On display in the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida, is Robert the Doll, a haunted doll with a creepy and odd occurrence littered past.
Robert was first constructed in 1904 to be a mannequin for a display window belonging to the Steiff Company. Richard Steiff helped design and produce the first ever teddy bear the year he created Robert the Doll.
Somehow the mannequin ended up being purchased as a toy for Robert Eugene “Gene” Otto, a young boy living in Key West. It is believed that Robert the Doll was gifted to Gene by his grandfather as a souvenir from a trip to Germany.
Those more open to the supernatural, believe a maid of the family affected the doll with voodoo with the intentions of gifting it to the boy as a punishment.
The life sized doll soon became the best friend of young Gene, who dressed the toy in his own clothes, his signature outfit being a sailor suit. He soon began an unhealthy fixation with the doll.
“He talked about it in the first person as if he weren’t a doll, he was Robert, as in he is a live entity,” the curator of the Fort East Martello Museum, Cori Convertito said.
Gene would blame messes and displaced objects on Robert, but his parents simply brushed it off as a child evading responsibility.
As Gene grew older, Robert took a permanent place in the attic peering out at the window at passerby’s. Those who passed the house said to observe Robert’s eyes following them, or turning his head to watch. A plumber once came to the home and said he heard childlike giggling, and see objects that began in Roberts’ lap, on the other side of the room as if he had thrown them.
In 1974, Gene passed away, selling the home and everything inside to Myrtle Reuter. Reuter soon determined that the doll was “haunted” and donated it to the Fort East Martello Museum.
As soon as the doll arrived, hundreds of letters and visitors came to the door of the Fort East Martello, begging for the forgiveness of the doll for various “wrongdoings.”
Although Robert sits in the museum, visitors watch with a scrutinizing eye to perhaps see the doll move again, and it’s said that all electronics malfunction in Robert’s presence.