I do not want to use the word ugly but he is not a handsome doll.
Barely humanoid in features, his face is pockmarked as though ravaged by disease. The sailor's outfit is a size too large. Not even the dog sitting upon his lap encourages a grin from you.

The word that does come to mind is definitely creepy.

Robert the doll was a gift given to 4 year old Robert Eugene Otto by his family's Bahamian maid. Otto got quite attached to the doll and took it with him everywhere. His parents would overhear him having conversations with Robert and always assumed the voice responding was merely their child in a deeper voice.

As Otto grew, so did his attachment to the doll. And so did the unexplained phenomena. Broken silverware and furniture upturned were attributed to the doll by Otto.
"It was Robert." he would proclaim.
"It really was Robert." he would beseech his parents to trust him.
But surely not? 


When Otto got married, the doll was resigned to a locker in the attic at their home. But soon Otto told his wife that Robert was angry with the lack of a view and so placed him in the turret room which had windows. The only problem was that several children walking past the mansion swore they saw Robert the doll staring back at them from various windows during the day, even though there was noone else home at the time.

"The Artists House"
The turret room is visible on the top left side of the house


A plumber who was working in the turret room one day fled the house screaming. He would reveal to the public that he had seen and heard the doll giggling at him. Guests to the house always left uneasy, sure that the doll's expression kept changing during the course of their visits.

Otto's own behaviour grew more and more erratic as the days passed by, bursting into inexplicable fits of rage before suddenly calming down, unaware of what he had done. When asked by his wife why he behaved as such, he had but one response.
"It was Robert." he would proclaim.
"It really was Robert." he would beseech his wife to trust him.
But surely not?

Otto would get weaker and frailer as the years passed until finally one evening he locked himself in the turret room with his childhood doll, Robert. 
He was found dead the next morning beside the doll. With the death of her husband, Anne dared not stay a day longer and fled the house at the earliest. The new tenants that arrived had no clue of the doll's infamous history as they entered the house. It did not take them long.


There was the sound of giggling at night.
The doll's expression changed every day.
The doll changed positions, often found in various other rooms of the house.
Once more banished to the attic, the nights would bring forth the sound of footsteps from the attic that terrified the new tenants.
Tiny footsteps.
From tiny shoes.
Till the day he was finally sent away from the house and to the place where Robert the doll still resides today.

Do you feel creeped out by this story? You should.

There is a reason the 111 year old Robert - and there is indeed a real Robert the doll - is kept in a glass cage in a museum in Florida. It is so that there can no longer be the sound of footsteps from tiny shoes. It is so that Robert would finally stop haunting everyone around him.



While there is a separate movie 'Robert' based on this doll, the 90's generation knows all too well the movie series inspired by this real life story of a possessed doll - Child's Play.




Oh, and those letters you see on the wall around his glass home? Those are apology letters from people who took his photo when at the museum and have had bad luck.


Authors note:
This is my anecdote for the theme "Tiny Shoes" for the blogger challenge Blog-A-Thon by Blog-A-Rhythm. You can read other entries for this theme by fellow bloggers here.


During this 7 day challenge, I have written on:
Day 4 - Caught Red Handed - Doggone it! (Dog years)
Day 5 - Robert the Doll (Horror/ Real life)
Day 6 - The Saviour (Short Fiction) 


47 Comments

Shilpa Gupte said…
ROSHAN, YOU DO KNOW HOW TO SCARE THE HELL OUT OF PEOPLE! And, I had to read this post at this hour..12:35 am!!! I can feel it all coming back, you know? I posted Paranormal Activity couple days ago and scared so many poor sweethearts, and now I am at the receiving end of it all! Bwahaha!
But, really doc, this was epic! No other word!
Spooky,but then as they say truth is stranger than fiction.
Ramya Rao said…
God! I am a huge horror movie fan and this creeped the hell out of me. Life is weird and paranormal activities are weirder.
SHANAYA TALES said…
Why do I end up reading such tales in the night?! Sigh.
Oh my! I was thinking of 'Child's Play' all through reading it. Interesting - spook really makes you wonder about the 'truth being stranger than fiction' at times. And great incorporation of the Tiny Shoes prompt!
Oh dear god! I am going to have nightmares tonight. Roshan, you evil man! :D
shalini said…
Oh My My. I'm so scared of horror stories and movies. This is horrifying.
Two weeks back i told P that I read somewhere conjuring is the most horrifying of them all. Guess what, he got it the very next day. I somehow managed to postpone watching it but only until yday night. He had put on the movie and i started writing for today's prompt. I didn't even look at the TV screen.
Vasantha Vivek said…
Oh .... Very scared on reading. I stopped in the middle and then collected all my strength and finished it. Still I could not come out of the story .....
Mithila Menezes said…
Scary! I can't help thinking there is some scientific explanation to the story, but I don't think I'll be able to figure it out!
Rekha Dhyani said…
You scared the hell out of me. I'm never going to go to Florida ever. :-(
Nabanita said…
haha..somehow I didn't get scared, Doc...I love horror stories , from far away ofcourse :D
tulika singh said…
Why oh why would you do that to Tiny Shoes? My avoiding Child's Play for years and years is no use now.
Jaibala Rao said…
The first thing I did was go and check any dolls I had at home. This is so spooky. So Child's Play is based on a real doll. And I could not even get through the movie.
Ira said…
Whew!! That letter part made me wonder if things did turn so ugly. Not scared but certainly uneasy!!
Me Otherwise said…
Spooky post.. yet an interesting one! The movie Child's play actually freaked me out... didnt know about the existence of the real doll though
Kala Ravi said…
I always hated dolls! Now I have more reason to do so! And yes I watched Child's Play when I was a kid! Awesome take on the prompt Roshan!
Rachna said…
Spooky. I am scared of such movies, you know.
Vidya Sury said…
Creepy and spooky, Roshan! I loved it. I know! I love horror. At one time, Star Movies (I think) had this sequel week, and showed Child's Play and a few others in series. I sat and watched them all in one go. It is freaky to see that Robert doll because it makes your story a wee bit more real!
Reema D'souza said…
Spooky!I am not the horror movies kind of person and this story really creeped me out! Nice work with the prompt!
Bhavya N said…
Creepy!!!
mahathi ramya A said…
Wow.. nice, i love horror. Interesting to know about the Robert the doll.
hehe... what goes around comes around.... beware the doll!!! :)
Some stories like this really make me question my own skepticism..
The fact that the doll is real and has been haunting for over a 100 years really does make me wonder, honestly.
Because you don't like to sleep :)
most of my stories for this challenge had themes that could make it fit in other parts of the challenge. As you mentioned, i had the option of adding this under 'Stranger than Fiction' as well :)
Ah.. my work here is done :)
I found Conjuring 2 pretty scary too. But yes, the first Conjuring was really 'scream out loud' scary at times
haha... good to know I am not the only one who gets scared thinking of all the possibilities
For 100 years and a doll that has been scaring atleast three different generations of people? Definitely needs some major explanation
I'm sure we have some local haunted dolls too. I should check up on that :)
Don't let Robert hear that!!
There were so many lovely takes on children for this prompt. I thought I'd do something different :)
I remember being scared watching the first few ones as a kid, watching from between my fingers :)
The letters do suggest that people who took pics of him did suffer some weird misfortune after that, doesnt it?
Even I did not know about this fella... came across it while researching for ideas for 'Stranger than Fiction' one of our earlier themes in this challenge
the earlier hand made ones were really creepy if you ask me.. not these ken and barbie style ones.
I am pretty lily livered myself in this matter
As the series progressed, it got sillier and sillier... bride of chucky and all :) But the first 2 ones scared me as a child. It was classic 90s horror.
Thanks.. mission accomplished :)
That doll definitely is!
It is one of those stories that make you wonder 'what if'
Anita said…
Gosh! That's a real-ghost story! Won't click a pic if I ever visit there!
Well, if you do, then you know where to send the letter to and who to address it to as well :)
vishal bheeroo said…
This spooky story hooks the reader to death. Superb:)
Dr Umesh Bilagi said…
Good Dr Rodham.
Nice horror story.
Anmol Rawat said…
Damn! I didn't know that it was based on a real doll. I bet you scared many people with this post :D
Of course there are things that have no explanation, but it's better to avoid thinking about them ;)