This week’s Nightmare Fuel takes us to the Florida Keys, where we look at a haunted and cursed doll named Robert.
Robert Gene Otto, known by all as Gene, was four years old when his family’s maid presented him with a gift, a three-foot tall straw doll dressed in a sailor’s suit that bore an uncanny resemblance to him. Instantly falling in love with it, he named the doll Robert, after himself, and the two of them became thick as thieves. When the family ate dinner, Robert had a place setting like the rest of the family. When little Gene went to bed, Robert slept with him. The boy and the doll even carried on conversations with each other according to Gene’s mother. The little boy even went so far as to blame his fits of rage or any odd occurrences in the home on Robert.
When Gene married and inherited the family home, he relegated Robert to a room of his own in the house’s turret. Visitors reported hearing footsteps coming from the room along with a demonic laughter when no one was upstairs. School children walking past the house saw the doll in different windows, scowling down at them. At one point, Robert was moved to the attic but still found his way back to the little rocking chair by the window.
When Gene passed away in 1972, a new family moved into the home. Their ten-year-old daughter found Robert in the attic and laid claim to him, but that did not last long. The girl was traumatized by Robert, even going so far as to accuse him of trying to kill her.
Fast forward to 1994, and Robert is donated to the Key West Martello Museum, but his antics are far from over. Reports from staff include childlike laughter, changes in the doll’s expression, and even position in his glass home. Some people say that they hear a tapping when they walk past his case, only to find the doll’s hand pressed against the glass when they look back. One employee claimed that they cleaned Robert before leaving for the night, turning off all the lights as they walked out. The next morning, several lights were blazing bright, including the one next to Robert’s case. Stranger still was the dust on the soles of the doll’s feet, like he’d been walking around outside his glass case.
If you do go visit Robert, it is a recommended practice to introduce yourself and ask for permission before recording or taking pictures of him. It is also suggested to not disrespect the doll in any fashion, as bad things have been known to happen to those who do. The effects have ranged from camera malfunctions to actual accidents after leaving the museum. To this day, Robert still receives letters begging forgiveness of their rude behavior towards him.
Until next time, Addicts!