Robert The Doll is an allegedly haunted doll that is housed at the East Martello Museum, in Key West, Florida.
He was once owned by a painter and author Robert Egeune Otto, who went by Gene. It’s generally thought that Robert was given to Otto as a present from his grandfather following a trip to Germany. He gave the doll his first name, Robert.
Gene would take the doll everywhere, as he traveled the world with his parents.
Robert had their own place at the dining table, where Gene would sneak food to it. The doll would sit on a towel, near the tub where Gene would take a bath. The two of them would also be tucked into bed together.
That is when things start to get weird.
While playing in his bedroom, alone, his parents would always notice that he seemed to be having deep conversations with someone. His sweet voice, they said, was followed by another voice rougher than his own. The rough voice took on a more dominant tone, while Gene’s sounded unnerved. The parents originally thought it was make-believe, but over time began to second guess that assumption.
The mother took it upon herself on more than one occasion to creep up to the room and come in, unannounced. Each time she said that she found Gene cowering in the corner of the room, while Robert, who was sat on either the bed or chair, was ‘glaring’ at him.
The parents would wake up in the middle of the night to a commotion coming from Gene’s room. When they opened the door his room would be in disarray, with Gene on the bed pointing at Robert saying he was to blame.
There were giggles that were heard from different parts of the house when Gene was meant to be asleep. Gene would blame it on the doll then get the punishment given to him by his parents.
There were things that the other people said that the doll would do, that can’t be blamed on Gene.
– The doll would blink
– Heard the laughter, even when the family wasn’t at home
– Neighbors reported seeing the doll in the upstairs windows moving from one to the other — glancing out of the curtains towards the street
– Servents would find him in a completely different part of the house to where they had left him, moments before
– The sound of small footsteps could be heard
The aunt said in and said that the doll was cursed and needed to be removed. The doll was taken away and placed in a box, in the attic. The next night the aunt was found dead in her bedroom. Out of fear, the mum and dad gave the doll back to Gene.
That’s the way things remained.
Gene eventually grew up and moved away. He became an accomplished painter and married an accomplished pianist called, Anne. When his parents died; however, he moved back into the house he grew up in. They were happy and settled into married life.
Then rumors started to circulate around town about how the doll had a seat at the dining room table and a chair to sit on next to the couple’s bed. Also that Gene had a habit of taking the doll with him as he moved around the house.
There were whispers that Anne hated the doll and that she was unnerved by it being so close to the bed that she stopped Gene from bringing it into the room. Gene complied and returned him to the room upstairs, yet sometimes she would see the doll in a rocking chair downstairs. The couple would hear footsteps in the attic at night, along with the soft sound of laughter.
Legend is that it drove his wife insane, so much so that she committed suicide.
Gene passed away in 1974 with the doll at his side.
The doll went back in the attic and it wasn’t until it appeared at the foot of the bed one night, with a knife in its hand — that it was finally donated to where he lives today.
There is a sign above the doll’s exhibit that says: ‘You must ask Robert to take a picture’. If you don’t ask permission it is said that he will get angry and do bad things to you.