Is Robert The Doll Real?

<Robert the doll

The Story Behind The Haunted Doll

It’s believed that Robert the Doll is the most haunted doll in the world. It’s alleged that this straw doll, dressed in an old sailor suit, is possessed by a malevolent spirit that brings misfortune to those it crosses paths with. He was apparently first purchased on a trip to Germany, but today he sits behind a glass case in a Florida museum, cursing anyone who dares to disrespect him.

Robert the Doll: Where It All Began

As with most creepy tales, the true backstory of the most terrifying haunted doll is unknown. There are loads of speculations about where Robert originated from. The Robert doll was gifted to Eugene Robert Otto, but there are many stories as to how (or why) he received this ghostly gift.

One story claims it was a present from Otto’s grandfather who bought Robert in Germany in 1904, while others believe that it was one of his maids who gifted young Otto with the haunted doll. Another legend claims that a young Bahamian girl used Voodoo magic to curse the already terrifying doll.

Robert’s origins aren’t clear and the life ahead of the terrifying figure is even more mysterious.

Robert Eugene Otto

Yes, the boy Robert the doll belonged to passed his first name down to the haunted doll (and apparently his sailor suit as well). Because of this, Robert Eugene Otto was mainly known by his middle name.

Stories claim Eugene, who belonged to a prominent Key West family, was around eight when he was first given this child’s plaything. Although it was a bit large for young Otto at the time, this didn’t stop him from forming a bond with Robert, rarely going anywhere without it.

He would often be heard whispering to Robert. Although this isn’t an unusual thing for a young boy to do, the cursed doll’s deep voice was overheard talking back. Things escalated when Eugene’s other toys started being ripped apart. When his parents asked him what happened, his response would send a shiver down anyone’s spine... “Robert did it”.

Later on in life, Eugene became an artist and even married before he moved back to his family home with his wife. And despite experiencing his own inexplicable happenings, he insisted on keeping Robert.

He continued his childhood friendship with the haunted doll, even though Otto’s wife detested it. He spent his days speaking to and painting beside Robert until he eventually passed away.

Otto family home

The Otto family home, located at 534 Eaton Street in Key West, was sold after the death of Eugene and his wife, Anna. Myrtle Reuter owned the house for 20 years before it was sold to the current owners who have turned it into a guest house.

Myrtle Reuter continued to care for the haunted doll after the death of Anna. While she lived in the house, many people claimed to have heard footsteps and giggling coming from the home.

Today, this home is often referred to as the “Otto Mansion” or even the “Artist House.” The Victorian-style building is a very successful historic guest house. However, there has been some speculation over the years that Robert’s wife still haunts their bedroom.

Robert the doll’s teddy bear

As if one creepy toy wasn’t enough, the Robert Doll has a teddy bear of his own. This little stuffed lion is said to have been a childhood toy that also belonged to Eugene. He was often heard having conversations with both dolls, which just made the already unhealthy relationship with his toys even more strange.

Fort East Martello Museum

Today, Robert still lives in Key West, Florida but has since been moved to  The East Martello Museum where paranormal fanatics can see the doll for themselves. He has been put on display in a glass case among other exhibitions that have been restored by the Key West Art and Historical Society in 1950 after the museum was abandoned for many years.

Since Robert the doll has moved to the museum, the staff have claimed to have noticed mysterious events happening.

If you’re planning a visit to this museum, make sure you have some white sage leaves at home, so you can smudge yourself after the visit. It’s a great way to get rid of the unwanted hostile energy that might follow you home after being too close to Robert.

This makes you wonder if Robert Eugene Otto ever tried getting rid of the evil spirit himself. But, when we look at the unhealthy relationship he had with Robert, it’s safe to assume he wouldn’t have wanted to.

Paranormal Events

Events in the Otto home

Robert didn’t just earn the title of the most haunted doll in the world based on his disturbing Voodoo-doll appearance. The doll has an undeniably evil energy surrounding it and there are various reports from servants who used to work in the Otto family home of unexplainable things taking place in the Otto household.

Some of the reports claim:

  • They’ve heard footsteps
  • Giggling from the attic where he was kept
  • The doll appears and disappears from the upstairs window
  • Facial expressions would change.

Present misfortunes

Visitors of the Martello museum, where Robert resides today, claim to have also experienced post-visit misfortunes. They believe these events occurred for failing to respect Robert. It’s believed that the doll has been blamed for plenty of misfortunes over the years, including:

  • Car accidents
  • Divorce
  • Broken bones
  • Disease
  • Job loss
  • Death

Is Robert The Doll Really Haunted?

There are a few things you can look out for when trying to determine if a doll is really haunted or if your mind is just playing tricks on you. The story of Robert Eugene Otto is one based on many people’s own experiences. Some clues of the possession of the Robert doll that these people have reported are:

  • Temperature changes
  • Eerie sounds around the house
  • Interference with the emotional state of the people the doll crosses paths with


How can I see Robert?

You’ll need to travel to the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West Florida, where you can see Robert on display in a glass case. Just be warned, visitors have reported experiencing cases of misfortune after going to see this haunted doll.

Is there a movie based on Robert the Doll?

Yes! There are multiple horrors based on the doll, the most well-known being the “Robert” series.

Is it worth watching Robert the Doll?

Whether watching these horror movies is worth it completely depends on what you enjoy. If you have a keen interest in paranormal things and have fun watching films that can keep you up at night, they’re definitely worth a watch.

How many haunted items are there?

Quantifying the number of haunted items in the world is challenging, because the classification of an object as “haunted” is subjective. And it’s often based on personal experiences and folklore. There isn’t a universally accepted or scientific method for determining if an object is truly haunted, which further complicates any attempt to count them. There are many more well known haunted items, such as:

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that Robert the doll exists. You can visit him for yourself in the Fort East Martello Museum where he resides in his sailor suit. But whether you choose to believe in this sinister doll story is up to you.

We live in a world filled with haunted objects for you to investigate yourself – all you need is a keen interest in things that are a little more paranormal.


Sam Ashford
Sam Ashford - Author

Hey, I'm Sam Ashford! I'm a ghost-hunting expert, writer and founder of SpiritShack. My mission is to help people like yourself learn about spirituality and how to hunt ghosts!