The Curse of Robert the Doll

Posted by on March 11, 2013
The Curse of Robert the Doll

In 1906, young Robert Eugene Otto received a doll from his family’s servant.

It was, at first blush, unremarkable: a doll of wire, cloth and straw, with beige skin and human-like hair. It wore an outfit similar to that of an American Naval officer.

But the doll held an ominous secret that would reveal itself in time.

You see, legend has it that the Otto family, who lived in Key West, Florida, weren’t kind to their servants. One servant, a Bahamian woman, grew tired of her mistreatment.

Some say she was skilled in voodoo and black magic. As an act of revenge, she infused a doll with dark spirits, and cursed it with hatred. She crafted it with human blood and hair, and stuffed it with rags soaked in the liquid of the dead. It was this doll she bestowed upon young Robert.

A terrible gift.

A Haunted Soul

Robert the Doll: A Haunted Soul
Image: Flickr/Cayobo via CC by SA 2.0

Robert Eugene Otto, unaware of its sordid history, took to the doll almost immediately.

He named it Robert, after himself (he actually went by his middle name, Gene). His parents would hear him late at night conversing with Robert the Doll, and sometimes — perhaps it was their imaginations, or was that strange, guttural voice really coming from their son? — they could hear the doll speaking back.

Gene would go on to blame Robert the Doll for countless strange occurrences. Plates falling from tables, lamps falling from walls. Torn clothing and misplaced objects littered throughout the house.

His parents, when reprimanding him, would simply be met with the reply, “Robert did it.”

Eventually, Gene grew older and traveled to Paris to pursue a career in art. He got married, and life went on. However, when he and his wife returned and moved back into his old Victorian home in Key West, Gene made special accommodations for the doll. It was still very important to him.

He constructed a small room in the third floor turret, scaled perfectly for Robert’s size. He placed small furniture inside. Robert sat in a chair, motionless. Most of the time, of course.

Allegedly, neighbors would claim they could see Robert the Doll through the third-floor windows, moving from room to room. The sound of laughter occasionally echoed throughout the house, as well, glimpses of shadows as the doll made its nightly walkabouts.

In 1974, Gene died and Anne moved away. But Robert remained, and the strange occurrences continued to be reported by new occupants and utility workers.

Unexplained footsteps, strange noises, laughter. Some would turn their backs on the strange little doll, and it would have moved, just slightly, when they looked again.

The Curse of Robert the Doll Continues

The doll was lost in time, packed away by nervous occupants who couldn’t bare to keep it in plain sight. It eventually surfaced again, however, when a new family found the doll in the attic.

Their 10-year-old daughter welcomed the old doll, becoming its new owner. But she, too, would learn of its secret terrors. She would scream in the night, shouting that Robert was moving. On at least one occasion, she claims (to this day, in fact), that the doll tried to kill her.

Robert the Doll was ultimately given to the East Martello Museum, where it has been on display — locked behind glass — ever since.

For two weeks every year, it’s brought to the Custom House in Key West, where visitors may have a look for themselves.

Robert the Doll: The Curse
Image: Flickr/Cayobo via CC by SA 2.0

A word of caution, however:

You may be wondering about all those notes and papers pinned to the wall in this photograph.

Before taking a picture of Robert the Doll when he is on display, each person must first ask for his permission. If his head tilts, that means permission has not been granted.

Those letters were sent to the museum by people who dared to tempt the curse of Robert the Doll, who didn’t ask for permission. They contain true testimonies of the bad luck and misfortune that followed.

In those letters, they ask for forgiveness.

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About the Author Post by Rob Schwarz

Rob Schwarz is a writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. He manages Stranger Dimensions in between changing aquarium filters and reading bad novels about mermaids.

  • Goutham satheesh

    Hai

    • Robert

      Don’t disrespect me like that.

    • RedMane

      Are all these people apologizing to Robert because they’ve had bad experiences due to viewing him online?!? Or is it just that nobody wants to take any chances!?!?

    • RedMane

      And, being no fool, I am apologizing to you, Robert. I give you high regards and I wish you well.

  • Linux Master Race

    What?!?!

  • Katie

    I’m sorry Robert.

  • Charlotte didcott

    Robert I am sorry if me or my family offended you in any way.

  • Fat Albert

    Truth is ., you NEVER mess with the supernatural! You have NO control over that stuff! My aunt was into voodoo. When she died, we came into possession of a wall decoration. It was one of those pieces that consisted of a wooden frame, a candle in a glass, and a little mirror. Just above the glass was a neatly carved wooden face. When we put that thing in the house, you could feel this eerie “force and presence” that came from it. Then the freak accidents started to occur. And the nightmares. We sent this object to John Zaffis ( NO return address! ) and instructed him to lock the object in a box PERMANENTLY! Upon getting rid of this decorative wall piece, all the freaky accidents stopped, and the awful eerie feelings went away! My assessment of “Robert” is this: The only SAFE way to even “look” upon him is through pictures posted online! That cursed doll may be even more dangerous than Ed and Lorraine Warren’s doll “Annabel!!!”

  • phishy

    I either have a cursed hat, or fishing is a dangerous activity. My great grandfather and grandfather both died while fishing, wearing the same hat. Luckily, I don’t fish and the hat doesn’t fit me.

  • Megan

    I’m sorry Robert.

  • carl

    Im sorry robert.

  • Erik J.

    Robert, I apologize for viewing a photograph of you without your permission.

  • Laura Elizabeth

    I believe in you Robert. Just wanted to learn more about your legend. Truly Sorry I didn’t ask first

  • Laura

    Im sorry Robert, please forgive me.

  • Matt

    Robert I

    I

    I am sorry I viewed pictures of you online and read your story please forgive me.

    Matt

  • Kierstyn

    Robert,

    I’m so so sorry I watched your video… It won’t happen again I’m sorry please forgive me..

    I’m sorry, Robert.

    ~Kierstyn

  • Ted

    Robert, I’m sorry I didn’t ask your permission. I was just learning about you. Please forgive me.

  • Car

    Hi Robert, I am sorry I viewed your pictures online without your permission. Just wanted to learn about your story

  • Cece

    I’m sorry Robert for read your story and view your photos without your permission, I’m really sorry.

  • SoaR Acid

    Plz forgive me Robert I saw your pic online plz forgive me

  • SoaR Acid

    Again am super sorry Robert

  • Saikat Banerjee

    I’m sorry Robert I saw your picture online and read about you, just wanted to learn about you. I’m really sorry.

  • Angela

    I’m sorry Robert, I came across your story and pictures online and wish to respect you.

  • Jack Ellis

    I am sorry Robert, I just wanted to know more about you

  • claudia

    We are sorry Robert we just wanted to get to know more about you.

  • Risanas

    Sorry Robert I like to read up about scary things and you came up in my search, I apologize for reading up about you online. You are very interesting 🙂

  • Jennifer

    I’m sorry for reading about you, Robert. Please forgive me.

  • Ashley

    I’m very sorry, Robert, for viewing photographs of you online, reading information about you, and almost watching the YouTube video about you that did not have permission. I hope you can forgive me for my curiosity.

  • Timothy

    I’m very sorry Robert, I’m just interested in your story. Please forgive me.

  • Marcus

    I am sorry Robert for looking at pictures and videos of you without permission I was just interested about you. I am very sorry.

  • Amor Y Lucha Libre

    Sorry Robert for looking into your story more without your permission. You are quite the handsome fellow and I didn’t know i couldn’t look you up online. I honestly thought it was just taking a picture, so please forgive me.
    Love
    Catherine

  • Jacob

    Sorry for reading about you, watching videos and viewing pictures of you without your permission. Please forgive me Robert.

  • Marcus

    I’m sorry Robert for viewing pictures of you without permission I was just interested in your story. I’m sorry

  • Samantha San Nicolas

    I sorry Robert for looking at you history and pictures, and looking you up online, Please for give me.

  • Theodore Purnell

    Im sorry, Robert, I didnt know I wasn’t supposed to look you up. I just wanted to learn about you and your story.

  • Faham Tak

    I’m sorry Robert that I looked you up and viewed videos of you without your permission, I just wanted to know more about you, I hope you can forgive me.

  • Jonathan Sanders

    Im sorry Robert for not asking for permission first I hope you will forgive me youre very extraordinary

  • Andrea Polits

    I sorry Robert for looking at you history, pictures, looking you up online, and watching videos about you. Please for give me.

  • Nesa

    Hi, Robert. I am very sorry for looking you up and reading about you without your permission. Please forgive me

  • Wendy

    I’m sorry Robert for looking you up, forgive me.

  • Conor

    Hi Robert, I’m truly sorry for looking you up, please forgive me

  • Mike P.

    I am truly sorry Robert for looking you up online and looking at the history,pictures and other things related to you. I am just very interested in you and your story and relationship with Gene
    Please forgive me.

  • Ana Cass

    I’m sorry Robert for reading about you and watching videos about you without your permission. Please forgive me.

  • kat ellen

    Sorry Robert for searching you up. I did not realise you may not like it until after. Please accept my apologies

  • Emma H

    Dear Robert,
    I’m sorry for looking you up online. I had no idea that you wouldn’t like that. I should have asked for permission. Please forgive me.
    Kind regards and best wishes 🙂

  • Julie Stamps

    Dear Robert,
    May you find peace within and only respect. I’m sorry for looking you up online without permission. Please accept my apologies. I wish only the best and kind regards.

  • Keandra Po

    I’m sorry Robert for reading about you. Please be kind And accept my apologies.

  • Beatrice Dominguez

    Yes sorry Robert for looking you up without your permission

  • Megan Hash

    I’m sorry Robert, I didn’t realize I wasn’t allowed to look you up, I hope you can forgive me

  • Uriel

    Sorry Robert I’m truly sorry for looking you up with out your permission, please do accept my apologies.

  • skye

    Robert, im sorry we looked you up without permission. Please accept our apologies

  • Tig

    I’m sorry for researching you without permission Robert. Please accept my apologies.

  • Pauly Dk1

    Sorry Robert for looking you up without your permission. I was curious. Please forgive me.

  • Chris

    Dear Robert, Im truly Sorry for searching you up without your permission, Please forgive me
    .

  • Chris

    Dear Robert, I am Truly sorry for searching you up without your permission, Please Forgive me.

  • Dimitri

    Dear Robert, please forgive me for looking you up, without your permission… please

  • Pebbe

    Dear Robert, please forgive me for looking you up, without your permission. Please forgive me

  • Kayla

    Dear Robert,
    Please forgive me for researching your story on the internet. I was not aware that you would not approve of that. Please accept my apologies.

    -Kayla

  • artmonkey24

    Dear Robert,

    Please forgive me for researching about you on the internet with out your permission. Please accept my deepest apologies.

    -Helen

  • Undrane Tisdale

    Sorry Robert for researching you without permission. Please forgive me and accept my deepest apologies. -Nae

  • Alexa

    Dear Robert,
    My sincerest apologies for researching you without your permission. I wish you well with the utmost respect.

    – Alexa

  • Cynthia Quan

    Dear Robert,

    I am truly sorry for researching about you online and looking at your photos and for watching a video about you without your permission. I was just curious about you after watching the TV series “Lore”. I did not know that I needed your permission to do so. Please accept my apology and forgive me.

    Sincerely,
    Cynthia

  • John

    Dear Robert, I am sorry for researching you on the internet and looking at pictures of you without your permission. I hope you accept my apology.
    Sincerely, John

  • CS

    Dear Robert,

    I am sorry for once again viewing your pictures online without your permission. I hope you forgive me and have a wonderful day.

    Sincerely,
    CS

  • Lucifer MorningStar

    Dear Robert,

    Your agreement says I can’t take pictures of you, therefore I look at you without apologizing. Don’t break your own contract.

  • Hannah Faye

    robert – please forgive me for looking at pictures of you without your permission. you deserve to be respected and i sincerely apologize.

  • Luigi

    My dearest Robert The Doll please accept my sincere apologies for viewing you’re very handsome photograph an I was not aware that I could not view photos of you so I hope you can accept my sincere apologies p.s I believe in demons and curses and powers and if you could please bless/curse me with awesome powers

  • Zachariah Stutts

    My apologies Robert. I was unaware that I should not view photos of you without your permission. I was just curious about you, please accept my apology and have a good day.

    From:Zach

  • Vanna

    Dear Robert,
    My sister and I are truly sorry that we searched you up online and looked at pictures of you without your permission. I hope that you can forgive us because we meant no harm and had no intention to upset you
    Sincerely,
    Vanna
    I am very sorry Robert

  • HMT

    Dear Robert,
    Please forgive me for looking at pictures and researching you without your permission. I was just curious and I deeply apologize for the sin I have committed against you. I had no entinitions of hurting you or harming you. I was also unaware of that I needed your permission for this. I deeply apologize for any pain or suffering I may have caused you. I hope you can forgive me for what I have done.
    And have a good day.
    Sincerely,
    Me (HMT)

  • Keondre Joyce

    Dear Robert I apologize for researching you online I did not mean to offend you in anyway and I ask for your forgiveness…

  • Aliyah Stewart

    Dear Robert,
    I was not fully aware that I shouldn’t look at pictures of you online. I am truly sorry and i ask for your forgiveness. I have not come to cause harm or ill will.

  • Rafael Barboza

    Dear Robert, I’m really sorry for looking at your pictures/searching about you. I did not mean to offend you in any way. Please, forgive me.

  • Adam Martinez

    Dear Robert, please forgive me for researching and looking at your pictures without your permission forgive me.

  • Kheineu Blackmon

    Robert I apologize for looking and researching about you and your story. I was not fully aware of how this would offend you. I am sorry for not asking for your permission and hope that I receive your forgiveness.

  • CryingGirl

    Forgive me, I meant no harm.

  • Jordan

    Dear Robert, I am sorry for researching you online and I do not mean to offend you in anyway. I ask for your forgiveness please.

  • Victoria

    Dear Robert I apologize for researching you online I did not mean to offend you. Please forgive me

  • Domanik Bond

    Dear Robert, I didn’t mean to offend you or do anything to harm so I am sorry for searching you and I ask for your forgiveness.

  • Fatima Alarcon

    Dear Robert,

    I am very sorry I saw your pictures online and researched you without permission. I had no idea how much this would offend you. Please accept my apology.

  • Laura

    Dear Robert, I apologize for viewing toy online without your permission I was simply curious after seeing a trailer for “lore” I hope you can forgive me I did not mean to offend you.

  • Laura

    Dear Robert I apologize for researching you and viewing you online without your permission I hope you can accept my apology.

  • karlie Redies

    dear robert, i apologize for researching you after ive seen advertisement for “lore” and also seeing many youtube videos about you. please forgive me. please dont curse me

  • James

    Dear Robert I’m sorry I researched and looked at photos of you without your permission I hope you can forgive me I was just curious about the history behind you

  • BlueButterfly

    Dear Robert,

    I did not wish to offend you and if I did I am very sorry.
    I asked permission to view this page from afar, but don’t know if that permission was granted and did proceed on reading this article. By no means did I mean to offend you, please forgive me dear Robert as I only wish the best for you.
    Please forgive me if you were offended and do not curse me.

  • Christmas liz

    Dear Robert, i deeply apologize for researching you online, and viewing your picture without first asking permission. I hope that you can spare me, and i ask for your forgiveness. Please don’t harm me, or my family. Thank you for reading.