Robert Doll – Monroe County, Key West, Florida
Photograph ©Haunted America Tours
534 Eaton Street
Key West, Florida 33040
The Artist House, where the Robert doll resides, was built in 1898 by a Mr. Thomas Otto and his wife. The Otto’s were known for abusing their servants and one of these servants, a serving girl, was said to have been accomplished in the art of voodoo.
The young servant girl gave a doll to Gene, the Otto’s son. It is said that the doll was hexed with a voodoo curse, which would explain some of the strange happenings that occurred in the house after that.
Gene promptly named the doll “Robert” and he took him everywhere. The Otto’s often heard Gene talking to the doll and then they would here him answering in another voice. Gene’s mother heard these conversations and would sometimes throw the bedroom door open and find Gene cowering in a corner and the doll perched on the bed on in a chair starring down at the boy.
Strange things began happening in the house and each time something occurred, Gene would say, “Robert did it.” Some of these happenings include servants being locked out, dishes being thrown about the dining room, clothing and bedding torn up and even some of Gene’s most prized toys were found mutilated.
Soon family members and close friends began to believe that the doll was responsible. Many had claimed to hear the doll giggling, some caught glimpses of it while it ran up the steps and some even saw the doll looking out of the window at them!
When Gene grew up, he didn’t move out of his parent’s home and he never let go of the doll. Many believe that the doll had a hold on Gene that was unbreakable.
After Gene’s parents died, Gene spent day-after-day in the house with the doll. The staff slowly began renouncing their positions until none of them were left. Gene and his “possessed” doll were the gossip of the town.
Eventually Gene took a wife but the marriage was doomed from the start. Gene apparently continued to take the doll everywhere he went. The doll even had his own special place at the diner table, as well as, his favorite chair beside Gene’s bed.
Gene’s wife is said to have went insane during the marriage and her cause of death is unknown. This poor woman is thought to haunt the Artist house to this day!
Gene eventually died and the doll was left alone in the house until it was sold to new owners. The new tenants promptly moved Robert to the attic but apparently he was unhappy there. Soon the owners began finding Robert in many areas of the house. The final straw was when one of the owners woke to find Robert at the foot of their bed holding knife. Needless to say, the tenants quickly moved out.
Robert was then moved to the East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida. The doll is now well guarded and viewed by tourists from all over the country. Many claim he has smirked at them. Others have claimed that their cameras would stop working while they tried to photograph him or the photos would come out blank; even though their cameras would work fine in others areas of the building and their other photos developed perfectly!