Encyclopaedia of the Impossible: Robert the Doll

Robert the Doll

Previously: Kuchisake-onna.

Type: MO (Malevolent Object).

Period/location of origin: 1904, Key West, Florida.

Appearance: Subject is a model representation of a humanoid figure commonly known as a doll. He is dressed in a sailor suit, and he carries a small stuffed lion. He measures 3’4”. Contrary to popular belief, his hair is not made of human hair; rather, it is a synthetic material resembling wool.

Modus operandi: Subject will first search for a child between the ages of two and five. Once a suitable target has been acquired, subject will latch onto the child and make himself the most important personage in the child’s life. The child will begin to carry subject everywhere, sleep with subject as a bedtime companion, and insist that subject has his own seat at the dinner table. The child will also occasionally be heard to have two-sided conversations with subject; parents may erroneously ascribe the second side to the child providing a put-on voice for subject.

Subject will then begin to increase his hold on the child. Parents may wake up to hear the child screaming in the night; upon investigating the disturbance, parents will find child in bed with subject, surrounded on all sides by overturned furniture. Should the child experience a fit of anger or rage, the child will blame it on subject. Should household objects be misplaced or damaged, the child will insist that “Robert did it.” Giggling not belonging to the child may be heard in the halls of the home, and passersby outside the home may witness a small figure moving from window to window. Subject’s facial expression may change suddenly and without warning.

Subject will attempt to maintain control over target for the child’s entire life. Should the child marry upon reaching adulthood, subject will find a way to remain in the target’s home.

Subject’s ultimate goal is unknown.

Containment: Subject is currently contained at the Key West Art and Historical Society’s Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, FL. He is displayed in a glass case and under constant surveillance.

Subject is not, under any circumstances, to be photographed without first requesting permission from subject himself.

Additional notes: Subject’s first known appearance was in 1904; he was given as a gift to Key West painter Robert Eugene Otto, then four years old, by a Bahamian housemaid. Otto, known as “Gene” to his family, is believed to have named subject after himself; discussion has yet to be resolved as to whether subject is a physical manifestation of Otto’s unconscious, or whether subject is a parasite who took the name of his first known victim as a trophy. Otto’s parents eventually relegated subject to the attic of their Victorian home, where he remained until the elder Ottos passed away. During this period, despite subject’s imprisonment, neighborhood children reported witnessing the scowling face of the subject appearing in the mansion’s many windows. Otto inherited the mansion from his deceased parents, at which point he restored the subject to his childhood bedroom.

Otto’s wife, Anne, was known to harbor considerable disdain for subject. Claims have arisen that Anne passed away due to insanity after locking subject in the attic again; however, such claims are unsubstantiated. Otto passed away in 1974.

The home formerly owned by the Otto family currently operates as a bed and breakfast known as the Artist House.

Recommendation: Subject may be observed for brief periods at the Fort East Martello Museum. It is strongly suggested visitors refrain from photographing subject; if photographs must be taken, visitors are to ask permission from subject to do so beforehand. Failure to adhere to this stipulation may result in bad luck or other unfortunate incidents.

Warning: Subject has recently been discovered attempting to extend his reach beyond his glass cage. Individuals are cautioned against following subject on any social media channels, and under no circumstances should a replica of subject be purchased and brought into any private homes.


Atlas Obscura: Robert the Doll.

Key West Art and Historical Society: Robert the Doll.

RoberttheDoll.org Official Website.

[Photo via]

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