Robert the Haunted Doll

Robert the Doll, also known as Robert the Haunted Doll is a straw-filled doll belonged to Key West artist Robert Eugene Otto (Gene), who received the toy as a child when his parents lived in the mansion at the corner of Eaton and Simonton streets, now known as The Artist House. The doll, which is supposedly cursed, has become a fixture of ghost tours in the Key West area since it was inducted into the Fort East Martello Museum. Aesthetically, Robert resembles an early 20th-century American Naval officer.

In the early 1900s, Eugene was given the doll by a Bahamian servant who was skilled in voodoo and black magic and was displeased with the family. Gene and the doll became unnervingly close. Soon after, mutilated toys and mysterious happenings would appear in the home, only to have Gene proclaim each time: "Robert did it!". Though the Ottos didn't quite believe Gene, it was reported that they could hear the eerie sound of Robert giggling around the house, and passersby even claimed to see a small doll moving from window to window. The doll eventually began to frighten even his best friend, and was relegated to an attic room where it remained there for a number of years.

As the legend goes, Robert the Doll was displeased with his new place in the attic and would taunt schoolchildren from the attic window as they walked past the house, so much so that they eventually took a different route to school.

When Gene inherited the house from his parents, he reunited with Robert and brought him back downstairs, where their connection was rekindled. However, her wife felt uncomfortable with Robert so she decided to return the doll to the attic.

The doll was left in the attic until Eugene died in 1974 and the house eventually was bought again. The new family included a ten-year old girl, who became Robert's new owner. It was not long before the girl began screaming out in the night, claiming that Robert moved about the room and even attempted to attack her on multiple occasions. More than thirty years later, she still tells interviewers that the doll was alive and wanted to kill her. 
Robert the Haunted Doll
Robert now "lives" in a secure glass case at the Fort East Martello Museum, where he is rumored to ruin photographs and cause unexplained events at the museum. Later, the museum administrators warn visitors not to take photographs without first asking permission as Robert's current favorite mischievous act involves casting curses on them.

In May 2008, the doll made an appearance at Taps CON, a paranormal convention held in Clearwater, Florida. This was the first time that it had left Key West, Florida. One of the female visitors experienced weird things since her visit to the convention after she take a photograph with Robert. She said, she had asked permission to Robert, however, the woman next to her and her friend did not ask permission to take Robert's picture, then scary things began appear in her house. Robert suddenly appear in her bedroom mirror. She's became a little scared and the other day she asked Robert to leave her alone and the next day she woke up with bruises on her arm.

To date, the walls near his glass case are covered in numerous letters from previous visitors and naysayers, begging for Robert's forgiveness and asking him to remove any hex he has cast.


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