Robert the Doll

“Robert The Doll (5999680656)” by Cayobo from Key West, The Conch Republic – Robert The DollUploaded by LongLiveRock. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Stories of the odd and unexplainable always interest me.  One of the oddest stories I’ve ever heard involves a doll named Robert.  The doll, which is said to be cursed, was originally owned by the son of Key West painter and author Robert Eugene Otto.  The family had a Bahamian servant who was said to be skilled in black magic.  When she became upset with the family she supposedly put a spell on young Eugene’s doll.  The family soon started experiencing strange events within their home.

Eugene was heard talking to the doll, and the doll was heard talking back.  At first the family thought Eugene was simply responding for the doll and speaking in a different tone of voice (as children are apt to do).  Neighbors claimed to see the doll moving from window to window when the family was away, guests would claim to see its expression change and eyes blink, the family would catch glimpses of it running from room to room and hear its unsettling giggle.  Young Eugene would often wake the family with his screams — when his parents would come to investigate they’d find the room in disarray and Eugene terrified in bed repeating, “Robert did it!”

Eugene died in 1974.  Robert remained in the attic until a new family purchased the home. Their young daughter became Robert’s new friend.  It wasn’t long before the child began screaming in the night claiming that Robert moved on his own and had even tried to attack her.  To this day (30 years later), she still claims that Robert was alive and actually tried to kill her.

Robert now lives in the  Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida and has become a fixture on the city’s ghost tours.

You can read more about Robert and his exploits at


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