When it comes to haunted dolls, Robert is among the most famous. The Key West plaything has terrified residents of the tropical community for over a hundred years and now serves as a tourist attraction.
Legend has it that a Bahamian maid gave the doll to future Key West painter Robert Eugene Otto when he was just a boy. The servant was reportedly angry with Robert’s parents and cursed the doll before seeking employment elsewhere. Soon after her departure, strange events began plaguing the Otto household.
Robert named the life-sized doll after himself and loved to have conversations with his new friend. At first, the boy’s parents were amused, but they soon grew concerned after servants insisted they heard the doll talking back. Members of the household were also spooked when the doll’s expression seemed to change before their eyes or when eerie giggles rang from Robert’s bedroom when only the doll was inside. The Otto’s neighbors also reported seeing the doll move from window to window when the family wasn’t home.
However, Robert the Doll was particularly active at night. Robert Otto would wake up in the middle of the night, screaming in fear, as the furniture in his room rattled and tumbled over. When his parents asked what happened, the boy blamed his namesake. “It was Robert,” the frightened child insisted. “Robert did it!” Robert the Doll’s antics soon earned him a place in the attic, and that’s where he remained for many years.
Today, Robert sits on display at the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida, a fixture on local ghost tours. Visitors love to snap Robert’s picture, though wise tourists ask permission first. Legend has it the doll will curse anyone who takes a photo without permission, which Robert grants by slightly tilting his head. Photographers who forget can beg Robert for forgiveness, which is what cameramen from the Travel Channel did after their HD camera mysteriously stopped working. Check out their report below. Do you believe Robert the Doll is truly possessed?
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