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Robert the Possessed Doll

Updated on April 20, 2012

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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