History of Robert the Haunted Doll
Paranormal Legend Robert the doll. Does he really have the power to haunt the people he meets?
By Sharon Stajda
Robert the haunted doll has a long and fascinating history. His story may make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. You say you don't believe a doll can be possessed, haunted. Well save your opinion, read on, and discover the havoc that Robert the doll has bestowed on anyone that had the pleasure of knowing him first hand. He still today is known to attach himself to visitors that come to see him at the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West Florida. "People just like you."
"Robert did it, Robert did it I tell you!"
Key West, Florida. It's not that unusual for a young child to have an imaginary friend or two. Often times parents think it cute? A mischievous little friend a friend to take the blame for some minor wrongdoings. In fact, there are parents that will claim a good imagination can be a healthy thing. However, what happens when the child starts to be tormented by that imaginary friend? To the point that the child can't sleep the night through without the friend waking them to play? What happens when the play becomes rough, and frightening to the child? So it goes - this is the story of Robert. The story begins in the home of Mr., and Mrs. Thomas Otto, the year 1896. It was well known that the Otto's mistreated their servants, and were not the kindest of people. The Otto's would soon regret treating their employees disrespectful. Especially one housemaid, that sought to take her revenge.
What Made Robert Different From Other Dolls?
When It All Began
The story begins in the home of Mr, and Mrs. Thomas Otto, the was the year 1896. It was well known that the Otto's mistreated their servants, and were not the kindest of people. One particular servant, that aided in the care of the couples son "Robert Eugene" (Gene) was said to be versed in the ways of 'voodoo". As the story goes this very servant handmade Robert and gave young Gene the doll as a gift. The doll stood three feet tall and was stuffed with straw. The servant gave the doll very lifelike features, that at first were very endearing to young Gene. Gene decided to name the doll "Robert". The doll became a constant companion to the little boy. It's said that the Otto's often heard Gene upstairs talking to the doll. This in itself might not have been so bad? What unsettled, and puzzled the Otto's was hearing their son answering himself in an entirely different voice than his own?
Robert Moved From His Attic Home Back Into His Favorite Room.
When Gene's father died, and the Otto home was willed to Gene.
Gene decided that he and his new wife would move into his childhood home. He had become an artist in his adult life and felt the larger home would provide him, and his wife a spacious place to live, plus the large turret room on the second floor would make a great studio for his painting.
After moving back to his boyhood home It wasn't long before Gene discovered Robert in the attic. He promptly moved him down to the turret room. Robert's hold on Gene was strong, and from the moment Gene again laid eye's on him, Robert's influence could be felt in the house. Gene's wife found Robert very odd and unsettling. One day while Gene was out of the house she decided she had enough of Robert's glare, and returned him to his attic sanctuary.
When Gene returned home and found that the doll had been moved, he was displeased. He declared that Robert needed a room of his own where he could see out of a window. He hurriedly returned Robert to the turret room. It wasn't long after that Gene's wife began to question her husband's sanity?
The Neighbors Started To Take Notice Of Robert's Antics
The citizens of Key West began to spread rumors about Robert and his evil doings. Many people told stories of seeing and hearing Robert the doll in the turret room as they walked by the home, peering out of the windows. They claimed that Robert would mock them as they passed... School children feared walking by the Otto home, in fear of Robert's mean glare from the window above.
Gene, himself reported when visiting the turret room on occasion he would find Robert in the rocking chair by the window rocking and complaining of his displeasure with his accommodations. Finally, Gene himself had enough of Robert's antics and put him back in the attic. Visitors to Otto's home would often comment on hearing something walking back and forth in the attic, along with strange giggling sounds. Guests no longer wanted to visit the home.
Gene Otto died in 1972, and his wife sold the home promptly, leaving Robert the doll behind in the attic.
The Townspeople Begin to talk ... Gene finally had had it with Robert !
Robert Waited To Be Rediscovered In The Dark Attic
Robert waited patiently up in the attic to be discovered once again by the new occupants. The Ten-year-old daughter of the new owners was quick to find Robert in the attic and added him to her other toys in her bedroom. It was not long before Robert unleashed his displeasure on the child. The little girl began screaming out into the night, claiming that the doll moved about the room, and would climb on her bed and attack her as she tried to sleep. Even after more than thirty years later, she steadfastly claims that " the doll was alive and wanted to kill her."
Robert still dressed in his white sailor suit and clutching his stuffed lion lives comfortably, though well guarded in Key West Florida in the Martello Museum. Employees at the museum continue to give accounts of Robert being up to his old tricks still today.
Have you had an experience with "Robert The Doll"? Please consider sharing. Please send me your experience and I will add your story right here.
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Comments From Visitors
Someone was just checking out my lens "ROBERT - The Haunted Doll," and wrote you the following note.
"If you're interested, I have a bit more information that was missing from your page on Robert the haunted doll. The servant was dismissed from the Otto household because Mrs. Otto spotted the 4 servants in the backyard doing some form of what she thought to be black magic. Robert (the little boy) did not go by the name Gene, he was called "Robert". He only started going by Gene when one day his mother scolded him using his name, and he told her that his name was not Robert, the doll's name was Robert, and his name was Gene. According to several residents of Key West (not me, I don't know whether this part is true), the government did acknowledge Robert (the doll) and actually granted the doll property rights. Also, the servant who made the doll used Gene's hair for the doll. It's a known fact that once a person's hair is cut it can't change colors (of course!), however, the doll's hair is now white. If you choose to visit Robert in the museum and want to take a picture you need to ask politely and do NOT make fun of the doll! If he allows you to take a picture he will tilt his head to the side if he does not tilt his head and you take a picture anyway bad things happen to not only you but to anyone you were with or family members. The walls in that room of the museum are covered in letters from people asking Robert to please take the curse off, and apologizing for making fun of him."
What do you think?
Can an inanimate object, such as Robert the doll be haunted? Can Robert actually move about in his confinement?
Do you believe inanimate objects can be possessed, and haunted?
Want To Visit Robert While In Key West?
If you are planning a visit to Key West, why not stop in at the Martello Museum, and check out Robert?
The Fort East Martello Museum and Gardens,
3501 S. Roosevelt Blvd., Key West,
Open daily from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
Closed Christmas Day
Admission is $6 for adults
$3 for children (children under 6 free) and students with ID
$5 for Seniors (62+), AAA Travelers, and Locals with ID
Members - Free.
Rental of the facility and grounds are available. Call 305-296-3913 for information.
See Link Below for the Martello Museum, and Google Map - for directions to the Museum.
The Artist House Bed And Breakfast - Robert's boyhood home
Robert's boyhood home is now a wonderful top rated Bed And Breakfast
If you are going to visit Key West, and want an to stay at Robert's boyhood home please visit "The Artist House Web Site. I think you will be blown away at this beautiful home. It's one word "elegant", Plus it has received nothing but fabulous reviews for comfort, location, and food. Not to mention the owners are known to be wonderful hosts.
I will be visiting Key West next winter, and I will be staying at The Artist House. I simply can't wait. I must also mention, keep in mind "Robert doesn't live there anymore. Please check out reviews at Tripadvisors
Ghosts and Gravestones of Key West! - Want To take A Ghost Tour while in Key West?
One of the stops is the Museum where Robert now calls home..,..