‘Most dangerous haunted doll’ inspired Chucky films after chilling tragedies

Whatever you do, don't disrespect Robert the Doll.

At least, that's the advice you'll get from the many people who believe the creepy little sailor figure is capable of causing unspeakable pain and suffering to those on his wrong side.

The threadbare doll, who is over 100-years-old, is the main attraction at the Fort East Martello Museum in Florida, where he is locked away in a glass case for people's protection.

But visitors don’t go there to admire the stitching and handiwork of a forgotten era – they want to look the “world’s most dangerous doll” right in his beady, black eyes.

Robert, who provided the inspiration for the Chucky doll in the Child's Play horror movies, has been blamed for car crashes, divorces, broken bones, financial ruin and even death.

His most recent owner claimed that she woke up one night to find him standing at the end of her bed holding a knife and giggling.

It’s widely agreed within the paranormal community that the 3ft-tall doll is haunted, housing a dark entity that yearns to harm any human that disrespects him, whether the insult is said out loud or not.

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Apparently, the quickest way to irk Robert is to take his photograph without permission.

While it might sound outlandish to ask a doll you can’t even touch if he minds you snapping a few photos of him, the hundreds of apology letters he receives every year suggest his threat is taken seriously.

Museum bosses have plastered the wall behind his case with some of them, allowing visitors to get an insight into the chaos people believe he has caused over the years.

He is blamed for everything from missed flights to marriages ending, but people also write to him to just praise him, or to ask him to curse enemies on their behalf.

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Museum staff frequently have to clean up piles of sweets, coins and cannabis joints left for him as offerings.

When you learn about Robert’s backstory, the link to Chucky becomes clear.

There are two main stories about Robert’s origins and how he came to be in the possession of a little boy called Robert Eugene Otto.

One is that he was bought in Germany by the little boy’s grandad. The other more lurid legend states that in 1904 he was gifted to Robert by one of the family's staff who had been dismissed for practising voodoo.

Robert loved his doll and took him everywhere with him. He was heard chatting away to him constantly, and even gave him one of his sailor suits to wear.

Cori Convertito, who is Robert the Doll’s caretaker, told Atlas Obscura: “What people really remember is what they would probably term as an unhealthy relationship with the doll.

"He brought it everywhere, he talked about it in the first person as if he weren’t a doll, he was Robert. As in he is a live entity.”

But things got creepy after the boy insisted he be called ‘Gene’ because his doll had taken his name, Robert.

Gene’s parents claimed they once found their son cowering in his bedroom as the doll seemed to loom over him, angrily.

The legend continues that Gene would blame Robert for things going wrong, and when he grew up and moved out he took the doll with him, leaving him to look out of the window at passing schoolchildren.

Local kids noticed the doll too, claiming they saw him moving and pleading not to pass the Otto home.

When Gene died in 1974, Myrtle Reuter purchased his home, The Artist House, making her Robert’s new owner.

Visitors swore they heard footsteps in the attic and giggling. Some claimed that they saw the doll’s expression change, and that the doll moved around on its own.

In 1994, after two decades of unexplainable and scary situations – including the knife incident – Robert was given to the museum that he now calls home.

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