It is not that unusual for a young child to have an imaginary friend or two. Often times, we as parents think it cute. A mischievous little friend afoot to take the blame for some minor wrongdoing. In fact there are parents that will claim a good imagination is healthy.
But what happens when the child begins to be tormented by the imaginary friend? To the point that the child can not sleep the night through without the friend awaking them to play? What happens when the play becomes ruff, and frightening to the child?
So it goes, this is the story of Robert.
The story begins in the home of Mr. And Mrs. Thomas Otto. The year 1896. It was well known the Otto's mistreated there servants and were not the kindest of people. One such servant, that aided in the care of the couples son, Robert Eugene (Gene), was said to be versed in the ways of voodoo. She, for one reason or the other became very displeased with the Otto's, and decided to do something about it.
As the story goes the servant gave Gene a doll. The doll standing three feet tall, and stuffed with straw. With life like features, that were at first very endearing to Gene. He decided to name the doll "Robert".
The doll became a constant companion to Gene. It is said that the Otto's often heard Gene upstairs talking to the doll. This in it self might not have been so bad? The Otto's were puzzled to hear the boy answering himself in an entirely different voice than his own.
Many Strange things began to occur in the Otto household. Many neighbors claimed to see Robert move about from window to window, when the family were out. Gene began to blame Robert for mishaps that would occur. The Otto's claimed to hear the doll giggle, and swear they caught glimpses of the doll running about the house.
Gene began to have nightmares and scream out in the night, when his parents would enter the room, they would find furniture over turned, their child in a fright, and Robert at the foot of the bed, with his glaring gaze! "Robert did It."
The doll was eventually put up into the attic where he resided for many years.
When Gene's parents died, and the Otto home came to Gene, Robert was rediscovered in the attic. Robert's hold on Gene was strong, and from the moment Gene laid eyes on him, Robert's influence could be again felt.
Well, Gene's wife found Robert unsettling. One day she decided she had enough of Roberts glare and returned him to his attic sanctuary. Gene was displeased, and demanding that Robert needed a room of his own where he could see out of the window. He put Robert in the turret room, by a window. It wasn't long after that Gene's sanity was questioned.
The citizens of Key West heard about Robert, and his evil doings. Many people walking by the home reported that the doll watched from the turret room, and mocked them as they passed. School children feared walking by the Otto home, in fear of Roberts mean glare.
Gene, himself reported when visiting the turret room, he found Robert in the rocking chair by the turret room window, displeased with his accommodations. Finally Gene himself had enough of the doll, but Robert had other plans.
Visitors that entered the house could hear something walking back and forth in the attic, and strange giggling sounds. Guests no longer wanted to visit the Otto home.
Gene Otto died in 1972. The home was sold to a new family, and the tale of Robert had died down. Robert waited patiently up in the attic to be discovered, once again. The 10 year old daughter of the new owners was quick to find Robert in the attic.
It was not long before Robert unleashed his displeasure on the child. The little girl claimed that the doll tortured her, and made her life a hell. Even after more than thirty years later, she steadfastly claims that "the doll was alive and wanted to kill her."
Robert, still dressed in his white sailor's suit and clutching his stuffed lion, lives quite comfortably, though well guarded, at the Key West Martello Museum. Employees at the museum continue to give accounts of Robert being up to his old tricks still today.