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When I first started going to Key West when I was 18 I only thought of it as America's tropical island on the East- I had no idea I was walking onto what might be the most haunted place per square foot in America. It makes sense when you think about it, though. Pirates, sea farers, wars, slavery, violence, murders, voodoo and sicko's galore. You name it, it probably has happened on this island.
My first legend of Key West involves a an artist, a doll and a voodoo curse.
Robert Eugene Otto was born into a wealthy family who moved to Key West at the turn of the century. His parents were known to be very stern, specifically with servants and spent most of their time touring the US while leaving the children with their Bohemian nanny. Gene, as he was called, became very close to this nanny and was heartbroken when she was dismissed by the family over a disagreement with Mrs. Otto. Before leaving, the nanny gave Gene a doll she made for him in his likeness. It quickly became his favorite toy and he even named it Robert, after his birth name. All around town Gene could been seen with his doll, both of them dressed in matching sailor outfits.
Over time servants of the house began to see a change in Gene's relationship with the doll. They would hear Gene having conversations with the doll- only they would also hear a deeper voice speaking in response. They all dismissed what they heard as an overactive imagination, but the incidents continued.
Soon the conversations grew heated. At one point it is said that Mrs. Otto grew so worried that she burst into the room to find Gene cowering in a corner, with Robert sitting on a chair facing the boy. By this time many were speculating that the Bohemian nanny had put a voodoo curse on the doll, however it was probably more likely Santeria considering her heritage.
Soon the strange occurrences began to happen outside the playroom and all over the house. Doors were locked, books flew across the room and most disturbing, Genes other toys were turning up all over the house completely destroyed. Gene, of course, got blamed, but every time he'd cry "Robert did it!" While his parents ignored his pleas, the staff fully believed him. Eventually they took Robert away from him, but this only made the activity worse. Very quickly the doll was returned to Gene.
The only other time Gene was seperated from Robert was when he went to Paris to art school. There he met a woman, Anne, who became his wife. He brought her back to his home in Key West and eventually introduced her to Robert. While Anne found it odd, she shrugged it off as she knew when she married Gene that he was an eccentric artist.
Gene soon said that Robert needed a room with a view, so he built a room in the turret of the house that was completely doll sized and fully furnished. With Robert propped up in a chair looking out at the street, people below would swear they'd see him moving about the room and staring at them.
Over time, Gene became even closer to his doll, spending entire nights in the turret with him talking. Anne, also, could hear the two sided conversation between her husband and the deep voice. Soon, Gene became even more erratic and even violent with Anne, locking her in a closet beneath Robert's room to torture her.
Gene died in 1972 and Anne packed up and put the house up for rent with a clause that no one could enter the turret where Robert was locked away. Over the years, people who did work on the house and had to enter that room had similarly frightening experiences. In 1994 he was donated to the Fort East Martello Museam where he has continued to wreck havoc. Claims of him moving around at night, changing facial expressions and turning his head- eventually he was put behind glass to contain his movement. He is known to drain battery life, and if you want your picture taken with him, you must ask permission first- otherwise you'll have terrible luck forever- well, at least until you write Robert a letter of forgiveness. Then all should be well again. Oh, and did I mention that Robert has his own toy lion that he just can't be without? He's always hanging onto his little toy lion who will somehow end up switching from one of Roberts knees to the other behind his glass display case.
Hmmm that`s an interesting doll…Couldn`t someone just ask for his permission and leave a camera recording all night to see the toy moving though? In Mexico there is a story about a little boy or girl (can`t remember) who was buried but kept appearing above the ground the next day so finally they made a sort of see-through grave, and so it seemed to finally rest in peace. It sort of reminded me of it because of the fact that they locked the doll but didn`t hide it.
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