One of the oldest toys that almost all of us have had as kids are dolls, they came in all sizes, from those wooden colourful ones, to the ones with ribbon-tied braids, to the modern battery ones, the mechanical ones who even opened their mouths to sing or eat. Dived into a sea of nostalgia, eh? Well, here we aren’t talking about those oh! so sweet-darling dolls who we adored so much, what we’re going to unravel today is one of the most haunted dolls, the mankind has ever seen, Robert the doll. What must have caught your attention would be the name Robert, as we usually encounter female dolls except for Ken obviously!
Yes, Robert was a male doll maybe that’s what makes his existence even more riveting. Other than this, his life-sized figure, black buttons for eyes, and the old material covering his face which is so old that it actually has holes forming around his cheeks. Another fact that adds up to the chilling factor, is that, the manufacturing company claimed that Robert was never intended to be toy, but a mannequin.The appearance and the creepy expression on his face which mind you , can change make it one of the creepiest dolls that the world has ever come across.
Robert The Doll : Origin
The doll, originally belonged to Robert Eugene Otto, a prominent artist, raised in a respectful Key West family. Robert Eugene Otto was lovingly called “Gene” by his family members. It is believed that the doll was gifted to young Gene, on his birthday. The doll, was reportedly a manufacture of Steiff company, Germany. Otto clothed the doll as a sailor because he liked dressing up as a sailor. Sounds like a pleasing tale right? You got that wrong.
Soon after Robert the doll was gifted to Gene he became attached to it, he was so much in love with his new inanimate friend, that he gave him his own first name, Robert, hence the name Robert the doll. The bond between Gene and Robert was pretty much like the one we normally expect kids and their toys to have, but soon things took a dramatic turn. Gene became isolated and he would talk for hours with the doll. At first his parents assumed that Gene mimicked the voice for Robert but soon things came into the clear.
The people who knew the Otto household up-close said that what they would remember was, this unhealthy relationship with the doll, they say that Gene brought it everywhere, talked about it and to it as if it was a living person. However, soon things started to perish in the Otto household, objects would move on their own, Gene being the smallest in the house, was blamed for all of this, he insisted that it was Robert’s fault but his parents brushed off his claims, but then even as Gene grew older these strange events continued.
Even, people who visited sometimes heard giggling noises even though Gene wasn’t home. The eventuality that evinced that something was wrong with the Robert the doll was that it changed its place, many a times the Otto family discovered that the doll had changed its whereabouts even though none of the family members or the servants had moved it.
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As Gene Otto grew up, he eventually forget about the doll, became an artist and moved into a bigger house in Key West known as “The Artist House”. Robert was given a permanent position at a rotunda window at the top of the house, from where he overlooked the people on the street. However, things didn’t remain quite, people reported many incidents when they could feel Robert’s gaze on them, they sweared that they saw him disappear and reappear facing another direction. Visitors, who came, claimed that they heard footsteps coming from the room above and again the giggling noises.
As years passed by, Gene got married to a girl named Ann, who was also bothered by the presence of the doll. She reported that the doll was possessive about Gene and didn’t want anyone to get close to him, she was unnerved by the doll. The love that Otto had for the doll, was something even his own wife could never comprehend. Robert soon became a reason for quarrels in the Otto household. Ann somehow managed to move the doll’s place to the attic.
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Upon Gene and his wife’s death in 1974, new tenants moved into the house, even they weren’t spared from Robert the doll’s creepy mischief’s, unexplained movements and sounds continued to come from the attic room. After 20 years, they donated the doll to the East Martello Museum, stating one reason for their donation, that Robert was haunted.
The Final Destination
The doll was kept on display, and soon the stories of the doll being haunted pulled several tourists to the museum, people would take pictures with it and would claim that it was just silly rumours of the doll being haunted. But soon the museum staff realized that, the doll was really haunted, one morning when they opened the basement floor, where Robert was kept on display, they found out that the whole room was messed up, it seemed like all the objects had been thrown off, and Robert had changed his position, they also claimed hearing giggling sounds coming from the floor. Citing all these events, Robert Doll was shelved in glass box, sitting comfortably on a chair, with his soft toy dog on his lap.
Apart from this, the museum also noted that Robert didn’t like when people took photographs with him without his permission, to prove this, the museum has received over hundreds of letters from tourists begging Robert to forgive them for defying him. These tourists claimed that bad things happened to them and they did realise that it had happened because of them disrespecting Robert. So now everyone who wants to take a picture with Robert, asks for his permission.
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At present, Robert the doll is 115 years old, still visitors claim that cameras malfunction in his presence and that electric devices get disrupted. So, do you still plan to visit Robert at the East Martello Museum someday? Remember to take his permission before pulling out a selfie.
Article By -Arushi Tamrakar