A couple years ago, I noticed something peculiar happening in the comments section of one of my articles.
It all goes back to 2013, when I first posted about Robert the Doll. This, if you don’t know, is the strange tale of a seemingly ordinary doll that allegedly holds a mysterious curse.
These days, he can be found locked behind glass at Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida. Behind him is an array of letters pinned to a wall, each containing an apology for having crossed him in one way or another.
His curse, at least the way I’ve heard it, is a rather simple one: Before taking a picture of Robert the Doll, everyone must first ask permission. If his head tilts, permission is not granted.
And if permission is not granted, or if the person fails to ask for permission at all, that individual will be cursed.
Allegedly, this curse involves severely bad luck. One example can be found over at Trip Advisor, by a reviewer who managed to snap not one but three photos of Robert without asking permission. Afterwards, his camera stopped working, and all of the photos he’d taken in Key West disappeared. And, wouldn’t you know it, when he got home from vacation he began to hear “strange noises during the night.”
At any rate, many of those who feel cursed end up sending apology letters to the museum, which end up getting pinned to that wall. The idea is that, in doing so, Robert will have mercy on them and lift their cloud of bad luck. In some ways, this is similar to the curse of Uluru.
However, while the rules of Robert’s curse are simple and based mostly on direct contact, in the past few years it seems to have spread onto the Internet. Or, at the very least, those who dare to research or read about Robert the Doll online aren’t taking any chances.
Like the letters sent to the museum, they’ve left comments online containing their own apologies. And that’s what brings us back to my old post.
The first comment on my article to apologize to Robert, for nothing more than reading about him online, was posted on February 21, 2015, with a very simple “I’m sorry Robert.”
More commenters would follow, some with a terse apology, others with both explanations and pleas that the cursed doll not turn its fabricated eyes toward them or their loved ones.
“I am sorry I viewed pictures of you online and read your story please forgive me.” – Matt, April 22, 2017
“Robert, I’m sorry I didn’t ask your permission. I was just learning about you. Please forgive me.” – Ted, May 8 2017
“Dear Robert, I visited you in key west. I was so honored and amazed. Please cause no harm upon my family. I was curious about your history and was interested. I’m very sorry.” – Lauren, January 18, 2018
“Sorry for reading about you, and looking at your photos online. I mean no disrespect to you, Robert the Doll. Please forgive me.” – Joseph, September 17, 2019
All told, over 200 comments have been left on that post, most of them apologies. But there are far more out there.
In fact, we might have to upgrade that “hundreds” to thousands. It seems everywhere someone has posted about Robert the Doll, be it on personal websites or YouTube, people can be found apologizing for viewing his pictures and doing even the tiniest bit of research.
And yet, despite all of these apologies, I’m unsure if anyone has actually been cursed simply for viewing photos of Robert or reading his story. His curse, after all, involves taking a photo, not looking at one.
Perhaps one person decided to apologize, and others followed just to be sure. It’s a fair bet, a cursed doll’s version of Pascal’s wager. Or, perhaps there’s more to this curse than I originally thought.
I guess I’ll leave you with one final question: Have you apologized to Robert, lately?
Oh, and just one more thing: I’m sorry, Robert.