Robert the Doll inspired ‘Child’s Play’. Here’s the terrifying true story
Remember when the doll Chucky from Child’s Play haunted your dreams? Well, I can assure you that Chucky isn’t real, so he won’t be chasing you around with a knife any time soon. But don’t rest easy yet – Chucky is inspired by a real life, voodoo doll named Robert. Just like Chucky, Robert is out for vengeance – and frankly, Robert’s story is even more terrifying.
Robert’s origin story
Robert is a unique doll who was first owned (and named) by a painter from Florida named Robert Eugene Otto. (So, no – you can’t buy Robert at Toys R Us.) According to legend, Robert the Doll was given as a gift in 1903 to young Eugene (as the painter is now called). The gift came from a woman who was a servant for Eugene’s family. The woman was abused, and thus used the art of voodoo to get her revenge.
Wearing an American naval officer costume, and holding a small, stuffed lion, Robert initially looks rather innocent. But looking closely, Robert carries a quiet wrath, and his history suggests that he could most certainly be a voodoo doll.
Eugene quickly became infatuated with Robert, even giving him his own first name and talking about Robert in first person as if he were actually alive. When strange things started happening around the house – knocked over furniture, ripped up toys, etc. – Eugene was always found terrified in his room claiming that, “Robert did it.”
Neighbors and friends of the Otto family also reported that Robert possessed supernatural qualities. It was told that when the Otto family was absent, Robert would sometimes blink, laugh, or even roam about the house. Often Eugene’s parents heard blood curdling cries from Eugene’s room, and when they checked on their son, his faithful doll Robert was always at Eugene’s bedside.
One day, Eugene’s aunt who was living with them at the time, suggested that Robert be locked up in the attic. That very night, the aunt died in her sleep. While there was no proof that Robert was responsible, the Ottos decided to appease the doll by bringing him back to stay in Eugene’s room.
Revenge never dies
Many years later when Eugene was an adult, he inherited his childhood house from his parents, and thus was reunited with his old friend Robert. Eugene resorted to his old behavior, carrying Robert around with him, and giving him a place at the dinner table each night (to the dismay of Eugene’s wife.)
When Eugene eventually passed, the house was purchased by Myrtle Reuter. As a result, Myrtle also acquired old, haunted Robert, and his strange behavior never ceased. According to Myrtle and her friends, they would hear footsteps and laughing from Robert’s room. Myrtle’s daughter expresses that when she was young she was viciously haunted by Robert, saying that he even attempted to try and attack her.
Where is he now?
After experiencing enough of Robert’s terrors, Myrtle donated him to Key West’s Fort East Martello Museum in 1994. Now anyone can give Robert a visit and see the haunted doll for themselves.
The rumors are that if visitors disrespect him by forgetting to ask him permission before snapping a picture of him, he will put a curse on you. Some visitors have written Robert apology letters after experiencing a series of bad luck for disrespecting him. One letter from a family explains how Robert caused them to lose a diamond ring, and have their daughter’s wedding canceled.
After 100 years, Robert is still getting vengeance on those who wrong him. Employees of the museum claim that Robert moves overnight and has the ability to make cameras malfunction. Some horror stories never end – the forgettable Chucky doll feigns in comparison.