Key West FL is home to one of the most haunted objects at one of the most haunted sites in the state, Robert the Doll at the Fort East Martello Museum. Come Explore its mystery with Haunted Journeys.
Construction began on the twin forts known as East Martello and West Martello in 1862. Building was slow due to yellow fever outbreaks and continuing tension between the locals who were pro Confederate, the slaves, free blacks and the Union Army, all of who were involved in building the forts. There were continuing setbacks from 1863 - 1865, including a devastating hurricane in 1865. A year later, construction halted on both forts, leaving them unfinished. Even though unfinished, the forts were used throughout the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II as radio stations, storage units, and barracks for soldiers stationed in Key West. After World War II, both forts fell into a state of disrepair. In 1950 U.S. Navy granted permission for East Martello to be restored and operated as a museum. It opened to the public in 1951.
The most famous resident of the museum is Robert the Doll. He was once owned by Key West artist Robert Eugene (Gene) Otto. Gene and Robert were ‘best friends’ growing up. Legend says that young Gene would blame the doll when he misbehaved, saying, “I didn’t do it. Robert did it”. Some say Robert the Doll was cursed by voodoo. There are stories of the doll moving around the house on his own, his expression changing when he looked at you. People feel so strongly about him; he is now kept in a glass case at the museum.
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