Many of you have heard about haunted houses, cemeteries or castles, but dolls? Key West has an infamous haunted doll – Robert, who now lives at the Martello Museum. The story of Robert has been on the Travel Channel or you can take a haunted tour like I did and hear about his story.
In 1896, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Otto, failed to treat their servants with respect. Their six year old son, Gene Otto, received a doll from his nanny, who was rumored to be learned in the art of voodoo. Gene named the three foot doll Robert. Robert was made of straw, but his face had life like features. The little boy talked to the doll and Robert became his constant companion. There were reports that Robert’s face changed and became more and more human like.
However, strange events occurred at the Otto home. First, Gene would wake from nightmares. His parents would run into his room and his furniture would be in disarray. He insisted Robert did it. Second, when the family was gone, neighbors claimed to see Robert moving about the house and staring out the window. Third, the Otto’s swore they heard Robert giggle or caught glimpses of running through the house. Finally, his parents locked Robert up in the attic.
After his parents passed and Gene got married, he and his wife returned to his childhood home. Gene revised his relationship with Robert and the turret room became Robert’s room. Gene’s wife did not have the same close relationship with Robert and in fact, he terrified her. At one point, Gene came home to find his wife locked in the closet and she insisted Robert did it. She wanted Gene to give the doll away, but he refused.
Robert was locked in the turret room. School children reported Robert staring out the window at them and teasing them, but they were not the only ones. Adults described the same creepy experience.
After Gene died, his wife sold the house, but left Robert in the attic. An electrician came to work on the house and happened to be in the turret room. Robert sat in a chair. When the electrician’s back was returned, he heard a loud thump. He turned. Robert had fallen off the chair. He shrugged and returned to the job. Another thump caught his attention. He whirled around. Robert had moved closer. He forced himself to return his job, but at the next loud noise, now even closer, he bolted from the room and ran out of the house.
So, if you go to Key West and go to the Martello Museum to see Robert, watch out for loud noises. You never know, he might be right behind you.