3.7
10 votes

Fort East Martello Museum

3501 S Roosevelt Blvd, Key West, Florida 33040 USA

$
$$$$
Budget
Closed Now
Opens Fri 9:30a
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards
    Accepted
  • Wheelchair
    Accessible
  • Public
    Restrooms
  • Wifi

“Historical Civil War fort and home of Robert the Haunted Doll”

The Fort East Martello Museum is home to one of America's most haunted objects: Robert the Doll. If you’ve ever seen a Child’s Play movie then you might already know that Robert was the inspiration behind the infamous character Chucky, minus the red hair and freckles, of course. According to the legend, Robert belonged to Key West painter Robert Eugene Otto. In 1906 Robert the doll was gifted to Otto (when he was just a child) by a Bahamian servant, who was also a practitioner of voodoo and black magic. Often Otto’s parents would catch him whispering to the doll, and more often than not Otto claimed the doll would speak back.  Neighbors to the Otto family claimed to see the doll running from one window to the next at night, only stopping to gaze through the curtains at them. Even the Otto family reported seeing and hearing the pitter-patter of Robert’s creepy feet running through the house at night.   When Eugene died in 1974, Robert was left behind in the house, and was kept by the new family to move in. It didn’t take long before Robert overstayed his welcome, by threatening the family’s 10 year old daughter in the dead of night. That day he was shipped off.  Robert was donated to the Fort East Martello Museum where he’s continued to terrorize the staff and visiting guests. Things got so bad at one point that Robert’s case was moved away from the other displays because he kept knocking them over. According to eye-witnesses Robert is also a fan of giggling, knocking over objects, and changing expressions, which he is known to do quite often. Today you can visit Robert at Fort East Martello Museum if you’re brave enough. Just a warning, Robert hates when you take his picture and has a history of causing unexplainable technical problems, so be prepared. Also, apparently he hates it when you address him at all, so you do, be prepared because he might just follow you home. -Roadtrippers The Martello Gallery-Key West Art and Historical Museum (also known as the East Martello Tower) a historically important location located in Key West, Florida. On June 19, 1972, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and remains the best-preserved example of the Martello style of military architecture in the country. Today, the building goes by the name "Fort East Martello Museum & Gardens", and features local art exhibits as well as historical pieces important to the area. In the early 50's, the Key West Art & Historical Society initiated a clean up program and cleared away years of debris and dust. Eventually, the building opened as the Fort East Martello museum.  With continued community support, the Society restored this national landmark to look just as it did in the 1860's. Today, visitors are encouraged to explore the battlement’s collection of relics from the Civil War, learn about the industries that shaped the Florida Keys, view the unique folk art of Mario Sanchez and the imaginative metal sculptures of Stanley Papio, as well as meet the infamous Ghosts of East Martello, including the eerie Robert the Doll. Aesthetically, Robert resembles an early 20th-century American Naval officer. Contrary to popular belief, however, the doll's hair is not made of human hair, but of a synthetic material resembling wool yarn. Eugene was given the doll in 1906 by a Bahamian servant who was skilled in black magic and voodoo and was displeased with the family. Soon afterward, it became clear that there was something eerie about the doll. Eugene's parents said they often heard him talking to the doll and that the doll appeared to be talking back. Although at first they assumed that Eugene was simply answering himself in a changed voice, they later believed that the doll was actually speaking. Neighbors claimed to see the doll moving from window to window when the family was out. The Otto family swore that sometimes the doll would emit a terrifying giggle and that they caught glimpses of it running from room to room. In the night Eugene would scream, and when his parents ran to the room, they would find furniture knocked over and Eugene in bed, looking incredibly scared, telling them that "Robert did it!". In addition, guests swore that they saw Robert's expression change before their eyes. When Eugene died in 1974, the doll was left in the attic until the house was bought again. The new family included a ten-year old girl, who became Robert's new owner. It was not long before the girl began screaming out in the night, claiming that Robert moved about the room and even attempted to attack her on multiple occasions. More than thirty years later, she still tells interviewers that the doll was alive and wanted to kill her. For individuals who visit Robert in the Fort East Martello Museum and wish to take a picture of him, according to legend, the person must ask the doll politely. If the doll feels disrespected it may choose to curse of follow a person. Some individuals reported being haunted, touched etc. People also reported smelling peach cobbler which was Roberts favorite desert and would give a desert as a gift before haunting. If he does not agree (by tipping his head to one side), and the individual takes a picture anyway, the doll will curse the person and their family. The doll served as an inspiration for the Chucky doll in the Child's Play film franchise

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Reviewed by
Dana Newkirk

  • Road Warrior
  • 298 Reviews
  • 325 Helpful
August 29, 2014
Rated 4.0

Robert is terrifying. According to the legend he's not a fan of having to share his space, or have his photo taken. He's got a history of draining camera batteries, and even causing cellphones to quit working altogether. Whether you believe he's a real possessed doll or not, Robert is still a pretty awesome and the admission so cheap it's totally worth visiting.

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
LaLaOrange

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
January 04, 2016
Rated 4.0

This museum was very interesting .... lots of history ....
My favorite part was Robert the Doll ....
It was my first visit .... and I enjoyed it !!!

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Fort East Martello Museum

3501 S Roosevelt Blvd
Key West, Florida
33040 USA

Hours

Closed Now
  • Sun - Sat: 9:30 am - 4:30 pm

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  • Independent
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Public Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Street Parking
  • Yes Parking

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