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History of Robert the Haunted Doll

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Paranormal Legend Robert the doll. Does he really have the power to haunt the people he meets?

Robert the haunted doll has a long and fascinating history. His story itself 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.

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?

Scroll to Continue

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..,..

Meet Robert The Doll

Please leave me a word or two.

Sharlee (author) on November 16, 2017:

Thank you your opinion. I appreciate your critique.

Hadi on November 13, 2017:

Robert the Doll is nothing more than a fake

meow88 on July 29, 2014:

scary i would freak out, i never like dolls it just scared me a lot cause there eyes wanted to kill you, sense i was 5-6 year old that time my older sister put a scary movie of a chunky doll, i have to hide my mom lap and hide under the blanket cover also sleep with my mom

anonymous on September 05, 2013:

You should get the TAPS team to chek it out...

anonymous on August 12, 2013:

@Wednesday-Elf: Thank you very much!

anonymous on April 17, 2013:

I have heard of Robert the doll before, very interesting lens

Nightcat on October 20, 2012:

This is really awesome! I lensrolled you on my Haunted Dolls and other Yuletide Terrors lens. Blessed! :)

Ladyeaglefeather on March 18, 2012:

cool lens, very interesting

anonymous on October 02, 2011:

Very spooky story - a fascinating lens!

GabrielaFargasch on August 18, 2011:

That is one spooky doll!! Wow!

promotional-coupons-codes on April 26, 2011:

lolz The most funny part was that you have to ask doll to take a picture.

momsfunny on April 16, 2011:

Freaked me out, I am typing this while hiding under the covers of my bed!!

anonymous on January 11, 2011:

never heard of this before now...bizarre

anonymous on December 30, 2010:

Shit this scared me alone, I would never visit this doll and let me tell you Florida is off my list for my next vacation too!!! What the heck!!! I need to run now, that doll is going to scare me all night in my dreams!

anonymous on December 22, 2010:

I really enjoyed your lens! Our home is haunted. We think it is built on Indian ground because it is like a conduit. I wrote about it on my squidoo lens too. Maybe we could connect our lenses? Our Home Is Haunted CLICK HERE TO SEE IT

ghosty_grl6 on March 27, 2010:

i swear... my neighbors went 2 key west for there ghost tour and they went to the museam and the dad was taunting it (nananabobo, im out here your in there) that kindof stuff and when the fsmily walked down the forts hall the sealing fan w/ a light bursted in to peaces before there eyes!!! TRUE STORY!!

socomplete601 on August 03, 2009:

That is a very unique looking item wow. kind of reminds me of the new resident evil after life 2010 movie coming out you can check out here:

RedRoseBoutique on July 11, 2009:

Great lens! Nice video on Robert.

Keaka77 on August 05, 2008:

Great lens.. I am going to key west in two weeks.. Guess what you just gave my family a good idea to do while we are there. Thanks for the info..

Gifts And Collectibles

anonymous on February 22, 2008:

I am going to Waverly Hills after I graduate staying there for 10 days

thomasz on February 12, 2008:

Wow really great lens. Come visit my lenses.

anonymous on February 09, 2008:

Recently visited Key West and did a Ghosts and Legends Tour. I have watched TV shows about Ghosts but Robert has fascinated me. I did not get a chance to visit the museum but plan on going back and that will be my 1st stop. However, I will be very cautious to not upset him, I have heard he can reak havoc on visitors. Peace Robert!

anonymous on February 04, 2008:

Creepy, but interesting reading. Nice work, 5 stars for you. Feel free to check out my lens on Dish Network promotion as well - that's where you can get the best deal out of current unfair satellite TV war.

OfficeRocket on January 22, 2008:

Creepy!!! keep up the good work.

I have an office supplies site which you are your readers may be interested in.

anonymous on November 08, 2007:

this doll is freaky, I believe it is evil, would like to visit it in person, but it could be bad luck. I wouldn't look him in his eyes at all,it could be dangerous, (he was on a ghosts show on tv

Carla-White on October 31, 2007:

Another great lens. I really enjoyed reading that. Spookey. Happy Halloween!

house on October 28, 2007:

Weird stuff!

anonymous on September 01, 2007:

i think that this is cool and id love to hear about this stuff i mean im gonna be a ghost hunter

Petee on August 03, 2007:

Very interesting lens thanks a 5 star.

catch-cheating on July 30, 2007:

great info and very interesting lens, 5 star

Nicegoogoo on July 09, 2007:

great lens and some creepy too.But great lens and I enjoyed reviewing it.Rated it 5 stars.

You can get me at symptom of depression .

anonymous on June 09, 2007:

Being in Key West numerous times and being a native of Fl , I had to indulge in the ghosts and legends tour. I haven't visited Robert the doll yet, but I will when I return there soon. I took pictures of the Otto house and got great results - 4 clear and beautiful orbs in all. Yep, I believe it!

anonymous on May 26, 2007:

About three weeks ago, I took a ghost tour and visited Robert at East Martello Museum. When I first took a glance at Robert, I was in a different room! Staring right at me, with beaty eyes, Robert!He did not talk or anything. But when I decided not to take a picture, good luck, Robert! 20 dollars!

mross72 on November 22, 2006:

I would like to hear about your experience. I am in Key West and just did the Ghosts and Legends tour and learned the story of Robert.

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