It all began in 1904 when a doll was gifted to a young boy named Robert Eugene Otto. Since then, the doll has been terrorizing Key West.
Robert the doll is a homemade basic and friendly toy with a fabric face that’s worn with time. But his sailor outfit appeared pressed and spotless, which once belonged to its now-deceased owner. Also, its eyes are black hard beads. A toy dog rests on the lifeless lap of the doll. The dog looked scary, with bulging eyes and a lengthy tongue hanging maniacally from its mouth. On second observation, the innocent Robert the doll doesn’t appear innocent.
According to folklore, the 116-year-old doll is still haunted by a vengeful spirit. Robert Eugene Otto, the doll’s original owner, used to keep blaming his misdeeds on the doll until the evil spirit within the doll gained possession and the misdeeds became eviler.
Even after 116-year terrible accidents happen to the critics of the doll. The doll is accused to break the bones of its victims and causing their cars to crash. Robert the doll remains a horrific figure for people who encounter it.
History Of Robert The Doll
There has been an argument related to the origin of Robert the Doll. Some individuals argue that in 1904 the doll was gifted to the late Robert Eugene Otto by his grandfather. While others stated that the doll was gifted to Robert by one of the family’s young maids with evil intentions as a punishment for some misbehavior by the family.
According to Fort East Martello Museum officials, the doll was invented by the Steiff Company, and a former employee of the company said that it was invented as a display piece. It is the same company that designed the very first teddy bear. Currently, the doll is kept at the Fort East Martello Museum.
Nevertheless, the doll became little Gene Otto’s best buddy and was accepted by him and his family.
As a child, Otto was so fascinated by the doll that he dressed the doll in the same sailor outfit that he wore. He also named the doll after himself. Despite its awkwardly large size, Otto took the doll with him wherever he went. Otto’s parents heard him whispering to the doll frequently, as Otto was close to his new “friend”. Everything appeared normal until one day, suddenly, they heard a reply from the doll in a deep voice.
In an interview with Atlas Obscura, Cori Convertito, curator of the Fort East Martello Museum and Robert the Doll’s current caretaker, stated that “What people really remember is what they would probably term an unhealthy relationship with the doll.”
Paranormal Activities Of Robert The Doll
Sooner after the arrival of the doll paranormal activities started around the Otto household. As stated by folklore Otto’s parents would wake up in the middle of the night to find their young son screaming in and surrounded by furniture that had been thrown around the room.
The doll became more vicious as Robert Eugene Otto grew older. Young Otto would scream, “Robert did it!” as disfigured toys started showing up in their house.
Another such incident was reported by a plumber who, while working in Otto’s house, heard children’s laughter, even though no one was around.
After hearing the screams, the plumber investigated his surroundings. He realized that Robert the Doll had moved from one side of the window to the other on its own. Also, he claimed that the objects that were on the doll’s lap were displaced to the opposite side of the room as if the doll had thrown them.
Otto eventually grew up and left home to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago and later at the Art Students League in New York. Then Otto went to the Parisian Sorbonne, where he met his wife, Anne.
Otto named his childhood home at 534 Eaton Street in Key West, Florida, “The Artist House.” He also brought the doll back to his childhood home. In the present day, the house is a “haunted” B&B.
A room was designed for the doll in the attic that was filled with furniture, toys, and even Robert’s own teddy bear. Being less fond of the teddy bear, Otto’s wife insisted on keeping the doll locked up.
The doll was not happy with being locked up, so it was claimed by the individuals that the doll made his way to an upper-story window, where pedestrians could see him sitting in a chair facing the street below. People who pass by 534 Eaton Street soon start to choose another route as they begin to avoid going anywhere near it.
The resident of the area stated that the doll would vanish and reappear facing a different direction or that its eyes would follow the person as they passed by. The person who visited The Artist House reported hearing footsteps coming from the attic. Also, things would move from their position without any conclusive explanation.
Terrifying Incidents Linked To Robert The Doll
A woman named Myrtle Reuter purchased the Artist House after the death of Robert Eugene Otto died in 1974. So now Robert the Doll had a new owner.
For 20 years, Reuter and the doll lived together. Even in 1980, when Reuter moved to a new home, she took the doll there with her.
Finally, in 1994, she gave the scary doll to the Fort East Martello Museum, saying that the doll was haunted.
The museum considered that rumors related to the doll were nonsense, and therefore, the museum accepted the doll along with its belongings. No time after the doll was kept in the museum, the workers there started reporting strange encounters with the doll.
Despite this, many people have waited in the queue to get a glimpse of Robert the Doll. Even more strange is the fact that Robert’s fans and frightened followers send him messages, sometimes apologizing for looking at him the wrong way when they visited the museum.
“He gets probably one to three letters every day,” said Convertito. Some visitors even requested Robert the Doll to curse their enemies.
The doll received various things after its arrival. Which included nearly 1,000 letters, candy, money, and sometimes even joints.
Later in 2015, a movie titled Robert was released. The movie showed the complete story of the doll beginning from its origin.
No one could ever think that a doll could be so influential. Even though the doll is 116 years old, it still appears to be in prime condition. Visitors allegedly claim that cameras and electronic devices malfunction in the doll’s presence.
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