The Terrifying History Of The Most Haunted Doll In The World

Robert the Doll’s terror is so widespread that his exhibit includes letters from visitors begging his forgiveness.

A replica of Robert the Doll is seated in a wooden chair.

Robert the Doll (a replica)

Photo by: Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc.

Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc.

If the lore surrounding Robert the Doll is true, we should be thankful that he is housed on an island.

He seemed innocent enough when a maid gave him as a gift to Robert Eugene Otto in Key West, Fla., in 1905. Gene was just 4 years old when he received the life-sized doll, and he loved it so much that he named it after himself and built the doll its own house in the home’s turret. Gene made sure his doll had everything it needed — including toys, furniture, and its own teddy bear. Gene carried Robert everywhere; they were truly best friends.

Any time something odd happened at the Otto family home, Gene reportedly blamed it on Robert, but then the adults in Gene’s life and people from outside the home began to notice that something wasn’t right with the doll.

People walking along the street in front of the family’s Eaton Street home claimed to see the doll move from one side of a window to another. Inside the home, the doll reportedly moved by itself around the house. Occasionally, its facial expression would change as if it was listening to the conversations happening in the room.

Robert remained part of Gene’s life even after he married his wife, Anne, though she reportedly hated the doll, prompting Gene to keep it in his painting room upstairs in their home. After Gene’s death, Robert was relegated to a locked trunk.

Eventually, with both Anne and Gene gone, the Otto home was purchased by Myrtle Reuter, and she became the caretaker of the creepy doll. Visitors to the home often reported hearing footsteps and giggling while Reuter owned the doll. It was common for Robert to move from room to room in the large home. Eventually, an exhausted Reuter donated the doll.

Today, Robert and his teddy bear are housed in a glass case at the Fort East Martello Museum on the other side of the island from the Otto home. The doll is now known as the most haunted doll in the world.

@30morbidminutes Robert has terrorized children and Key West residents for an entire century. Watch The Curse of Robert the Doll shock doc Friday, September 30th on @Travel Channel at 8/7c for the entire haunting story. #ghostober #ad ♬ original sound - 30 Morbid Seconds

Every day, hundreds of people parade by Robert. Ghost hunters at the museum say they’ve seen Robert’s chest rise and fall as if he’s breathing. It’s also common for visitors to feel something touch their knee and for cameras to catch orbs flying around the room where Robert is kept.

Some people who visit can’t shake their time with Robert and say that his malevolent presence followed them from the museum and continued to wreak havoc on their lives. At least one death has been linked to Robert the doll. The ripple effects of spending time with Robert have prompted several visitors to write him a letter and ask if he would please forgive them and leave them alone.

What is Robert so upset about? Why does he continue to haunt people even after they’ve left the museum? Watch The Curse of Robert the Doll on Friday, September 30th on Travel Channel at 8/7 c.

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