Robert the Doll – better known as the real Chucky Doll is an evil doll that currently resides in Key West at the East Martello Museum. There are countless stories about this cursed doll that span decades and generations.
Robert The Doll – The Real Chucky Doll
In the early 1900s, a family in Key West bought a doll for their daughter. It’s not clear when they first noticed something was wrong with Robert, but it seems to have been sometime around 1918. The family found themselves at odds with the doll and his behavior became more erratic over time. They had him locked away in the attic, only to find that he would escape and create havoc downstairs on occasion. Eventually, the family just left Robert in the attic until he was given to a museum decades later.
Let’s dive deeper into the doll’s origin.
The story goes back even further than this though…a lot earlier really- as far back as 1890s London where thirteen-year-old Charles Barton went into business with a toymaker and began creating dolls for children. Barton wasn’t just a businessman though; he was also an artist, sculptor, painter, and even musician who had been well known in society circles since the 1880s when he was introduced to London’s elite at one of Queen Victoria’s banquets.
Charles Barton (known as Charley or “Charlie” by his friends) created Robert as part of this family venture with Robert Earl before Robert became cursed.
Eventually, a young boy named Eugene Robert Otto was gifted that original handmade doll by a servant – believed to be Bahamian descent – and absolutely loved the toy. It was mostly made out of cloth and straw.
Eugene decided to name it Robert, but little did he know that what he possessed was actually an evil doll. At that point, all he knew was that he loved the doll very much. So much in fact that he had his parents build the doll its own room complete with furniture, and toys.
It wasn’t unusual for Eugene to find Robert the Doll at the foot of his bed at night, just watching him. In fact, it became a frequent occurrence.
However, it didn’t take long for things to escalate. The family found themselves dead smack in the middle of a haunting and everyone believed that Robert the Doll was to blame.
The cursed doll was responsible for moving inanimate objects and overturned furniture. At times, Euguene would even find himself locked in his bedroom with no ability to escape!
When asked, Eugene would always blame the cursed doll. The only words he would mutter were, “Robert did it.” Over and over again.
Robert The Haunted Doll
Besides moving objects and locked doors, something else strange was happening in the Otto home. Eugene’s parents often found their son talking to the doll – at all hours of the day and night.
Eugene spoke to the cursed doll as if they were friends and as if he was responding to questions and answers. A two-sided conversation if you will!
But the parents only ever heard their son’s comments. It was absolutely eerie and kept everyone on edge. The entire house believed they had a possessed doll in their presence.
The family’s situation took a turn when they started to hear Robert the Doll RESPOND in an entirely different voice than their son. Robert the haunted doll was actually engaging in real-life chatter and that was all that Eugene Otto’s parents needed as proof.
The doll was, in fact, cursed. The Real Chucky Doll Key West has more to it!
The Real Chucky Doll
Is this the Real Chucky Doll – from one of the most scary doll movies of our time? I know what you are thinking! We’ve all seen the movies. We’ve all watched the sequences and this story sounds incredibly familiar.
Did the Robert the Doll story influence Hollywood’s Chucky? Something to think about. This Chucky Doll in museum form might be the real deal.
The story doesn’t end there for Euguene and his parents.
Eventually, the family reported that the doll would change expressions and even move from one side of the room to the next. It was not SHY about what it wanted to do. It wanted to be seen and heard.
Did They Ever Get Rid Of Robert The Haunted Doll?
No! Isn’t that strange? Eugene kept Robert the Doll his entire life. He never wanted to part from the cursed doll. Even when he was married and had a wife of his own, rumor has it that he gave Robert his very own room to live in – his own bedroom. Almost like a child.
Eventually, Eugene’s wife, Anne, had enough of the nonsense and forced her husband to lock the possessed doll in the attic. And as you can imagine, that made Robert the Doll unhappy. There were rumors that he would taunt little children from the window, run back and forth from one side of the attic to the next, and rock in a rocking chair. All impossible things to do … unless you are a cursed doll!
Every time Eugene went up to the attic, he would find Robert in the rocking chair near the window – somewhere he DID NOT PLACE HIM. No matter how many times the evil doll was moved, he would find his way BACK to the rocking chair. Crazy!
Did The Possessed Doll Ever Harm Anyone?
Unlike the Chucky movies, this particular doll did no actual harm to anyone – thank goodness. So, while his actions were a bit mischievous, they were low-level efforts at best.
How Did Robert The Doll End Up At The East Martello Fort?
Once Eugene died, the family moved out of the house and new residents took over. When they found the possessed doll in the attic, their youngest child began to play with it and soon realized it wasn’t a typical doll. She told her parents that the doll was evil and that it wanted to do her harm.
They immediately removed the doll (and his teddy bear) from their home and gave it to the East Martello Fort where visitors can see it on display today. He currently sits inside a glass case to protect people from getting too close. No reports of residual energy have been made by the new residents.
He remains on display for your viewing pleasure and if you’re lucky enough to be visiting during Halloween then you’ll be in good luck because they also offer a costume contest with prize money!
If the doll’s mood becomes too unpredictable- or worse, violent- employees will move him to a private room that he can’t escape from until his temper cools down. It doesn’t happen often but when it does museum staff make sure not to get caught up in Rob’s wrath by believing any of his threats or promises (which may include being supposedly haunted) as well as remaining calm throughout whatever event might unfold, which includes attacking a visitor or just simply refusing to come out of the room that he’s kept in.
You can tell if Robert has been active within 24 hours before your visit by heading over to the museum’s official website. Look out for updates like – “today Robert was not feeling very sociable”.
The doll ha been haunting this museum ever since its opening day back in 1991.
Why Is Robert The Doll Haunted?
It is unclear how Robert became evil, but the majority of people who research this topic guess that the creator of the doll – the Otto Haitian servant – used black magic / voodoo to try to get back at her employees. If voodoo can put a curse on people, it can certainly put a curse on an inanimate object and other household objects.
Rumor has it that the family servant was terribly mistreated and it was her way to get back at the family who had done her wrong for all those years. She made the doll evil with her supernatural powers.
Regardless of how the haunting came to be, it is clear this haunted history has a terrible beginning and many people had horrible misfortune bestowed upon them enough to inspire an entire horror film franchise.
Visiting The East Martello Museum
A reader wrote in and told us about her experience with Robert the Haunted Doll. Here is her story.
I was in Key West with my family on vacation and begged them to let me go to the Fort East Martello Museum to see Robert. He has been on my list for a very long time. I am such a huge fan of the Chucky movies and I feel like they are connected in some way.
When we got inside, I wanted to get a photo with the doll and asked my dad to take my picture. I asked the museum staff where he was and the museum employees guided me to his glass case. I didn’t bring any ghost hunting equipment with me, just my camera.
It looked just like a childhood toy and wasn’t very afraid of the window display. I tried to pose with Robert and my father said my camera wasn’t working. Of course, I thought he was joking. But he wasn’t and I realized we might be having a paranormal experience with the “life-sized” little boy doll.
I took my camera back from him and tried to take a picture on my own of the antique doll and I couldn’t do it either. I restarted my phone and it still wouldn’t work. It was the strangest thing. I sort of thought that the average doll didn’t want me to take his picture. Is that crazy to say? Maybe the doll legend was true?
I didn’t want to push it. So, we decided not to take any pictures because we felt really funny about it. I don’t know why, but I think something is still there. I know cameras can stop working every now and then but after a restart, they typically fix themselves.
Only after I got home did my camera start working again! The infamous doll really did have some powers! I know ghost hunters say a lot of things about that haunted Key West location, and now I can, too because I have my own creepy story to share about haunted objects.
Will You Visit Key West?
Do you have a trip to Key West planned? Curious about this haunted location? If you go, make sure you take lots of photos and look out for white orbs or different color orbs because you never know what you will find in a photo!
While you are in Key West, be sure to visit this haunted cemetery. It made our list of East Coast favorites.