Robert the Doll and Haunted Key West

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29 Mar 2017

It’s that time of year again, when stories of hauntings and creepy things are being recounted. There are many haunted Key West locations that have been reported through the years, but the best known is Robert the Doll, the most famous haunted celebrity in Key West!

The Haunting Story of Robert the Doll

If you don’t know about Robert, listen closely to the Key West folklore of the haunted doll! Robert the Doll is a 41” stuffed doll, given to a boy named, Robert (Eugene) Otto in 1904 by a household servant from the Bahamas. Legend has it that the servant was well versed in Voodoo, and not happy working for the family, so a curse was placed on the doll. The doll seemed to be a bit different than most, but Eugene’s attachment to him was even more disturbing.

The family noticed that Eugene would talk to the doll and then speak for Robert in a different voice. The family would repeatedly tell him to stop, but Eugene insisted it was Robert talking. Neighbors reported that Robert could be seen moving from window to window when the family was away. Terrifying giggles could be heard throughout the house and Eugene would maintain it was Robert. Soon, all mishaps at the house were blamed on Robert, and Eugene was becoming afraid.

When the family left for an extended time to go out of the country, the doll was banished to the turret room of the home. The family reported that Eugene seemed to be “normal” without Robert around, but when they returned, the strange occurrences began again. The family would say that it appeared Robert’s facial expressions would change and he would stare at them with an angry expression.

Eugene continued to blame Robert the doll for all his ill-tempered behavior and the bond between them did not disappear as Eugene became an adult. He continued to carry the doll around town, and talk for Robert. He even built a special room for Robert in the turret of the couple’s home on Eaton Street, now called The Artists House.

In 1974 Eugene passed away and his wife left the Keys, and the doll, in the turret room of the house, with instructions that no one was to go in there. Tenants reported hearing footsteps in the room above them and a plumber heard giggling and swears the doll had moved across the room on his own!

Robert Today

Robert was donated to the Art History Museum in 1994 and resides in the East Martello Museum. The staff immediately noticed a shift of energies upon his arrival, and once on exhibit, cameras and electronic devices malfunctioned in his presence. It is said that Robert takes is anger out on visitors to the museum. If you take his photo and don’t ask permission first, he will bring misfortune on you! People who have violated Robert’s rule, have later written to Robert asking for forgiveness, and mention the misfortunes that have come into their life since taking his photo.

Robert has been the star of many haunted Key West shows, including the Travel Channel’s new television program titled: Zak Bagans: Deadly Possessions. While filming Robert for a show, Zak was so enchanted by him and his story, he invited Robert to Las Vegas to appear on his new show! Robert was removed from his glass case for the first time in decades and traveled to Las Vegas with the Key West Art & Historical Society curator. Can you imagine being on an Airplane with Robert the Doll sitting next to you??!

Check out the episode of Deadly Possessions – Dibbuk Box and Robert the Doll – Season 1 Episode 1, 2015 at: to get the full story…and be sure to Ask Robert, before you do!!