According to legend, he was given a doll by his Jamaican nurse that was made in this likeness. That’s right – Eugene’s full name is Robert Eugene Otto, and soon, the doll ended up with the name Robert, while Otto was simply referred to by his middle name. To learn more about Robert the doll and the story behind him, you can visit the museum website – or, you might even want to send Robert a letter and see whether you get a response…. The Robert the doll story continues well past Eugene’s death, and the legend continues even to this day. Many people avoided the house entirely so that they could avoid Robert. It’s thought to be made by Steiff, and perhaps to have manufactured as part of a clown or jester display. Despite all of this, and despite his obvious fear of Robert as a child, Eugene kept Robert as he grew up and into an adult.
The doll originally belonged to Robert Eugene Otto, an artist described as "eccentric" who belonged to a prominent Key West family.
According to local folklore, the doll has caused "car accidents, broken bones, job loss, divorce and a cornucopia of other misfortunes", and museum visitors supposedly experience "post-visit misfortunes" for "failing to respect Robert". One maid was apparently caught using voodoo and was quickly fired, but before she left, she gave Robert to Eugene. The size of the house meant that the family needed “help”.
Visitors to the museum are given advice on how to approach Robert: to speak to him in a polite way, to ask his permission to photograph him and to treat him with respect. Despite his banishment, the Otto family were said to hear Robert the doll moving frequently around the upstairs portion of the house, with his footsteps said to echo throughout areas of the property that were completely empty. Schoolchildren and almost anyone walking past the property would say that they often saw the doll disappear from sight before appearing again before their eyes. As a result, Myrtle also acquired old, haunted Robert, and his strange behavior never ceased.
Another story about Robert the haunted doll and his origins describes the Otto family’s mistreatment of their servants and maids. She and her visitors also claim that the already creepy expression on Robert’s face appeared to change when anyone discussed Eugene in a negative way. Some versions of the legend claim that a young girl of "Bahamian descent" gave Otto the doll as a gift or as "retaliation for a wrongdoing". Robert’s big move simply meant that the legend grew stronger and that he was exposed to more and more people – today, he even has his own social media accounts and a Robert replica doll is sold.  After their deaths, the Eaton Street home containing the doll was sold to Myrtle Reuter, who owned it for 20 years until the property was sold to the current owners, who operate it as a guest house.. She finally donated the doll to the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida. The real events that helped inspire what would become the story for Child’s Play begin with the tale of Robert the Doll.