The Legend of Robert the Doll

The haunted doll is a handy horror tool that paranormal pop culturists have used to scare movie goers and story readers for decades! Warping an innocent childhood toy into a terrifying villain is an easy way to strike fear into an audience. If you’re a horror fanatic or enjoy a good scare, creepy dolls can be a lot of fun.

As dedicated doll lovers, Gigi’s Dolls thought it would be fun to get into the Halloween spirit this year by learning about one of the most famous real-life haunted dolls in history—Robert the Doll!

Robert the Doll was given to a young boy in Key West named Robert Eugene Otto, “Gene”, in 1904.

The official story is that Robert was manufactured by the famous Steiff Company and brought back from Germany by Gene’s grandpa as a gift. Some people argue, however, that Robert was given to Gene by a young Bahamian maid who cursed it with voodoo magic as payback for wrongdoing.

Gene had an unhealthy attachment to Robert.

Gene fell in love with Robert and carried the doll with him everywhere he went. He even dressed it in his own sailor suit, worn by Robert to this day.

Throughout his childhood, Gene blamed Robert for mysterious misdeeds and happenings.

Gene’s parents would find mutilated toys, overturned furniture, and moved and missing objects they attributed to their son. Gene adamantly insisted Robert was to blame.

After leaving to complete art school and get married, Gene returned with his wife to live in his childhood home—with Robert.

Robert was placed in an upstairs window when Gene moved back home with his wife. Passersby and repairmen visiting the house claimed that Robert would change positions, move objects, giggle, and follow you with his gaze.

Following Gene’s death, Meryl Reuter inherited Robert when she purchased the Otto’s home.

Meryl said Robert would giggle and change facial expressions if he heard anyone talking poorly about his former owner. She lived with Robert for 20 years before donating him to a museum, reporting that the doll was haunted.

Today, Robert resides in the Fort East Martello Museum in a glass display case.

Robert the Doll is a popular attraction at the museum, where he receives multiple letters daily from people asking for forgiveness or advice. Some people even send him candy. Supposedly, Robert is still up to his old tricks, interfering with electronics and causing cameras to malfunction.

Looking to bring home a doll with its own colorful history? Check out the variety of vintage, antique, and modern dolls available at Gigi’s Dolls! Contact us today to find the next unique collectible to add to your doll family!