The adult Gene was constantly accompanied by Robert much to the distaste of his wife, who is said to have loathed the doll. Naturally, he didn’t take particularly kindly to this, and so Robert the haunted doll once more placed demands on Eugene, requesting the Turret Room of the house because “he wanted a room with a view of the street.” Gene spent all of his time in the Turret Room with Robert, painting and talking to his doll, until his death in 1974. Annette, Eugene’s wife, was said to detest Robert, and supposedly banished him back to the attic. If we’re to believe anything about voodoo, perhaps with the increased exposure of Robert, plus replicas of him being sold, the increased bad luck of visitors to the museum is simply due to the curse being spread further and further afield. There were many other reports as well which insisted Robert the Doll could move around freely and express himself as if he were alive. Eugene was often heard whispering to Robert, which was entirely normal. The woman who bought Eugene’s house, Myrtle Reuter, was Robert’s caretaker following the sale of the house. Staff at the museum claim that Robert has been found in different positions within his case, that footsteps have been heard around the museum at night with no apparent explanation for the noise and that Robert’s expression has been known to change in a from neutral to nasty in the blink of an eye. Servants arrived and promptly quit their jobs in quick succession, and it’s also claimed that the aunt that banished Robert to the attic died the same night that he was put there. Although Robert’s origins are disputed, as this is one of those stories that gets passed around from family member to family member within the state, it’s generally thought that Robert was given to Otto as a present from his grandfather following a trip to Germany. Visitors to the museum are given advice on how to approach Robert: to speak to him in a polite way, to ask his permission to photograph him and to treat him with respect. Furniture could often be found overturned, toys of Eugene’s were often found ripped apart, and when the Otto family entered Eugene’s room, he was found huddled on his bed, petrified. Some versions of the legend claim that a young girl of "Bahamian descent" gave Otto the doll as a gift or as "retaliation for a wrongdoing". [1][3], The doll remained stored in the Otto family home at 534 Eaton Street in Key West while Otto studied art in New York and Paris. Once his parents died, however, he inherited their house – this allowed him to rekindle his “friendship” with Robert. Schoolchildren and almost anyone walking past the property would say that they often saw the doll disappear from sight before appearing again before their eyes. The doll was reportedly manufactured by the Steiff Company of Germany, purchased by Otto's grandfather while on a trip to Germany in 1904, and given to young Otto as a birthday gift. From Eugene. Robert Eugene (called Gene) was the son of affluent and well traveled parents, Mr and Mrs Thomas Otto. The doll's sailor suit was likely an outfit that Otto wore as a child. true story behind Annabelle from the Conjuring. He would also blame strange incidents around the house like rearranged furniture or destroyed toys on his doll, claiming that “Robert did it.”. The doll originally belonged to Robert Eugene Otto, an artist described as "eccentric" who belonged to a prominent Key West family. Eugene eventually moved away as an adult, and even got married. There are several different stories regarding how Robert Eugene Otto was first gifted the doll in 1903. Otto married Annette Parker in Paris on May 3, 1930. It’s thought to be made by Steiff, and perhaps to have manufactured as part of a clown or jester display. Oh, and if you’re wondering where Robert got his name? People still flock to the museum to see Robert the Doll today, and even continue to send him letters or gifts in the mail. When his parents died he inherited the old family home and he and his wife Annette moved back in. She claimed that the doll could move around on its own, along with a variety of other strange reports. It was not long before Gene found Robert in the attic and the two were reunited. [3], Coordinates: 24°33′09″N 81°45′18″W / 24.552389°N 81.754869°W / 24.552389; -81.754869, "Robert the Haunted Doll: Creeping Out Floridians Since 1904", "The Story Behind the World's Most Terrifying Haunted Doll", "Robert The Doll – Artist House Key West – Key West Guesthouse", "History of Fort East Martello – Key West Art and Historical Society", "Fort East Martello Museum (Key West, FL): Top Tips Before You Go (with Photos) – TripAdvisor", "Halloween Story The Legend of Robert the Doll", "TAPS hunts for things that go bump in the night", "Filmmaker Andrew Jones Talks Killer Dolls, Jurassic Terrors, and Nazi Werewolves", "Remote Controlled: Stars of Amazon's 'Lore' Discuss Horror Stories, What Scares Them", https://www.kwahs.org/exhibitions/robert-the-doll, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Robert_(doll)&oldid=986736387, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, The doll was exhibited at TapsCON, a convention hosted by, The doll and a replica doll sold at the gift shop at the Martello museum appeared in the second season of, The doll was featured in an episode of the podcast and TV series, This page was last edited on 2 November 2020, at 18:19. There are many stories surrounding Key West and the wider state, but one of the most famous is of Robert the Doll, Eugene Otto and the elements of Bahamian voodoo said to link the two together. As a result, she acquired the doll as well. [4][5] After their deaths, the Eaton Street home containing the doll was sold to Myrtle Reuter, who owned it for 20 years[3] until the property was sold to the current owners, who operate it as a guest house.[4]. It’s thought to be Otto’s own. Stories of Robert the doll moving meant that he was quickly banished to the attic. The Robert the doll story continues well past Eugene’s death, and the legend continues even to this day. Supposedly after he married, Gene insisted on Robert accompanying the couple everywhere. It sits only a half block from the popular Duval Street and Old Town’s legendary famous restaurants, bars, art galleries and attractions. When Eugene eventually passed, the house was purchased by Myrtle Reuter. While Chucky was just one of many mass-produced “Good Guy” dolls, Robert the Doll was a one-of-a-kind toy first owned and named by Florida painter Robert Eugene Otto. It’s the former home of painter Robert Eugene Otto and his wife Anne, a concert pianist… not to mention the former home of the world-famous haunted Robert the Doll. There are over one thousand letters in total, and the museum keeps and catalogues all of them for future reference. Some suggested the doll could blink its eyes are certain moments, or even run around with evil laughter. The 2000 horror film Final Destination has remained one of the most popular horror flicks of... Jordan Peele Producing ‘The People Under The Stairs’ Remake, Jason Blum Wants To Reboot ‘Friday The 13th’ Under Blumhouse, What The Original Michael Myers ‘Halloween’ Mask Looks Like Today, ‘Insidious 5’ Officially Happening With Patrick Wilson Attached To Direct, Chucky isn’t the only doll to look out for, MCU Characters Who Surprisingly Never Really Interacted On-Screen, Social Distancing Boats With Floating Cinemas Coming In September. The real events that helped inspire what would become the story for Child’s Play begin with the tale of Robert the Doll. After some investigation by the Fort West Martello Museum where Robert resides today, it’s now thought that the doll was never actually intended to be a doll. His wife died two years later. Despite his banishment, the Otto family were said to hear Robert the doll moving frequently around the upstairs portion of the house, with his footsteps said to echo throughout areas of the property that were completely empty. Visitors to her new home didn’t like Robert, and found that he’d appear and disappear at will. [6][7] It is annually rotated to the Old Post Office and Customhouse in October. “Robert did it.”. It’s fair to say that Key West, Florida is well-known for being haunted. It was something that displeased his wife greatly, as she thought her husband was simply too attached to the doll. Other stories claim that the doll moved voodoo figurines around the room, and was "aware of what went on around him". Another story about Robert the haunted doll and his origins describes the Otto family’s mistreatment of their servants and maids. Still other legends claim that the doll "vanished" after Otto's house changed ownership a number of times after his death,[5][8] or that young Otto triggered the doll's supernatural powers by blaming his childhood mishaps on the doll. Despite all of this, and despite his obvious fear of Robert as a child, Eugene kept Robert as he grew up and into an adult. Stories of Robert the doll moving meant that he was quickly banished to the attic. Eventually Robert Eugene Otto loved the doll so much he would call it by his own name, going by Eugene for himself, and would often refer to the doll in the first person.