Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Robert the Doll - Key West, Florida
While in Key West we took a ghost tour and one of the stops was at the Fort East Martello Museum, the home of Robert the Doll. Robert the Doll was a gift to Robert Eugene Otto given to him by his Jamaican nurse and said to be haunted. Whenever mischief occurred, young Eugene would always say, “Robert did it.” Stories tell of people passing the Otto’s house and seeing the doll move through the window. Eugene had an unnatural affinity for Robert that continued into his adult years as he seldom went anywhere without him. Eugen Otto grew up to become an artist and lived in Key West much of his life. Robert now splits time between the East Martello Museum and the Old Post Office and Custom House in Key West.
The evening of our visit, we encountered Robert behind his class encasement in a dimly lit area of the museum, in an area that also held a 19th century horse drawn hearse. The wall behind Robert is papered with letters addressed to Robert, seeking his forgiveness and asking that he lift the various curses he allegedly placed on the writers of the letters. Our tour guide explained that before taking his picture you must seek his permission, and if you did not, then Robert was known to put a curse on you, thus all the letters seeking his forgiveness.
My wife and I both had cameras and she did as instructed and asked Robert’s permission before snapping photos. I, on the other hand, either out of stupidity, or perhaps out of feeling strange for asking a doll behind a glass encasement permission to photograph it, did not ask permission. On a side note, when we entered the museum we were given EMF meters (ghost meters) that measures Electromagnetic energy, which spirits are said to generate. Just as I snapped one of my photos of Robert, a couple on the tour noticed that their EMF meter was going off. In fact, if you look closely at the photo of Robert, you can see the couple on the background looking down at their meter.
We were then escorted outside and told the story of a ghost of a soldier that was frequently seen in the courtyard emerging from behind a wall that surrounded the property. I again snapped a few photos, and while no soldier appeared, I did pick some unusual light anomalies or orbs that were not visible to the naked eye, but only discovered later while reviewing the photos.
The ghost tour ended and we returned back to our hotel later that night. I didn’t give any more thought to the curse of Robert the Doll until about mid-morning the next day when I became sick with a terrible cold that made me miserable for the duration of our visit in Key West and for several days afterward. I’d been fine the day before and had none of the tell-tale signs that normally proceeds a cold, rather it came upon me on the instant, fast and furious. I couldn’t help but wonder if this was the doing of Robert the Doll, punishing me for taking his photo without permission. Readers beware. If you visit Key West and go to see Robert the Doll, do not take his photo without asking his permission first. While I merely caught a severe cold, others have reported much worse, so much so that they have written letters to an early 20th century doll begging for his forgiveness.