Clarissa Johal: #Paranormal Wednesday-Robert the #Haunted Doll

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

#Paranormal Wednesday-Robert the #Haunted Doll

Photo courtesy of Susan Smith via Flickr
More creepy dolls, just what you wanted, right? Guess I'm on a creepy doll kick. Here's one on eBay I would purchase if I had the money. There's just something about it...and I don't even like dolls.

The doll pictured here was owned by Key West painter and author Robert Eugene Otto. It's said to be possessed by evil spirits and has become the subject of urban legend and Creepypasta. It was difficult to separate fact from fiction when researching this post. I do think that Robert Eugene Otto experienced mental illness and poured a lot of energy into this doll. Energy which may have something to do with the issues surrounding the doll today.

In 1906, a Bahamian servant gave the doll to 6-year-old Robert as a gift. One story claims she was skilled in black magic and voodoo and was displeased with the family. Other sources say it was a gift of love and the 40" doll, stuffed with wood wool known as excelsior, was meant to be a replica of the boy. Regardless, Robert (nicknamed Gene) took an instant liking to it. He named the doll "Robert" and would often dress the doll in his own clothing. His parents would hear their son talking to it and answering himself in a changed voice. Later, as the family began to feel there was something eerie about the doll, they claimed it was actually speaking to him. Gene blamed the doll for mischief he would have otherwise gotten in trouble for...but he and the doll were inseparable.

When Robert "Gene" Otto married, his wife tried to convince him to store the doll in the attic. He wouldn't hear of it. He insisted the doll needed its own room where it could see out the window. The doll ended up in the Turret Room of the house where Gene would spend countless hours painting. The Otto's marriage was a rocky one. Gene would go through extreme personality changes and fits of rage (oftentimes directed at his wife) and blame the doll for his behavior. 

When Gene died in 1974, the doll was left in the attic. Stories of the doll’s strange behavior became commonplace. Tenants heard footsteps in the attic room above them. A plumber heard giggling and claimed the doll moved across the attic on its own. The house was eventually sold to Myrtle Reuter. In 1994, Myrtle donated Robert to the Fort East Martello Museum. She also claimed the doll was haunted and moved around on its own. Myrtle died a few months later.

Today, the doll is on display at Fort East Martello. People taking a photo of Robert must ask permission first. Those who don't, experience camera malfunctions and other misfortunes. Guests claim to have seen Robert's expression change right before their eyes. To appease his spirit, peppermints are left in the glass case where Robert sits, only to have them gone in the morning--wrappers discarded and laying off to the side.

If you're interested, here's a short video:


Carol Browne said...

Another case for Zak Bagans! I think most dolls are creepy.

Clarissa Johal said...

I do too! And this is NOT one I'd want to play with ;)

Amy Russell said...

I don't know, he is kinda cute, like a little potato in a sailor suit!

Clarissa Johal said...

lol He does have a bit of that potato look, yes

Heather Holden said...

Even though I love dolls, I must admit, this story is creepy!

Clarissa Johal said...

I thought so too, Heather! Not one you'd collect, then? ;)

Dominique Eastwick said...

Met Robert this Summer. And ask his permission to take his picture. The person says that lights go out all the time in that end of the museum.