Key West’s Robert the Doll

Robert the Doll photo by Rob O'Neal from Key West Art & HIstorical Society press release dated Sept. 20, 2004

Robert the Doll photo by Rob O'Neal. Obtained from Key West Art & Historical Society press release dated September 20, 2004.

It depends on who you talk to in Key West, but some know one of their more interesting characters as Robert the Haunted Doll, while others prefer to call him Robert the Enchanted Doll. No matter what adjective they ascribe to him, they all know about Robert the Doll.

As I wrote about in “Beating Winter’s Cold in Haunted Key West,” I knew nothing of him until I stopped and talked to the man manning the Key West Ghost & Mysteries Tour kiosk. In that same article, I also promised to write more about Robert because he deserved his own post.

I’m making good on my word. Here’s what Kiosk Man told me.


Robert the Doll was made by a servant to a rich woman. The rich woman was not very kind to her servants, and supposedly this servant also happened to be wise to the ways of voodoo. The servant made the doll for the rich woman’s son and it became his companion –and then some!

Anyway, the man eventually grew up and Robert was put in the attic. But when his parents’ died he inherited the home and moved back in –and rediscovered Robert.

Much to his wife’s disapproval, he gave Robert his own room and placed him by a window so he’d have a view. That’s when the rumors started.

People walking by the house often said they heard noises coming from Robert’s room, not to mention they claimed they’d see him moving. He also got a reputation for being evil.


But the neatest thing I thought Key West Ghost & Mysteries Tour Kiosk Man told me (besides his company does sometimes coordinate daytime ghost tours for travelers on cruise ships who sail out of port before nightfall) was that Robert the Doll was the inspiration for Chucky! (As in the doll from the movie Child’s Play.)

I did not know that! That movie was silly, yet still creepy. Now it’s even creepier to know it had real-life inspiration!


To see Robert the Doll in person, visit him at Fort East Martello Museum and Gardens. (Sometimes he’s also at the Custom House. Be sure to check his site, link below, for where to find him.)

Or you can always visit him virtually via:

  • His website
  • His blog
  • His Twitter page
  • Watch a clip from Travel Channel featuring Robert the Doll (It’s really good. Chilling, yet also sad. It recounts tales of people who purported to have experiences with the doll, but also relates how a psychic says Robert’s soul is slowly dying.)


If you’re into creepy doll stories, Autumnforest on Ghost Hunting Theories has recently posted a couple Dale the Doll stories. See: “Welcome to My Entry and Beware!” and “How to Scare Humans by Dale the Doll”.

Also, check out my “Haunted Doll House Cam” post. It explains about Ghost Walk Live’s Doll House Cam and the four dolls in a rural Pennsylvania farmhouse that are under constant web surveillance.


14 comments on “Key West’s Robert the Doll

  1. Julie

    I read about Robert the doll somewhere else many months ago. He creeped me out then and even now. I didn’t know the Travel Channel did a show about him, so thanks for posting that. Robert ought to meet Autumn’s creepy little doll, they could become buds and terrorize humans that come in contact with them. Sounds like a familar movie, huh?

  2. autumnforest

    You give me shivers. I do recall hearing about that doll somewhere but never knew the story behind it. That’s really a great ghost story right there. Thanks for the mention. Dolls do scare me and I know that’s a universally creepy thing.

  3. Courtney Mroch

    I think he was part of one of Travel Channel’s shows about haunted places. Like how they profile Savannah, or Charleston, or New Orleans. I think they did one on Key West and he was part of it. If you think just reading what I wrote gave you shivers, try watching that video! (It’s not long. Maybe 4.5 minutes) CREEPY! Glad you both enjoyed this! Thanks for the comments!

  4. Courtney Mroch

    Don’t let my good looks fool ya. I’m not an expert in real life, I only play one on the Internet. ;) HA!

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  6. don mcilwain

    Just listened to George Norrie interview ‘Joshua P Warren’ on ‘Coast to Coast’ regarding ‘Robert te Doll’.
    Makes me want to go to Key West and do some ghosting ,,,,

  7. Courtney Mroch

    Makes me want to go back and check him out, Don! Thanks so much for your comment!

  8. Jennifer Cala

    It is hard to believe that he is supposed to be evil. He’s really cute!

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  10. Dave

    What is the spooky little chap holding? – it looks like aa equally eerie teddy bear. The videoclip says he was given to the boy by his Bohemian nanny who practiced Voodoo. I thought Bohemia was Czechoslovakia – did they practice voodoo? – either way, all old dolls creep me out.

  11. Courtney Mroch

    You know, I never noticed that the doll was holding something until you pointed it out. I do believe it is a teddy bear. Oh, and it’s Bahamian…as in Bahamas. But it did sound like Bohemian…which, you’re right, would be an interesting mix considering Key West. (Tho I can’t blame someone from that part of the country wanting to go to Key West’s warmer climes. ;)

  12. domain hosting

    Nice and different article. Video is very nice. I feel that, this is not like a doll. It is somewhat different.

  13. Courtney Mroch

    Robert the doll sure is different. Very interesting to be sure.

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