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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Robert The Doll

Photo by: Susan Smith

Robert currently lives at the Fort East Martello Museum and Gardens, in Key West Florida.  Here is his story as posted in the museum:

For over 100 years, Robert has been blamed
 for every type of misconduct.
There are many theories about why Robert behaves the way he does.
Some say it is voodoo.
Some say that it is an ancient curse.
Still others insist that Gene Otto's ghost has returned to the doll
he loved so much. Or that is has something to do with the fact
that the house at 534 Eaton Street was already haunted
before Gene and Robert shared it until Gene's death in 1974.
In 1903, Robert was given to the four-year old Gene Otto.
As Gene grew up he blamed everything bad on Robert;
every type of misdeed, treachery and mischief.
By the time that Gene was married and a successful artist,
Robert had taken the blame for a lifetime of error, sin and folly.
By then Robert's face had changed and his eyes became more
changeable and expressive. For years, Robert has been seen
and heard moving around: shifting positions and even
giggling behind people's back. Although well worn,
Robert has not mellowed with age. Even the fort cats
keep their distance while staring at him.
It used to be that people just talked about Robert's shenanigans.
But these days they have been sending more and more cards and
letters... some to apologize and some demand apologies.
Robert seldom replies, but he does like keeping his fan mail.
If you should notice lots of things going wrong,
just "blame it on Robert."
Now, I would never personally blame a doll that had nothing to do with actions in my life, but to each their own I guess. 
Here is what Wikipedia has to say:
Robert, otherwise known as Robert the Doll, Robert the Haunted Doll, or Robert the Enchanted Doll; is a doll that was once owned by Key West painter and author Robert Eugene Otto. The doll is said to be possessed by evil spirits, and has a terrifying reputation.

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. Contrary to popular belief, however, the doll's hair is not made of human hair, but rather, it consists of a synthetic material resembling wool yarn.

Eugene was given the doll in 1906 by a Bahamian servant who was skilled in black magic and voodoo and was displeased with the family. Soon afterward, it became clear that there was something eerie about the doll. Eugene's parents often heard him talking to the doll and that the doll spoke back. Although at first they assumed that Eugene was simply answering himself in a changed voice, they claimed to have later realized that the doll was actually speaking.

Neighbors claimed to have seen the doll moving from window to window when the family was out. Sometimes the doll would emit a terrifying giggle, and the Otto family caught glimpses of it running from room to room. In the night Eugene would scream, and when his parents ran to the room, they would find furniture knocked over and Eugene in bed, looking incredibly scared, telling them that "Robert did it!". In addition, guests claim to have seen Robert's expression change before their eyes and he often blinked.

When Eugene died in 1974, the doll was left in the attic until the house 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.

The doll is annually rotated to the Old Post Office and Customhouse in October. Strange activity in the museum supposedly increases during such times.

The doll made an appearance at Taps CON, a paranormal convention held in Clearwater, Florida in May 2008. This was the first time that it had left Key West, Florida in its then-104 years of existence.

The doll served as an inspiration for the Chucky doll in the Child's Play film franchise., who wants to visit Robert?


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