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The chilling inspiration behind Chucky: Robert the Doll, voodoo and an evil curse

Robert the Doll is said to be behind the concept of killer dolls that was first owned by Florida painter Robert Eugene Otto
UPDATED OCT 13, 2021
Chucky the killer doll from 'Child's Play' (MGM/IMDb)
Chucky the killer doll from 'Child's Play' (MGM/IMDb)

The first movie of the ‘Child’s Play’ franchise was released in 1988. Not only did it send chills down the spine of the people who watched it, but also glorified the concept of killer dolls and gave birth to a series of movies based on the same concept. Reports say that Chucky, the killer doll from the franchise, was inspired by an alleged true story.

It has been said that the doll that was behind the making of many mass-produced “Good Guy” dolls was Robert the doll. It was first owned and named by a Florida painter named Robert Eugene Otto. While there are a number of stories that tell how Otto got the doll, the most famous among them is that a woman, who served his family, gifted him the doll. The unnamed woman was allegedly involved in voodoo practices and made the doll to exact revenge from the family as they allegedly used to abuse her.


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Otto eventually began loving the doll so much that he named it after his own name and also used to refer to it in the first person. However, soon, the painter started blaming the doll for strange incidents around the house, for example, reshuffling of the furniture inside the house, or destruction of the toys by claiming, “Robert did it.”

Some reports also went on to allege that the doll could move around freely and express himself like a living person. It has been said that Robert the Doll was even seen blinking its eyes and running around with evil laughter. When Otto got married and left his parents’ home, the doll lived with them. But after their death, Otto inherited their house along with Robert the Doll and rekindled his “friendship” with it.

Subsequently, Otto died in 1974 and the house was sold to another person — Myrtle Reuter. Robert the Doll also went to Reuter with the house. The new owner also claimed that the doll was not a usual doll as it moved around the house on its own and was reportedly responsible for several strange things. Robert the Doll was finally donated to the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida.

The website of Key West Art & Historical Society states, “Robert is one-of-a-kind, handmade doll created around the turn of the 20th century. Standing 40 inches tall and stuffed with wood wool known as excelsior, he is dressed in a sailor suit and once bore painted features not unlike those of a jester.”

It continues, “His unusual size indicates he may have been fashioned in the image of his constant companion – a boy named Robert Eugene Otto. The doll took Robert as his name, while the boy simply went by ‘Gene’. Together they would go on to make history,” before mentioning an incident that happened with Solares Hill reporter Malcolm Ross, who visited Robert and claimed, “It was like a metal bar running down my back. At first when we walked through the door, the look on his face was like a little boy being punished. It was as if he was asking himself, ‘Who are these people in my room and what are they going to do to me?'”