Robert The Doll – A Perfect Little Patsy

Key West, a U.S. island city, located at the southernmost point of Florida, roughly 90 miles north of Cuba is known for its beautiful scenery, its coral reefs, laid back nightlife, a past residence to two literary giants Earnest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams, and a current home for a malevolent little doll that goes by the name of Robert.  On this weird and odd little journey we’re going to expose this urban legend that revolves around a doll that is known for being mischievous and that is causing people who visit him to write apologetic letters to avoid any sudden “accidental” deaths.


The legend behind Robert The Doll

Robert Eugene Otto was given a doll as a present when he was a small boy.  Robert, called Gene by his family and friends, quickly became fond of the doll and named the doll Robert after himself.  Gene was seen on many occasions whispering secrets into Robert’s ear and they were inseparable.

On one evening, Gene was supposedly tucked in bed slipping off into dreamland.  Gene’s parents were about to call it a night themselves and while getting into bed they heard loud crashing sounds coming from Gene’s room.  As they quickly got up and rushed to investigate the racket coming from their little boy’s room they started hearing cries for help from their pleading child in distress.  The parents quickly tried to get through the door to his room but the door was locked from the inside and would not budge, no matter how much force was being applied. And then, all of a sudden the door just opened on it’s own.  Gene’s room was redecorated with broken pieces of furniture scattered all over the room. Gene was sitting on his bed while hugging his knees close to his chest crying out of terror. His parents asked what happened. While Gene was sobbing he pointed to the doll and said “Robert did it”.  His parents looked at Robert sitting at the foot of the bed with an innocent expression on its face while being accused of a crime that it couldn’t have possibly committed. While dismissing the claim from their child as an overactive imagination, they helped Gene clean up the mess and tucked him back in bed.

Child eugene and friend

Child Eugene and friend

The parents eventually started getting worried when the doll seemed to have had some type of hold over Gene.  Gene’s parents would sometimes hear their son talking to Robert in his bedroom and sometimes a deep strange voice would answer back.  The parents would check in on Gene to see who was in the room with their child and it always was the same, Gene would be sitting in his room alone with Robert and Gene would look at his worried parents in a nonchalant manner.

Similar events plagued the Otto Family for many years to come.  Gene and Robert’s bond lasted through the years into Gene’s adulthood.  After Gene’s parents passed away, Gene and his wife Anne moved back into his child home were Gene was reunited with his doll Robert.  Gene decided that Robert needed a room of his own and placed his doll in the upstairs room on a rocking chair near the window overlooking the street.  Anne kept getting weird feelings about Robert and tried to convince Gene to have Robert put in the attic. Gene eventually conceded and locked his childhood buddy in the attic.

Soon after, guests would visit the house and reported hearing footsteps of someone pacing  back and forth in the attic. Some people reported hearing devilish giggling sounds. Children walking by the house on their way to school would see Robert at the upstairs room window mocking them as they went by.  The neighborhood kids informed Gene about these accounts numerous times and every time Gene went to the upstairs bedroom he would find Robert sitting in the rocking chair looking out the window. Robert would be sent back to the attic every time this happened to avoid any arguments with his wife.  No matter how many times Robert was placed back into the attic he would always return sitting on the rocking chair in the upstairs bedroom looking out the window.

After Eugene Otto’s death in 1974, Myrtle Reuter bought the house along with the estate and became the  caretaker of Robert. Rueter often found Robert in different places in the house from where she had left him.  Rueter’s guest also witnessed the doll’s ability to appear and reappear and the expression on Robert’s face had a tendency to change like it was completely aware of what was going on with conversations.  If Robert was disrespected or if anyone discussed Eugene in a negative way his face would show a disdainful expression. Supposedly, people who made this mistake of disrespect would shortly be victims of “accidental” deaths, divorces, or illnesses.  In 1994, Myrtle donated Robert to the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, Fl, where he still sits today.

The origins of Robert the Doll

After reading several blogs and websites, shuffling through all of the tourists trade sales pitches, opinions of antique toy collectors, and looking at lot of creepy pictures of dolls; I have not only found two origin stories but possibly developed a bad case of pediophobia.

The supernatural origin story…

The Otto family had a bad reputation for mistreating their servants and while walking out of the Otto home for the last time a Bahamian servant girl gave little Robert Eugene Otto a going away gift.  Eugene quickly became attached to his new companion not knowing that the doll was cursed with voodoo black magic that was destined to wreak havoc and terror on his family for decades to come.

The other origin story…

Many of my references are claiming that the doll was manufactured by the Steiff company and was purchased as a birthday gift by Eugene’s grandfather while visiting Germany.  It’s not really clear when the doll was made or how old Eugene was when he received his present. One reference was stating that the doll was bought in 1904. Another reference was stating that Eugene received his doll when was 8 years old.  What is factual is that Robert Eugene Otto was born in 1900.


Margarete Steiff

A brief history of the Steiff company

Margarette Steiff started off as a seamstress and had her own clothing business which successfully sold clothes and household articles.  After seeing a sewing pattern from a magazine, Margarette made a stuffed elephant and used it as a pin cushion. Shortly after with the aid of family the first stuffed elephant shortly became an accidental success which led to the creation of the Steiff company in 1880.  After Steiff’s success of selling stuffed animals imitations were entering in the market. In 1904, the Steiff company started to add a button with a tag on the left ear of all of their products to help customers distinguish the difference between an authentic Steiff doll and an imposter.


A replica of a Steiff model, The first Steiff Bear

The Steiff company started making felt dolls in the early 1900’s through the 1930’s.  These dolls were made to reflect occupations and culture (soldiers, students, butchers, etc.) rather than just serving as playful toys for children.  Most of these dolls appeared in the 22 to 50 cm size range. Robert the Doll is 100 cm in size which would be unusual for these line of Steiff dolls, however there are mentions of 100 cm dolls from Steiff catalogs.  The materials used and the seam patterns of Robert were typical of Steiff dolls of the early 1900’s. However it is still uncertain if Robert the Doll is a “genuine” Steiff Doll.

Final Thoughts…

Just in case Robert has figured out how to access the WiFi at his current residence I would like to extend my deepest apologies.

Dear Robert,

If I have said anything that might have seemed disrespectful then I apologize for my rudeness.  You’re are very handsome and remarkable little sailor and Eugene was a very talented artist.

Respectfully yours,

The Weird and The Odd


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Serena, K. (2019, August 19). This Doll Might Be The Most Haunted Toy In History. Retrieved September 30, 2019, from

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Turnbull Canyon

Looking for the most Extreme mountain biking or hiking experience?  Then check out Turnbull Canyon located near the city of Whittier, CA.  The history of Turnbull Canyon has a checkered but interesting past.  Over time urban legends developed and spread like a wildfire about the canyon, which created an infamous reputation of being a hotbed of tragedies and weirdness.


The History of Turnbull Canyon

The Native American tribes that inhabited the San Gabriel Valley referred to a canyon within the valley as Hutukngna which means the “night”, “the dark place”, or “the place of evil”.  According to one story, the Spanish would force the natives  who refused to convert to Christianity to spend several days in the canyon of evil.  Later the east side of the San Gabriel Valley was named Rancho La Puenta by William Workman who was a banker and land developer.  In 1876 Workman was ruined financially which led to his suicide four months later.

A Scottish immigrant by the name of Robert Turnbull moved to the San Gabriel Valley in the 1870’s and made a small fortune through real estate.  After Workman’s suicide, an advisory committee was formed to regulate bank loans.  While sitting as an advisor on the committee, Robert Turnbull came across an opportunity that allowed him to buy land in the canyon for a cheap price.  Due to a stream of water running through this land he was successful at raising sheep.  While making his name as a shepherd he also developed a reputation of being a drunk and a loud mouth.  A group of Quakers moved into the area and decided to develop a settlement for their people.  They made several offers to buy Robert Turnbull’s land, but Turnbull never accepted their offers.  Until one day, the Quakers offered him $30,000; a fortune during that time period, and Robert decided to sell.

One night in 1888, Robert Turnbull was leaving one of his favorite taverns, the St. Charles Hotel, and was arrested for public drunkenness due to falling off of his horse.  The next day he was released and while entering his home his housekeeper, Mary Kate, noticed that Robert had several bruises all over his face and body.  She reported that it looked like he was involved in a brutal fight.  After taking a long nap, Robert got up the next day and Mary told authorities that he didn’t seem himself and left the house wearing mismatched clothing including a hat that belonged to her.  The next day two children found his body floating face first in the Los Angeles River.  The coroner stated that Robert died from a blood clot that developed from a head injury and that it was very possible that Robert was murdered.  Shortly after, the Quakers renamed the canyon to honor Robert, and that is how Turnbull canyon got its name.

William Haight-popular science

The Electrodome

During the late 19th to early 20th century, droughts were very common from the mid-west to the west coast of the United States.  Rainmakers were coming out of the wood works claiming that they could make it rain for a small fee of course.  Many rainmakers were eventually exposed as  charlatans but some names were noted in history as the real deal.  During the 1916 drought in San Diego, CA; Charles M. Hatfield’s method of controlling the weather was successful, so successful that he caused a heavy downfall of rain that caused a flood that claimed 20 lives, washed out the infrastructure of the city, and many homes as well.  He was chased out of town and was never compensated.

In the early 1930’s, William Haight made his mark as a rainmaker with his invention of the Electrodome.  His device would generate negative electrical currents into the atmosphere and create a pulsating direct current from the ground to the sky.  His invention would allow people to create rain, displace fog, and could even prevent frost from forming on crops.  His smaller model of the electrodome was a success, but to produce a more effective result Haight would require a serious financial support which he didn’t have.  Due to some financial support from a Citrus farmer, John Dodrill,  William was only able to build one big tower that was based off of an old existing oil tower located in the Turnbull Canyon.  With the laboratory sitting on an 80 foot tower the Electrodome reached 125 feet from the ground to the sky.  The final test of his experiment happened on New Year’s Eve at the stroke of midnight in 1932.  There is no mention in the media of the results of the test.  However, the Russian Government at the time was very interested in Haights invention and used it for themselves.  Currently, more advanced versions of the Electrodome are currently being used by the United States government, Japanese government, and a company called the Australian Rain Technologies.

Flight 416W

On April 18, 1952 a North continent airline, operating under Robin Airlines, was on a flight from New York City, NY to Burbank, CA.  After making several intermediate stops flight 416W was redirected to Los Angeles International Airport due to bad weather in Burbank.  The plane was on an instrument landing system approach to LAX.  While the landing gear was fully extended, the left wheel of the plane struck a ridge near the Turnbull canyon causing the pilot to lose control causing the plane to crash into a steep hillside.  The plane exploded into flames instantly and all 29 on board were killed.  After the investigation was completed the officials stated that the cause of the crash was due to pilot error.  The pilot was flying below the minimum altitude of the area.  It was suspected that the pilot couldn’t see the runway due to fog build up and decided to fly below the minimum altitude which led to the accident.  The investigations also found Robin Airlines had more than 40 violations that included, charges of overweight planes, demanding and excessive flying time for crews, and failure to use approved seats and safety belts.  The investigation also discovered that the pilot of the plane was flying with a restricted medical certificate.

flight 416 crash

KKK, Satanic Cults, and UFOs..ooh my

Many locals of the area of Whittier Heights claim that Turnbull Canyon is home to KKK rallies and Satanic Cult activities.  During the depression era of the 1920’s rumors were spreading that people in black outfits with hoods were seen walking around at night and some stories claim that orphan and runaway children were being sacrificed in the area.  Video’s of UFOs and orb sightings in the Turnbull canyon are also all over the internet.


Hell’s Gate

In the depths of the brush of Turnbull Canyon lies Hell’s Gate.  There is not a lot of information about the origins of this notorious gate on the Web.  The location of Hell’s Gate is between the intersections of Skyline Drive and Descending Drive.  There is a dirt path that cuts through the overgrowth of vegetation that leads to a chain linked fence with a “Private Property” sign along with another sign warning intruders that there is a dog.  One story that is floating around the Web is that behind the chain link fence there use to be an insane asylum that was notorious for neglect and abuse of the inmates.  The facility eventually burned down.  Years later some teenagers decided to visit the abandoned asylum and supposedly came across a device that was used to administer electrical shocks to the inmates.  Joking around one of the teenagers applied the electrode probes to his head got electrocuted and was killed.  As the story goes…the electricity was shut off 20 years ago before this alleged incident.

While digging deep on the internet I have not been able to find any validation of an asylum in the area of Turnbull canyon or no proof that a teenager was killed by self-electrocuted shock to the head.  I have found some Youtube videos of brave souls exploring beyond the chain link fence.   Behind the fence is a lot of vegetation overgrowth along with some remnants of concrete slabs with pipes coming out of them.  The notorious Hell’s Gate was still present but the rod iron gate that was shown in these videos did not live up to the infamous reputation that have developed overtime.  No dead babies, hell hounds, or internal flames coming out of the ground, just an ordinary rod iron gate.  According to one of my sources, one person made a journey beyond the Gate of Hell which just led to someone’s backyard.

gates of hell

Gravity Hill

Many locals claim that there is a gravity hill somewhere located in Turnbull Canyon.  Gravity hills have been found all over the world and locals in the areas of these mysterious hills will tell stories of spirits or aliens that are to blame for the phenomenon.  For those of you who don’t know what a gravity hill is, don’t feel bad,  I had to look that one up myself.

A gravity hill is a hill that appears to be going up and people in cars will travel up the hill without applying any gas.  Balls have been placed on these hills and they would roll up the hill.  A gravity hill is an optical illusion, sorry to disappoint everyone but there is no prankster ghost or alien messing with us.  When standing on a path of a gravity hill the horizon is obscured from the person’s viewpoint which creates the illusion that the hill is going up but it is actually going down.

The Hanging Tree

There is supposedly a tree somewhere in the Turnbull Canyon that is referred to as the “Hanging Tree”.  While reading up on the Turnbull Canyon, I came across two different stories about this elusive tree.   One story states that a man hanged himself on a branch of a tree and at the time and day of his death you can see his ghost dangling from the branch.  Another story that I came across involved a teenage couple who decided to take a drive through the canyon and ended up having car troubles.  The male told his girlfriend to stay in the car and not to let anyone in while he goes and gets help.  After a while, the female started to hear sounds on the roof of the car that resembled the sound of light rain.  After several hours waiting for her boyfriend to return she ended up falling asleep.  The next day she was woken up by taps on the window from a police officer.  While the police officer was asking her to step out of the car he instructed her to not look up.  Supposedly she disregarded the officer’s advice of not looking up and saw her boyfriend was dangling from a rope tied to a branch and his blood was dripping on the roof of the car.  While searching for any validations to these stories I came across quite a bit of uncertainties from other curious minds of where this “Hanging Tree” is located and there are so many different trees that are being referenced as the phantom tree of death.

Final Thoughts

I always love to hear a good ole ghost story and the Turnbull Canyon is riddled with them.  There have been actual deaths and horrible tragedies that occurred in the canyon.  Walking around in the wilderness especially at night will naturally create some healthy paranoia.  But after my journey of reading up on Turnbull Canyon the only real threats to be aware of are: rattlesnakes, white supremacists, mountain lions, and drift car racers.

The canyon also has some great mountain bike paths.  If you decide to go hiking on these paths, bikers going down hill have the right away.  Gravity trumps their brakes so to avoid any collisions get out of their way when you see them.


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Beware of the B.E.K.S (Black-Eyed Kids)


With Halloween coming around the corner and little kids coming to the doors of strangers asking for candy, beware of the Black Eyed Kids.  If the images of movies such as “The Children of the Corn”, “The Omen”, “The Village of the Damned”, or those creepy little twin girls from the “Shining” haven’t terrified you of the little ones, this post might do it.

While reading over many encounters of these mysterious children from paranormal/UFO sites, I had the natural jerk reaction from time to time to look over my shoulders to make sure there was nothing behind me.  I also have a habit of leaving my front door open with the security door closed and locked to let the cool air breeze flow through my house during the evenings.  After reading the first few of these accounts of the black-eyed kids I couldn’t fight the urge to close my front door in fear of walking to my kitchen and seeing two silhouettes of small children peering into my house demanding me to let them in.



The sources that I have uncovered from surfing the internet vary about who these mysterious beings are or what their true agenda serves.  However the descriptions of the out of this world kiddos tend to match with each other.  They have pale or olive-like skin.  Their clothes usually tend to be modern of the time periods of the encounters, however the color of the clothes tend to clash or they were all black.  Their eye sockets are commonly described to be empty or missing human eyeballs and are nothing more than black voids.  The most common theme of these encounters state that the B.E.K.s have to be invited into your house or your car.  These kids do not act like normal kids.  They are not shy.  They will try to play on sympathy or resort to intimidation.  Some sources claim that these children are somehow tied or even related to M.I.B. (Men In Black).  Other sources are stating that they are hybrids of vampires and werewolves and are used to lure unsuspecting prey to the lairs of their masters or possibly vengeful spirits.



Personally I wouldn’t be surprised if many claims tend to be fictitious stories that have spread like wildfire on the internet that have good entertainment value to allow bloggers, including myself, to make a living.  However there are a lot of these stories and some can be traced back to Ancient China, so the possibility of these other worldly children trying to gain entry into your humble abode could have some truths.  I’m not going to rehash all of these supposedly true encounters because it would distort other’s perception of their reality.  But, if you are interested and brave enough, check out my references and dig deeper if you dare.  If you decide to be skeptical that is normal, however, if you are visited by these creepy little kids and they try to pull the sympathy card or intimidate you, Do Not Let Them In!


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