We’ve all had the frightening thought that someone or something was watching us or that an inanimate object had in fact come to life. Many people in Key West have not only felt that way, but they have also seen it happen when they look at the world’s most haunted doll, Robert the Doll.
Robert the Doll: The Story
Early in the 1900s, Robert Eugene Otto, or Gene as his family called him, was a young child when the household maid brought him an odd, straw-filled doll to play with. Gene adored his life-size doll and carried it everywhere he went. He even gave it the name “Robert” after his own name. But before long, people started catching hints of Robert the Doll’s malevolent and wicked character.
According to rumours, the Ottos and their workers frequently overheard Gene speaking to himself in two distinct voices in his bedroom. The Ottos would also awaken in the middle of the night to Gene crying, only to see the terrified child in bed with furniture on its side. Robert the Doll would look at Gene from the foot of the bed as Gene would accuse him of messing up the bedroom.
Soon after, strange occurrences and mutilated toys would surface in the house, prompting Gene to exclaim, “Robert did it!” each time. The Ottos didn’t quite believe Gene, but it was said that they could hear Robert giggling weirdly throughout the home, and some bystanders even claimed to have seen a little doll going from window to window. Robert was ultimately relocated to the attic, where he stayed for a few years.
After his parents passed away, Gene inherited his family’s Key West house, and moved to the same place with his wife Anne. Also, Robert the Doll was moved back into Gene’s second-floor turret chamber, which had been his old bedroom. Later he thought that the doll wanted his own space, so he put him in the upstairs room with the window looking out onto the street.
Anne, who was uncomfortable having Robert around, requested Gene to lock the doll up in the attic, where he couldn’t cause any harm.
Visitors to the house soon heard someone moving back and forth and chuckling evilly, as well as footsteps in the attic. Children from the neighbourhood claimed that Robert was taunting them as they headed to school and that they saw him watching them from the window of the upstairs bedroom. Knowing that he had shut Robert in the attic and that there was no way he could be sitting at the window of the upstairs bedroom, Gene went to investigate as soon as he heard this. But to his total surprise, Robert was there, seated in the rocking chair by the window when he opened the door to the bedroom.
‘Gene Otto died in 1974’
What happened to the doll after the death of Gene?
Robert the Doll had a new guardian when Robert Eugene Otto passed away in 1974 and Myrtle Reuter bought the House. When the new owner moved into the house on Eaton Street, their ten-year-old daughter was overjoyed to discover Robert the Doll in the attic. However, her joy ended soon. Even she claimed that Robert was still alive and that the doll intended to harm her. She frequently woke up in the middle of the night crying in terror and reporting to her parents that Robert had been moving around the room.
The Reuters shared a 20-year relationship with Robert the doll, and rumour has it that when they had moved out into a new house in 1980s, they took Robert with them too.
Where is Robert The Doll Now?
In 1994, after concluding that the doll was definitely haunted, the new owner gave the spooky toy to the Fort East Martello Museum.
Assuming that the Reuter’s claims were obviously false, the museum accepted the doll and her accessories. However, the museum staff soon began reporting their own strange experiences with the doll.
However, there is a long queue of people waiting to see Robert the Doll. Stranger still, admirers and terrified believers write letters to Robert directly, occasionally asking for prayers and occasionally apologising for having mistreated him while at the museum.
Hope you found this interesting to read. And did you find this more spooky than the Reincarnated Pollock Sisters?
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