In July of 2016, we traveled down to Key West and to the East Martello Museum to pay our respect to Robert the Doll, the doll that inspired the series "Chucky".
For more information, check out our video about Robert the Doll...
The Story of Robert the Doll
Robert the doll is an allegedly haunted doll exhibited at the East Martello Museum. Robert was once owned by Key West, Florida painter and author, Robert Eugene Otto.
The doll originally belonged to Robert Eugene Otto, an artist described as "eccentric" who belonged to a prominent Key West family. The doll was reportedly manufactured by the Steiff Company of Germany, purchased by Otto's grandfather while on a trip to Germany in 1904, and given to young Otto as a birthday gift. The doll's sailor suit was likely an outfit that Otto wore as a child.
The doll remained stored in the Otto family home at 534 Eaton Street in Key West while Otto studied art in New York and Paris. Otto married Annette Parker in Paris on May 3, 1930. The couple returned to the Otto family home in Key West to live there until Otto died in 1974. His wife died two years later. After their deaths, the Eaton Street home containing the doll was sold to Myrtle Reuter, who owned it for 20 years until the property was sold to the current owners, who operate it as a guest house.
In 1994, the doll was donated to the East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida, where it eventually became a popular tourist attraction. It is annually rotated to the Old Post Office and Customhouse in October.
According to legend, the doll has supernatural abilities that allow it to move, change its facial expressions, and make giggling sounds. Some versions of the legend claim that a young girl of "Bahamian descent" gave Otto the doll as a gift or as "retaliation for a wrongdoing". Other stories claim that the doll moved voodoo figurines around the room, and was "aware of what went on around him". Still other legends claim that the doll "vanished" after Otto's house changed ownership a number of times after his death, or that young Otto triggered the doll's supernatural powers by blaming his childhood mishaps on the doll. According to local folklore, the doll has caused "car accidents, broken bones, job loss, divorce and a cornucopia of other misfortunes", and museum visitors supposedly experience "post-visit misfortunes" for "failing to respect Robert" (Wikipedia)
We actually went over to visit Robert twice during this trip. The first visit was during the Ghost and Gravestones Tour of Key West, but there were a lot of people on that tour, and we really did not get to spend some time up close and personal with Robert. So, we decided to go back the following day during the day time, right before we left Key West. Just a little tip, hardly anyone was at the museum during a nice sunny day in Key West. Everyone was probably out at the beach.
Again, during the day, there was hardly anyone at the museum, and we got a chance to take our time and walk around looking at the different artifacts at the Fort East Martello Museum. We will have another post about the museum itself, but for this post, let's get back to visiting Robert.
When you know the story about Robert, we have to agree, it is a little creepy to see him sitting there, alone in the hallways. And, if you believe in this kind of stuff, you should always approach with caution and respect.
It was a completely different atmosphere on that second visit. Here we were, alone with "Robert the Doll"! With respect, we spoke with him, told him how glad and honored we were to come so far to see him, and asked if it would be alright if we too his picture and photos with him.
Before we left Robert, Marianne had a little chat with him and told him that she was going to leave a message on the board from us, and that we were extremely appreciative for his time. We also told him that we were going to be telling many others about him and his story, and that we hoped to return some day and see him again.
Before we wrap this post up, there is one more thing we need to talk about. Now, with every other museum, there is always a gift shop. And, let's be honest, we love going to the gift shops to find something to take home as a souvenir or to have more information about the location. We highly recommend that you all do this, because it does help support the museums and their staff; however, while Marianne was looking around in the gift shop, Shawn took his items he picked out up to the counter to wait on her to finish. While he was standing there, he ran into a couple that was just standing and waiting on something, so he decided to strike up a conversation. This is what they told him.
Personal Interview about Robert the Doll
"In 2015, we were down here on a family trip. Our daughter was going to be a senior in high school, and it would probably be the last trip that we could make as an entire family before the oldest went to college. Well the kids wanted to stop and see Robert the doll. They always heard about it, and I thought it would be fun to stop since we drove by the museum anyways on our trip. Well when we stopped, our 2nd oldest kind of got a little rude with Robert and was making fun of him and teasing the others. She was making faces at him and saying how the legend was just a big joke, etc. When we got back home is when the bad luck started.
A week after we got home she was out jogging, tripped, and fell. She thought she just sprained her ankle, but it did much more worse damage and pretty much couldn't participate in any sport s her whole senior year. Next, right after school started, her and one of her friends was in a car accident. Neither one got hurt but she did lose her license and they pretty much couldn't drive to school each day. Again, for their entire senior year they both had to ride the school bus as seniors to school.
One month into the school year, her and her boyfriend had a huge falling out broke up. They were dating since junior high school. The relationship was now over and for the first time she began to struggle with her schoolwork. So this year before she left for college, she demanded that we bring her back down here to see Robert so she could apologize in person for being so rude to him."
Please comment below if you have heard about Robert the Doll before, or if you have every gone and paid your respects.