!!

    • efeyas profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      Rock_NJ In Voodoo they use a small crystal known as a soulstone. I am assuming that whatever form of voodoo they use on the stone attracts spirit activity. Crystals are said to be a powerful source of energy as well. In cases such as these (read Annabelle The Haunted Doll I believe a spirit of some type, either human or inhuman, latches on to the doll but doesn't actually posses it or live inside it. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • efeyas profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      Cow Flipper, thank you. Love your Hubs!

    • Raevyn14 profile image


      7 years ago from Tecumseh, Oklahoma

      I've heard of this story and the doll. That doll is probably the creepiest thing ever. People have said that when they see it for themselves, the doll's expression changes to evil and an angry look, guards have said that they feel as if the doll is watching them.

      Many of the guards that worked there have all been scared away by robert the doll, he doesn't just change his looks and his expression, eye witnesses have said he can turn his head and look at you.

    • Rock_nj profile image

      John Coviello 

      7 years ago from New Jersey

      That's a scary tale. I never heard of such a thing. How do people who practice Voodoo make a doll possessed? I assume the doll has been possessed by a spirit since the doll was never alive? Has any medium tried to contact the spirit the possesses Robert?

    • Cow Flipper profile image

      Sean Jankowski 

      7 years ago from Southern Oregon

      Cool hub article. Looks like we share similar interests.


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